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The founder and first Governor of the Colony of Georgia, 
was born in London, England, December 21st, 1688. He was 
educated partly at Corptis Christi College. In 1714 he was a 
Captaifi in the first troop of Queen Anne's Guards, and after- 
wards served under Prince Eugene. At the age of 3jf. he was 
elected a Member of the Parlianieitt for Haslemere, in Surrey^ 
and continued to represent it forj2 years. He Tuas Chair/nan of 
the Parliament committee for inqitiring into the state of the 
Jails, which was formed in February, 1728, and, this, finally, 
led to his embarkation for Georgia with a colony of distressed 
debtors, and others, who zvere desirous of seeking an asylum in 
the luilds of America. He embarked for Georgia with 116 
settlers, in Ahwember, 17 J2, and reached Charleston January 
ijth, 17JJ. A few days after, he arrived at Yamacraw, 
Georgia, and marked out the site of Savannah. He left 
Georgia for England in 174}, to answer charges preferred by 
Lieutenant-Colonel Cook, which, by a court-martial, were 
declared groundless and malicious, and Cook was dismissed 
from the service, hi IT44 ^^ '^'^^ appointed a field-ofiiccr 
under Field-Marshal, the Earl of Stair, to resist an expected 
invasion by France. Ln 174^ he was appointed Major-General, 
in 1747 Lieutenaftt-General, and in ij6o General of the forces 
of His Majesty, the King of England. He lived till the ist 
of July, 17SJ, a venerable instance to what a duration a life 
of temperance and virtuous labor is capable of being protracted. 
For his matiy great and meritorious virtues, he received from 
the Duke of Argyle a full testimony, in the British Senate, 
io his military character, to his natural generosity, to .his 
contempt of danger, and to his regard for the public welfare. 






"■"S t 

181 uenonnnaiion m i^eoma; 


Biographical Compendium and Portrait Gallery 

OF Baptist Ministers and Other 

Georgia Baptists. 


Jeremiah 3:iS- 

compiled for the christian index. 

Jas. p. Harrison Sl Co., Printers and Publishers. 







Preliminary History, 1733-1770. — The Settlement of Georgia 1111733 — The Result of a Colonization 
Scheme which Proved a Failure — Oglethorpe Returns to England in 1743 — Georgia Became a Royal 
Province in 1752 — John Reynolds the first Governor— Not till 1754 did the Province Begin to Pros- 
per — A New System of Government — The First Legislature Met in January, 1755 — The Second 
General Assembly met in 1758 — Early Laws — Governor Ellis Recalled and Sir James Wright Ap- 
pointed Governor in 1760 — Indian Depredations — Prosperity Under Governor Wright's Administra- 
tion — George III Proclaimed King in 1761 — The Indian Treaty of 1763 gains Georgia Territorial 
Acquisition to the Mississippi — Its General Condition at that Time — Character and Ability of 
Governor Wright. 

The First Baptists in the State, 1740-1772. — Whitefield's Orphan Asylum — Nicholas Bedgewood 
r\ adopts Baptist Views and is Ordained — Early Georgia Baptists in the Neighborhood of Savannah- 

Benjamin Stirk Preaches Until 1770— Rev. Edmund Botsford Conies to Georgia in 1781 — Some Ac- 
count of Him — He Settles at Tuckaseeking — Daniel Marshall and Introduction of Baptist Prin- 
ciples into Northern Georgia— His Arrest for Preaching — Samuel Cartledge, the Constable — His 
Strange Conviction — Daniel Marshall's Trial — Some Account of Mr. Barnard, the Justice Who 
Tried Mr. Marshall — Kiokee Church — Act of Incorporation— Sketch of Rev. Daniel Marshall — 
His Death in 1784 — His Last Words and Burial Place, 

The Revolutionary Period, 1772-1774 — Labors of Edmund Botsford—Visits Kiokee— Preaches for 
Daniel Marshall — Loveless Savidge — His Conversion to the Baptist Faith — Botsford's Labors — 
"The Rum is Come" — He is Ordained. — Botsford's Church Constituted in 1773 — His Flight in 1779 — 
Causes of the Revolution — " Liberty Boys" — Georgia Speaking Out — Condition of the State in 
1772 — A Provincial Congress Elected in 1775 — In 1776 it was Resolved to Embark in the Cause of 
Freedom— Georgia in Active Rebellion — Georgia Subjugated in 1779, and the Royal Government 
Re-established in Savannah — Botsford and Silas Mercer Flee, but Daniel Marshall Stands Firm— 
His Trials and Labors — The Licensure System — Statistics From 1788 to 1794. 

Growth and Organization, 1782-1799. — Peace — Savannah Again in Our Possession in July, 1783 — 
Georgia's Desolate Condition — Baptist matters — Formation of the Georgia Associarion— Views 
of Sherwood, Benedict and Asplund^" Begun in 1784" — Two Sessions Annually for Half a Dozen 
Years — Extracts From Newton's Diary — Alexander Scott — Silas Mercer — Sanders Walker — Abra- 
ham Marshall — Evangelistic Labors at the Foundation of the Baptist Denomination in Georgia — 
James Matthews — Precarious Times — Formation of the Hephzibah Association in September, 
1795 — Formation of the Sarepta Association, in May, 1799. 

The Powelton Conferences, 1800-1803. — The General Aspect of Affairs — The Condition Peaceable 

and Prosperous — But Zion Languishing — The First Step Upward — Henry Holcombe--Joseph 

Clay — C. O. Screven — Jesse Mercer — The Grand "Departure" — The Meeting of 1801 — The Second 

Conference in 1802 — The Report Adopted— Results — Incident in the Life of Mercer — Savannah 

*) Association Constituted -in 1802, — Its action in Regard to the Powelton Conference — The First 

.^-^ General Committee — Action of the Committee^The Religious Condition in 1803 — Origin of Bap- 

ft»^ list Interest in Savannah — A Church- Organized in t8oo— The Establishment of Colored Baptist 

Churches in Savannah — And a Brief Account of Them. 


First Evforts at Co-opekation, 1803-1810. — The General Committee Organized for Work — First 
Circular Address— Remarks Concerning the General Committee — First Steps towards Establishing 
a School Among the Indians and a Baptist College — A Charter Refused by the Legislature — 
Jesse Mercer's Circular Address Defending the Committee — Mount Enon Adopted as a Site for the 
Proposed College — Incorporation Still Unattainable — The General Committee Merged into a 
Permanent Board of Trustees — Reasons Why the Charter was Refused — But the "Trustees of 
Mount Enon Academy" Incorporated — An Academy Established, which Flourished a Few Years 

The First Five Associations, 1810-1813. — General Condition of Georgia in 1810— General Condition of 
the Denomination at the Same Time — Growth of the Georgia Association — Formation and Growth 
of the Hephzibah Association — Formation and Growth of the Sarepta Association— The Oc- 
mulgee and Savannah Associations — Their Growth — Singular Formation of Black C^reek Church — 
Statistics of 1813— A Revival — Laborious Times and Pious Men — Hostilities Against Great Britain 
Declared June i8th, 1813 — L^nanimity and Patriotism of Baptist Sentiment — Lumpkin and Rabun. 

Missionary, 1813-1820. — 1813 an Epoch — The Early Mission Spirit on the Seaboard — Influencing Char- 
acters — The Savannah River Association in 1813 — Formation of the First Georgia Missionary So- 
ciety — Missionary Enthusiasm — A Remarkable Circular — It is R'ead Before the Georgia Associa- 
tion by Jesse Mercer — Meeting Appointed at Powelton in 1815 — A Strong Missionary Society 
Formed — The Georgia Association Takes Hold of the Missionary Work in Earnest — The Ocmul- 
gee Association — Patriotic Circulars — The Mission Spirit in the Ocmulgee Association — " The 
Ocmulgee Mission Society" Formed in July, 1815 — The Mission Spirit in the Sarepta Association — 
A Mission Society Formed in June, 1816 — The Resolution of Dr. Sherwood in 1820 — Spirit of the 
Hephzibah Association — It. Favors the "General Committee" — Favors Itineracy and Domestic 
Missions — The Hephzibah Baptist Society for Itinerant and Missionary E.xertions, Formed in 
February, 1816 — A Foreign Mission Society Formed in 1818 — The Ebenezer Association Formed in 
March, 1814 — The Tugalo and Pied.r.ont Associations formed in 1817 — State of Religion in the 
Second Decade of the Century. 


Indian Reform, 1818-1824. — Feeling in Regard to Indian Reformation in the Beginning of the Cen- 
tury — Extract from the Mission Board of the Georgia Association in 1818 — Desire of the Indians- 
First Steps Taken by the Ocmulgee Association — " Plan" for " Indian Reform" Adopted — Inter- 
esting Letter from Doctor Staughton — General Government Appropriations — Appointment of 
Francis Flournoy — Some Account of Him — His Vindication and Death — Appointment of E. L. 
Compere — Establishment of a School and Mission at Withington Station — Action of the Ebenezer 
Association — Zeal and Liberality of the Ladies — Report of the Ocmulgee and Georgia Associa- 
tions in 1824 — General View. 

Gxai^^i^TEi^ x:. 

The General Association, 1820-1823. -Action of the Sarepta Association in 1802 — Considered Fa- 
vorably by the Ocmulgee and Georgia Associations — Disregarded by the Ebenezer and Hephzibah — 
Considered unfavorably by itself — The General Meeting in Powelton in June, 1822 — Notabilities 
Present — Sermon by Sherwood and Prayer by Mercer — The Constitution Presented by Brantly — 
Its Adoption — Extracts from the Circular Letter — Second Session of the General Association and 
its Action — Action of the Sarepta in 1823 — The Sunbury Association Joins the General Associa- 
tion in 1823 — The Ebenezer Declines to Unite with The General Association — Action of the Heph- 
zibah — Brantly, Sherwood, Armstrong, Kilpatrick. 

cxb:j^:e't:hi-jei ikz. 

State of Religion, 1822-1826. — The Sunbury Association, Slight Review — The Savannah Church, 
Some of its Pastors — State of Religion in the Sunbury Association, in the Third Decade of the 
Century— Augusta, a Baptist Church Constituted there in 1817 — The Shoal Creek Convention — 
Efforts of the General Association — Uniformity of Discipline, Effort to Promote it Falls Through — 


Want of Harmony— Address of General Association of 1825— Why Given — Position of the Gen- 
eral Association in Regard to Education — The Association, Disappointed, Recommends the 
Formation of Auxiliary Societies in 1826 — A Constitution Recommended — The Ebenezer Associ- 
ation—Mission Arguments of that Day — Prominent Men — Hephzibah Association— The Sarepta 
Association — Yellow River and Flint River Associations— Denominational Statistics in 1824. 

Educational, 1825-1829. — '" Indian Reform" Once More— Conclusion of that Mission — Cause of 
its Abandonment — Sketch of E. L. Compere— Contributions of the Georgia Baptists — Interest 
in Education — Few Educated Men — The State Convention and Education— Address of 1826 — 
Columbian College— A Fund for Theological Education — Opponents of Education — Some of their 
Notions — Anecdotes Illustrative of Ignorance—" Go Preach My Gospel" — What Mercer Said 
About " Inspired Sermons" — Dr. A. Sherwood. 

GIa:J^:P1?:BI^ xzixx. 

Mercer Institute, 1829-1839.— The Penfield Legacy — Who Helped to Secure it— Sherwood's Res- 
olution — $1,500 Raised — Instructions to the Executive Committee — Dr. Sherwood's Manual La- 
bor School Near Eatonton — Mercer Institute Opened January, 1833 — Plan of Mercer Institute — 
B. M. Sanders Placed at its Head — A Baptist College at Washington Proposed and Abandoned — 
Mercer University— Report of Trustees for 1838 — Acts of Incorporation, of Convention and 
College — The First Board of Trustees — Their First Report, Showing the Organization of the Col- 
lege and its Financial Condition — Classes Organized in January, 1839 — B. M. Sanders, the First 
President of Mercer University — His Farewell Address — The Blacks not Forgotten. 

Anti-Effort Secession, 1817-1837 — The Spirit of Opposition— Its Causes — First Manifestation in the 
Hephzibah — the Mission Spirit in that Association in 1817, 1818 — Charles J. Jenkins — Sketch of his 
Life — The Association gives the Cold Shoulder to Missions and Education — Jordan Smith Leads ofE 
a Faction in 1828 — Which forms the Canoochee Association — Resolution of the Piedmont Association 
in 1819 — Isham Peacock — The Ebenezer Association, Session of 1816 — Enters upon Indian Reform 
Mission in 1820— Abandons it in 1823 — In 1836 Decides in Favor of Missions, etc. — A Division Oc- 
curs — Its Circular Letter of 1836 — The Anti-Mission Spirit in the Ocmulgee — It Declares Non- 
Fellowship with those Favoring Benevolent Schemes — Troubles Begin — Formation of the Central 
Association — The Sarepta Joins the Convention — A Division of the Association Ensues—" Pro- 
test " and " Answer " — The Itcheconnah Divides— The Yellow River Follows Suit— The Flint 
River Keeps the Ball Rolling — While the Columbus and Western Feel the Doleful Effects of the 
Anti-Mission Spirit — Division is Consummated — The General Feeling of the Times, 1833-1837' 
Illustrated by Incidents. 

Religious History, 1826- 1836. — The Great Revival of 1827 — Accessions to the Different Associations — 
Reports for 1829— The Anti-Intemperate Society — Georgia Association of 1828 and 1829— The Sun- 
bury Association— Religious Condition in 1830 — Denominational Statistics — Religious Condition 
from 1830 to 1836— Described by Jesse Mercer — Dr. C. D. Mallary's Statement— What a Writer in 
The Index Said — The Convention Still Presses Forward — Revival Incidents — The Convention 
Resolution of 1835 — Campbell's Call for the Forsyth Meeting — Its Proceedings— Communications 
from Dr. Hillyer, Dr. Campbell and Rev, T. B. Slade — Peace Dawns Once More — The Meeting 
at Covington. 

General State of the Denomination, 1840-1846 — The Convention of 1840 — The Christian Index 
removed to Georgia- Influence of the Paper — Mercer University in 1840 — State of Religious Feel- 
ing—Report on State Missions for 1842 -Death of Jesse' Mercer — Report on his Death, by C. D. 
Mallary — His Influence — Georgia Baptist Statistics — Report on State Missions for 1845 — Report 
of Brethren Appointed to Attend the Organization of the Southern Baptist Convention — Account 
of the Organization of that Convention— Causes which Led to it — Georgians Present — Previous 
Course of the Abolitionists — Effect of the Division on Southern Contributions — Sketch of Dr. 
Johnson, its First President— Messengers to the Old Triennial Convention, 


Denominational History, 1845-1861. — Action of the State Convention in Regard to Separation — 
Effects of the Rupture on Southern Benevolence — Washington Association — Western Associa- 
tion — Rehoboth Association — Bethel and Columbus Associations — Coosa and Tallapoosa Associa- 
tions — The United Baptists — State of Religion in 1850— The Hearn Manual Labor School — Noble 
Men of that Period and what they Did — The Cherokee Baptist Convention — Why Constituted — 
Its Formation and Progress — Cherokee Baptist College and Woodlawn College — Mission Among 
the Cherokees — David Foreman and E. L. Compere — T/ie Landmark Banner and Cherokee 
BaJ>tist--'Y\ve, Morth Georgia Missionary Association — The Ten Years Preceding the War — The 
Bible Board and Colporter Society — Exciti ;g Questions — Associations in the Georgia Baptist 
Convention, and Cherokee Baptist Convention, before the War, and their Benevolent Contribu- 

Denominational History, 1861-1881. — The Secession of the Southern States— Action of the Southern 
Baptist Convention, at Savannah — Of the Georgia Baptist Convention, at Athens — Of the Cherokee 
Baptist Convention at Calhoun — The Christian Index ; Its History from I833 — The Property of 
Jesse Mercer until 1839— Of 'he Baptist State Convention until 1861 — Of S. Boykin until 1865 — 
Of J. J. Toon until 1873 — Of J. P, Harrison & Co. to the Present Date — Evangelistic Labor in 
the Army — State of Religion After the Return of Peace — Colored Baptists ; their Associations 
and Conventions — Atlanta Baptist Seminary ; Drs. Robert and Shaver — Statistics of the Denomi- 
nation in the State for 1881 — Fifty Years Ago and Now. 

History of Mercer University, 1813-1881. — A Brief Retrospect — Origin of the Anti-Mission Bap- 
tists, Called " Old School Baptists " — Something of their Creed and Policy — The Regular Baptists 
Slightly Compared — Was the Tendency of the Convention Evil ? — Mercer's Reply — Early Benefi- 
ciaries of the Convention — Mercer Institute, under Sander's Management — Manual Labor Sus- 
pended in the University in 1844 — First Graduates of Mercer — Theological Department, Why Dis- 
continued — Classical Department — Law School — How the War Affected Mercer — Removal of 
Mercer University — Future of the College— Presidents and Professors — The Several Administra- 
tions — Some of its Professors — Mercer the Rallying Point of the Denomination. 

Position on Various Matters, 1794-1881 — The Georgia Baptists and Patriotism — "Goodwill to 
Man" — Marital Rights of Slaves — Temperance— The Baptists Never Likely to Form a Party — The 
Act of 1785 to Support Ministers out o f the Public Treasury — Remonstrance of the Georgia Bap- 
tists — The Baptists and Religious Liberty — Mercer Writes that Section in the State Constitution — 
A Strong Baptist Protest— Education of Colored Ministers — Pulpit Affiliation in the Olden Time — 
No open Communion Among the Early Baptists of Georgia — Pulpit Courtesies Allowed to Pedo- 
baptists,but their Official Acts not Recognized — The Constitution of the Richland Church — The 
Case of Mr, Hutchinson — Jesse Mercer on not Recognizing Pedobaptist Immersion — Extracts 
from Sherwood's Manuscripts. ' 


One hundred and fifty years ago, Georgia was not settled. And one hundred 
years ago, there were but few Baptists in the. State. We had then not half a 
dozen churches here, and no District Associations at all. Now, counting Mis- 
sionary and Anti-Missionary Baptists, we have eighty-five white Associations, 
1, 800 white churches and 120,000 white church members. In addition, 
there are, among the colored people, over thirty Associations, about 900 churches 
and 110,000 church members. The adherents of our faith, therefore, make a 
grand total of 230,000. The history of the rise and progress of a denomination 
containing such large numbers should be interesting and certainly is worthy of 
investigation. In truth, it appears but a simple matter of justice and propriety, 
that a connected historical account, even though brief, of the Baptists of Georgia 
should be compiled. 

This attempt to present the main facts attending the origin and growth of 
Baptist sentiments in Georgia, is, necessarily, a compilation. It embodies, how- 
ever, the results of an investigation of a large amount of materials collected from 
various sources. Among them we may mention complete files of the Georgia 
Baptist Convention and the Georgia Association; the volumes of The Chris- 
tian Index since its removal to Georgia ; and all the collections of the Georgia 
Baptist Historical Society, embracing the series of Minutes of District Associa- 
tions in the State, preserved by successive clerks of the Convention ; as also files 
of Association Minutes which friends have loaned us, and excerpts of the most 
important facts contained in them, which they have kindly written out for us. 
Beside these, the works of Benedict, Campbell, Mallary, Mercer and Marshall, 
have been of great service. The Analytical Repository, published at Savannah, 
by Dr. Holcombe, in the beginning of the century, has furnished valuable in- 
formation. But the most weighty assistance, perhaps, has been rendered by the 
writings of Dr. Adiel Sherwood — especially the series of articles on "Jesse Mercer 
and his Times," prepared by him, twenty years ago, for The Christian Index 
much of which has never seen the light. We were so fortunate, also, as to 
secure the papers pertaining to Georgia Baptist History, collected by Dr. David 
Benedict, and deposited by him with the American Baptist Historical Society, 
Philadelphia; among which was the manuscript history of Georgia, by Dr. 
Sherwood, referred to by Dr. Benedict in the notes to his History of the De- 

These materials, and many more, have been employed to construct this brief 
History of Georgia Baptists, and for the purposes of the Biographical Compen- 
dium. All suitable facts have been used, wherever found, nor have we deemed 
it necessary always to quote our authority. It has been our great object to 


gather and connect together, as well as could be done in a limited space and 
v' ithin a short period, the main features, so far as they are ascertainable, of the 
: ; > ■ I > I ■ I : I ) n ination in the State. We have aimed to present them in a 
■ 1 ) '. . : and popular form — to make plain and clear statements ; and therefore 
we have not sought after the embellishments of style, nor the mere graces of 
composition. We have striven especially to be accurate. Such facts only are 
given as we believe to be entirely raliable, and for which we have what com- 
mends itself to us as good authority ; and we are confident that the reader may 
rely on the correctness of the record. If, occasionally, the same incident is men- 
tioned more than once, this happens because different lines of research and nar- 
rative touch or cross each other, and it will be found that such dual notice, while 
it vindicates the truth of the statement, helps to fix the fact noticed in the mind. 
To return thanks one by one to the brethren who have placed us under obli- 
gation by kindly assistance in this work, and to tell over their names from first 
to last, would be a sheer impossibility. But while we cannot thus mention all, 
there are some to whom special acknowledgment is due. We are indebted to 
Rev. J. H. Kilpatrick for files of the Georgia Baptist Convention and the Georgia 
Association ; to Rev. W. L. Kilpatrick, for documents collected by him as Sec- 
retary of the Georgia Baptist Historical Society ; to Rev. S. Boykin, for valuable 
services in the preparation of the History and many of the Biographical Sketches, 
and to Dr. Shaver, Rev. C. M. Irwin, and his wife, for diligent and faithful work 
on the Compendium. To these, and to all who have furnished us records or facts, 
we tender our most grateful thanks for their aid in placing on permanent record 
so many incidents fraught alike with interest and with profit. It is largely through 
their generous help that our fathers stand before the present generation on these 
pages, live over their lives among us, and incite us, in holy emulation, to live as 
they. We can say without affectation, and, we hope, without immodesty, that 
a desire to accomplish good animated us in the inception of this enterprise, and 
has sustained and guided us through all its stages. If the cause of Christ is 
promoted, and the readers of the volume now committed to the public are 
strengthened for more vigorous service to that cause, we shall feel, even in the 
absence of all other reward, that our "labor has not been in vain in the Lord." 

The Index Publishing Company. 
Atlanta, Georgia, 1881. 

Map of Georgia in 1810. 

The Map of Georgia which we present, wa>i prepared from original surveys and other documents 
for Eleazer Early, in 1818, by Daniel Sturges. The entire length of the State was 300 miles, and its 
breadth 240. Its area was 58,000 square miles, or 87,120,000 acres, and the inhabitants numbered 
about four to the square mile — say 230,000. 

The following table will give an exact statement of the area and population of each county in 

Bullock . 
Camden . . 
Clarke . . . . 






Madison' '.'.'.'.'. 








Tattnall . . 
Twiggs. . 
Warren .. 
Wilkes . . . . 


Square M's. 

























































6 189 

















* Laid out since i8io. 

There were, as we see, ^i) counties only, with a population of about 225,000, in 1810. 

The territory obtained by General Jackson's Treaty, in 1814—164 miles long and 67,'-^ broad — con- 
tained 11,070 square miles. The territory occupied by the Cherokees, in the northern pait of the 
State, contained 16,815 square miles. It was 160 miles long and 99J4 broad. 

The territory occupied by the Lower Creeks, in the lower western part of the State, was 142 miles 
long, io55<; broad, and contained 14,981 square miles. We thus see that, in 1810, 15,134 square miles 
only were laid out and occnpied by the white people, which was less than one-fourth of the whole. 
While the Indians enjoyed the usufruct, or right of occupancy, the State of Georgia always claimed 
the right to the soil. 

As late as the end of the second decade of the century, the Ocmulgee river was the border of the 
white settlements ; and, of course, up to about 1820, the history of the Baptist denomination of the 
State must be confined witliin the limits lying east of that river, and south of the Tugalo on the 








The history of the Baptist denomination in the State of Georgia, is almost 
coeval with the history of the State itself. Its early history, in truth, requires 
for its comprehension, a statement of some of the main events attending the 
original settlement of Georgia. For, in the ship Anne, which brought General 
Oglethorpe and his first colony to our shores, in January, 1733, there were 
Baptists, who were the ancestors of many living in Georgia to-day, belonging 
to our denomination. 

The settlement of Georgia was the result of a benevolent endeavor, on the 
part of a large and most respectable association of English gentlemen, number- 
ing among them some of the nobility, to provide an asylum for poor but 
respectable people, who had no means of supporting themselves in the mother 
country. They obtained a charter from George II, on the 9th of June, 1732, 
for a separate and distinct province between the Savannah and Altamaha rivers, 
to be named GeoTgia, in honor of the king who granted the charter. It was 
resolved by the trustees that none were to have the benefit of the transportation 
and subsequent subsistence charitably afforded, but those who were in decayed 
circumstances and, on that account, disabled from any profitable business in 
England. These persons were required to labor on the land allotted to them 
for three years, to the best of their skill and ability. One hundred and fourteen 
persons embarked at Deptford, four miles below London, and on the 17th of 
November, 1732, set sail from Gravesend. These were desigfiated as " sober, 
industrious and moral persons," and James Edward Oglethorpe, Esquire, one 
of the trustees, consented to accompany them at his own expense, for the pur- 
pose of forming the settlement. He was clothed with power to exercise the 
functions of a governor over the new colony. Charleston harbor was reached 
January 13th, 1733, and Beaufort, January 20th. There the colonists remained 
until Oglethorpe had selected a site for his intended settlement. He chose the 
bluff upon which the city of Savannah now stands. His colonists arrived on 
the first of February, put up tents, and, occupying the interval in unloading, 
formally landed on the 12th' of February, 17^,3. 

In regard to this settlement of Georgia, two circumstances should be borne 
in mind. The first is, that it was originated by the people of South Carolina, 
that a barrier might b& erected between themselves and the menacing Spanish 


authorities in Florida. The second is, that the colonization scheme proved a 
failure, and that Georgia was eventually settled by a totally different class of 
people, who emigrated, mostly, from the older States on the Atlantic border. 
Some very valuable emigrants from Germany and Scotland settled in the State. 
It required but a short time for the trustees to discover that the poorer classes 
of people, which they sought to benefit, were useless as colonists. They then 
sought for a bold, hardy, industrious set of men who were accustomed to rural 
pursuits, and made proposals which were accepted by a number of Highlanders 
from Scotland, who settled on the Altamaha in January, 1736, and built a town 
now known as Darien. About the same time one hundred and seventy Germans 
arrived, and joined the seventy-eight Salzburgers, from Salzburg, Bavaria, who 
had settled at Ebenezer, thirty miles above Savannah, in March, 1733. 

There were now, in the beginning of 1736, over six hundred white inhabitants 
in Georgia, of whom one-third were Germans. At the end of the eighth year 
over fifteen hundred colonists had been sent over, for whose benefit $560,000 
had been expended ; besides these, others had come at their own expense, but 
their number is not known. Ten years after Oglethorpe settled at Savannah 
there were twelve or fourteen towns scattered throughout the territory, from 
Darien to Augusta, which had been settled in 1735, and was now advancing in 
wealth and population. 

Oglethorpe had, indeed, effected a wonderful change in the aspect of the 
entire country in ten years. 

Indignant at calumnious misrepresentations made against him by a personal 
enemy. Lieutenant-colonel Cook, he embarked for England in September, 1743, 
and demanded an investigation by court-martial. After the most mature delib- 
eration, the court adjudged the charges to be false, malicious and groundless. 
Oglethorpe's honorable acquittal was reported to the king, and Lieutenant-colonel 
Cook was dismissed from the service and declared incapable of serving his 
majesty in any military capacity whatever. General Oglethorpe never returned 
to America. 

A change in the government of the province was established by the trustees. 
It was committed to the care of a president and four councillors, or assistants, 
who should act agreeably to instructions received from the trustees. But the 
colony did not prosper. 

While this was due, partly, to war and the insecurity of life and property, it 
was mostly due to the system of government adopted by the trustees. Human 
ingenuity could hardly have devised a scheme better calculated to repress pros- 
perity and hinder all material progress. Under that government, the province, 
during eighteen years, had not produced subsistence enough for its own con- 
sumption ; and, for the first seventeen years of the colony's existence, one ves- 
sel-load, only, of Georgia produce was exported. It was not until after slavery 
was legally authorized, in 1749, and titles to land were made in fee simple, or 
"an absolute inheritance," in 1750, that the colony began to prosper. In 1752, 
the trustees, convinced that the province was not flourishing under their man- 
agement, and wearied with the murmurs and complaints of the colonists, re- 
signed their charter. The government reverted to the Crown, and Georgia be- 
came a royal province A proclamation, sent over in November, 1752, declared 
it to be tTie royal pleasure that the magistrates and officers in the colony of 
Georgia should continue in the exercise of their respective offices until some 
other provision should be made for the government of the province. The Pres- 
ident and his assistants, therefore, continued to govern the country until the 
arrival of Captain John Reynolds, an officer in the navy, on the 29th of October, 
1754, who had been appointed Governor by the King the preceding August. 
They acted under the control of the " Board of Trade and Plantations," appointed 
by the King for the superintendence of colonial affairs, at the head of which was 
the Earl of Halifax. 

In the meantime the^e changes had produced beneficial results. After the 
charter was surrendered, the President and his assistants reported that settlers 
came daily from the other colonies in America, as well as from Germany and 
Great Britain. These consisted of a better class of emigrants. 


Georgia now contained many citizens of great respectability, and colonists of 
a desirable character flocked into its borders. During 1754 a large colony of 
Puritans, originally from England, moved from South Carolina and settled at 
Midway, Liberty county. But the general condition of the country was wretched 
and by no means prosperous. Desolateness brooded over the land, and several 
years elapsed before Georgia began to prosper. "The town of Savannah," 
wrote Governor Reynolds to the Board of Trade, " is well situated, and con- 
tains about one hundred and fifty houses, all wooden ones, and mostly old. The 
biggest was used for the meeting of the President and assistants, and wherein 
I sat in council for a few days ; but one end fell down whilst we were all there, 
and obliged us to remove to a kind of shed behind the court-house." 

An entirely new system of government was now established. It was similar 
to that prevailing in the other colonies, and consisted of three branches — the 
Governor, his Advisory Council of ten, and the Commons, nineteen in number, 
elected by the people. The first Legislature met January 7th, 1755, at the call 
of the Governor. 

Governor Reynolds was recalled August 5th, 1756, and Henry Ellis was ap- 
pointed Lieutenant-Governor August 15th, 1756. During the administration of 
Reynolds lands were taken up, settlers flocked in, trade increased, and prosperity 
began to manifest itself ; but he proved unequal to his position : his own coun- 
cil united with the lower house in preferring charges of mal-administration 
against him, and, after a trial in England, he was permitted to resign. His suc- 
cessor was a man of great prudence, discretion and firmness, and his adminis- 
tration was, on the whole, successful. By treaties with the Creek Indians, he 
mitigated some of the most serious evils and dangers of the Georgians ; for, 
until after the Revolutionary war, the colonists were subject to the murderous 
ravages and depredations of the Creeks on the west and the Cherokees on the 
north. It should be remembered that for years the colony of Georgia embraced 
a territory only 1 50 miles long, and about thirty miles wide, except in the ex- 
treme southern portion. In 1750 the Creeks alone could bring three thousand 
five hundred warriors into the field, and the intrigues of the French made them 
exceedingly restive and dangerous neighbors ; at the same time the military 
force of Georgia did not amount to five hundred. Notwithstanding the calam- 
ities of the times, the people generally were contented and tranquil ; a visible spirit 
of industry and improvement manifested itself, and numbers flocked into Georgia 
from the northern colonies. 

Thus stood matters during the administration of Governor Ellis, when the 
third session of the second General Assembly convened in Savannah, January 
nth, 1758; and the event is recorded that mention may be made of a few of 
the laws passed at the time. One of these regulated trade with the Indians ; 
another prohibited slaves from being taught handicrafts ; another divided the 
province into parishes and established the Church of England worship. The 
following is the title of this last bill : " An Act for constituting the several Divis- 
ions and Districts of the Provmce into Parishes, and for establishing Religious 
Worship therein according to the Rites And Ceremonies of the Church of Eng- 
land ; and also for empowering the Church Wardens and Vestrymen of the 
respective Parishes to assess Rates for the repair of churches, the relief of the 
poor, and other Parochial service." Savannah was in "Christ Church" Parish, 
and Augusta was in "St. Paul's " Parish. It has been claimed that this was a 
iwininal transference to one of his Majesty's provinces of the statutes of the 
British realm ; but we shall see that it conveyed a legal right which afterwards 
was sought to be enforced. It is well to contrast it with an extract from the 
original charter granted to the Trustees of the colony by George II : " And for 
the greater ease and encouragement of our loving subjects, and such others as 
shall come to inhabit in our said colony, we do, by these presents, for us, our 
heirs and successors, grant, establish and ordain, that forever hereafter there 
shall be a liberty of conscience allowed in the worship of God to all persons in- 
habiting, or who shall inhabit or be resident within our said province, and 
that all such persons, except Papists, shall have a free exercise of religion ; so 
they be contented with the quiet and peaceable enjoyment of the same, not giv- 


ing offence or scandal to the government." The exception of the Papists in this 
charter was for political rather than ecclesiastical reasons. 

In the law just quoted, a salary of $125 per annum was allowed to each cler- 
gyman of the Church of England in Georgia. The passage of this law was 
rather singular, for there were Presbyterian, Lutheran and Moravian settlements 
in the State, besides that of the Salzburgers, all of whom had their own minis- 
ters. It may have been but a nominal recognition of the Church of England ; 
but it was just such recognition as resulted in much persecution of the Baptists 
in Virginia and New England. 

In 1759 the health of Governor Ellis gave way, and in November of that year 
he solicited a recall, which was granted, and Sir James Wright was appointed 
Lieutenant-Governor on the 13th of May, 1760, but did not arrive until the fol- 
lowing October. Governor Ellis took his departure on the 2d of November, 
1760, amidst the highest manifestations of regard, and deeply regretted by all; 
for his administration had been greatly beneficial to Georgia. This was indica- 
ted by the increase of settlers, their tranquillity and happiness in the more popu- 
lous districts, and in the extension of trade: in 1760 the population of Georgia 
was 6,000 whites and 4,000 blacks, while commerce had more than doubled 
itself during the two and a half years since the departure of Reynolds. Still, it 
must be confessed that the province was in a languishing condition. The 
French and Indian wars on the north and west, the Spanish depredations on 
the southern borders, and the bad management of the British Indian agents, 
kept the frontiers in a constant state of alarm and disquietude. It has not been 
deemed necessary to enlarge upon the Indians and their affairs, in this short 
sketch ; but they vv-ere a constant menace, and though they were restrained by 
the prudence and decision of Georgia's Governors, yet the people through long 
years, continually experienced harrassing alarms, and dreaded threatening inva- 
sions. Although their ravages and murderous expeditions were directed mostly 
against the more northern colonies, yet they made occasional inroads upon upper 
and lower Georgia, committing depredations and dealing death. During the 
first years of the colonial history, they were frequently excited to evil deeds by 
intriguing French emissaries ; and after revolutionary hostilities began, when 
they were in friendly alliance with the royalists, they were more dreaded than 
ever. This will be readily understood when it is remembered that in 1774, 
when the population of Georgia was 17,000 whites and 15,000 blacks, with only 
2,828 militia scattered from Augusta to St. Mary's, there were within the bor- , 
ders and along the frontiers of Georgia, 40,000 Creeks, Cherokees, Chickasaws 
and Choctaws, of whom 10,000 were warriors, any number of whom could be 
brought against the colony. 

Governor James Wright was a South Carolinian by birth, of which colony he 
was Attorney-General for twenty-one years. He arrived in Georgia October i ith, 
1760, and entered upon his gubernatorial duties early in November. He was 
an able man, educated in England, and every way well qualified for his position, 
and the State prospered under his administration : in six years its population 
increased from 10,000 to 18,000 — 10,000 whites and 8,000 blacks. 

He enjoyed a privilege which has occurred but once in Georgia history. In 
February, 1761, intelligence of the death of George II., on October 25th, was 
received in Savannah, and on the loth of February he proclaimed George III 
King in the most solemn manner, uith the utmost civil and military pomp. 

In November, 1763, Governor Wright, and the Governors of Virginia, North 
Carolina and South Carolina, and Captain John Stuart, Superintendent of Indian 
Affairs for the Southern District, held a Convention at Augusta, Georgia, with 
seven hundred Indians, including the chiefs of the Cherokees, Creeks, Chicka- 
saws. Choctaws and Catawbas, at which a treaty was niade which enlarged the 
boundaries of Georgia to the Mississippi. At that time the population of Geor- 
gia, though small, was substantial and industrious; its agricultural resources 
were rapidly increasing ; its commerce required several thousand tons of ship- 
ping; its Indian trade was large and productive, and, rising in importance daily, 
it was fast becoming a noble, vigorous and flourishing State. The productions 
consisted mostly of indigo, rice, corn, peas and lumber, and its actual State 


boundaries, established by a treaty with the Cherokee and Creek Indians, at 
Augusta, January ist, 1773, included in general terms the land east of the 
Ogeechee and Oconee rivers. 

In closing this bird's-eye view of the early colonial history of Georgia, with 
which it was thought advisable to preface a history of our denomination, that 
the reader might have a clearer idea of the times during which Baptist princi- 
ples gained a foothold in our State, it is deemed proper to insert the following 
from Stevens' History, in reference to the last royal Governor of the province : 
" Each of the other Colonies had a charter upon which to base some right or 
claim to redress ; but Georgia had none. When the Trustees' patent expired, in 
1752, all its chartered privileges became extinct, and on its erection into a 
royal province, the commission of the Governor was its only constitution — living 
upon the will of the monarch, the mere creature of royal volition. At the head 
of the government was Sir James Wright, Bart., who during fourteen years had 
presided over it with ability and acceptance. When he arrived, in 1760, the 
colony was languishing under the accumulated mismanagement of the former 
Trustees, and the more recent Governors ; but his zeal and efforts soon changed 
its aspect to health and vigor. He guided it into the avenues of wealth, sought 
out the means for its advancement ; prudently secured the amity of the Indians, 
and, by his negotiations, added millions of acres to its territory. Diligent in his 
official duties, firm in his resolves, loyal in his opinions, courteous in his manners, 
and possessed of a vigorous and well-balanced mind, he was respected and loved 
by his people, and though he differed from the majority of them as to the cause 
of their distresses and the means of their removal, he never allowed himself to be 
betrayed into one act of violence, or into any course of outrage and revenge. 
The few years of his administration were the only happy ones Georgia had en- 
joyed, and to his energy and devotedness may be attributed its civil and com- 
mercial prosperity," 

In a letter to the Earl of Hillsborough, in 1766, when Revolutionary troubles 
first began to brew, Governor Wright calls Georgia the " most flourishing colony 
on the continent ;" yet at that time it had no manufactures, a trifling quantity 
only of coarse homespun cloth, of wool and cotton mixed, was made, besides a 
few cotton and yarn socks, negro shoes and some articles by blacksmiths. Its 
productions were rice, indigo, corn, peas, and a small quantity of wheat and rye. 
Industrial enterprise was engaged in making tar, pitch, turpentine, shingles, 
staves, and sawing lumber, while attention was devoted te the raising of cattle, 
mules, horses and hogs. Most of the inhabitants were hardy farmers, possessed 
generally of negro slaves, and living in the eastern portion of the State. Manu- 
factures were prohibited and commerce limited. Beginning with objections to 
the Stamp Act, which called into existence the " Liberty Boys," the province 
became more and more agitated from 1766 until the storm of revolution burst 
forth in 1775. Even then there were many respectable citizens in Georgia who 
inclined to royalty; but the majority sided with the State and aided in achieving 

It is not necessary, perhaps, to follow further the current of Georgia's political 
history. Our object has been simply to give a clear view of the condition of the 
State during the decade between the year 1760 and 1770, when Baptist principles 
were first gaining a firm foothold in Georgia. It has already been asserted that 
there are Baptists living in Georgia to-day whose ancestors came over from 
England in the same vessel with Oglethorpe, in 1732, and very shortly after. 
Among the former are the Baptist families of Campbell and Dunham, and among 
the latter that of Polhill. 







In this short chapter we shall discover the existence of Baptists in Georgia, 
on the seaboard, about the middle of last century. These soon became dispersed 
without forming a church ; though, in the lower parishes of the State, Baptist 
families resided, scattered here and there through the country. 

We shall next learn that it was about forty miles above Savannah that regular 
Gospel ministration first gathered Baptists in sufficient numbers to form a 
church ; but, being without a regular ordained minister, they were simply con- 
stituted as a branch of the Euhaw Baptist church across the border, in South 
'Carolina, and, as such, remained for several years. We shall then ascertain 
that the main influx of Baptists into our State, at first, was through Augusta as 
a door, and that they settled mostly in the counties west and north-west of that 
city. For a time the only ordained Baptist minister in the State resided twenty 
miles northwest of Augusta, where he was instrumental in constituting the 
first Baptist church formed in the State. In that section of the State our denom- 
ination first became numerous and strong, and has so continued there, to the 
present day. 

In 1740, Mr. Whitefield began to build his orphan house, " Bethesda," nine 
miles below Savannah, in doing which he simply carried out a design proposed 
by John Wesley and General Oglethorpe. This enterprise was deemed neces- 
sary, as an effort of humanity. It was supposed that many poor emigrants 
would die in the new settlement, and leave children unprotected and penniless, 
for whom provision should thus be made. In 1741 the children, who had been 
boarded out at different places in the city, were admitted into the buildings, 
although they were not completed. 

Ten years later, in 1751, Mr. Nicholas Bedgewood was Whitefield's agent at 
the Orphan House. He was an Englishman, twenty-one years of age, a classical 
scholar and an accomplished speaker. He embraced Baptist sentiments, and, 
in 1757, went to Charleston, South Carolina, where he united with the Charles- 
ton Baptist church, being baptized by Rev. Oliver Hart, the pastor. 

Mr. Bedgewood manifested zeal -and talents for usefulness, and was soon 
licensed to preach by the Charleston church. In 1759, -WO years after his 
baptism, he was ordained to the gospel ministry, and, as such, seems to have 
labored with success, for, in 1763, he baptized a number of the officers and 
inmates of the institution over which he presided. Among these were Benja- 


min Stirk and his wife, Thomas Dixon, a man named Dupree, and others. These 
appear to have united with some among the early settlers who were Baptists, 
and formed an arm of the Charleston 'Baptist church at the Orphan House. For 
we learn that Mr. Bedgewood administered the Lord's supper to the Baptists 
at the Orphan House. The following persons among the early settlers in Georgia, 
were Baptists : Wm. Calvert, Wm. Slack, Thomas Walker, and Nathaniel Polhill, 
all of whom were from England excepting Wm. Slack, who was from Ireland. 
In addition to these there were John Dunham and Sarah Clancy, husband and 
wife, who came over with Oglethorpe. A daughter of theirs was the mother 
of Rev. J. H. Campbell, still living, in Columbus, Georgia, an eminent Baptist 

Besides these there was William Dunham, whose grandson, Jacob H. Dunham, 
was a truly pious and evangelical Baptist minister in Liberty county, m the 
beginning of the present century. He and his wife were the first white persons 
ever baptized in Liberty county. Wm. Dunham settled on Newport river, 
where he died in 1756, leaving several daughters and three sons— James, Charles 
and John. 

From Mr. Polhill are descended some of the most worthy Baptists of Georgia, 
among others, Rev. Thomas Polhill, the author of a book on baptism ; Rev. 
Joseph Polhill, his son, a distinguished minister, of Burke county, who died in 
1858 ; and Rev. John G. Polhill, now living, a minister of the fourth generation. 
Thomas Dixon returned to England ; Dupree died ; Benjamin Stirk moved, 
in 1767, to Newington, eighteen miles above Savannah, after marrying Mr. 
Polhill's widow. And thus it happened that the Baptists at the Orphan House 
dispersed. The house itself was burned down, and ceased to exist as an insti- 
tution. Indeed, its establishment in the place where it was built was a great 

Mr. Bedgewood, himself, moved to South Carolina, where he married and 
became pastor of the Welch Neck church, on the Pedee river. Benedict, in his 
history, says : " Some of his posterity I have seen." 

A number of Baptists have, however, always existed in the neighborhood of 
Savannah from its earliest settlement. In 1740, just seven years after the settle- 
ment of the colony, Rev. Mr. Lewis, of Margate, England, alleged, by way of 
reproach, that " there were descendants of the Moravian Anabaptists in the new 
plantation of Georgia." In 1772, several years prior to the war of independence, 
there were, in the lower parishes of Georgia, not less than forty Baptist families, 
among whom were fifty baptized church members, who had emigrated from 
England or removed to Georgia from more northern colonies. . 

Mention has been made of Benjamin Stirk, who was among the number of 
those who were baptized at the Orphan House, and who moved to Newington, 
eighteen miles north of Savannah, in 1767, after losing his first wife. A man of 
learning and natural ability, he developed into a Christian of great piety and 
zeal. He soon began to preach, and establish places of public worship not only 
in his own house and neighborhood, but at a settlement called Tuckaseeking, 
twenty miles north of Newington, where he discovered a few Baptists. As 
there was no Baptist church in Georgia, at that time, he connected himself with 
the Euhaw Baptist church, in South Carolina, of which church the brethren at 
Tuckaseeking were constituted into an arm, perhaps through Mr. Stirk's instru- 
mentality. To them Rev. Mr. Stirk preached until 1770, when he finished his 
earthly course, thus ending the useful labor of a few years. The following year, 
1 77 1, the little band of Baptists at Tuckaseeking, hearing that Mr. Edmund 
Botsford, a licentiate of the Charleston Baptist church, was at Euhaw, South 
Carolina, sent him an invitation to come and preach to them. Accompanied by 
Rev. Francis Pelot, pastor of the Euhaw church, Mr. Botsford visited the Tuck- 
aseeking Brethren, and preached his first sermon to them on the 27th of June, 

Born in England, in 1745, Mr. Botsford was early left an orphan. He sailed 
for the New World, and arrived at Charleston, January 28th 1766. Converted 
under the ministry of Rev. Oliver Hart, he united with the Charleston Baptist 
church, and was baptized on the 13th of March, 1767. After a course of pre- 


paratory study, under the instruction of Mr. Hart, he was licensed to preach in 
February, 1771. In June he set out on a missionary tour, with horse and saddle- 
bags, and travelled as far as Euhaw, where he remained preaching for Mr. Pelot 
until invited into Georgia. His services were highly acceptable to the Tucka- 
seeking brethren and, at their solicitation, he consented to remain and preach 
for them a year. But he did not confine his labors to Tuckaseeking, where he 
soon became very popular. He preached throughout all the surrounding regions, 
in both Georgia and South Carolina. There were a few Baptists at Ebenezer, 
a large settlement of Germaij Lutherans, twenty-five miles above Savannah, 
and Botsford, visiting them, was invited to preach, providing permission to use ^ 
a German meeting-house could be obtained from Mr. Robinson, the pastor. 
Mr. Robinson made no objection and referred the applicant to the deacon. The 
deacon replied, when permission was requested : 

" No, no ! Tese Baptists are a very pad people. Dey begin slow vurst : py 
and py all men follow dem. No ! no ! go to the minister ! If he says breach, 
den I giff you de keys." 

" The minister says he has no objection, and leaves it wiih you," was the 
answer of Mr. Botsford. 

" Den take de keys ! I will come and hear myself." 

It was October ist, 1771 ; and Mr. Botsford preached from Matt, ix: 13— "I 
will have mercy and not sacrifice ; for I am not come to call the righteous, but 
sinners, to repentance." Afterwards the old deacon said : " Dat peen pad poy, 
put he breach Jesus Christ. He come again and welcome ! " 

" Py and py all men follow dem," was the honest German's prediction. Let 
us see how events warrant it. When uttered, not a Baptist church existed in 
Georgia ; nor was there more than one ordained Baptist minister in the province. 
Scattered here and there might have been one or two hundred Baptists. Now, 
(i88i> there are 1,630 ordained ministers, 2,755 churches, and 235,381 communi- 
cants. At that time there were probably 1 50 Baptist churches in all the original 
colonies. There are now (1881), in the United States, 16,600 ministers, 26,000 
churches, and 2,200,000 church members. Verily, a little one has become a 
thousand ! 

We will now glance at the introduction of Baptist principles into Georgia, in 
the section of country a little northwest of Augusta, by Rev. Daniel Marshall. 
On the ist of January, in the same year that Edmund Botsford visited Tucka- 
seeking, 1 77 1, Daniel Marshall, an ordained Baptist minister, sixty-five years of 
age, moved from Horse Creek, South Carolina, fifteen miles north of Augusta, 
and settled with his whole family, on Kiokee Creek, about twenty miles north- 
west of Augusta. He had been residing for some time in South Carolina, where 
he had built up two churches, and, while dwelling at Horse Creek, had made 
frequent evangelistic tours into Georgia, preaching with remarkable zeal and 
fervor in houses and groves. 

We will gaze upon him as he conducts religious service. The scene is in a 
sylvan grove, and Daniel Marshall is on his knees making the opening prayer. 
While he beseeches the Throne of Grace, a hand is laid on his shoulder, and he 
hears a voice say : 

" You are my prisoner ! " 

Rising, the sedate, earnest-minded man of God, whose sober mien and silvery 
locks indicate the sixty-five years which have passed since his birth, finds him- 
self confronted by an officer of the law. He is astonished at being arrested, under 
such circumstances, " for preaching in the Parish of St. Paul ! " for, in so doing, 
he has violated the legislative enactment of 1758, which established religious 
worship in the colony "according to the rites and ceremonies of the Church of 
England." Rev. Abraham Marshall, in his sketch of his father; published in 
\ht Analytical Repositoi-y, 1802, says that the arrested preacher was made to 
give security for his appearance in Augusta on the following Monday, to an- 
swer for this violation of the law, adding: "Accordingly, he stood a trial, and 
after his meekness and patience were sufficiently exercised, he was ordered to 
come, as a preacher, no more into Georgia." The reply of Daniel Marshall 
was similar to that of the Apostles under similar circumstances, " Whether it be 


right to obey God or man, judge ye;" and, "consistently with this just and 
spirited replication, he pursued his luminous course." 

We have Dr. J. H. Campbell's authority for it, that after Constable Cartledge, 
satisfied with the security given, has released his prisoner temporarily, to the sur- 
prise of all present, the indignation which swells the bosom of Mr. Marshall, 
finds vent though the lips of his wife. Mrs. Martha Marshall, who is sitting near, 
and has witnessed the whole scene. With the solemnity of the prophets of old, 
she denounces such proceedings and such a law, and, to sustain her position, 
quotes many passages from the Holy Scriptures with a force and pertinency 
^'hich carry conviction to the hearts of many. The very constable himself, Mr. 
Samuel Cartledge, was so deeply convinced by the inspired words of exhorta- 
tion which then fell from her lips, that his conversion was the result; and, in 
1777, he was baptized by the very man whom he then held under arrest, and 
whom he led to trial on the following Monday. A North Carolinian by birth, 
he was at that time just twenty-one years of age! Converted and baptized in 
1777, he was for some years a useful deacon of ^Ir. Marshall's church, at Iviokee. 
and assisted in the constitution of Fishing Creek church, in 1783, and of the 
Georgia Association in 1784.* 

After the interruption caused by his arrest, Mr. Marshall proceeded with the 
exercises, and, we may well suppose, preached with more than usual boldness 
and faithfulness. Such a course was characteristic of the man. After his ser- 
mon, he baptized in the neighboring creek two individuals, relatives of the very 
gentleman who stood security for his appearance at court. 

It is interesting to note that this magistrate, Colonel Barnard, was also after- 
wards converted, and he became a zealous Christian. Although (in deference 
to the wishes of his wife) he was never immersed, and lived and died in connec- 
tion with the Church of England, yet he was strongly tinctured with Baptist 
sentiments, and would exhort sinners to flee from the wrath to come. He- be- 
came a decided friend of Mr. Marshall and of the Baptists, and spoke of them 
very favorably to Sir James Wright, the Governor. Though somewhat eccen- 
tric in' character, yet he was a good man, and died in a most triumphant manner. 

Daniel Marshall, one of the founders of the Baptist denomination in Georgia, 
was born at Windsor, Connecticut, in 1706, of Presbyterian parents. He was 
a man of great natural ardor .and holy zeal. Becoming convinced that it was 
his duty to assist in converting the heathen, he went, with his wife and three 
children, and preached for three years to the Mohawk Indians, near the head 
waters of the Susquehannah river, at a town called Onnaquaggy. War among 
the savage tribes compelled his removal, first to Connogogig in Pennsylvania, 
and then to Winchester, Virginia, where he became a convert to Baptist views, 
and was immersed at the age of forty-eight. His wife also submitted to the 
ordinance at the same time. He was soon licensed by the church with which 
he united, and, having removed to North Carolina, he built up a flourishing 
church, of which he was ordained pastor by his two brothers-in-law. Rev. Henry 
Ledbetter and Rev. Shubael Stearns. From North Carolina he removed to 
South Carolina, and from South Carolina to Georgia, in each State constituting 
new and flourishing churches. On the ist of January, 1771, he settled in what is 
now Columbia county, Georgia, on Kiokee Creek. He was a man of pure life, 
unbounded faith, fervent spirit, holy zeal, indefatigable in religious labors, and 
possessed of the highest moral courage. Neither profoundly learned nor very 
eloquent, he possessed that fervency, earnestness and flaming ardor of zeal, uni- 
ted with a remarkable native strength of mind and knowledge of the Scriptures 
which fitted him for a pioneer preacher. From his headquarters in Kiokee he 
went forth in all directions, preaching the gospel with great power, and leading 
many to" Jesus. By uniting those whom he had baptized in the neighborhood, 
and other Baptists who lived on both sides of the Savannah river, he formed and 

*He commenced preaching- in tySg, was ordained by Abraham Marshall and Sanders Walker, and for 
more than half a century was a zealous preacher of the faith he once persecuted. As late as 1843, ^t 
the age of 93, he travelled from his home in South Carolina on a visit to Georgia, and after preaching 
with his usual earnestness, in the very neighborhood where he had arrested Daniel Marshall, seventy- 
two years before, he was thrown from his horse as he was setting out for home, and so much injured 
that his death was the result. 


organized the Kiokee church, in the spring of 1772 ; and this was the first Bap- 
tist church ever constituted within the bounds of Georgia. 

The following is the act incorporating Kiokee church, and is extracted from 
"Watkins' Digest,'' page 409; also from the Digest of " Marbury and Craw- 
ford," page 143. Certain purely formal expressions are omitted: 
" An Act for incorporating the Anabaptist church on the Kioka, in the 

county of Richmo7td. 

"Whereas, a religious society has, for many years past, been established on 
the Kioka, in the county of Richmond, called and known by the name of ' The 
Anabaptist church on Kioka': 

" Be it enacted, That Abraham Marshall, William Willingham, Edmund Cart- 
ledge, John Landers, James Simms, Joseph Ray and Lewis Gardener be, and 
they are hereby, declared to be a body corporate, by the name and style of ' The 
Trustees of the Anabaptist church on Kioka.' 

" And be it fiirther enacted, That the Trustees, (the same names are here 
given) of the said Anabaptist church, shall hold their office for the term of three 
years ; and, on the third Saturday of November, in every third year, after the 
passing of this Act, the supporters of the Gospel in said church shall convene at 
the meeting-house of said church, and there, between the hours of ten and four, 
elect from among the supporters of the Gospel in said church seven discreet 
persons as Trustees," etc. 

" Seaborn Jones, Speaker. 

" Nathan Brownson, President Senate. 

" Edward Telfair, Governor. 

"December 2jd, lySg." 

Its meeting-house was built where now stands the town of Appling, the county- 
site of Columbia county. Of this church Marshall became the pastor, and so con- 
tinued until November 2d, 1784, when he expired, in the seventy-eighth year of 
his age. The following, first published in the Analytical Repository, and taken 
down by his son. Rev. Abraham Marshall, in the presence of a few deeply 
afflicted friends and relations, were his last words : " Dear brethren and sisters, 
I am just gone. This night I shall probably expire ; but I have nothing to fear. 
I have fought the good fight ; I have finished my course ; I have kept the faith, 
and henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness. God has shown 
me that he is my God, and that I am His son, and that an eternal weight of 
glory is mine." To the venerable partner, in all his cares, and faithful assistant 
in all his labors, who was sitting by his side bedewed with tears, he said, " Go 
on, my dear wife, to serve the Lord. Hold out to the end. Eternal glory is 
before us." 

After a silence of some minutes, he called his son, Abraham, and said, " My 
breath is almost gone. I have been praying that I may go home to-night. I 
had great happiness in our worship this morning, particularly in singing, which 
will make a part of my exercise in a blessed eternity !" and, gently closing his 
eyes, he cheerfully gave up his soul to God. He attended public worship regu- 
larly, even through his lingering illness, until the last Sabbath but one before his 
dissolution, and even until the very morning preceding his happy change, he in- 
variably performed his usual round of holy duties. 

When he moved into the State, he was the only ordained Baptist minister 
within its bounds. There were very few Baptists in the State, and no organized 
church. He lived to preside at the organization of the Georgia Association, in 
October, 1784, when there were half a dozen churches in the State, many Bap- 
tists, and a good many Baptist preachers. His grave lies a few rods south of the 
Appling Court-house, on the side of the road to Augusta. " Memory watches 
the spot, but no ' false marble ' utters untruths concerning this distinguished 
herald of salvation. He sleeps neither 'forgotten' nor 'unsung;' for every 
child in the neighborhood can lead you to Daniel Marshall's grave." — Sherwood s 
Gazeteer of Georgia, sSjy. 

After Mr. Marshall's death, Kiokee church, which he founded in 1772, was re- 
moved from Applington, the county site, four miles north, and a new brick house 
of worship was erected. 






FORD'S church constituted in 1773 — HIS FLIGHT IN I779 — CAUSES OF 

We will now return to the history of Edmund Botsford. He has been labor- 
ing faithfully at-Tuckaseeking, but has by no means confined his labors to that 
locality. In 1772 he enlarged the sphere of his labors, travelling up and down 
the Savannah river, and preaching incessantly in both South Carolina and Geor- 
gia. Through the blessing of the Spirit he made many converts, who were bap- 
tized either by Mr. Pelot or Mr. Marshall, for as yet Edmund Botsford was but 
a licentiate. In one of his preaching excursions he visited Augusta, and became 
the guest of Colonel Barnard, the justice before whom Daniel Marshall had been 
tried for preaching in the Parish of St. Paul. Colonel Barnard prevailed upon 
him to go and preach at Kiokee, promising to accompany him and introduce 
him to Daniel Marshall. Together they went to Kiokee meeting-house, and 
when they met Col. Barnard said : 

" Mr. Marshall, I wish to introduce to you the Rev. Mr. Botsford, of your faith, 
a gentleman originally from England, but last from Charleston." 

After the usual greetings, the following conversation, extracted from C. D. 
Mallary's Memoir of Botsford, ensued : 

" Well, sir, are you to preach for us ?" said Marshall. 

" Yes, sir, by your leave ; but I confess I am at a loss for a text," was Bots- 
ford's reply. 

" Well, well ! Look to the Lord for one." 

The text that suggested itself to Mr. Botsford's mind was the following from 
Psalms 66:16: " Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he 
hath done for my soul." After service, Mr. Marshall said, " I can take thee by 
the hand and call thee brother, for somehow I never heard convarsioii better 
explained in my life ; but I would not have thee think thou preachest as well as 
Joe Reese and Philip Mulkey ; however, I hope you will go home with me." 

Mr. Botsford did so, and from that time a friendship, which was never dis- 
solved, existed between the two. 

That he might be more at liberty to engage in the evangelistic labors so dear 
to his soul, and so useful and needed at that time, Mr. Botsford terminated his 
engagement with the Tuckaseeking brethren near the close of 1772, and engaged 
exclusively in missionary work, travelling on horseback as far south as Ebenezer 
and as far north as Kiokee. His labors were blessed to the conversion of many, 
during the year 1772. It was during this year that Mr. Botsford, on his way to 
Kiokee church, where he had an appointment to preach, rode up to the house of 
a Mr. Loveless Savidge, ten miles northwest of Augusta, to make inquiries con- 
cerning the road. Mr. Savidge was a member of the Church of England, and, 
though a pious man, was tinctured with bigotry. To the faith and forms of the 


English Establishment he was strongly attached. Having given the necessary 
directions respecting the road, Mr. Savidge said : 

" I suppose you are the Baptist minister who is to preach to-day at Kioliee." 

" Yes, sir. Will you go ?" responded Mr. Botsford. 

" No; I am not fond of the Baptists. They think nobody baptized but them- 

" Have you been baptized ?" asked the visitor. 

" To be sure I have — according to the rubric." 

" How do you know?" Mr. Botsford inquired. 

"How do I know ! Why, my parents told me I was. That is the way I 
know," answered Mr. Savidge. 

"Then you do not know, only by the information of others T and mounting 
his horse, Mr. Botsford rode on to Kiokee meeting-house, leaving Mr. Savidge 
to meditate on the words. How do yon know ? His mind constantly reverted to 
them, and they harassed him continually until, after an investigation of the 
subject, he became convinced that it vi^as his duty to be immersed. Nor was it 
long before he was baptized by Mr. Marshall. He used to say, " Botsford's 
'how do you know?' first set me to thinking about baptism, and resulted in my 
conversion to the Baptist faith." He began to preach the very day he was bap- 
tized, became one of the many useful licentiates of the Kiokee church, was the 
first pastor of Abilene (then Red Creek) church, which he was probably instru- 
mental in founding, in 1774, and of which he was pastor as late as 1790. He 
became a distinguished and useful minister, intunately connected with early 
Baptist history in the State, and died about 181 5, when nearly ninety years of age. 

To present some idea of Mr. Botsford's labors and the difficulties against 
which he had to contend, and to show the rude and uncultivated state of society 
at that time, we will give another incident which occurred in the same year he 
met Mr. Savidge and set him to thinking, 1772. 

He was preaching at the court-house in Burke county. The congregation 
paid very decent attention at first ; but, towards the close of his sermon, some 
one bawled out, " The rum is come ! " and rushed out. Others followed, and the 
sermon was finished to a very small assembly. When Mr. Botsford went to 
mount his horse, he found many of those who had been his hearers intoxicated 
and fighting. One old gentleman, considerably the worse for liquor, came up, and 
taking hold of Mr. Botsford's bridle rein, extolled his sermon m profane dialect, 
swore that he should come and preach in his neighborhood, and invited . 
him to drink. Declining the invitation to drink, Mr. Botsford accepted the ap- 
pointment to preach, and rode away. His first sermon was blessed to the 
awakening of the old man's wife to an interest in her soul's welfare. One of his 
sons also became rehgious ; others, to the number of fifteen, in the settlement, 
were hopefully converted ; and the old man himself became sober and attentive 
to religion, though he never made a public profession. 

The Baptist church in Charleston, hearing of the success that attended the 
ministry of Mr. Botsford, concluded to call him to ordination. Acccordingly he 
was ordained March 14th, 1773, Rev. Oliver Hart, of Charleston, and Rev. 
Francis Pelot, of Euhaw, assisting on the occasion. 

During 1773 and 1774 Mr. Botsford's labors were abundant and successful, a 
large number being baptized by him. Says he, himself: 

" In the month of August, 1773, 1 rode 650 miles, preached forty-two sermons, 
baptized twenty-one persons, and administered the Lord's supper twice. Indeed, 
I travelled so .much this year that some used to call me the flying preacher." 

The following incident occurred on the i6th of July, in that year, at Stephen's 
Creek, South Carolina. Several candidates came forward for baptism ; but one, 
a Mrs. Clecker, "did not know thather husband would permit her to be baptized." 

" Is he present in the congregation } " asked Mr. Botsford. 

" Yes, sir." >, 

" Mr. Clecker, please come to the table ! " exclaimed the preacher. Mr. 
Clecker came forward, and proved to be a little German. " I have reason to 
hope, Mr. Clecker," said Mr. Botsford," that your wife is a believer in Christ, 
and she desires to be baptized by immersion, but not without your consent. 
Have you any objection to make, sir ? " 


" No, no I Got forpit I should hinter my vife ! She vas one goot vife." 
• Nevertheless, the little man was enraged at being thus summoned and pub- 
licly interrogated ; and while the preparations were going on, he vented his 
wrath privately in swearing and abusing Mr. Botsford. 

" Vat ! ax me pefore all de peeble if he' might tip my vife ! " Of this, how- 
ever, Mr. Botsford was ignorant. Coming up from the water, after the admin- 
istration of baptism was all over, and passing through an orchard, he saw the 
little German, by himself, and leaning against a tree, apparently in trouble. 

"Mr. Clecker, what is the matter.?" asked Mr. Botsford. " O, sir, I shall go 
to de tivel, and my vife to hevin. I am a boor lost sinner. I can't be forgifen. 
I fear de ground will open and let me down to de hell, for I cursed and swore you 
vas good for notting. Lord, have mercy on me ! " Afterwards he found peace 
in believing, and Mr. Botsford had the satisfaction of baptizing him in September, 
1773. In November of that year, Mr. Botsford, assisted by Oliver Hart, of 
Charleston, and Francis Pelot, of Euhaw, South Carolina, constituted those who 
had received baptism into a church, about twenty-five miles below Augusta. 
Then styled the New Savannah church, it afterwards assumed the name of 
Botsford meeting house, but, after the Revolutionary war, the building was 
moved eight or ten miles to the place now known as Botsford's church, of the 
Hephzibah Association. It was the second Baptist church constituted in the 
State of Georgia. In the same year Mr. Botsford married Miss Susanna Nun, of 
Augusta, a native of Cork, Ireland, who had been baptized by Daniel Marshall, 
and, in May, 1774, the newly married couple settled on some land, purchased by 
Mr. Botsford, in Burke county ; but, without allowing the charms or cares of do- 
mestic life to diminish his activity in his Master's cause. Mr. Botsford, from 
the tabernacle he had pitched on Brier Creek, started out into the surrounding- 
regions, and preached the gospel with fervor and success. This continued 
until the spring of 1779, when, after baptizing 148 persons, rearing up one 
flourishing church, founding two others, and preparing the materials for others, 
Mr. Botsford hurried from the province, a fugitive, to escape the British and 
Tories ; for Georgia had just been subjugated and the horrors of the Revolu- 
tionary war began to be seriously experienced by the settlers. 

A glance at the political situation will now give the reader a clearer insight 
into the general condition of affairs. It is 1774. For many years England has 
been waging war with the French and Indians. Peace was concluded in 1763; 
but these wars, undertaken at the request and for the defence of the colonies, 
had cost the mother country $300,000,000, and on the loth of March, 1764, the 
House of Commons declared it right and proper to tax America, as a reUef in 
the endurance of this burden, added to the already large national debt. Soon 
after, the House of Commons voted that it was expedient to tax America, and 
enacted the celebrated "Stamp Act," on the 2d of March, 1765. This was re- 
sented strongly by the Americans, who not only refused to use the stamped 
paper, but destroyed it, and threatened the stamp officers with death. It was at 
this juncture, after November, 1765, whem the Stamp Act went into operation, 
that the patriotic society known as " Liberty Boys " was organized. 

On he 1 8th of March, 1766, the Stamp Act was repealed, but on the 29th of 
June, 1767, an act was passed by Parliament imposing a duty on tea, glass, pa- 
pers and painters' colors, which should be imported into the colonies. This was 
the culmination of disputes on the subject of taxation without representation, 
which had been raging between the colonies and Parliament for more than a 
quarter of a century. England contended for her right to raise a revenue. 
America contended that taxation without representation was unjust, and refused 
to submit to it. James Habersham, President of the Council, in Savannah, a 
loyalist, but a true patriot, declared that the money proposed to be raised by the 
Stamp Act was more than Georgians could bear, and would inevitably ruin 
them. Various causes of exasperation followed in quick succession — among other 
grievances, no petitionary appeals to Parliament being heeded. In the meantime 
immigrants are flocking into the country. Four additional parishes are laid off 
in 1765 between the Altamaha and St. Mary's rivers. In 1766 one hundred and 
seventy-one vessels were entered at the custom-house. Between the years 
1763 and 1773, the exports of the province increased from thirty-five thousand 


to six hundred and eight thousand dollars, and the number of negroes in 1773 
was 14,000. 

The people now determined to speak out for themselves, and in February, 
1770, the Georgia Legislature took into consideration the authority to impose 
taxes and collect duties for the purpose of raising a revenue, and to keep a stand- 
ing army in time of peace, and to transport persons accused of treason to Eng- 
land for trial. The House of Assembly, after defining their rights, resolved 
" that the exercise of legislative power, in any colony by a council appointed 
during pleasure by the Crown, may prove dangerous and destructive to the free- 
dom of American legislation — all and each of which the Commons of Georgia, 
in General Assembly met, do claim, demand and insist on, as their indubitable 
rights and liberties, which cannot legally be taken from them, altered or abridged 
by any power whatever, without their consent." 

In 1772 the crisis approached. Committees were appointed in all the colonies 
to decide whether to submit to taxation by the British Parliament, or to make 
a firm stand in opposition. This is the time when Daniel Marshall and Edmund 
Botsford are making converts and establishing churches above and below 
Augusta. At that time so much of the territory of Georgia as was settled by 
white citizens was about one hundred and fifty miles from north to south, and 
about thirty miles from east to west, and but thinly populated. It presented a 
western frontier of two hundred and fifty miles, and had on the northwest the 
Cherokees, on the west the Creeks, on the South a refugee banditti in Florida, 
while Governor Wright controlled the King's ships on the coast. The popula- 
tion of the eastern district of the province was composed of whites and negro 
slaves — the latter most numerous, the former few in number. While a great 
majority of the inhabitants favored the cause of the colonists, yet, owing to 
the surrounding dangers, measures were adopted with cautious circumspec- 
tion. The year 1774 passed without any decisive demonstrations, although the 
committees of safety were active and efificient. On the i8th of January a Pro- 
vincial Congress met in Savannah and elected three delegates to the Continental 
Congress in Philadelphia, but they did not attend. The Provincial Congress 
met again July 4th, 1775, and elected five delegates to the Continental Congress. 
During its session a British schooner arrived at Tybee with 13,000 pounds of 
powder on board. This was captured b}'' a vessel commissioned by the Pro- 
vincial Congress of Georgia, and 5,000 pounds of the powder were sent to Wash- 
ington, and enabled him to drive the British out of Boston. At the meeting of 
the Provincial Assembly, in January, 1776, the House resolved to embark in the 
cause of freedom — to resist and be free , and orders were given to arrest Gov- 
ernor Wright and his Council. This was done by Joseph Habersham alone, on 
the 28th of January, in the Governor's own house, where he was left a prisoner 
on parole; but he effected his escape on the night of February nth. Georgia, 
in active rebellion, was now in the hands of the Provincial Congress, and re- 
mained so for three years. On the 29th of December, 1778, Savannah was cap- 
tured by the British. Sunbury was captured on the 6th of January. The British 
hastened, conquering as they went, and, about the last of January, 1779, Augusta 
fell into their possession, and military posts were soon established l3y them over 
the most populous parts of Georgia. 

On the 3d of March, General John Ash, with 1,700 men, was routed at Brier 
Creek, in Burke county, by Lieutenant Colonel Campbell, of the British army. 
On the 4th of March, 1779, the State being mostly reduced by the troops, the 
royal government was re-established in Savannah, and on the 1 3th of July, Gov- 
ernor Wright returned and etitered again upon his gubernatorial duties. The 
province, almost defenceless, lay struggling ineffectually in the grasp of her 
conquerors. Dark days for religion followed. Marauding parties traversed the 
country ravaging, murdering and bearing off victims to the horrible prison ships 
at Savannah. Imprisonment, exile, confiscation, death and other dreadful calam- 
ities filled the land with mourning and suffering. 

And how fares it with our Baptist brethren ? In the spring of 1779, Edmund 
Botsford precipitately flies into South Carolina and thence into Virginia. Geor- 
gia is never again his home. Silas Mercer, father of Jesse Mercer, who had 
settled in Wilkes county in 1775, at the age of 30, and united with the church 


at Kiokee, fled to North Carolina. In 1777 Abraham Marshall also sought safety 
in flight, in company with Silas Mercer. But Daniel Marshall stood his ground 
and never deserted his post. Though rapine, violence and bloodshed filled the 
land with consternation, the perseverance and zeal of this brave _ soldier of the 
cross were not in the slightest degree abated. Assisted by a few licentiates who 
remained faithfully with him, he continued his Christian labors, and, even in 
those times which tried men's souls, the spirit of pure religion was progressive, 
and very many were converted to God. Still, but three churches were consti- 
tuted anterior to the war, and but two that are known, during its progress. The 
former were, Kiokee, 1772; Botsford's, 1773; Red's Creek, 1774. The latter 
were Little Brier Creek, 1777 ; and Fishing Creek, 1782, according to Asplund's 
Register. There was another Baptist church the name of which is now un- 
known, situated on Buckhead Creek, in Burke county, of which Rev. Matthew 
Moore was pastor. During the war its members were scattered, and the 
church became virtually extinct. After the war Matthew Moore, who was a 
Loyalist, left the country. About 1787 the fragments of this unknown church 
were collected together, and by Rev. James Matthews and Rev. Benjamin Davis 
organized into Buckhead church. The baptizing place of Rev. Matthew Moore, 
in Buckhead Creek still goes by the name of " The Dipping Ford." 

It is said that but few Baptists became Tories. Espousing the cause of liberty 
from high and holy motives, they had an eye not only to the temporal interests 
of the land, but to the rights of conscience, the prosperity of their churches and 
the general interests of the Redeemer's Kingdom. It was because they were 
such ardent friends of liberty that Botsford and Silas Mercer fled, through fear 
of the British ; and it was because he was such a, staunch patriot and faithful 
minister that Daniel Marshall clung to his home and to his ministerial _ duties. 
No dangers daunted him ; no threats could intimidate him. Once, during the 
war, when a party of Tories demanded where his horses were concealed, he pre- 
served an obdurate silence, regardless of the threats and impending death, and 
nothing but the disclosure made by his wife, unable longer to enduie the tor- 
turing suspense and anxiety, preserved his life. 

From the sketch of his life, written by his son, Abraham, the following is ex- 
tracted : " No scenes, however, from the commencement to the termination of 
hostilities, were so gloomy and alarming as to deter my estimable father from 
discharging the duties of his station. Neither reproaches nor threatenings could 
excite in him t"He least appearance of timidity, or anything inconsistent with 
Christian and ministerial heroism. As a friend to the American cause, he was 
once made a prisoner and put under a strong guard. But, obtaining leave of 
the officers, he commenced and supported so heavy a charge of exhortation and 
prayer that, like Daniel of old, while his enemies stood amazed and confounded, 
he was safely and honorably delivered from this den of lions." From these inci- 
dents we not only learn the character of Mr. Marshall, but we discover also the 
trials and dangers amid which he and others of similar disposition maintained 
the Baptist cause in the early history of Georgia. 

Mr. Daniel Marshall was twice married — the second time to Miss Martha 
Stearns, of Virginia, to whose unwearied and zealous co-operation the extraor- 
dinary success of his ministry is, in no small degree ascribable. A lady of good 
sense, singular piety and surprising elocution, she, in countless instances, melted 
a whole concourse into tears by her prayers and exhortations. 

Bold and independent in his methods, superior to local attachments and un- 
dismayed by danger, Mr. Marshall was capable of the most difficult and arduous 
enterprises. He went from place to place, instructing, exhorting and praying for 
individuals, families and congregations, whether at a muster, a race, a public 
market, the open field, an army, or a house of worship — wherever he was able 
to command attention ; and the fruits of his astonishing exertions abundantly 
showed that he was constrained by the love of Christ. 

These statements regarding Mr. and Mrs. Marshall have been abbreviated 
from an editorial by Dr. Henry Holcombe, published in the Analytical Reposi- 
tory, in 1802, Eternity only can reveal the extent to which the Baptist de- 
nomination in Georgia is indebted to Daniel Marshall. 

He inaugurated a system which largely acccints for the growth of the churches 


and the number of converts in that early day. This was the licensure of pious 
and zealous members by the church, and the active exertions to which they, as 
lieutenants, were incited. Many of these were specially designated " itinerants." 
Most of the best and most useful ordained ministers passed through these stages 
ofpreparation, and when their labors, united with those of regularly ordained 
ministers, made it advisable or necessary to organize a church in any particular lo- 
cality, this was done, and the useful and zealous licentiate was ordained and placed 
in charge of the newly constituted church. This was the course through which 
Alexander Scott, Sanders Walker, Samuel Cartledge, Silas Mercer, Abraham 
Marshall, Loveless Savidge, Samuel Newton, Charles Bussey, James Simms, 
Michael Smalley, John Milner, William Davis, Jeremiah Reeves, Joseph Baker, 
Henry Hand, and many others, passed, all of whom became active, able and 
influential ministers ; and it was thus that converts were made so numerously 
during and immediately succeeding the war, so that the statistical figures actu- 
ally astonish us. By an examination of the records we discover that in 1772 
there was one church ; in 1773, two; in 1774, three; in 1777, four; in 1780, 
seven; in 1782, eight; in 1784, nine; in 1785, eleven; in 1786, fifteen; in 1787, 
twenty; in 1788, thirty- three ; in 1789, thirty-five; in 1790, forty-two ; in 1794, 
fifty-three, with nearly four thousand members. 

The following short table will give a comparative view at three different 
periods : 













3. 211 








The figures in the first line are taken from the printed Minutes of the Georgia 
Association for 1788. Those of the second line are taken from Asplund's Regis- 
ter of 1790. And those of the third line are taken from the printed Minutes of 
the Georgia Association for the year 1794, when it convened at Powelton, 
October 19th, but the table of statistics is incomplete in regard to ministers, both 
ordained and licensed, and the number of these should be increased, for there 
were fifty-one ordained ministers in 1791. We feel very sure that there were 
some Baptist churches in Georgia in 1794 which were not connected with the 
Georgia Association — seven at least — Asplund's Register being our authority ; 
so that it is, perhaps, proper to put the number of churches in the State, in 1794, 
at sixty, and the number of members at 4,500. 

Another view will give a fair idea of the growth of the denomination : in 1772 
there was one church; in 1773, two; in 1774, three; in 1777, four; in 1780, 
seven; in i782,-eight; in 1784, nine; in 1785, eleven; in 1786, fifteen; in 1787, 
twenty; in 1788, thirty-three; in 1790, forty-two; in 1794, sixty, with about 
four thousand five hundred members. 

Our hasty summary of events has given us a few glimyses of civil affairs, 
deemed proper in order that the reader may bear in mind the condition of the 
country when Baptist principles first took root in our State, and the difficulties 
and dangers incurred by our Baptist fathers, in planting and nurturing those 
principles. From a feeble colony the province has passed through the evils of 
misgovernment and the calamities of war, to emerge a free State in the Federal 
Union. We have seen a few scattered Baptists begin to form themselves into 
churches in 1772 and 1773, ^"d gradually mcrease in numbers, until, in 1794, 
the churches number sixty or more, with nearly five thousand church members. 
For ten years the churches have been formed into an Association, which has met 
regularly twice each year, most of the time, and which has consolidated, strength- 
ened and established the denomination, giving staunchness to its formation and 
a correct scriptural character to its doctrines. These churches thus wonderfully 
increased in numbers and strength, by the active and self-sacrificing labors of 
. our fathers, range up and down the Savannah river, in the eastern portion of 
the State, within the counties then known as Chatham, Effingham, Burke, Rich- 
mond, Franklin, Washington and^Wilkes. 




IN MAY, 1799. 

It will be well now to pause and take a cursory view of the general situation 
of affairs, just at tfiat joyful time when the dark clouds of war dispersed and 
the sun of peace rose and bathed the land in its bright and joyous beams. 
The defeat of Burgoyne, at Saratoga, and the capture of Cornwallis, at York- 
town, rendered the war unpopular in England, and it rapidly drew to a close. 

Lord Cornwallis surrendered October 19th, 1781. As early as November 30th, 
1782, provisional articles of peace were agreed upon, by American and British 
commissioners at Paris. A motion to suspend hostilities was made in the 
House of Commons on the 29th of February 1783. A change of ministry and 
policy occurred, and steps toward the establishment of peace succeeded. The 
withdrawal of the British forces from America then followed. On the nth of 
July, 1783, the embarkation of British troops from Savannah began, and, on 
the same day. Colonel James Jackson, at the head of the colonial forces, marched 
in and took possession of the State metropolis, which had been in the hands of 
the enemy for three years, six months and thirteen days. It was not until Sep- 
tember 3d, 1783, however, that definitive treaties between England, France and 
America, were finally ratified. Thus success crowned the American Revo- 
lution, and the glorious but terrible war for independence ended. In the eyes 
of all Europe the different colonies were free and sovereign States. 

But what of Georgia ? The fierce storm passed and left her in a desolated, 
ravaged, almost ruined condition. Negroes had been stolen and carried off, 
five thousand departing with the British troops from Savannah. Houses, planta- 
tions, produce and much other property had been wantonly destroyed by fire. 
Many widows mourned for the heads of as many families. At least one half 
of all the property of the State had been destroyed, and society was completely 
disorganized. Yet recuperation began and progressed, notwithstanding the 
Indian wars that ensued. Refugees began to return, among whom were Silas 
Mercer and Abraham Marshall. The former settled in Wilkes county, in 1783, 
after an absence of six years, spent with Abraham Marshall, mostly in North 
Carolina. The faithful preaching which had been done by Daniel Marshall and 
'his efficient lieutenants, the licentiates of Kiokee church, began to manifest 
itself. The Baptists scattered throughout the country, by affinity gravitating 
towards each other, gradually united, formed churches, and soon began to take 
measures for the formation of an Association. The first preliminary meeting 
occurred at Kiokee church, in October, 1784, and five churches were represented : 
Kiokee, constituted in 1772 ; Abile^ie (then called Red's Creek, or Reed's Creek), 
constituted in 1774; Fishing Creek, constituted in 1782; Greenwood (then 
called Upton's Creek), coristituted in 1784 ; and Botsford (then called Lower or 
Little Brier Creek), constituted in 1773. It is admitted that there is a little 


doubt to be attached to the statement that Botsford was one of the churches 
which united in forming the Georgia Association ; but Dr. Sherwood inclines to 
that opinion very decidedly. 

There were two Brier Creek churches in Burke county, and two in Wilkes 
county. Those in Burke county existed prior to 1 790, and are called by Asplund, 
" Head Brier Creek " and "Lower Brier Creek." This latter was constituted 
in 1773, and is now known as Botsford. Of this James Matthews was pastor 
in 1788. Those in Wilkes county were known as " Upper Brier Creek, or Brier 
Creek Iron Works," and " Head of Brier Creek," constituted in 1787. Of these 
two churches, Wm. Franklin was pastor of the former in 1788 and 1794, and of 
the latter Joseph Busson was pastor in 1790, and Isaac Bussey was pastor in 
1794. The former may have been constituted in 1777, as stated by Mercer, on 
page 18 of his History of the Georgia Association. Head of Brier Creek 
church, of Burke county, is probably now Little Brier Creek, sometimes called 
Franklin's church, and was constituted by Wm. Franklin and Isaac Bussey, 
perhaps in 1777. 

Dr. Adiel Sherwood,' in his manuscript history of Georgia, called by Benedict, 
" Sherwood's Collection of Historical Papers," says : " We begin with the Georgia 
(Association ). This was constituted in May, 1785, at the present location of 
Applington, Columbia county, then the site of the Kiokee church. Four or 
five churches united in the formation, and were, probably, Kiokee, Fishing 
Creek, Red's Creek (now Abilene), and perhaps Greenwood and Botsford. For 
several years there were two annual sessions one in May and one in October." 

John Asplund, in his "Annual Register of the Baptist Denomination," pub- 
lished in July, 1791, says: "Georgia Association, Georgia — This Association 
began 1784, * * * * * They have two meetings yearly — the first on 
Saturday before the third Lord's day in May, and the second, the Saturday 
before the third'Lord's day in October — and hold three days." 

Asplund was in Georgia in 1790, and visited Abraham Marshall, from whom 
he obtained his information. Dr. David Benedict visited Georgia to gather ma- 
terials for his history in 1810. He says, in a note to his " General History of the 
Baptist Denomination," in 1848 : "There is some difference of opinion between 
Mercer and Sherwood as to the date, (meaning 1784, and quoting from Mercers 
History of the Georgia Association), which I find thus given in my old work. 
I do not remember how this and some other facts were ascertained ; but am 
confident that .they were communicated by Mr. Abraham Marshall, as I spent 
some time with him at his own house at Kiokee, in 1810, where his venerable' 
father died. Mr. Asplund visited Mr. Marshall twenty years before, to whom he 
gave the same account as to date of this body, as appears by his Register 
for 1790." 

Now let us see what Dr. Sherwood says, in his original manuscript history, 
which has been kindly placed in our possession by the American Baptist His- 
torical Society, having been deposited with that Society by Dr. Benedict himself.* 

"Rev. Jesse Mercer puts the date in 1784, in his History of the Georgia As- 
sociation, and is guided by Asplund and Benedict. The first visited Abraham 
Marshall, to procure materials for his Register, about 1790 ; the last " [did so to 
gather] "materials tor his History of the Baptists about 181 1." [It was really 
in 1810.] " The reasons to be assigned are conclusive with the author that Mr. 
Marshall must have forgotten the date." [Dr. Sherwood now gives the follow- 
ing three reasons why he thinks the first session of the Georgia Association was 
held in May, 1785:] 

"I. In 1793 Mr. Marshall sends Dr. Rippon, of London, manuscript Minutes 
of the body for 1785-6-7-8 and 9. 

"May 15th and i6th, 1785. This Association met at Kiokee, and consisted 
of only five churches." 

" October 20th, 1787. Sixteen churches met at Greenwood. The increase was 
600. 1,402 in all." . 

*NoTE. — These manuscripts were loaned to J. H. Campbell by Adiel Sherwood, and ha\e been mostly 
preserved verbatim in his " Georgia Baptists," which fact should heighten our opinion of that very 
valuable work. Dr. Sherwood carries the history to 1835 or 1840. 


"October, 1788, at Clark's Station — 2,223 members. — Rippons Regisfei-." 

" It would seem that if there had been a meeting prior to 1785, Mr. Mercer 
would also have given an account of it. 

"2. On the i8th of Jvlay, 1785, Rev. Dr. Furman, then residing at Society 
Hill, South Carolina, writes Mr. Marshall, and this is an extract of his letter : 

" ' But I have not been able to learn whether any plan has been fallen upon, 
among you, for cultivating union and improvement among your churches.' 

" ' It appears to me desirable that all the churches in this State and Georgia 
should be united in Association.' He then invites Mr. Marshall to attend the 
Charleston Association next fall, and gives notice of the time and place of its 

" If the Georgia Association had been formed in 1784, would Dr. Furman, 
who did not reside more than one hundred miles distant from Kiokee be ignorant 
of it up to May ist, 1785 ? 

In -the Charleston Minutes for 1785 is this record : 

" Rev. Silas Mercer and Peter Smith appeared as messengers from the Georgia 
Association, lately formed, and were cordially received." 

"3. In December, 1837, the author had a conversation with the' Rev. Samuel 
Cartledge, who was present at the formation of the Association, and the sub- 
stance of his narration is as follows : He thought it was in the fall of the year, 
but remembers that a Remonstrance was agreed on, against an Act of the Legis- 
lature for the support of religion. An Act was passed at Savannah, February 
2 1st, 1785, and is recorded in Manuscript Volume B., p. 284, in the Secretary 
of State's office, Milledgeville. Some of the features of the Act : " Thirty heads 
of families " might choose a minister " to explain and inculcate the duties of 

" Of the public tax paid into the treasury, four pence on every hundred pounds, 
valuation of property should be deducted and set apart for the support of religion. 
' The mode of choosing the minister shall be by subscription of not less than thirty 
heads of families, which shall be certified by an assistant judge and two magis- 
trates, on which the Governor shall give an order to the treasurer to pay out the 
money for the minister's support. All the different sects and denominations of the 
Christian religion shall have free and equal liberty and toleration in the ex- 
ercise, etc' " 

" Among old papers in the Marshall family is a copy of a Remonstrance 
sent to the Legislature by the Association at its formation. It begins thus : ' To 
the honorable the Speaker and General Assembly of Georgia, the Remonstrance of 
the Baptist Association, met at Kiokee meeting-house, 1 6th May, 1785, showeth.' " 

" This Remonstrance was carried to the next session of the Legislature by Silas 
Mercer and Peter Smith, and the act complained of was repealed. 

" Mr. Cartledge remembers, too, that Alexander Scott was Moderator at this 
session, and that Mrs. Marshall, then a v/idow, grieved that her husband (as 
usual) was not in the chair; but Daniel Marshall died November 2d, 1784, and 
it is not likely that a session would have been held later in the season." 

To all of this Dr. Benedict, in a foot note to the edition of his History, pub- 
lished in 1848, says justly: "Mr. Sherwood's arguments are plausible, and as 
there were no records to refer to, it would not be strange if Mr. Marshall was 
mistaken in a year. Again, as they [the Associations] met at first twice a year, 
and as old bodies, formed as this was, generally had preparatory meetings, and 
grew into an Association in an informal manner — so it might have been in this 
case. Under these circumstances it is not strange that there should be a dis- 
crepancy of a year in collecting materials so loosely thrown together." 

Doubtless this passage conveys the real truth in the matter, and we may rea- 
sonably conclude, with Asplund, in his Register of 1790, that the Georgia Asso- 
ciation " was begun" in October, 1784. by a preliminary or preparatory meet- 
ing, at which Daniel Marshall presided, and the Association was formed 
and named, but at which no regular business was transacted. On the 15th of 
the following May, the first regular meeting occurred, and Daniel Marshall hav- 
ing died meanwhile, Alexander Scott was elected Moderator. 

As to Daniel Marshall, his son tells us that he attended public worship regu- 


larly until the last Sabbath but one before his dissolution on the second of No- 
vember, 1784. 

All this accords with Samuel Cartledge's recollection, that the Association 
^as, formed in the fall of the year, and yet, that its first meeting was after the 
passage of an Act of the Legislature against which the Association remonstrated ; 
for the Act was passed in February, 1785, and the Remonstrance was adopted in 
May of that year. It should be remembered that a similar course was pursued 
by the Sarepta Association. The delegates from the eight churches dismissed 
by the Georgia met at Shoal Creek meeting-house, in Franklin county, in May, 
1799, formed an Association and named it the Sarepta, and, in October of the 
same year, the Association held its first session, at Van's Creek meeting-house, 
Elbert county. 

Dr. Sherwood expresses it as follows: "In May, 1799, the brethren met at 
Shoal Creek, Franklin, to confer about forming a new Association, having 
obtained letters of dismission of the Georgia, the preceding October. In the 
fall they met again, at Van's Creek, Elbert, and adopted the Constitution and 
Decorum of the Georgia, and sent messengers to the Georgia — Wm. Davis and 
G. Smith." 

The Doctor himself appears to accept this conclusion as to the date, for he 
says, in the third edition of his " Gazetteer of Georgia," published at Washing- 
ton city, in 1837: "Through the instrumentality of Mr. Marshall, and other 
ministers, the Georgia Association was constituted at Kiokee, at Columbia 
court-house, in 1784," making the number of churches five. In the interval 
between October, 1784, and May, 1785, it is not likely that Dr. Furman would 
hear of the preliminary meeting. 

It should be borne in mind that until 1790 the Georgia Association met twice 
a year — in May and October. In May, 1785, it met at Kiokee, but where it met 
in October we now know not. In May, 1786, the body held its session at Fish- 
ing Creek, Wilkes county. It convened at Whatley's Mills (now Bethesda 
church), in May, 1787, and in October of the same year it assembled at Green- 
wood. It convened at Kiokee in May, 1788, and at Clark's Station in October. 
Long Creek entertained the convention in May, 1789, and Whatley's Mills in 
October. The session was at Botsford's (Brier Creek), in May, 1790, and at 
Abilene in October, 1790, when the Association adjourned to meet at Van's 
Creek, in October, 1791, abandoning semi-annual sessions. 

A few extracts from the Diary of Rev. John Newton, the grandfather of Mr.' 
John H. Newton, of Athens, and brother of sergeant Newton, of revolutionary 
notoriety, will show something of the spirit of the Association in that day. He 
was the pastor of Providence church, Jefferson county. ' 

" Saturday, May igth, 17S7. — Started early (from Silas Mercer's), and got to 
the Association in good time. Brother Bussey preached —after him, brother 
Cook preached. Letters from the churches were lead. 

" Sunday, May 20th, 1787. — Sermons preached by Peter Smith, Jeremiah 
Walker and Abraham Marshall. Several others exhorted. 

'' Monday, May 2ist. — The Association sat on business. Several ministers 
preached to the people in the woods ; the power of God was present to heal. 
Brother Jeremiah Walker preached on baptism. Silas Mercer baptized brother 
Thomas. Lively times." 

" Tuesday, May 22d.—Kix.&r singing, praying and exhorting, we parted in 
peace and great love." 

This meeting was held at Whatley's Mills (Bethesda). 

" Saturday, May lythf 1788. — I came to the Association (at Kiokee) and 
found many of the ministers here. Sanders Walker preached. Letters were 
given in from near twenty churches. Silas Mercer was chosen Moderator, and 
Jere Walker, clerk. All things done decently and in order. 

" Sattirday, October i8th, 1788. — We came to the meeting-house at Clark's 
Station. Vast multitudes gathered. Heard preaching. Read letters ftom the 

" Sunday, October igth. — Heard several sermons. 

" Mottday, October 20th. — Went on business. Brother Hutchinson was 


received as a helper ; several other ministers received as helpers. List of dele- 
gates called. Query brought in: What is Christian perfection? Answer 
God's children are perfectly justified before God, by the imputed righteousness 
of Christ, although they are imperfect in their sanctification." 

" Saturday, Jl/ny i6th, lySg. — Went to Association at Fowler's meeting-house 
(Long Creek). Brother Tinsley preached on " My grace is sufficient." Inter- 
mission. Large congregation. 

" Afternoo7i. — Brother Cleveland preached. Brother Hutchinson gave an 
exhortation how God can love his people from eternity and yet condemn them 
in convictions. Election proved by one being struck under convictions and 
others left unconcerned as they were before." 

" Saturday, May 13th, 17 go. — Came down to the place of the Association, 
and found a large number of people. 

" Sunday, May i6th. — Brother Matthews preached from 2d Corinthians, 6:20 : 
' Now then we are ambassadors for Christ.' Brother Holcombe's text, Psalm 
126:3 • ■ The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad.' Brother 
Marshall's text : ' And this man shall be the peace when the Assyrian shall 
come into our land.' Brother Silas Mercer preached on brother Marshall's text. 
" Moftdav, May ijtk, lygo. — Letters from other Associations read. Appointed 
brethren Marshall, Mercer, Newton, Donald, Bussey and Sanders Walker, as 
a committee to prepare rules of Decorum, and present them at the next Asso- 

This, perhaps, refers to the articles of Faith and rules of Decorum adopted in 

"Monday, October i8th, lygo, — Met early. Several ministers preached in the 
woods, at the standi We sat on business and broke up before night, all in 
peace and love. Next Association to be on Saturday before third Sabbath in 
October, at Van's Creek." 

Rev. John Newton came to Georgia from South Carolina;, soon after the Revo- 
lution. Dr. B. Manly, Sr., in his history of the Charleston Baptist church, 
mentions him as a minister and a member of that church. He died soon after 
the session of the Georgia Association in 1790. The brother, John Cleveland, 
to whom he refers in the Diary, resided in South Carolina, but preached a great 
deal in Georgia. 

In November of 1784, the spirit of the venerable Daniel Marshall took its 
flight to the realms of glory, but he had a worthy successor in his son Abraham, 
who fled to North Carolina with Silas Mercer, in 1777, and returned six years 
after. Among the other most noted ministers at that time was Alexander Scott, 
who must have been a very useful and efficient preacher, though deficient in 
education. He was Moderator of the Association in 1785. Afterwards he 
moved to South Carolina, becoming pastor of the Black Swamp church, and 
subsequently removed to Mississippi, of which State a son of his became gov- 
ernor. There was, also, Silas Mercer, who, about 1775, was baptized by 
Alexander Scott, uniting with the Kiokee church, by which he was licensed to 
preach. In fact, he began to preach immediately after his baptism, stepping 
from the water upon a log, whence he addressed the assembled multitude. 

Born in North Carolina, February, 1745, he was raised an Episcopalian. After 
reaching manhood he experienced a saving change, but not until after he married 
and moved to Georgia did he became thoroughly convinced of the propriety of 
believer's baptism ; then he was immersed. Before his death he was justly 
regarded as one of the most exemplary, useful and pious ministers of the South- 
ern States. Yet he was not distinguished for literary attainments. He was, 
however, very zealous, and was instrumental in establishing several churches by 
his faithful labors. In him the lively Christian and able minister of the New 
Testament were happily united, and he should be classed among the fathers and 
founders of our ministers and churches. 

Twenty-two Baptist churches in Wilkes county alone, were constituted and 
built up between the close of the war and the year 1790, mainly through the 
labors of Silas Mercer, assisted by Sanders Walker, John Millner, Sr., a licen- 
tiate and a powerful exhorter, Jeremiah Reeves, Sr., Matthew Talbot, William 


Davis, Peter Smith, William Franklin and James Matthews. All of these, 
except, perhaps, John Millner, Sr., and Jeremiah Reeves, Sr., were pastors of 
churches in Wilkes county before 1790, and several of them were licentiates of 
Kiokee church. Among them Silas Mercer towered both as a preacher and a 
man of devotion, religious enterprise and indefatigable labors. He established 
an academy, which offspring of_his benevolence, though presided over by James 
Armor, mouldered into non-existence soon after Silas Mercer's death, in 1796, 
for want of pecuniary support. The worthy founder of it, however, as such, 
and as a powerful preacher and advocate of the doctrines and ordinances of the 
Gospel, shall be embalmed in our memories and immortalized in our annals. 
Semple tells us that he seldom talked on any subject except religion ; that in 
countenance and manners he had, considerably, the appearance of sternness ; 
and that he was indefatigable in maintaining his opinions. 

Sanders Walker, perhaps the first Baptist preacher ordained in Georgia, was 
one of the most useful ministers in that section of the State. Born in Virginia 
March 17th, 1740, he was, before conversion, of a turbulent and most unmanage- 
able temper; but, after transforming- grace did its work upon him, he was dis- 
tinguished for the meekness and gravity of his deportment, and the meek Safi- 
ders Walker was the sobriquet applied to him. He began to preach in 1767, 
in- South Carolina, but moved, first to North Carolina, and then, in 1772, to 
Georgia, where, as a licensed preacher, he united with the Kiokee church. His 
own ordination must have taken place anterior to May 20th, 1775, for on that 
day he and Daniel Marshall ordained Abraham Marshall. He labored mostly 
in Wilkes county, where he resided, and, in all likelihood, was mainly instru- 
mental in the constitution of Fishing Creek church, in 1782 or '83, of which he 
was the pastor as late as 1790. In 1803 he was pastor of County Line church; 
and in 1805 he finished his course with joy, in the 65th year of his age. 

Allusion has been made to Abraham Marshall, the son and successor of 
Daniel Marshall. It is a matter of great doubt if any of our religious sires who 
lived during and just subsequent to the Revolutionary war, are entitled to the 
e.xalted credit due to Abraham Marshall. Though an uneducated man, he ac- 
quired a surprising command of language. It is stated that he never enjoyed 
forty days of regular schooling in his life ; for, born at Windsor, Connecticut, 
April 23d, 1748, he was a mere boy when his father moved with his family as a 
missionary to the Mohawk Indians, near the head of the Susquehanna river. 
He therefore had no opportunities for obaining an education, and used pleas- , 
antly to excuse his own want of cultivation by saying : " I was born a Yankee 
and raised a Mohawk." But he had religious training, real natural ability, elo- 
quence, the most zealous earnestness, and genuine piety. He had decision of 
mind and strength of character, and his soul burned with love for sinners. For 
thirteen years in succession he went through the wilderness, in all directions, as 
an itinerant, preaching and spreading among the early settlers the good news of 
salvation by the Cross. His conversion took place about 1770, at the age of 
twenty-two, when his father lived in South Carolina. He united with the church, 
was baptized in the Savannah river, and immediately began to preach. In 
1775 he was ordained at Kiokee church, but continued his itinerant labors with 
unabating zeal, even during his flight to North Carolina, until the death of his 
father, in 1784, when he assumed the pastorate of Kiokee church. Not even 
then did he discontinue altogether his itinerating labors, but during the whole 
course of his ministry, down to 18 19, when his death occurred, he indulged in 
the work dear to his soul — itinerating ; and his praise was emphatically in all 
the churches. 

All through life his orderly deportment gave strong and conclusive testimony 
•of his piety, and his unabating labors bore witness to his abounding zeal. In 
doctrine he was moderate and sound. In the church he was tender and submis- 
sive ; in his family, soft and indulgent. He was a nursing father to young min- 
isters and doubting Christians, and with solemn prayer and sweet words of en- 
couragement ever comforted the sick and needy. For fifty years he preached 
faithfully, lived consistently and labored zealously ; and when, at 4. o'clock, on 
the 15th of August, 1819, the summons, "Come up higher," was received, he 


said to the mourning and weeping friends and relatives at his bedside, " The time 
of my departure has come. I have fought a good fight ; I have kept the faith ; 
therefore there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which my glorious 
Lord has prepared for me ! " Then he gathered up his feet in his bed, like Jacob 
of old, and fell asleep in Jesus. Perhaps, more than any of our early Baptists, 
he was noted for his itinerant labors. The condition of the country required 
such labors, and he rendered them willingly and joyfully. 

Thus it was that our Baptist fathers laid the foundation of our denomination 
in the State — by persevering, self-denying, self-sacrificing labors, almost disre- 
gardful of home-ties, certainly despising danger and fatigue, and unweariedly, 
incessantly, faithfully planting the cross in the dark places of the wilderness, with 
a zeal truly apostolic. Among them was James Matthews, Sr., whose history 
will bring into view again the old Botsford meeting-house, in Burke county. He 
was born in Virginia, October 15th, 1755, but raised in South Carolina, and ex- 
perienced a hope through grace in his seventeenth year, when he was baptized, 
and united with the church on Little River. In 1782 he moved into Georgia 
and united with the Red's Creek (now Abilene) church, Columbia county, of 
which Loveless Savidge, the whilom sheriff who arrested Daniel Marshall, was 
pastor. Gaining the approbation of his brethren as a licentiate, he was called 
to ordination, and came under the imposition of hands by a presbytery com- 
posed of Loveless Savidge, D. Tinsley, Sanders Walker, and Abraham. Marshall, 
in 1785. Filled with a fervid zeal in the Lord's service, and with an ardent love 
for the souls of men, he went forth as a missionary of the cross, and soon ac- 
quired general esteem. The first church which secured his services was on 
Brier Creek, in Burke county, and was the same founded by Edmund Botsford, 
in November, 1773. During the war it had dwindled away, and had nearly be- 
come extinct ; but, under the ministry of James Matthews, it woke to new life 
and sprang into a vigorous existence, as the result of his labors. In less than 
one year seventy new converts were added to its membership by baptism. The 
good work spread out far and wide. Two other churches, Buckhead and Mob- 
ley's Pond, now Bethlehem, both in Burke county, were constituted, and the 
foundation was laid of a third, which was afterwards built up, now Rocky Creek, 
Burke county. For the benefit of his health, Mr. Matthews moved to Wilkes 
county, where he continued until his death, in 1 82S, preaching to various churches 
and baptizing many converts. He was a member of the first General Committee, 
in 1803, and so continued for a number of years. 

All these, and many/ more devotedly pious, earnest-minded, laborious and 
self-sacrificing men, were the Baptist ministers who, previous to, during, and just 
subsequent to the Revolutionary war, by their extraordinary zeal and ability, 
laid the foundation of the Baptist denomination in Georgia. They were men 
who, regardless of pecuniary reward, and impelled by an ardent desire to warn 
others to flee from the wrath to come, preached wherever God gave them an 
opportunity to deliver the gospel message, whether in the rough settler's cabin, 
or in rude log meeting-houses, or beneath the spreading branches of the forest 
trees. The Holy Spirit's blessing accompanied their labors, hundreds were con- 
verted to God, and many Baptist churches were constituted in what was then a 
wilderness. In some respects it was worse than a wilderness, for the gospel 
was preached and churches were founded when men were compelled to carry 
guns to church and set sentries to watch during divine service, in order to pro- 
tect themselves from predatory Indians. Even the plantations were cultivated 
in succession by armed squads of men, who posted sentinels to preserve them- 
selves from surprise while so engaged. Frontier forts were built for the protec- 
tion of the settlers, into which the women and children would be gathered while 
the men were banded together working the farms ; and sometimes it happened 
that these forts would be attacked by the Indians during the absence of the men. 
Their repulse devolved upon the few brave and discreet men left for the pur- 
pose, assisted by the women, many of whom were good marksmen, and un- 
daunted by danger. This state of affairs, owing to white encroachments on 
what the Creeks considered their lands, continued until the middle of the year 
1796, when, after a formal treaty with Creek Indians near Muskogee, near the 
St. Mary's river, depredations which had prevailed on the frontier ceased ; but 



the Federal power was requisite to enforce tlie State title to all the lands east of 
the Chattahoochee, which was effected after many years. 

We have already seen how rapid was the increase of the denomination. At 
the session of the Georgia Association for 1794, which met at Powell's Creek 
meeting-house, near Powelton, on Saturday, the 19th of October, several 
churches moved, in their letters, for a division of the Association. There were, 
really, fifty-six churches in the Association, but four of them, with a total of . 
325 members, were South Carolina churches, which, about that time, obtained 
letters of dismissal, to join the Bethel Association, in that State. 

The following was the action of the Georgia Association, in response to the 
letters requesting a division : " Agreed, that all the churches in the lower part of 
our union who see fit to form another nieeting of this nature, have our consent ; 
and that the one be called 'The Upper District Georgia Baptist Association," 
and the other ' The Lower District Georgia Baptist Association.' The first 
meeting of the Lower District Association to be Saturday before the fourth 
Lord's day in September, at Buckhead Davis' meeting-house. The brethren, 
John Thomas, Jeptha Vining and Silas Mercer to attend as messengers. The 
meeting of the Upper District Association to be at the Iviokee new meeting- 
house, on Saturday before the third Lord's day in October, which Association is 
to hold the present constitution and records." 

Silas Mercer was appointed to preach the Association sermon, and Saturday be- 
fore the fith day in December was set apart as a day of fasting, humiliation and 

The meeting appointed in September, 1795, took place; eighteen or twenty 
churches sent delegates, but, counting the South Carolina churches, twenty-two 
actually separated from the Georgia Association ; but the name assumed by the 
new Association was Hephzibah, and delegates from its first session, in Septem- 
ber, 1795, attended the meeting of the Georgia, in October of the same year, car- 
rying their prifrted Minutes. See Mercer's History of the Georgia Baptist Asso- 
ciation, page 34, which says that the Georgia Association contained thirty-two 
churches in 1795, of which two were newly constituted. In 1794 the Associa- 
tion contained fifty-six churches, of which four were in South Carolina. Twenty- 
two, then, must have withdrawn, among which was the colored church, at Sa- 
vannah, which then contained 381 members, their pastor being Andrew Mar- 
shall. Eight other churches obtained letters of dismissal from the Georgia 
Association in 1798; and, in May, 1799, delegates sent by these churches met 
at Shoal Creek meeting-house, Franklin county, and formed a new Association, ■ 
designated the Sarepta. This Association held its first session at Van's Creek 
meeting-house, Elbert county, in the same year. The next session was held in 
October, 1800, with Millstone church, Oglethorpe county, and letters from nine 
churches were read. Thomas Gilbert was elected Moderator, and William 
Davis, Clerk. Five other churches united with the Association, making nine in 
all, with a membership of 797. 

Thus we have hastily traversed a period of more than half a century. We 
have discovered the introduction o£ Baptist sentiments into the State ; have wit- 
nessed the foundation of the first Baptist churches ; have watched the indefati- 
gable and self-sacrificing labors of our pioneer Baptist fathers ; have beheld the 
gradual influx of faithful laborers and the increase of Baptist churches ; and 
now, at the close of the century, three flourishing Associations exist, while Bap- 
tists, by thousands, stretch from the Cherokee country on the north to the 
Atlantic on the south, occupying about one-third of the present territory of the 
State. We have seen the glorious sunshine of peace succeed the lurid gleams 
of war, and have beheld the desolation and destruction in the track of Bellona's 
car. We have obtained a partial view of old-time Baptist methods of procedure 
at our Associations ; have learned by what labors and sacrifices our fathers laid 
the foundation of our denomination in Georgia ; have had glimpses of the lives 
and characters of a few of the more prominent ones ; have settled the foundation- 
period of the two first Associations formed in the State ; and have reached the 
beginning of the new century, in which the Georgia Baptists, under new leaders 
and new'^methods and measures, enter upon a career of prosperity and useful- 
ness, marred, nevertheless, by mistakes and dissensions superinduced by the 
infirmities incident to human nature. 






We have now reached the beginning of a new century. New men are coming 
on the stage of action, and new measures begin to excite attention. Hitherto 
the period has been a formative one ; henceforth a period of growth and progress 
occurs. A class of ministers equally pious and zealous, and in some respects 
more cultivated, are stepping upon the scene. 

A brief view of the denominational labors of the day, and of the general 
aspect of affairs, as well as of the political "situation," will enable us to advance 
more intelligently upon our historical journey. 

Louisiana and Florida, ceded to France by Spain October ist, 1 800, have been 
purchased from France by the United States, for about $16,000,000. On the 
20th of December, 1803, General Wilkinson, and a large body of emigrants, took 
formal possession of New Orleans. Georgia's claim to all the land between the 
Chattahoochee and Mississippi rivers, obtained by treaty with the Indians at 
Augusta, in November, 1763, had been sold to the United States, in 1802, for 
one and a quarter million dollars, the general government guaranteeing to Geor- 
gia a title from the Indians to all lands in the State cast of the Chattahoochee, 
and especially of the lands lying between the Oconee and Ocmulgee rivers. 

On the i6th day of May, 1795, Louisville, in Jefferson county, became the capital, 
and so continued until 1804. The State Constitution was revised in 1799, by a 
Convention of which Jesse Mercer had been elected a member, and in which he 
took a prominent part. The section on religious liberty was written by him. 

By a treaty with the Indians, in 1796, the United States had put an end to 
Indian depredations in Georgia, and in 1800 the population of the State was 
double what it had been in 1790. In the beginning of the new century, she con- 
tinued to extend her population by laying off and steadily but quietly settling 
new counties. Towns and villages sprang up in the wilderness. In 1803 the 
county of Baldwin was laid off, and a site for the town of Milledgeville was 
selected by commissioners appointed by the Legislature, with a view of making 
it the capital of the State, as soon as the proper buildings could be erected. 
These were completed in 1807, in which year Milledgeville became the seat of 
government. Thus, at the beginning of the century, the general domestic con- 
dition of Georgia was peaceable and prosperous. 

While the dying century beheld the State and its material interests advancing 
prosperously, it witnessed a discouraging condition in the spiritual interests of 


the country, and of our denomination in the State. Several of our most able 
and active ministers were removed by death, and by their loss others were un- 
nerved for designs of extensive usefulness. With few exceptions, the harps of 
surviving colleagues hung neglected on the willows. Learning drooped, religion 
appeared in mourning, and viperous infidelity, with elevated head, menaced 
Christianity with venomous fangs. These unpropitious circumstances exerted a 
chilling influence throughout all our churches. The interests of Zion languished 
and appeared " ready to die." This was the more humiliating to intelligent Bap- 
tists, as they enjoyed no means of securing an active and sympathetic co-opera- 
tion, by the denomination, in any design intended to promote the interests of 
religion, learning or benevolence, and therefore they appeared insignificant or 
contemptible to opponents. 

At this juncture a step was taken which resulted in that denominational sym- 
pathy and co-operation which, summoned into action the best talent of our de- 
nomination in the State, and which, by uniting the energies and benevolent ten- 
dencies of the brotherhood, has called into being our Convention, with all its 
educational and benevolent enterprises, and has elevated our denomination to 
the proud position' it now occupies. This step was the appointment by the 
Georgia Association, in October, 1800, of a meeting to be held at Powelton, May 
1st, 1 80 1, to confer as to the best means of reviving the religious interests of the 
churches. In the concoction of the scheme an intelligent observer cannot but 
discern the pious benevolence of Jesse Mercer, although it may be that Dr. Henry 
Holcombe, of Savannah, was connected with the movement in some way. He 
had been a resident of our State for one year only, but had already caused the 
constitution of a white Baptist church in Savannah, and it is not to be doubted 
that he longed to see the energies of our growing denomination aroused and 
combined ; and when events gradually matured, his powerful and cultivated 
mind made him a leader and organizer, a master-spirit among first-class men. 
Dr. Henry Holcombe was an extraordinary man. Born in Virginia in 1762, 
he became a cavalry officer in the revolutionary war before he was of age ; and, 
converted at twenty-two, he preached his first sermon to his own command, 
while seated upon his horse. Raised a Presbyterian, he was led to adopt Baptist 
principles by investigating Scripture ; and when convinced of the propriety of 
immersion, he rode twenty miles on horseback to propose himself as a candidate 
for immersion to a Baptist church. He was the means of the conversion of 
his own wife and her brother and mother, baptizing all of them, as well as his, 
own father, who renounced Pedobaptist sentiments. He was a member of the 
South Carolina convention which approved the constitution of the United States ; 
and, while pastor of the Euhaw Baptist church. South Carolina, and residing at 
Beaufort, was called to Savannah. He was a man of commanding personal 
appearance, oi unusual intellectual powers and of grand eloquence. Mainly 
self-taught he attained a high degree of culture, and though he resided in the 
State about twelve years only, he left his impress on it inefTaceably. The peni- 
tentiary system of Georgia was of his suggestion. He was the originator of 
the " Savannah Female Asylum." He published the first religious magazine in 
the South, a periodical called TAe A7ialytical Rcpositoiy ; and with it he did 
much to arouse the dormant energies of Georgia Baptists and unite their efforts 
in great benevolent enterprises. The academy established at Mount Enon, in 
Richmond county, was a child of his brain, and as long as he remained in the 
State, it flourished. A strong advocate of missions and of education, he gave 
them the benefit of his powerful pen and eloquent voice, and as a member, and, 
for a time, as president of the " General Committee " and board of trustees for 
Mount Enon College, he wielded great influence and labored, with astonishing 
vigor and capacity, for the Baptist cause during the first decade of the century. 
Undoubtedly he stood primus mter pares. 

Another noble mind developed by the exigencies of the time, and sent by 
God to help usher in the dawn of a brighter day for the Baptists of Georgia, 
was Hon. Joseph Clay, a man who stood pre-eminently distinguished for his 
talents, virtues and piety. He was the son of Colonel Joseph Clay of the revo- 
lurionary army, who, as a " Son of Liberty," was on the committee which drew 


up the resolutions relating to the grievances of which the Colonies complained 
in 1774, and who was a member of the Council of Safety, in 1775, and a mem- 
ber of the Continental Congress from 1778 to 1780, besides filling many other 
important offices. Converted under the ministrations of Dr. Holcombe, Joseph 
Clay, Jr., renounced Episcopalianism and became a Baptist. At the time of his 
conversion he was District Judge of the United States for the District of Georgia, 
.but nobly yielding to what he conceived to be the voice of duty, he exchanged 
the judiciary bench, in 1802, for a name and a place in our communion as a 
minister of the gospel. He was a leading member of the convention which 
formed the revised constitution of 1798, and the original draught was carefully 
prepared by him. Liberally educated, he was graduated at Princeton with the 
highest honors of his class. He was a most persuasive orator, a refined gentle- 
man and an humble Christian. A native Georgian, he was born in Savannah, 
August 1 6th, 1764; was baptized and licensed to preach in 1802, and ordained 
in 1804, by Dr. Furman, Dr. Holcombe and Rev. Joseph B. Cook, pastors of 
the Charleston, Savannah and Beaufort Baptist churches. After that time he 
travelled and preached in different parts of the United States, in the employ of 
the General Committee, and, in September, 1806, was invited to succeed Dr. 
Stillman as pastor of the First Baptist church of Boston. He accepted, so far 
as to consent to spend one year with the church, and was installed August 3d, 
1807. In November, 1808, agreeably to his engagement, he sailed for Savannah, 
expecting to return in the spring ; but finding his health seriously declining, he 
obtained a dismissal from his pastoral charge in October, 1809, and did not 
return to Boston until December, 18 10. On the nth of January, 181 1, he 
expired, after a long and tedious illness, in the 47th year of his age. The follow- 
ing in regard to him, from the pen of Dr. Henry Holcombe, was written at 
Savannah, in 1806, to Rev. Dr. Baldwin, of Boston: 

" From early life he was distinguished by genius, docihty and great amiable- 
ness of disposition and behavior. In morals, learning and politeness, he has 
always been distinguished among the most moral, learned and polite of his 
acquaintance. As a son, a brother, a husband, a parent, a master, a neighbor, 
a citizen and a friend, he is spoken of in this State in the most respectful terms. 
For acuteness of research, undeviating rectitude and manly eloquence, he has 
been much celebrated by his best informed acquaintance, in the capacities of a 
lawyer and a judge. As a gentleman of property, he is nobly distinguished for 
his liberality to the poor, and by the aid he gives to various benevolent institu- 
tions. And, as a Christian, and a minister of the blessed Jesus, whom he 
supremely loves, his praise is in all the Southern churches. Should you permit 
me to speak freely of Mr. Clay, after the pleasure and the honor of four or five 
years intimate acquaintance with him, I would say I believe him to be one of 
the greatest and best men I ever knew ; but, in saying this, I would by no 
means be understood to intimate that I think myself able to form an accurate 
judgment of all the excellencies I believe him to possess." 

Hon. John M. Berrien writes as follows of him : " His disposition was pecu- 
liarly amiable, and he was distinguished by a warm and active benevolence. 
These, combined with his social quahties, made him an object of universal 
affection and respect in the community in which he lived. If any one in that 
community had been requested to point to a man of blameless conduct, he would 
have been designated." 

Another man of polished mind and pious heart, who recruited the Baptist 
ranks in the first decade of the century, was Charles O. Screven, D.D., son of 
General James Screven, who was killed in Liberty during the revolutionary war. 
Born in 1774, he united, at twelve, with the Charleston Baptist church, of which 
his grandfather. Rev. Wm. Screven, was the founder and first pastor, in 1683. 
Rev. C. O. Screven was educated at Brown University, Rhode Island, where he 
graduated ; and being licensed by the Charleston church, he visited Sunbury, 
Georgia, and began to preach in 1801, founding a Baptist church there. He 
was ordained by Dr. Furman, Mr. Clay and Mr. Botsford, in Savannah, on the 
29th of May, i8o4. Although a most cultivated Baptist minister and a polished 
Christian gentleman, he preached mostly to negroes, and was instrumental in 



turning many, both' white and black, from darkness to light. He, too, aided in 
promoting the revival of religion which occurred in the first years' of the century, 
and was the first president of Mount Enon Academy. 

Major Thomas Polhill, who had served with reputation as a senator in the 
General Assembly, son of Nathaniel Polhill already alluded to among the 
early Baptists of Savannah, was, also, a distinguished member of that galaxy 
which shone so conspicuously at the time of which we write. He was born 
January 12th, 1760; was converted in 1789; and ordained by Dr. Hqlcombe 
and Rev. John Goldwire, on the 9th of December, r8o5, renouncing his pros- 
pects of military and political fame, that he might devote himself to the duties 
of the sanctuary. 

Prominent, also, among the workers, in the beginning of the century, were 
Abraham Marshall and Jesse Mercer. The latter, son of Silas Mercer, was 
born in North Carolina, December i6th, 1769, converted at fifteen and ordained 
in his twentieth year, by his father and Sanders Walker. Without doubt the 
most distinguished and infiuential Baptist minister ever reared in the State, his 
life and labors were so interwoven with the history of our denomination, that 
it is almost impossible to chronicle events of 'importance, for at least half a 
century, without connecting his name with them. No other man has exerted a 
greater or better influence upon the Baptist interests of Georgia. No one has 
labored more for their advancement or been more liberal in promoting them. 
Distinguished for meekness, piety, benevolence and wisdom, he was, also, a 
powerful preacher, though not a man of thorough education or high cultivation. 
His long-continued and indefatigable labors, his steadfast devotion to Baptist 
principles, his staunch piety and usefulness, and his great liberality, have em- 
balmed his memory in the hearts and minds of Georgia Baptists. As we 
progress in our history his name and actions will be the subject of constant 
reference, obviating the necessity of a longer personal mention of him here. 

We have now noted the most prominent actors among the historical charac- 
ters of the Georgia Baptists, who moved in the drama enacted in the first decade 
of the nineteenth century, and put in -train events which moulded the destinies 
of our denomination in the State. The names of others might be given, as 
John Harvey, John Robertson, Joseph Baker, Henry Hand, George Granberry, 
R. E. McGinty, John Ross, Edmund Talbot, Miller Bledsoe, George Franklin, 
William Franklin, Norvell Robei :son and John Stanford. 

These all lamented the languishing state of religion, and the want of co-ope- 
ration, and earnestly desired to enter upon some course by which unity of action 
in spreading the gospel and carrying forward benevolent enterprises would be 
secured. Their minds were reaching out for some method of useful unison of 

It was just at this time, in the year 1800, and under these circumstances, that 
the Georgia Association, which met with the church at Sardis, Wilkes county, 
twelve miles northwest of Washington, in October, adopted the following reso- 
lutions, evidently the composition of Jesse Mercer : 

"That, as a spirit of itineracy has inflamed the minds of several ministers, who 
are desirous to enter into some resolutions suitable to carry into effect a design 
of travelling and preaching the gospel, a meeting be, and is hereby, appointed 
at Powel's Creek, on Friday before the first Sunday in May next, for that purpose. 

" That the same day be observed as a day of fasting and solemn prayer to 
Almighty God for prosperity in the design, and for a dispensation of every new 
covenant mercy in Christ Jesus." 

In his life'of Jesse Mercer, page 153, Dr. C. D. Mallary says : "This propo- 
sition, which we shall soon see resulted in some important measures, originated 
with Mr. Mercer;" and Dr. Sherwood, in his manuscripts, from which frequent 
extracts will be made, writes as follows ; '• Mr. Mercer was connected with all 
the great religious movements of his age. The conferences at Powelton, 1801, 
1802, 1803 were originated by him and Governor Rabun, and these ripened into 
the General Committee, a body from members of each Association then in the 
State, the object of which was to promote itinerant preaching and a school 
among the Creek Indians, then occupying the western part of the State — most 
of the lands on the west side of the Oconee." 


This grand "departure" of our denomination was the first exhibition of a 
spirit and tendency which finally resulted in the constitution of the Georgia Bap- 
tist Convention twenty-two years later, and the establishment of Mercer Uni- 
versity, and of all that harmony, unity of effort and co-operative benevolence 
which have given Georgia Baptists such a proud position in denominational 
annals. Attention is called to the latter of these resolutions": Those who delve 
into the early records of our denomination in Georgia will be struck by the 
frequency with which days of fasting, humiliation and prayer were appointed 
and observed by our fathers. Perhaps the zealous .spirit and holy earnestness 
evolved by these devout observances, accompanied by divine blessing, were the 
real cause of the success of their ministry, and of the rapid growth of our de- 

The meeting appointed was held at Powelton, May ist, 1801, and several days 
were pleasantly and profitably spent in forming liberal and judicious designs for 
usefulness. Among those present were Jesse Mercer, John Robertson, Edmund 
Talbot, Adam Jones, John Harvey, Joseph Baker and Francis Ross. Other 
leading characters were present, among whom we may reckon Abraham Mar- 
shall and Henry Holcombe. The principal objects discussed were the formation 
of a missionory society to support two missionaries among the Creek Indians 
on the frontier, and itinerant preaching throughout the State. The results of 
the consultation were drawn up in the form of a letter addressed to the Georgia 
Association, calling the attention of the Association to the propriety and expe- 
diency of forming a missionary society in this State for the purpose of sending 
the gospel among the Indians on the frontiers. 

Before adjourning, the ministering brethren generally were recommended to 
engage, as far as they possibly could, without unfaithfulness to existing obliga- 
tions, in itinerant labors ; and those present entered into an agreement to the 
same effect. An appointment for a similar meeting, at Powelton, was made for 
the year 1802. 

The letter was received and cordially and unanimously approved by the Geor- 
gia Association at its session in October, 1801, and delegates were again ap- 
pointed to the Powelton meeting for 1802, to devise and mature proper plans for 
carrying out the suggestions of the first meeting, and to revive and extend the 
influence of true religion. 

This second conference met at Powelton on Thursday, the 29th of April, 1802, 
sixteen messengers from the different Associations bein§ present on the first 
day, whose names are, Joseph Baker, Joel Willis, George Granberry, John Ross, 
Henry Hand, Edmund Talbot, Jesse Mercer, Francis Ross, John Robertson, 
John Harvey, Adam Jones, Benjamin Thompson, Miller Bledsoe, William Lord, 
William Maddox and Benjamin Maddox. The sermon was preached by Joseph 
Baker. John Harvey was unanimously elected Moderator, and Joseph Graybill, 

Reports from individual brethren, in regard to their different tours through 
the State, as itinerating preachers of the gospel, showed encouraging results, 
and it was 

" Resolved, That it is the decided opinion of this Conference that the religious 
interests for which they are immediately concerned, begin already to assume an 
encouraging aspect, under the influence of the partial execution of their lately 
adopted measures." 

And it was furthermore 

"Resolved, That we feel ourselves bound to give itinerate preaching, for the 
ensuing year, all the aid and encouragement in our power." 

On Saturday, May ist, the committee met, and, after singing and prayer, the 
subject of union among Christians of different denominations was proposed for 
discussion by Jesse Mercer ; and, " from the different impressive lights in which 
it was placed, appeared to excite a general and ardent desire to use every en- 
deavor to hasten the time when the watchmen in Israel shall see eye to eye, and 
all the real disciples in Christ be one, as He and His divine Father are one." 
Then, on motion of Dr. Henry Holcombe, who had arrived from Savannah, a 
committee was appointed to concert a plan of promoting union and communion 


among all real Christians, to be respectfully submitted to the consideration of the 
Georgia Baptists that, should it be approved, they may concur in its adoption." 
Joseph Baker, Jesse Mercer and Henry Holcombe were nominated members of 
this committee, and on the third day, Saturday, they rendered a report. 

They reported "that they are humbly of the opinion that the number and 
present situation of the Baptists of this State require a stricter and more inti- 
mate union among themselves, in order the most effectually to concentrate their 
powers for any particular purpose ; that they conceive this more eligible state of 
the churches might be effected by a choice of delegates to represent each church, 
annually, in the Association to which they respectively belong, vested with 
power to elect three members from each Association, to compose a General 
Committee of the Georgia Baptists, which should meet annually in some conve- 
nient and, as nearly as possible, central part of the State, with liberty to confer 
and correspond with individuals and societies of other denominations, for the 
laudable purpose of strengthening and contracting the bonds of a general union, 
on the pure principles of eternal truth, until all who breathe the spirit and bear 
the image of the meek and affectionate Jesus, shall enforce a strict discipline, 
and sit together at His table ; and that the time and place for the first meeting 
of this committee, should it be eventually formed, shall be fixed on by the 
'Association that shall meet last, conformably to existing appointments." 

This report was agreed to and adopted unanimously ; and then, after agree- 
ing to meet again on the Friday before the first Lord's day in May, 1803, fur- 
ther to mature their designs of usefulness, and particularly to form, if possible, 
a Missionary Society, the Conference adjourned, with many demonstrations of 
brotherly love. 

A result of this, as of the previous meeting, was a vast amount of itinerating 
labor. Our ministers traversed the whole State, two and two, preaching with 
unwonted power and earnestness, and carried out fully, in spirit and in reality, 
the resolution adopted concerning " itinerate preaching." An incident in the 
life of Jesse Mercer during that year, 1802, will not only illustrate the spirit 
which animated our ministers, but will demonstrate the nature of their labors, 
and show the results of their zeal and earnestness. Mr. Mercer had, for a fort- 
night, been on a preaching tour, and had spent most of the time in a revival. 
On his return he attended the regular meeting at his church at Whatley's Mill, 
now called Bethesda church. Aware that the church was in a languid state, 
his sermon was on the deceitfulness of the heart in crying, Peace, peace, when 
there is no peace. 

He became deeply affected at the end of his discourse, and addressed his con- 
gregation as follows : " Dear brethren and friends, I have been, for a great part 
of the last two weeks, addressing a people that I believe are truly awakened 
to a sense of their lost, helpless and ruined state, and are crying out in their ag- 
ony, What shall we do to he saved? Among them my tongue seemed to be 
loosed, and I could point them with great freedom to the way of salvation through 
a crucified Saviour. On my way hither I felt the deepest concern in contrast- 
ing your lifeless condition with theirs. I even bedewed the pommel of my sad- 
dle with tears," and here lifting up his hands he exclaimed, " O, my congrega- 
tion, I fear you are too good to be saved ! " And he burst into an irrepressible 
flood of tears. Descending from the pulpit and recovering himself a httle, he 
poured forth a most solemn and impassioned exhortation, during which many 
came forward and asked for prayer in their behalf. From that sermon and occa- 
sion one of the most interesting revivals which has ever blessed that favored 
church commenced, and forty-nine were added to the church by baptism before the 
expiration of the year. During the same year thirty-eight were added to Phillips' 
Mill church, by baptism, as the result of a pleasant revival. Of this church, also, 
Mr. Mercer was pastor. Sardis church, likewise under the charge of Mr. Mer- 
cer, reported to the Georgia Association, in October, 1802, the addition by bap- 
tism of thirty-three new members ; and Powelton church, of which he was pas- 
tor, reported to the Association twenty-nine added by baptism. Nearly all the 
churches in the Georgia Association reported considerable gains that year — for 
instance, Salem, Oglethorpe county, 26 ; Freeman's Creek, Clarke county, 56 ; 


Lower Beaverdam, Greene county, 28; Rocky Spring, Lincoln county, 31 ; Big 
Creek, Oglethorpe county, 88 ; County Line, Wilkes county, 23 ; the colored 
church in Augusta, 220. The conclusion is, that there must have been a con- 
siderable revival resulting, we may justly presume, from the itinerary labors ad- 
vised by the Powelton meetings ; for 732 were reported as the whole number 
•baptized in the Georgia Association. 

The churches of the Sarepta Association reported, in 1801, 388 converts bap- 
tized ; in 1802, 1,050 baptized. Evidently religion had greatly revived, owing 
to the blessing of God on the faithful dissemination of evangelical doctrines, in 
accordance with the measures adopted in the first Powelton Conference. 

The proceedings of the second Powelton meeting were approved by the 
Georgia Association of 1802, and Abraham Marshall, Sanders Walker and 
Jesse Mercer were appointed to attend the third meeting, in May, 1803, as three 
regular delegates from the Association, to aid in consummating the plan pro- 
posed by the meeting of May, 1802. 

The Savannah Association, which met at Savannah in January, 1803, appointed 
Henry Holcombe, Aaron Tison and Thomas Polhill, delegates to this first 
Baptist Convention of Georgia. That Association had been constituted at 
Savannah on the 3d of April 1802, by representatives from the Newington 
church (white), the Savannah (white) church and the First (colored) church of 
.Savannah. Its action with reference to the Powelton meeting of 1802 may be 
learned from the following, which is a report rendered by Alexander Scott, 
chairman of a special committee, which was unanimously adopted : " If to aim 
at the most important end subordinate to the glory of God, namely, ' the com- 
plete union of His people ;' if to aim at this end, on the most pure and liberal 
principles — ' the principles of eternal truth ;' in fine, if to aim at an excellent 
end, on excellent principles, by excellent means, be latidable, the plan your com- 
mittee have strictly investigated — the plan recommended to your serious attention 
by the ministers, in conference, last May, at Powelton — is laudable in a very 
high degree, and claims your warmest patronage." 

This report, which appears in the Minutes of the Savannah Association for 
1803, was unanimously adopted, and preceded the election of the brethren just 
mentioned, to represent the body in the General Committee of that year, James 
Sweat being appointed to till the place of either, in case of failure on their part 
to attend. 

On the 29th of April, 1803, therefore, the third yearly Baptist conference was 
held at Powelton, Hancock county. Twenty-four ordained Baptist ministers 
were present, besides a large number of the brethren and of citizens. Henry 
Holcombe was elected Moderator and Jesse Mercer, Clerk. 

At the opening of the session it was found that the following Baptist minis- 
ters were present : Francis Ross, John Ross, Miller Bledsoe, Henry Cunningham 
(colored), from Savannah, Charles Goss, Stephen Gafford, William Green, Henry 
Holcombe, John Harvey, James Heflin, William Lord, William Lovell, Abraham 
Marshall, Benjamin Mattox, James Matthews, Jesse Mercer, Robert McGinty, 
William Mattox, Benjamin Thornton, Edmund Talbot, Joel Willis and Sanders 
Walker. Two others appeared afterwards; for in his Circular Letter in the Minutes 
of the meeting of the committee for 1806, Dr. Henry Holcombe says: " There 
were present twenty-four of our ordained ministers, with incalculable numbers 
of their brethren and fellow citizens. Thus had a little one, the almost imme- 
diate offspring of our pious fathers, according to the prophecy, become a 
thousand ; and a handful of corn sown by them with tears, on the top of a 
mountain, waved in a golden and copious harvest." 

That was a proud day for the Baptists present. Glorious old Powelton, the 
nursery of Georgia Baptist enterprise, beheld a grand concourse that day, when 
the Baptists of Georgia were first united in heart and endeavor ; and yet a 
greater and more glorious day, still, dawned upon the famous village, when on 
the 27th of April, 1822, the Georgia Baptist Convention was formed there. 
That Convention, however, was but the immediate successor, on more acceptable 
principles, of the General Committee, created on this April 30tR, 1803 — just 
nineteen years previous. 


At that time there seems to have been a general revival of religion in both 
England and America, and the missionary spirit was considerably heightened. 
God was doing glorious things everywhere. It was natural therefore, for the 
day to be consumed in hearing accounts of the progress of religion, and of the 
prosperitv of the churches, and of the doors open for missionary effort ; and in 
discussing the plan to unite the Baptists of Georgia more closely, and to promote 
union among all Christians. On the next morning. April 30th, 1803, a com- 
mittee of twelve, with the title of The General Committee of Georgia Baptists, 
was chosen. In the afternoon of the same day, this committee held its first 
meeting, the conference having dissolved in the morning. The following named 
members of the committee took their seats, and elected Abraham Marshall 
chairman, and Henry Holcombe, secretary : Fra?icis Ross, John Ross, Miller 
Bledsoe, William Green, Henry Holcombe, Abraham Marshall, Mat- 
thews, Jesse Mercer, Robert McGinty, Edwund Talbot and Sanders Walker. 

The first action was the adoption of the following : 

"Resolved, That the encouragement of itinerant preaching, the religious 
instruc:;ion of our savage neighbors, and the increase of union among all real 
Christians, which were the leading objects of the late conference, shall be zeal- 
ously prosecuted by this committee." 

As the result of the discussions of May ist, it was resolved that the committee 
be rendered permanent by annual delegations from the Georgia Associations, or 
otherwise ; that it not only encourage itinerant preaching, but, individually, 
practice it, as far as was consistent with indispensable duties ; and that, when- 
ever circumstances will justify the attempt, an English school be established 
among the Creek Indians, as the germ of a mission. The following day a 
Circular Address to the Baptist Associations, and to all gospel ministers of any 
other denominations in the State, was adopted, and the time and place of the 
next meeting were appointed, viz: Fourth of May, 1804, at Kiokee. 

This " conference " might be called the first regularly appointed Baptist Con- 
vention ever held in Georgia. Delegates were appointed to it by two of the 
four Baptist Associations in the State, though there were ministers there from 
all four of the Associations. The Hephzibah and Sarepta failed to appoint dele- 
gates. It established a method of co-operation which never received the hearty 
endorsement of Georgia Baptists, and which expired after about seven years of 
existence ; yet it did considerable good during its brief career. One cannot but 
regard its establishment as providential, for it set in operation agencies that, 
awoke the denomination in Georgia from a lethargic state, and aroused a gen- 
eral revival spirit. We have, already seen how that spirit was evidenced in 
1802, by the figures exhibited. Other figures show that the itinerant system 
inaugurated by these devout and self-abnegating fathers, was attended by the 
divine blessing, and wrought wonders. 

' The number reported as baptized, in the year 1803, in the Savannah Asso- 
ciation, was 378 ; in the Sarepta, 375 ; and in the Georgia, 689. The records 
of the Hephzibah Association, for that period, being lost, its additions are not 

To the Minutes of the Georgia Association, for 1803, which appear not to 
have been printed until 1804, Jesse Mercer, the Clerk, appended the following: 

" Doubtless there is a glorious revival of the religion of Jesus. The wicked 
of every (description, have been despoiled of their boasted coat of mail ; even 
deists, who stood in the front of the battle, have had their right arm broken, 
their hope disappointed, and their prognostications metamorphosed into false- 
hood. As the fruit of this work there have been added to the churches of the 
Georgia Association, more than 1,400 ; to those of the Sarepta, more than 1,000, 
a year ago, and we doubt not but that number has greatly increased by this 
time. [Actually 375 had been added to the Sarepta during 1803; while, for the 
years 1801, 1802 and 1803, there were added to the churches of the Sarepta 
Association 1,813, by baptism.] To those of Bethel (a South Carolina Associa- 
tion), more than 2,000. There is and continues a great work in some of the 
churches of the Hephzibah and Savannah (Associations), and is kindling in 
others. More than a hundred have been added to one church in the Charleston 


Association. We are authorized to say that, in six Associations in Kentucky, 
there are at least 10,000 young converts. To all which we add that other 
accounts from different and distant parts, verbally received, state that the Lord 
is doing excellent things in the earth." 

Perhaps this is the proper place to introduce a few short sketches of some of 
the prominent actors on the stage of our denominational history at that time, 
of whom the reader may naturally be curious to obtain some information. 

Rev. John Harvey was a very distinguished and useful minister in his day, 
and was President of the Powelton Conference in 1802, being at that time a 
member of the Powelton church. He seems to have been greatly respected and 
to have occupied a very prominent position, and to have beeii extensively useful. 
Rev. John Robertson was a man of very high character, of liberal disposition 
and a devout Christian. He began to preach in Wilkes county, but moved to 
Putnam and became a member of the Tirzah church. He was Moderator of the 
Shoal Creek Convention and of the Ocmulgee Association, and occupied other 
prominent positions, among them the first vice-presidency of the Ocmulgee 
Mission Society. In his fidelity the brethren had the utmost confidence. Lazarus 
Battle was a pious and distinguished layman, treasurer of the Mission Board of 
the Ocmulgee Association, a member of the Executive Committee, a man of 
uncommon wis dom in council as well as energy in action, both as a Christian 
and a citizen. 

In the year 1824 the Ocmulgee Association adopted the following report con- 
cerning the death of Rev. John Harvey, Rev. John Robertson and Lazarus Battle : 

" In the death of these three distinguished persons, society has sustained no 
common loss — a loss irreparable to the church, to the settlements in which 
they lived, and through the whole circle of their acquaintance ; deeply felt by 
their families and friends, and by the community in general. To speak of all 
their virtues, (were we capable,) would far transcend the limits of this work and 
our present design. Suffice it to say, their upright lives bore testimony to the 
truth of the religion they professed, and they left satisfactory evidences that they 
are the happy sharers of the blessed fruit thereof. Brother Harvey spent a long 
life in the faithful ministry of the word of life. The same may be said of brother 
Robertson, who was late Moderator of this Association. And brother Battle 
was not only a useful member of society as a faithful Christian, but eminently 
so as a citizen. He was treasurer to the Mission Board, and his public spirit 
was indefatigable." 

Rev. Robert McGinty was a man of high standing and good influence ; polite 
and easy in his manners ; pious in character ; strongly missionary in spirit ; an 
excellent Moderator and a sound, sensible preacher. He was one of those who 
helped to form the General Committee, at Powelton, in 1803, and was a member 
of the Committee. He was Moderator of the Ocmulgee Association, President 
of the Ocmulgee Missionary Society, and for years the Moderator of the Flint 
River Association. Raised in Wilkes county, he was baptized at the same time 
and place with Jesse Mercer, in 1787, and was ordained prior to 1799. 

Rev. Edmund Talbot was highly respected and a man of great piety and use- 
fulness. In all the records he is spoken of most respectfully, as a man of high 
character and undeviating rectitude. Born in Virginia, March 28th, 1767, he 
came to Georgia from South Carolina at twenty, and was baptized by Sanders 
Walker at twenty-two. He. was son-in-law of Rev. John Harvey, President of 
the second Powelton Conference, and, while greatly fond of itinerant labors, he 
was a most excellent and successful pastor. He, too, was a member of the first 
General Committee, and aided in the attempt to establish a Georgia Baptist col- 
lege at Mount Enon. He was a Moderator of the Ocmulgee Association, and a 
vice-president (and acting president) of the Ocmulgee Missionary Society. 
His influence was always on the side of missions and education, and opposed to 
what was erroneous and hypocritical ; not learned, but plain and straight- 
forward. In person he was tall and slender, and he lived to see our State Con- 
vention a quarter of a century old. 

Rev. Joseph Baker, who assisted in the Powelton Conference of 1802, was 
from the Hephzibah Association, and was from North Carolina, having settled 


in Washington county in 1794, where he was called to ordination and served the 
Bethlehem church. He afterwards moved to Baldwin county, and was pastor 
of Fishing Creek church until his death in 1820. Few men of his day were as 
highly esteemed as he was, and very few so useful. 

Rev. Miller Bledsoe, who assisted at the Powelton Conference of 1802, was a 
Virginian, born October 7th, 1761, and had been a valiant revolutionary soldier. 
Converted in 1788, he soon began to preach, and was ordained in 1792. He 
emigrated to Georgia in 1793, and settled in Oglethorpe county, where he 
preached and labored faithfully as the contemporary and co-laborer of Silas 
Mercer. He was a good and useful man, and lived to be nearly eighty years of 
age. ] 

Rev. George Franklin, another Virginian, was a very prominent and useful 
man in Georgia at the period of which we write. He was for fifteen years Mod- 
erator of the Hephzibah Association, and was' a valued member of the General 
Committee. He represented Washington county in the Legislature of the State, 
and was a member of the State Convention which revised the Constitution in 1788. 
He was born in Virginia about 1744, but moved to Carolina, where he mar- 
ried Miss Vashti Mercer, an aunt of Jesse Mercer, and a half sister of Silas Mercer, 
and moved with the Mercer family to Georgia in 1 774. He was ordained at Little 
Brier Creek church, in 1789, by his father. Rev. Wm. Franklin, Rev. Silas Mercer 
and Rev. John Newton, Silas Mercer preaching the ordination sermon. He doubt- 
less assisted in organizing the Hephzibah Association, in the Minutes of which 
Association, for the 3^ear 1 8 16, may be found this entry: "In consequence of 
the death of our venerable and beloved brother, George Franklin, whose loss the 
Association is sensibly affected with, and by reason of which the Association is 
disappointed in the Circular Letter to have'been prepared by him for the present 
session — after a short deliberation agreed, on motion, that a committee be ap- 
pointed to prepare one, previous to the adjournment of the Association, and that 
the following brethren be that committee, viz : F. Boykin, C. J. Jenkins, N. Rob- 
ertson." George Franklin was a good man, and a good preacher, and was, be- 
yond doubt, one of the most pious, useful and talented ministers in Georgia. 
The records show that both he and his father. Rev. William Franklin, ranked as 
such in their day. The latter died suddenly in the streets of Louisville, some 
suspicion being excited at the time that he was murdered. 

The Circular Letter alluded to above, was written by Francis Boykin, and the 
subject was, " What are the probable causes of the present languishing state of 
religion ? " It is a plain, straight-forward. Scriptural document, adducing three 
causes for spiritual declension : i. Neglect of the public services of religion. 2. 
Covetousness. 3. Neglect of the discipline in the churches required by God's 
word. This Francis Boykin, the grandfather of S. Boykin and T. C. Boykin, 
now living, was born in Virginia, and was of Welsh descent, being descended 
from Edward Boykin, who settled in Isle of Wight county, Virginia, in 1685. 
His father, William Boykin, emigrated from Southampton county, Virginia, to 
South Carolina, in 1755 or '56 and settled at Kershaw. He was a captain of 
cavalry in the Revolution, and participated in the battle of Fort Moultrie, and in 
most of the State during the Revolutionary war, and rose to be a Major in a 
regiment of infantry. He was a man of fine personal appearance, and was said 
to be, when in uniform, one of the handsomest men in the army. His wife was 
Catharine Whitaker. He moved to Georgia in 1800, settled in what is now 
Baldwin county, died in 1821, and his remains rest on the plantation of S. E. 
Whitaker, Esq., ten miles from Milledgeville. He was a prominent member of 
the Hephzibah and Ocmulgee Associations, and was occasionally appointed a 
delegate to the Georgia Association and to write circular letters. A son of his, 
James Boykin, was among the founders of the Columbus church, of which he 
was for years a beloved deacon, and was also among the few who donated an 
amount larger than $1,000 to Mercer University. 

Let us now glance at the formal establishment of a Baptist interest in Savannah. 
In the year 1794 there were eight or ten Baptists, only, in the city. They deter- 
mined, however, to erect a house of worship, the prime movers and ckief agents 
being Jonathan Clark, George Mosse, Thomas Polhill and David Adams. There 


seems to have been some kind of church formation as early as 1795, for in that 
year the city conveyed to the church a lot, the petition for which was drawn by 
Robert Bolton, in behalf the church. With one or two exceptions, the Baptists 
were poor in purse, and it was only by the generous contributions of friends in 
South Carolina, and of persons of different denominations in the city, that they 
were enabled to erect, in 1795, a house of worship, on FrankUn Square, fifty by 
sixty feet in size. This was done under the superintendence of Ebenezer Hills, 
John Millen, Thomas Polhill, John Hamilton, Thomas Harrison, and John H. 
Roberds, trustees. Having no Baptist minister, and the house being in an un- 
finished state, it was, in 1796, leased to the Presbyterians, who had just lost 
their church edifice by fire. They furnished the building with pews and a pulpit 
and occupied it for three years. In 1799, while the house was still under lease 
to the Presbyterians, Rev. Henry Holcombe, of Beaufort, South Carolina, who 
was pastor of the Euhaw church, received and accepted a call from the pew- 
holders of in the building, consisting of persons of different denominations, to 
preach and act as pastor to the congregation, with a salary of two thousand dol- 
lars. He entered upon his labors in 1799, preaching to large and respectable 
congregations, with unwonted power and eloquence. Under his ministrations, 
the interests of religion among the different denominations increased ; for, beside 
the Episcopal building, this was the only house of worship in the city, and reli- 
gion was in a languishing state. If any sort of church organization had existed, 
it seems to have expired, for early in the year 1800, twelve Baptists entered into 
a written agreement to apply for letters of dismissal from other churches and 
constitute themselves into a church at Savannah. Their names were Henry 
Holcombe and his wife, Frances Holcombe, George Mosse, Phebe Mosse, Jo- 
seph Hawthorn, Mary Hawthorn, Elias Robert, Mary Robert, Rachel Ham- 
ilton, Esther McKinzie, Elizabeth Stanley, and Martha Stephens. Of these, two 
came from each of the following churches : Charleston, South Carolina, Black 
Swamp, South CaroUna, Sandy Hill, South Carolina, while six were furnished 
by the Euhaw church, also in South Carolina. On the 17th of April the house 
of worship was dedicated ; on the nth of September the first baptism occurred. 
Dr. Holcombe baptizing the venerable Mrs. Mary Jones, relict of Lieutenant- 
Governor Jones, in the Savannah river; on the 26th of November, 1800, the 
church was fully constituted, with a membership of fourteen, two, Mrs. Mary 
Jones and Mrs. Eunice Hogg, having been received into fellowship. Rev. John 
Goldwire, pastor of the Newington church, Georgia, preached on the occasion, 
and Rev. Alexander Scott, pastor of Black Swamp church. South Carolina, made 
the prayer, and delivered a solemn and pathetic charge and exhortation. The 
duties and privileges of the day closed with the administration of the Lord's 
supper, which was repeated on the third Sunday in April, 1801, to twenty com- 
municants. . In the same year a charter of incorporation, executed by John 
McPherson Berrien, and signed by Governor Josiah Tatnall, was granted. On 
the 25th of January, 1802, the church presented a written call to Dr. Henry Hol- 
combe, who replied, accepting, on the 24th of March. In the summer the 
Presbyterians withdrew to their new and spacious house of worship, and the 
Baptists occupied their own building, the membership increasing to sixty-seven 
by the end of the year, and to seventy-seven at the beginning of 1804. 

Thus we see that the first church was established in the city of Savannah, 
mainly through the instrumentality of Henry Holcombe, in the year 1800, a 
dozen only composing the nucleus of the church. 

This appears to be a suitable place in which to introduce an account of the 
establishment of colored Baptist churches in the city of Savannah. 

About two years before the Revolutionary war a colored man, and a slave, by 
the name of George Leile, was converted in Burke county, by the preaching of 
Rev. Matthew Moore, a Baptist minister. Baptized by Mr. Moore, George Leile 
was licensed to preach by the church of which Moore was pastor, and his labors 
were attended with success among the people of his own color. About the 
beginning of the Revolutionary war George Leile, who had been liberated by 
his master, Mr. Henry Sharp, went to Savannah and began to preach at Bram- 
ton and Yamacraw, near the city, and also on the surrounding plantations. At 


the close of the war, when the British evacuated Savannah, George Leile, who 
was, also, sometimes called George Sharp, accompanied them to Kingston, 
Jamaica, where he soon raised up a large church. Before leaving tor Jamaica 
he baptized Andrew and his wife Hannah, and Hagar, slaves of Jonathan Bryan, 
and Kate, who belonged to Mrs. Eunice Hogg. Nine months afterwards An- 
drew, commonly called Andrew Bryan, began to preach at Yamacraw, and 
many converts were the result. Although persecuted by wicked and cruel white 
people, who thus sought to interrupt their worship and put a stop to their 
religious meetings under a pretence that they were plotting mischief and insur- 
rection, they were sustained by Chief Justices Henry Osburne, James Habersham 
and David Montague, Esquires, after an examination. Permission to worship 
in the day was given them. A barn, for a house of worship, was granted them at 
Bramton, by Jonathan Bryan, the master of Andrew and his brother Samson. A 
number of respectable and influential people befriended them, and, by well-dozng 
they at length disarmed and silenced their bitterest persecutors. Andrew learned 
to read, and for two years preached to great numbers without interruption, in 
his master's barn, although neither licensed nor ordained ; and converts began 
to increase. Their condition, as being destitute of any one qualified to admin- 
ister the ordinances, became known at a distance, and they were visited by Rev. 
Thomas Burton, an aged Baptist minister, who baptized eighteen converts. In 
1788, Rev. Abraham Marshall, of Kiokee church, visited them, in company with 
Jesse Peter, a young colored minister of Augusta, baptized forty-five more, and 
on the 20th of January organized them into a church, and ordained Andrew 
Bryan to the ministry, as their pastor. Thus was Andrew Bryan fully author- 
ized to preach and administer the ordinances, and his church, at length, properly 
organized. Permission was granted them to build a large house of worship, in 
the suburbs of Savannah. 

Their humble virtues and orderly lives gained for them public esteem, and 
banished all fears and suspicions in regard to their conduct and motives. The 
number of church members, at first eighty, increased rapidly, and several gifted 
men arose among them. In the course of time it became advisable to organize 
two other churches with members from the mother church, and on the 26th of 
December, 1802, the Second colored Baptist church, of Savannah, was consti- 
tuted with two hundred members, A third, called the Ogeechee colored Baptist 
church, was constituted on the 2d of January, 1803, with two hundred and fifty 
members. Two new colored ministers were also ordained: Henry Cunningham, 
on the 1st of January, 1803, and Henry Francis on the 23d of May, 1802 — the 
former to become pastor of the Second church, and the latter of the Ogeechee. 
Notwithstanding this diminution of numbers, the First church still contained 
four hundred members. 

In April, 1802, the First colored church united with the white church of 
Savannah, and the Newington church, twenty miles north of Savannah, in the 
formation of the Savannah Association ; and in January, 1803, we find all three 
of these colored churches and the two white churches enrolled as constituent 
members of the Association. The membership of the Savannah white church 
was sixty-seven ; that of Newington church was seventeen ; while the combined 
membership of the three colored churches was eight hundred and fifty. 

Andrew Bryan died on the 12th of October, 181 2. 

In 1 8 12 this Association adopted the following : " The Association is sensibly 
affected by the death of the Rev. Andrew Bryati, a man of color, and pastor of 
the First colored church in Savannah. This son of Africa, after suffering inex- 
pressible persecutions in the cause of his divine Master, was at length permitted 
to discharge the duties of the ministry among his colored friends in peace and 
quiet, hundreds of whom, through his instrumentality, were brought to a knowl- 
edge of the truth as it is in Jesus. He closed his extensively useful and amazingly 
luminous course, in the lively exercise of faith, and in the joyful hope of a 
happy immortality." 

About ninety years of age when he died, his remains were interred with 
peculiar marks of respect. During his funeral services, remarks were made in 
honor of his memory at the meeting-house, by Dr. Kollock, Presbyterian and 
Dr. Wm. B. Johnson, Baptist, and at the grave by Rev. Thomas T. Williams. 


Such was the end of the man who, an ignorant slave, was imprisoned and in- 
humanly whipped for preaching the gospel, just after the Revolutionary war, and 
who, while suffering the lash, said to his persecutors, holding up his hands in 
emphasis, " I rejoice not only to be whipped, but would freely suffer death for 
the cause of Christ." 

He left an estate valued at $3,000. His nephew, Andrew Marshall, a slave, 
was his successor, and carried forward his work with great power and prosper- 
ity until his death, in 1856, when he was worthily succeeded by William J. 
Campbell, who died, after a long life of consecration and usefulness, on the i6th 
of October, 1880, greatly lamented and esteemed, especially by the white peo- 
ple. Perhaps it may have struck the reader as an irregularity on the part of 
Abraham Marshall to ordain a minister and constitute a church by himself. 
Speaking on the subject to Doctor Benedict, the historian, he said, " There I 
was alone, and no other minister was within call. A church, which has become 
large and flourishing, was suffering for the want of organization and adminis- 
trators. All things were ripe. It was something I found necessary to be done, 
and I did it, and all worked well." In the year 1790 the First colored church of 
Savannah, still doubtful as to its own organization, sent a letter to the Georgia 
Association asking an expression of opinion on the matter. The Association 
replied that it was an extraordinary case, and therefore warranted extraordinary 
means ; and decided that, under the circumstances, the action of Rev. Abraham 
Marshall was proper. The eminently beneficial results which followed prove 
that such was indeed the case. 

In this chapter we have witnessed the beginning of a new era in the denomi- 
nation in Georgia. We may call it the era of co-operation. The languishing 
state of our Zion called for some special effort on the part of good men, and the 
result was the Powelton Conference of 1801, which was followed by very bene- 
ficial results. A general system of itinerating was inaugurated, which prevailed 
for many years in our Associations, ministers going out, two and two, and 
preaching the gospel in destitute neighborhoods, and to churches too poor to 
sustain a regular pastor. The Powelton Conferences brought into public view 
the best, most able and cultivated men of our denomination, and put them in 
active co-operation, in pursuance of plans for the promotion of personal religion 
and education, and for reforming and evangelizing the Indians in Alabama. It 
was very evident to discerning minds that the condition and prospects of the 
denomination in our State, lethargic and without unity of either aim or effort, 
was in the highest degree discouraging. Although there were three or four 
Associations, they possessed no common object of attainment, nor did any one 
of them have any special grand object in view. The old leaders were passing 
off the stage of action, leaving the churches in a state of semi-paralysis ; 
while the new leaders and prominent men lived far apart, and many of them were 
barely acquainted with each other. The Baptists of Georgia were like an army 
with comparatively efficient captains, but lacking in organization and general- 
ship. Religion was at a low ebb, and education was in a still lower state ; nor was 
there any immediate prospect of the denomination being elevated, educationally. 
Yet, without it, how could we hope ever to become respectable in the eyes of 
the world, and maintain our denominational position creditably } This was the 
problem to be solved ; and it called forth the prayers of the devout and the cogi- 
tations of the serious. Mutual consultation and deliberation, as well as unity 
of aim and effort, became not only proper but necessary ; and the Powelton 
Conferences were the result of a general understanding. We are yet to see 
what eventuated. 

A view of some of the more prominent men of that day has been given to 
exhibit their general animus and capabilities. 

The reader will be surprised at the interest manifested in religion by the Bap- 
tist colored people of Savannah and Augusta, exceeding as it did the interest 
among the whites. In both of those cities, from an early date, large Baptist 
churches of the colored people have existed. 







We will now resume our consideration of more general affairs, and direct our 
attention to the formation and first proceedings of the General Committee. Its 
organization and first meeting occurred at Powelton, Hancock county, on the 
30th of April, 1803. In the morning the committee of twelve was elected by 
the Convention, which was then styled " Conference," after which " the ' Con- 
ference' was dissolved," and never again assembled. In the afternoon, at three 
o'clock, the committee assembled and organized by the election of Abraham 
Marshall as chairman, and Henry Holcombe as secretary, and adopted the reso- 
lutions given in the last chapter. The sessions of the committee continued 
during the days of May the first and second, and it adjourned to meet at Kiokee 
on Saturday before the first Sunday in May, 1804, after adopting the following 
Circular Address, evidently from the pen of Dr. Henry Holcombe : 

•' The General Committee of Georgia Baptists, held at Poweltofi, the first of 
May, 180J, to the Baptist Associations, and all Gospel tninisters, not of 
their order, withi)i this State, wish the •' unity of the Spirit in the bond of 
peace : 

"Respected Friends — We have the satisfaction to inform you that one of 
the distinguishing traits of our present meeting has been unprecedented har- 
mony. An appearance of coolness and misunderstanding, which had palsied 
our measures, has vanished before the light of candid investigation. The sense 
of our churches, on the subject of a general union among themselves, has been 
carefully collected from a number of their ministers, deacons and other intelli- 
gent characters ; and we have seriously considered what general line of conduct 
is proper to be pursued by us towards good men who are not in our connection. 
The results we have the honor to lay before you, in hope of your approbation 
and concurrence. 

" In the first place, therefore, we take the liberty to address ourselves to the 
Associations : 

" Beloved in the Lord: We are happy to learn that the failure, by two of your 
number, in choosing delegates to form a General Committee, agreeably to the 
plan recommended by our second Conference, must be ascribed to the want of 
that complete information relative to the necessity and object of the measure, 
which we hasten to communicate. In doing this, it is necessary to remind you 
that a little more than three years ago our common interests as Christians were 


languishing and seemed almost ready to expire. There were, indeed, individuals 
who bore an honest testimony to the truth, and a few well-disciplined churches ; 
but in a general view, you will readily recollect, our situation was discouraging 
in the extreme. Several of our most able and active ministers had just been 
removed from time ; others, as to any designs of extensive usefulness, were un- 
nerved by the consequential shock ; learning drooped, religion appeared in 
mourning and was daily menaced by crested infidelity. All this was published 
in Gath ; and to add to our humiliation, possessing no means of co-operating in 
any design, we were unnoticed or viewed with contempt by the common enemy. 

" Many solitary individuals, unknown to each other, lamented this situation 
of affairs ; but who could step forward, not only at the risk of a mortifying dis- 
appointment, but of censure, to propose any measure for the general good ? All 
being equal, this was no one's duty in pa}-ticiilar, an'd yet, it must be acknowl- 
edged, it was the duty of every one who possessed the requisite abilities. Under 
these circumstances, a meeting of ministers, and other active friends of religion, 
was proposed and happily effected at Powelton, on the ist of May, 1801, to con- 
fer on the best means of reviving the interests of the churches. At this mem- 
orable Conference, zeal rekindled and formed the pious determination of propa- 
gating the gospel by itinerant preaching, not merely throughout the State, but, 
if possible, among the neighboring savages. 

" A twelve-month afterward, agreeable to appointment, a second Conference 
at the same place, by concerting a plan oi general union, evinced the utility of 
the first, and led to the third, which, as you have seen, has terminated in this. 
Committee, as a bond of union, centre of intelligence, aiid advisory council to 
the Baptists of this State. The necessity that existed for such an issue of our 
deliberations, it is humbly presumed, will be obvious to every intelligent and 
impartial person ; and the leading object of this Committee is to advance your 
general interests by drawing your lights to a focus and giving unity, consistency 
and, consequently, energy and effect to your exertions in the cause of God. 
With a steady view to an object so desirable and important, we trust that con- 
verted individuals, unconnected with any religious society, and of our denomi- 
national sentiments, will join themselves to our churches ; that the churches 
will punctually support their representatives in the Associations ; and that these 
venerable bodies will appear, by three delegates from each, at the time and place 
appointedfor the 7neeting of this Conijuittee. In that case, the seats which we have 
the honor to fill, as the Committee of the late Conference, we shall most cheerfully 
resign to your delegates ; but so essential to the Baptist interests in this State do 
we deem the General Committee, that, should there be a deficiency in your rep- 
resentation, we are bound, as appears by our Minutes, to supply it by the method 
which may appear most eligible. But we have no doubt of your forming the 
Committee by your own delegates, except it should be prevented by an inter- 
position of divine providence. 

" Such are at once the simplicity and magnitude of the object in contemplation, 
that we think it unnessary to add a syllable more — especially as the utility of our 
late arrangements tending to it is so honorably attested by the addition of thous- 
ands to your enlightened bodies. 

" We proceed, most respectfully, to solicit the attention of all gospel ministers, 
not of om order, in this State. 

" Reverend Brethren — We are assured by revelation, and have the hap- 
piness to feel, that all who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, make but one 
family. If of this description, our Father, our elder Brother, and the Spirit that 
is given us, are the same ; and the same our hopes, our fears, our desires, our 
aversions, our sorrows and our pleasures. Whenever we act like aliens towards 
each other, it is because we are disguised by our imperfections, or misrepre- 
sented by our adversaries. 

" Impressed with these sentiments, we shall be happy to see you all, or any of 
you, at our next meeting, that we may enjoy the opportunity, in our public ca- 
pacity, of evincing to you and to the world our sincere disposition and earnest 
desire to cultivate and maintain friendship and fellowship, not only with you, 
but with all the true followers of Jesus Christ, of your respective denominations. 


" You have repeatedly done us the honor publicly to invite us to your sacramen- 
tal tables, and, though, in our view, there were serious objections* to our acceptance 
of your liberal, and, we doubt not, affectionate invitations, we prayed that all 
the disciples of our common Lord might be one, even as He and the Father are 
one. To this prayer we are cordially willing to add, in conjunction with you, 
our best endeavors to remove every obstacle to our communion at that board 
which, we trust, will be succeeded by an infinitely richer banquet in our Fath- 
er's house. 

" With the greatest respect and affection, we invite you, Reverend Brethren, to 
an investigation, in order to a scriptural adjustment of the comparatively small 
points in which we differ, and remain your, the Associations', and the publid's 
unworthy servants in the gospel. 

Abraham Marshall, Chairman. 

Henry Holcombe, Secretary." 

It will be recollected that the three objects set before themselves for accom- 
plishment by the General Committee were: i. The encouragement of itinerant 
preaching ; 2. A mission among the Indians ; 3. The increase of union among 
all real Christians. 

This last object, in a Baptist organization was, doubtless, a mistake. It cast 
a cloud over this entire movement, and, although the General Committee scheme 
lasted perhaps seven years, and did some good, it was never cordially adopted 
by the denomination, and was dissolved about the year 18 10. Jesse Mercer was 
compelled to defend the committee, and to answer the objections and fears en- 
tertained by many that it was intended to prepare the way for open commun- 
ioh ; and we find in the Minutes of the Georgia Association for 1805 this signif- 
icant entry: "The Minutes and Circular Address of the General Committee 
were read, and, as many serious apprehensions were entertained by many well- 
disposed persons, that evil might result from the continuance of the committee, 
the subject was again discussed ; and, after a fair, deliberate investigation, was 
carried in favor." 

It will be seen, however, that the union plank of the platform is dropped ; 
that mission enterprise is allowed to languish ; and that the establishment of a 
college, which could not be incorporated, became the sole engrossing subject of 
consideration and object of effort. It does not surprise us, therefore, to dis- 
cover that the denomination gives the cold shoulder to the General Committee, 
becomes indifferent to an election of delegates, and allows it gradually to go out 
of existence. The plan itself was not adapted to the genius of our denomina- 
tion ; nor were the objects proposed those most likely to rally the support and 
enthusiasm of our churches. They never expect to capture Pedobaptist denom- 
inations by a cotLp d'etat. 

The second meeting of the General Committee took place at Kiokee, on the 
4th of May, 1804, and was composed of thefollowing brethren : Sanders Walker, 
Abraham Marshall, James Matthews, Jesse Mercer, George Granberry, John 
Ross, Miller Bledsoe, Henry Holcombe, Joseph Clay, Edmund Talbot, Thomas 
Rhodes, — — Moreton. 

Sanders Walker was chosen President, and Jesse Mercer, Secretary. Two 
Episcopal and two Methodist ministers were present, and were invited to seats ; 
but " the committee perceived with regret that no official attention had been 
paid to their circular address on Christian Union." They resolved, notwith- 
standing, " to continue their sincere endeavors to promote it, by all means con- 
sistent with the rights of conscience and a plain declaration of the whole revealed 
counsel of God." We find no further action taken on this subject, however, nor 
any direct allusion to it, in the subject proceedings of the committee ; their 
attention becoming almost wholly engrossed in the foundation of Mt. Enon 
College, the inception of which was due almost entirely to Dr. Holcombe. 

At the second session Rev. Joseph Clay, of Savannah, was appointed to com- 

*For instance: No general consBltatioa, by our denominations respectively, had been held on the 
propriety or impropriety of a mixed communion; nor did any discipline exist among us to prevent 
members excomraunicated by one from being received by anothtf .denomination, to meet, in a new 
connection, their aggrieved brethren at tha Lord's table. 


municate with Colonel Hawkins, United States agent among the Creek Indians, 
for information regarding the best method of establishing an English school 
in the Creek Nation. It was also unanimously resolved to take immediate meas- 
ures for establishing a literary institution to be denominated. The Baptist Col- 
lege of Georgia,, and a committee of five was appointed to apply to the 
Legislature for a charter for the incorporation of the General Committee under 
the title of " The Trustees of the Baptist College of Georgia," and to determine 
upon a proper location for the college. Their names were Abraham Marshall, 

George Cranberry, Henry Holcombe, Joseph Clay and Moreton. 

The Circular Letter is an able document, entirely devoted to the " Importance 
of Education," and prepared, not by Jesse Mercer, as Mallary says, but by 
Moreton, of the Sarepta Association. The session of the General Com- 
mittee for 1805, took place at Bark Camp, in Burke county, in May. The fol- 
lowing named delegates appeared : From the Hephzibah Association — George 

Franklin, Ross and V. A. Tharpe ; from the Georgia Association — Abra - 

ham Marshall, Jesse Mercer and W. D. Lane; from the Savannah Association — 
Henry Holcombe, Thomas Polhill and Joseph Clay. The Sarepta Association 
being unrepresented, the committee, agreeably to one of its rules, supplied the 
deficiency by the appointment of Edmund Talbot, Joel Willis and Scar- 
borough. Henry Holcombe was elected chairman, and Joseph Clay, secretary. 

Abraham Marshall, as chairman of the committee appointed to petition the 
Legislature for a charter of incorporation for a Baptist college, reported to this 
session of the General Committee, that they had petitioned the Legislature for 
incorporation, but without success ; that there is reason to believe " that this 
fivilure is owing entirely to causes which may be removed by proper explana- 
tions." Nevertheless, it was " resolved unanitnously, that the committee would 
persevere in their efforts to establish a college or seminary of learning for the 
education of youth of every denomination, though they should never obtain the 
slightest legislative aid. Hoping, however, that the denial of their reasonable 
and rightful request of a charter of incorporation has been owing to causes 
which are removable, and knowing that there are advantages in the possession 
of such an Act, which the Legislature has been accustomed to grant, we trust 
that their liberality will not permit them, after the opportunity of mature delib- 
eration, to withhold from us so just a privilege, and for a purpose so universally 

Brethren Abraham Marshall, Jesse Mercer, Joseph Clay, D. W. Lane and 
Thomas Polhill, were then appointed a committee to receive subscriptions, select 
a site and obtain a charter for the college, or semmary, and Joseph Clay was 
appointed treasurer. 

Joseph Clay read a letter from Colonel Hawkins, United States agent among 
the Creek Indians, in which he expressed approbation of the desire of the com- 
mittee to establish a school for the instruction of the Indians in the Creek Nation, 
and affirming his determination to aid them should they realize their design ; 
" intimating his intention to give his opinion, after a convention of the chiefs, of 
the proper time when slwA place where, the school should be established." Of 
course the committee deemed it best to defer further action, relative to this 
subject, till their next meeting. 

In regard to itinerant preaching, several members of the committee having 
expressed their sense of the benefits which have accrued and would result from 
it, " and of the propriety of some of their body being successively engaged in 
this service, as they might feel themselves disposed and at liberty, the brethren 
Mercer and Clay proposed, themselves, to make a tour through the greater part 
of the State, in the ensuing fall." Their proposition was approved. 

After agreeing to meet at Clark's Station, in Wilkes county, on Saturday 
before the third Sunday in May, 1806, the committee adjourned. 

The Circular Address issued by the General, Committee at this meeting, in 
1805, was written by Jesse Mercer, and is erroneously referred to on page 16 of 
Campbell's " Georgia Baptists," as being a circular of the " Georgia Associa- 

*NoTE. — In the original manuscripts of Dr. Sherwood, tlie words, "of the Georgia Association, " 
do not appear, and were inserted, periiaps, to afford what was deemed necessary information. 


It was intended to exculpate the committee from blame, in the eyes of the 
denomination, on points which the attentive reader will admit gave some ground 
for apprehension in the minds of the membership at large. As the document 
affords the best defence ever offered, it is given entire, as a matter of historical 
interest, not that it is supposed for a moment, that the staunch Baptists who 
composed that committee ever actually contemplated open communion. The 
first proposition to discuss "union and communion," in 1802, was undoubtedly 
a mistake ; and the appointment of a committee to " concert a plan of promot- 
ing union and communion among all real Christians," in an ors^anz'zatzon in 
which it was proposed to secure the general co-operation of the Georgia Baptists, 
was another, and greater, mistake. 

The Circular is here given : 

" The General Committee of Georgia Baptists, in session at Bark Camp, in 
Burke county, to the Baptist Associations in this State severally, present senti- 
ments of respect — greeting : 

"Dear Brethren — Since our earliest existence, in our present capacity, we 
have been reproached of ill design. And, it being believed that the things which 
we held up to the public attention as the objects of our pursuit were not the only 
ones which we had in view, multiform and irrational have been the conjectures 
of the credulous. To attend to the evil surmisings of ignorance and ill will, 
would be as unnecessary as impossible ; suffice it to notice a few which may be 
rather termed the fears than the opmio7is of the more thinking part of those 
who have indulged these vagaries of imagination. 

" It has been feared that we were about to form a precipitate communion 
with other religious denominations, which (it is doubted) would be in itself im- 
proper, and in its consequences mischievous to all true religion. Though to 
commune at the Lord's table with all the truly gracious is desirable in the ex- 
treme ; and though it is the duty of all ministers to exert themselves to lead all 
the followers of the meek and lowly Jesus in the unity of the Spirit and the bonds 
of peace, yet it should seem that this duty must be discharged with a truly pious 
and inflexible regard to the purity, sufficiency and unity of the gospel. That no 
unrighteous compact be formed, directly or indirectly, with unbelievers, or the 
Sons of Belial, that violence be practiced on no ordinance or doctrine of God's 
holy Word, and, that proper measures should be adopted and pursued till all the 
churches of the saints be freed from all those superstitious innovations, human 
traditions and vile hypocrisies which have been so long the disgrace of their 
solemn Assemblies, and still are the baneful sources of that unhappy difference 
which now wards off the desired communion. This done, and communion 
will instantly follow in beautiful, sweet and desirable succession ; but this not 
done, and we are obliged to think that it would be undesirable and destructive. 

" But it has been insinuated that we were aiming to establish our religion by 
law. This suggestion, though made by some possessing marks of respectability, 
we are constrained to view the most unreasonable, foreign and absurd. He who 
takes but a superficial view of this subject, will readily see that to seek such an 
establishment is to declare, in direct terms, the weakness and insufficiency of 
the religion so to be established ; or (in other words) that its supports are in- 
competent, and inferior to that coercion extended in such establishment. Con- 
sequently, such a measure adopted by the Baptists would set them in direct 
opposition to their openly avowed, most sacred and distinguishing principles of 
faith ; and also cast the most undeserved contempt upon that temper and dispo- 
sition of mind which so long without variation or abatement, distinguished them 
as the zealous advocates of Civil and Religious Liberty. When things are placed in 
this light, it is evident that, except we could dishonor ourselves, despose the 
church, subvert religion and desert the divine will, we cannot have any clandes- 
tine views in contemplation. 

" Lastly : It has been thought we are adopting measures to establish in our 
church — in particular— a learned ministry. It should, and we hope, will be ac- 
knowledged, that learning is indispensable in some, and may be useful in every 
degree ; and therefore not an evil in itself considered. But a slight attention to 
this subject will show that the evils deplored are the wretched offspring of the 


abuse and not the possession of literary abilities ; and that these abilities owe 
their origin to certain circumstances which have operated therewith. When 
licentious and unbridled passions accompany learning in the ministry, and de- 
votion is united with gross ignorance in the people, it may be suspected that in- 
trigues of philosophy, and vain deceit, innovation and perversion, with a view to 
filthy lucre, will generally obtain. 

" Many of the Popish clergy viewed ignorance in their people so favorable to 
'their lucrative establishments that they taught that it was the mother of devo- 
tion ; at which an enlightened mind would start with abhorrence, and 
pronounce it the nurse of superstition, and every abomination. It therefore 
follows, that if these circumstances could be detached, learning would immedi- 
ately shine forth in its native lustre and intrinsic worth, tending to the bettei 
state of society in general. To that part of this work which belongs to the 
divine agency, we make no pretensions ; but so far as learning will tend to the re- 
moval of ignorance, prejudice and presumption, so far it is ours, and should be 
attended to with promptitude and perseverance. This is our design, to accom- 
plish which we have adopted certain measures, which we are pursuing ourselves 
and recommending to others. 

" The proposed'coUege is not, therefore, designed for the education of our chil- 
dren 'with a viezv to the ministry, nor is this seat of learning one in which young 
men already in the ministry shall, but may be further taught in some proper de- 
gree. But it is to be viewed as a civil institution to be religiously guarded and 
conducted for the better education of the rising generation, and to promote the 
general and common interests of morality and religion. 

" To do good, as we have opportunity, is a sacred injunction. That this good 
should be done in relation to the following as well as the present generation, is 
equally certain. That we have it in our power to do good, in no way, to greater 
advantage than by establishing some lasting source of knowledge and moral 
virtue, is a certain truth. To hand down to the next generation a number of 
young men both moral and sensible, must not fail to awaken the warmest de- 
sires and provoke the best endeavors of all well-disposed parents. Herein, then, 
we erect an altar on which, not only ourselves, but all others, may offer the sac- 
rifice of well-doing with which (saith the Word) God is well pleased. To this, 
dear brethren, we exhort you, not as having dominion over you, but that you 
may have fruit, which may abound to your account. By perusing our Minutes 
you will see the nature and spirit of our proceedings, and be able to judge of 
our designs more fully. We pray the divine blessing to rest upon you in your 
family, church and associational connections, and subscribe ourselves yours in 
bonds of the dearest relation. 

" H. HOLCOMBE, Chairman. 

" Joseph Clay, Secretary." 

The regular Annual Meeting of the General Committee for 1806 was held at 
Clark's Station, May 1 7th, 1 8th and 1 9th, and the Minutes present us with a knowl- 
edge of the virtual demise of the committee, and its assumption of a state of ex- 
istence tantamount to that of a permanent Board of Trustees for Mt. Enon 

The special committee appointed for the purpose had determined to adopt 
Mt. Enon as a site for the college, and this determination was ratified in the 
meeting at Clark's Mills. The holder of Mt. Enon, Dr. Henry Holcombe, of- 
fered it, embracing 202 acres, to the committee without reservation, agreeing 
himself to give $100 for two acres for a building lot, and exhibiting papers which 
showed that $2,500 were engaged by worthy persons for lots, in case his dona- 
tion was accepted. Committees were appointed to procure titles to the Mount, 
in behalf of the committee, to survey and lay it out in lots, and to prepare a 
constitution and by-laws for the body, as trustees of the college, to be presented 
at the next session. 

Jesse Mercer, chairman of the second committee, appointed to solicit a char- 
ter, reported that appearances of success as to obtaining a charter were so un- 
favorable that nothing had been attempted. 


The following extract from the Minutes explains the cause of some of the 
opposition ^to granting a charter to the college: "On being informed that a 
number of respectable characters had objected to the institution in view, from 
its being styled The Baptist College of Georgia, as seeming to savor of party 
spirit, the committee, superior to party consideration, unattached to names, and 
desirous of removing occasion of offence, when, as in this instance, it may be 
innocently done, resolved unanimously to call it Mount Enon College. The 
committee also determined, as soon as possible, to appoint two agents — one to 
preach on the western frontier of the State and visit the Creek Nation with 
reference to the establishment of a school as the germ of a mission there ; and 
the other to make a preaching tour throughout the United States to solicit funds 
to aid in establishing Mount Enon College." 

Then, in order the more effectually to execute their designs, they formed a 
permanent body of brethren Benjamin Brooks, Joseph Clay, Lewis C. Davis, 
Stephen Gafford, Henry Holcombe, Abraham Marshall, James Matthews, Jesse 
Mercer, Benjamin Moseley, Thomas Polhill. Thomas Rhodes, and Charles O. 
Screven. The nature of the change thus effected in the body is explained thus 
in the Circular Letter adopted, and apparently the indication is that the Asso- 
ciations were indifferent, if not actually suspicious of, or hostile to, the com- 
mittee : " Instead of receiving a delegation from our associate bodies, in addi- 
ition to our appointment by your Conference, we resume our original stand- 
ing, as exclusively your committee, to fill up vacancies which may happen among 
us, by our own suffrages. We shall have nothing to do with our Associations, 
as such, in future ; but, as a bond of union, a centre of intelligence, and an advi- 
sory council to the Baptists of this State, as Baptists, shall encourage itinerant 
preaching, the instruction of savages, and the increase of civility, affection and 
fellowship among all real Christfans. 

"The change, of which this is the nature, has been n\-AA.t., partly because the 
Associations were not unanimous in sending delegates to our body, and partly 
because, as trustees of the college, which, as subordinate and subservient to the 
grand objects of our appointment, we have resolved to establish, the more per- 
manency we possess, individually as well as collectively, the weightier will be 
our responsibility, and, of course, the more shall we be entitled to confidence." 

The reader may be curious in reference to the reasons why a charter was not 
granted to the proposed college. The main reason was, apprehension of a suc- 
cessful rival to the State educational institution — Franklin College — which went 
into operation in 1801. Another, and strong reason, was, that as it was pro- 
posed to call the new institution a Baptist college, it would, of course, teach 
Baptist doctrines only, and rear up and educate such numbers of Baptists that 
other interests would be imperilled. It was supposed, for instance, that if the 
Baptists became directors of a college, their numbers and influence would be- 
come dangerous to the liberties of the State ; and it was even insinuated in the 
public prints of the day that the Baptists were the leading denomination in 
Georgia, and that if they obtained a charter for a college, with a celebrated 
writer at their head, the treasury would be in an alarming condition, and even- 
tually everything would be under Baptist direction. ( Vide White's Statistics.) 

Hoping to disarm prejudice in one way, the committee concluded to abandon 
the name Baptist College and substitute Mt. Enon College, as it was definitely 
settled to accept Dr. Holcombe's donation of two hundred acres of land, and 
adopt that locality for the site of the college. Accordingly, in December, 1806, 
an adjourned meeting was held at Mt. Enon, and a constitution was adopted, in 
order to carry into effect the design of their appointment, the first article of 
which was, " This body shall be known and distinguished by the name and style 
of the General Committee of Georgia Baptists, and Trustees of Mt. Enon 

The meeting convened on the 6th, and continued to the 9th of December, 
1806. The members of the committee present were sufficient to form a quo- 
rum, namely : Jesse Mercer, H. Holcombe, Lewis C. Davis, James Matthews, 
A. Marshall, Charles O. Screven, Thomas Rhodes, and Benjamin Brooks. The 
absent members were Benjamin Moseley, Stephen Gafford, Joseph Clay, and 
Thomas Polhill. 


Jesse Mercer was made Chairman, and H. Holcombe, Secretary. After the 
adoption of the constitution, Henry Holcombe was elected President of the 
Board of Trustees ; Jesse Mercer, Vice-President ; Thomas Polhill, Secretary, 
and B. S. Screven, Treasurer. Rev. Charles O. Screven was elected President 
of Mount Enon College. Drs. Holcombe and Screven were appointed to con- 
tract for building a boarding and school-house, and Rev. Joseph Clay was cho- 
sen to collect funds for the erection of a college edifice. The Circular Letter 
and its Appendix, of that year, witten by Dr. Holcombe, are exceedingly able 
and intensely interesting articles, and deserve a permanent place in history. 

It is, perhaps, not necessary to quote the Constitution in full ; but the nth 
article, which is given, shows how the " Christian Union " project had been dis- 
carded : 

" That this committee shall give all the aid in their power to itinerant preach- 
ing and missionary efforts ; and use their best endeavors to collect funds, and 
form arrangements to establish and endow a grammar school and college on 
this Mount." 

It seems that the Legislature could not be prevailed upon to grant a charter 
for a Baptist college, but, in 1807, it did graciously incorporate "the trustees of 
Mt. Enon Academy," and, consequently, at their meeting in August, 1807, it 
was resolved, " to open a grammar school " on the ist of September following, 
under the direction of Dr. Charles O. Screven, until a "proper character" could 
be procured to place at the head of the institution. 

The school was, indeed, opened in 1807, and, under the temporary care of Dr. 
Screven, and flourished for five or six years ; but, on the departure of Dr. Hol- 
combe for Philadelphia, in December, 181 1, it began to decline and soon ceased 
to exist. He had been the Ajax upon whose broad and able shoulders the school 
rested, and his power and force of character sustained it. 

This was the first earnest effort made by Georgia Baptists to establish a col- 
lege. Their failure was due to inability to secure a charter of incorporation, to 
an unfortunate selection of a location for it, and to the want of funds — in plain 
terms, debt. 

Its cessation of existence was accompanied, perhaps preceded, by the expira- 
tion of the General Committee ; for we have Dr. Sherwood's authority for as- 
serting that it was formally dissolved about 1810. But we have seen that it vir- 
tually changed itself into a Board of Trustees, and in 1807 it appears solely in 
that character, nothing else but the college seeming to claim its attention. 

These facts have been dwelt on for the reasons that they are, strictly speaking, 
a part of the history of our denomination in the State, and because they exhibit 
the first general effort at co-operation among the Baptists of Georgia, and, also, 
because they manifest the interest taken by our fathers in the cause of education. 

This was not, however, the first school established in Georgia under Baptist 
auspices ; for Silas Mercer had opened an academy and employed a teacher at 
his residence, called Salem, nine miles south of Washington, in 1793. At the 
death of Silas Mercer in 1796, Mr. Armor, who had been employed, gave up 
the rectorship of Salem Academy, and Jesse Mercer, assisted by a brother, took 
charge of it himself for a while. 

There were, in the beginning of the century, six incorporated academies in 
the State. They were at Savannah, Augusta, Sunbury, Louisville, and one in 
each of the counties of Burke and Wilkes. In 1802, Mrs. Allen opened a school 
for females at Athens, and in 1805, Madam Dugas opened a boarding school at 
Washington, which flourished for a number of years. Meson Academy, Lexing- 
ton, was commenced in 1804 or 1805. In 181 1 the Mount Zion Academy was 
put in operation, and, soon after another at Powelton. All these various circum- 
stances combined produced the extinction of the Mount Enon Academy, for 
which solicitude was manifested by so many eminent Baptists. 

The following is the description of it as it appeared in 1805 : 

" Mount Enon rises in the high region of pine land which separates the 
Ogeechee from the Savannah river, and the low from the back country. The 
range is good ; the land tolerably productive with manure ; the air very salubri- 
ous ; and the water equal to any below the mountains. The principal springs 


issue from the rocks on its north and west sides, and produce, the one ten and 
a half, the other five and a half gallons in a minute. In the immediate vicinity 
of this place are Richmond Baths, and general saw, grist and bolting mills, and, 
at the distance of ten to twenty miles, a landing at New Savannah for large 
boats, Cowles' Iron Works, Waynesborough and the city of Augusta. It is by 
computation two miles in circumference and two hundred feet high." 

The Boa7'ding House and lot were held by trustees until 1833, when they 
were sold for fifty dollars, to Dr. B. B. Miller, and the house was moved to 
Hephzibah, where it is now the residence of Mrs. Dr. Miller. 

The history of Mount Enon Academy will be closed by a humorous saying 
of Ben. J. Tharpe, in regard to Mount Enon, in the days when he went to 
school at Powelton. He had ridden over to gratify his curiosity, and after his 
return from Mount Enon he soberly enunciated his theory concerning the place, 
to a. friend. Said he : " It appears to me as if, after making the world, the Lord 
had a big bag full of sand left, and, not knowing what else to do with it, he 
emptied it all out at Mount Enon." 

The present chapter affords a singular phase of our denominational history. 
Apparently it presents to our view a series of mistakes ; but we shall find the 
Baptists of Georgia making a good many mistakes. The experiences gained by 
the General Committee, and by those who estabhshed Mount Enon Academy, 
proved of great value afterwards, in the organization of our State Convention 
and in the establishment of Mercer Institute. The great lesson, learned at 
Mount Enon and practiced at Penfield, was not to incur indebtedness. 

We should remember that, in the matter of organization and co-operation, 
everything was new and untried, and that almost insuperable difficulties hedged 
in every Christian enterprise. To select objects upon which all could concen- 
trate was, indeed, difficult ; and to induce that concentration was still more 
difficult. In this case it was impossible, and we may add, without its being a 
matter of surprise. Mount Enon was not the proper place for a college, and 
union among Christians of different denominations, wa's not the proper endeavor 
of a Baptist convention. 

Hinting, only, that it was too early, probably, to seek the establishment of an 
institution of high grade, we will add that there were elements in the denomina- 
tion, as will be seen hereafter, which militated against the successful accomplish- 
ment of the objects sought to be attained by the General Committee. But we 
must let the future speak for itself. One thing was surely learned by the 
experience acquired, and that was, the necessity of combination, and of some 
instrumentality by which the energies and liberality of the Baptists could be 
elicited, combined and directed. 






And, now, let us gather up the threads of our history, and advance to the 
estabhshment of the Georgia Baptist Convention. 

The population of the State had advanced from 162,000 in 1800, to 252.432 in 
1810, of whom 145 414 were slaves. Under the governorship of Josiah Tatnall. 
John Milledge, Jared Irwin and David B. Mitchell, the Commonwealth enjoyed 
a high state of prosperity. Its exports increased, in ten years, from $1,755,939 
to $2,568,866. The Legislature and Executive department moved from Louis- 
ville to Milledgeville in 1807. Although Georgia had claimed all the territory of 
the State for more than a quarter of a century, yet it was not until 1802 that 
the land between the Oconee and Ocmulgee rivers was actually acquired from 
the Indians, and it was only by different treaties in 18 14, 18 17, 1819, 1821 and 
1825. that the Indian titles to all the land east of the Chattahoochee were extin- 
guished ; in fact, it finally required the force of arms on the part of the L^nited 
States government to gain possession of all lands east of the Chattahoochee, and 
effect the extinguishment of Indian titles. This had been guaranteed by the 
general government when, in 1802, it purchased Georgia's claim to all the land 
between the Chattahoochee and Mississippi rivers. 

It was these Creek Indians living in the western part of Georgia, and in Ala- 
bama, in whom our Baptist fathers interested themselves so earnestly, in the 
beginning of this century, and who were not finally removed west of the Missis- 
sippi until 1836. Audit is the descendants of these same Indians for whose 
spiritual benefit we are still laboring and bestowing our substance in the Indian 

The General Committee, though desirous to do so, never engaged in any 
benevolent work among the Indians ; this was undertaken, however, as we 
shall see, by the Associations themselves, about 1820. Let us glance again at 
the condition of the Associations first formed in Georgia, so as to impress their 
formation and early growth upon our minds, and obtain a bird's eye view of the 
denomination in the State, during the first decade of the century. 

The Georgia Association was formed in 1784, by the union of five churches. 
In 1788 there were twenty-seven Georgia churches in connection with this Asso- 
ciation, which contained 2,270 members. In 1790 there were forty-two Baptist 
churches in Georgia, whose membership was 3,211 ; and in the following year, 
1791, there were forty-seven churches, whose total membership was 3,557, there 
being thirty-two ordained ministers and forty-five licentiates. In the year 1794, 
fifty-two Georgia churches, with one whose application was refused, are reported 
in the Minutes of the Georgia Association. For fourteen of these churches 



the members of preceding years are given. Allowing a fair estimate for in- 
crease, and counting one churcli rejected because of some variance vt^ith the 
Kiokee church, and the total is fifty-three churches, and 3,650 members. All 
these facts and figures are taken from printed records. 

The Association met, in 1794, at Powell's Creek— now Powelton — and it was 
agreed to divide the Association, those desiring it being permitted by formal 
resolution to form another Association, towards the south, in the following Sep- 
tember. Delegates from eighteen churches met at Buckhead Davis' meeting- 
house, on Saturday before the fourth Lord's day, and formed the Hephzibah 
Association, which, in 1803, included twenty-two churches, with 1,132 members ; 
in 1804., twenty-three churches and 1,492 members — a gain of 373; in 1805, 
twenty-eight churches and 1,765 members; in 1808, delegates from forty-one 
churches reported a membership of 1,400, allowing twenty-four for the Bethany 
church, Washington county, whose numbers are not reported; in 181 1, there 
were thirty-two churches and 1,785 members; in 1812, thirty-six churches and 
1,865 members; in 1813, thirty churches and 2,022 members. 

In October, 1798, eight churches were dismissed from the Georgia Association 
to form a new Association, in the northern part of the State. After a preUmi- 
nary meeting, in May, 1799, at Shoal Creek church, where they met and formed 
an Association which was named The Sarepta, in the fall of the same year — 
October — they held their first session at Van's Creek church, Elbert county, 
when the Constitution and Decorum of the Georgia Association were adopted. 
Nowadays we should call this the second meeting. 

There were, in this Association, in 1801, seventeen churches and 1,256 mem- 
bers; in 1802, there were twenty-five churches and 2,527 members ; in 1803, 
there were thirty-three churches and 2,693 members; in 1804, thirty-five 
churches and 2,760 members ; in 1808, forty churches and 2,375 members; 1810, 
forty churches and 2,220 members; and in 181 1, forty churches containing 
2,050 members. 

Again, the Georgia, in 18 10, dismissed twenty of its fifty-two churches, to 
form the Ocmulgee Association. In November of that year the Ocmulgee As- 
sociation was formed at Rooty Creek meeting-house, eight miles east of Eaton- 
ton, by the union of twenty-four churches, four of which came, probably, from 
the Hephzibah Association. During the session four other churches were ad- 
mitted. There were thirty-four churches represented in 181 1, which had a 
membership of 1,877. The following year, 181 2, thirty-three churches, with a 
membership of 2,667, were represented, showing a gain of 801 in one year. 
Correspondents were received in that year from the Georgia, Sarepta and Heph- 
zibah Associations. 

The fifth Association in the State was the Savannah, which was formed on the 
5th of April, 1802, by the union of three churches — the Savannah church, the 
Newington church, and the colored church of Savannah. The membership of 
all these churches was about eight hundred, the very large preponderance being 
with the colored church in Savannah. The delegates from the three churches 
were as follows : Rev. Henry Holcombe and Elias Robert, from the Savannah 
(white) church ; Rev. John Goldwire and Thomas Polhill from the Newington 
church, and Rev. Andrew Bryant, Evan Great and H. Cunningham from the 
Savannah (colored) church. The delegates met on Saturday, April 3d, and con- 
stituted the Association on Monday, the 5th, adopting for its creed the English 
Confession of Faith of 1688, and the summary of church discipline of the 
Charleston Association. It was resolved to divide the colored church as soon 
as practicable, and to ordain colored ministers regularly to take charge of these 
churches ; and it was also agreed that, when engaged in business, the members 
call each other " brethren." 

In consequence, the Second colored church was constituted December 26th, 

1802, and the Ogechee colored church was constituted on the 2d of January, 

1803. Henry Cunningham was ordained on the ist of Januaiy, 1803, to take 
charge of the Second colored church ; and Henry Francis, who had been or- 
dained on the 23d of May, 1802, assumed the pastorate of the Ogechee colored 
church. These two latter churches were considered members of the Associa- 



tion, and sent letters and delegates to the session which met at Savannah, Jan- 
uarv 15th, 1803, without making application for admittance. The membership 
of the five churches, in January, 1803, was : Savannah, sixty-seven ; Newington, 
sixteen ; Savannah, First colored, four hundred ; Savannah, Second colored, two 
hundred ; Ogechee, colored, two hundred and fifty. Seven other churches ap- 
plied for admission, and were received : Black Swamp, ninety members, Alex- 
ander Scott, pastor ; Coosawhatchie, sixty members, Aaron Tison, pastor ; Pipe 
Creek, thirty-five members ; Bethesda, twenty-eight members, James Sweat, 
pastor ; Three Runs, thirty — all five in South Carolina — Black Creek, seventy- 
seven members, Isham Peacock, pastor ; Lett's Creek, forty-five members, 
Henry Cook, pastor. Total membership, i ,298. These two last named churches 
were in Georgia, about thirty miles southwest of Savannah. 

Mr. Peacock was called to ordination by the Lott's Creek church, of which he 
was a licentiate, and was a very useful and zealous, but not learned, young 
preacher. His ordination took place at Black Creek, the presbytery being Dr. 
Holcombe, Rev. John Goldwire and Rev. Henry Cook, in the morning of Au- 
gust 15th, 1802. The same presbytery constituted the Black Creek church, on 
the afternoon of the same day, with thirteen members, all of whom had in the 
meanwhile been baptized by Mr. Peacock, after his ordination. The new church 
then presented him a call to become its pastor, which he accepted. To add 
still further to these remarkable facts, the thirteen members were all converts 
under the preaching of Mr. Peacock, and had been all received for baptism by 
experience only the day previous. 

These facts are taken from the Association Minutes, and from Dr. Holcombe's 
Analytical Repository, and from Dr. Benedict's History, and may be relied on 
as correct. 

The five Georgia churches in 1803, increased to eight in 1804, and to at least 
nine in 1805, when the Sunbury church joined. In 1806 the name of the Asso- 
ciation was changed to Savannah River, because its churches were on both sides 
of that river, most of them being in South Carolina. The growth of the Georgia 
churches of this Association was as follows : 800 members in 1802 ; 1,055 mem- 
bers in 1803; 1,418 members in 1804, and 4,300 members in 1813, the great 
majority of whom were colored members. 

In the city of Augusta, also, there was a large and flourishing church of colored 
people, which contamed, in 181 3, 588 members. Thischurch, the name of which 
is Springfield, was formed in 1791, and connected itself with the Georgia Asso- 
ciation as early, at least, as the beginning of this century. In 1803 it had 500 
members, and in 1814 it had 600 members. It established, fourteen miles be- 
low Augusta, an arm, or branch, called Ebenezer, which, for more than half a 
century, has been a large and flourishing church. Jacob Walker, the most 
prominent pastor of the Springfield church, occupied a position in Augusta fully 
equal to that held by Andrew Marshall in Savannah. At his death the whole 
city of Augusta manifested the greatest respect and sorrow, as for one of its 
most eminent citizens. 

The following estimate, the figures of which have all been taken from printed 
Minutes, gives a fair view of the statistics of our denomination in Georgia, in 
the year 181 3 : 

Georgia Association, . . 
Hephzibah Association, . 
Sarepta Association, . . 
Ocmulgee Association,. . 
Savannah River Association, 

35 churches, 

36 churches, 
44 churches, 
39 churches, 
10 churches. 

3,428 members. 
2,037 rnembers 
3,140 members. 
2,850 members. 
4,300 members. 

Total, 164 churches, 

i5'755 rnembers. 

About this period a great work of grace occurred in Georgia. During the 
year 1812, 1,265 converts were baptized in the Sarepta Association, 1,492 in the 
Savannah Association, and in the Georgia, 362 baptisms were reported at its 
session for 181 3. Churches were being constituted continually in all parts of 
the State. For several years in succession the different Associations had been 


appointing days for fasting, humiliation and prayer, and sometimes two such 
days of humiliation for imploring mercy and blessing were appointed for the 
same year. At its session in 1811 the Georgia Association adopted the follow- 
ing : " In concurrence with the Hephzibah Association — 

" Resolved, That Friday before the fourth Lord's day in December next, be 
observed as a day of fasting and prayer to God that He would graciously pour 
out His Spirit more abundantly on church and people, and that he would spread 
the wing of His providence over our nation and avert impending calamities." 

In 181 1 the Sarepta appointed the following 4th of July as a day of fasting 
and prayer for the outpouring of blessings; and, at its session in 1812, the ist 
of June was appointed as a day of fasting and prayer to Almighty God to avert 
the calamity of war. 

The Ocmulgee, in September, 181 2 : " Resolved, That the first day of Janu- 
uary next be observed by this Association as a day of fasting and prayer." 

The spirit of itineracy was the prevailing spirit among the churches and Asso- 
ciations, as is evidenced by the following, adopted by the Georgia Association, 
at its session of 181 1: " lOneracy has the decided patronage of this Asso- 
ciation, and It is strongly recommended that the ministers of this body encour- 
age it by prompt exertions." 

The ministers universally engaged themselves devotedly in itinerant labors, 
and constituted churches all over the eastern half of Georgia ; churches as far 
apart as Freeman's Creek, in Clarke county, Richland Creek, in Twiggs county, 
and Trail Branch, in Pulaski county, belonged to the Ocmulgee Association ; 
and a general spirit of earnestness, piety and zeal prevailed. The missionary 
.spirit was strong and pervading, and for several years we find no traces of an 
anti-missionary spirit. The men whom we have special occasion to admire, for 
their piety, zeal and devotion during those years, were Abraham Marshall, of 
Applington, second to none in zeal and ministerial usefulness, and now near the 
end of his laborious pilgrimage ; Jesse Mercer, full of zeal, earnestness and ac- 
tivity, and already assuming thai position of leader in every good work and 
word which he occupied so long ; Robert McGinty, Edmund Talbot, James 
Matthews, William Davis, M. Reeves, Joel Willis, Elijah Moseley, F. Flour- 
noy, Joseph Baker, V. A. Tharp. Henry Hand, Norvell Robertson, George and 
William Franklin, John Stanford, Littleton Meeks, Francis Calloway, David 
Montgomery, Dozier Thornton, Miller Bledsoe, C. O. Screven, William Rabun, 
Wilson Lumpkin, Lazarus Battle, Charles J. Jenkins, Thomas Byne, and many' 
others, all of whom earnestly preached the Word, all over the State, seeking to 
bring sinners into the fold of Jesus, and strengthen saints in the principles of 
our faith. The five last mentioned, however, were not ministers, but distin- 
guished laymen. 

The period which we are regarding was that just preceding and during the 
war of 1812 — when, on account of the English claiming and exercising the right 
to search American ships for deserters, thus frequently impressing our citizens 
into the British service, and also on account of the capture, by Britisn cruisers, 
of American vessels, under the plea that they were a lawful prize, because bear- 
ing French products — our government felt compelled todeclare hostilities against 
Great Britain, on the i8th of June, 18 12, 

It will be interesting to the reader to learn the position taken by our denom- 
ination with reference to that war. The very prospect of such a war had exer- 
cised a baneful influence upon the prospects of the country, and had called forth 
the appointment of days for fasting and prayer, which we have already seen. 
The effects of the war upon Georgia commerce will be apparent when it is stated 
that the exports of the State for the years 181 2 and 18 13 diminished about one 
and a half million of dollars. 

Among the Baptists the unanimity of sentiment discerned in the appoint- 
ment of days for fasting and prayer, was shown also by the adoption of patri- 
otic resolutions in their associational meetings. The Sarepta Association, at its 
session held at Big Creek church, Clarke county, in October, 181 3, adopted the 
following : 

" On motion, Resolved, That whereas the Georgia Association has seen 


proper to set forth a declaration of their pleasedness with, and determination to 
support, the government of their country, in its present administration, and to 
admonish the cliurches, in their connection, to unity and perseverance in the 
present war and its prosecution ; we do concur therewith, and order that the 
same be published in the Minutes as from us to the churches in union with us." 

This reference is to the action of the Georg-ia Association at Fishing Creek, 
Wilkes county, in its session, a few days previously, in the same month. The 
article was drawn up by a committee, consisting of Jesse Mercer, Wilson Lump- 
kin, William Rabun, and J. N. Brown, and, after being read several times, was 
adopted without dissent. It stands thus : 

" That however unusual it may be for us, as a religious body, to intermeddle 
with the political concerns of our country, yet, at this momentous crisis, when 
our vital interests are jeopardized, to remain silent would indicate a criminal 
indifference. We, therefore, in this public and solemn manner, take the liberty 
of saying that we have long viewed with emotions of indignation and horror 
the many lawless aggressions committed on the persons, rights and property of 
the people of these United States by the corrupt, arbitrary and despotic gov- 
ernment of Great Britain and its emissaries. And, as it has been found neces- 
sary to resist such wanton and cruel outrages by opposing force to force : 

" Resolved, icnaniinously, That it is the opinion of this Association, that the 
WAR so waged against Britain is JUST, necessary and indispensable ; and, 
as we consider everything dear to us and to our country involved in its issue, 
we solemnly pledge ourselves to the government of our choice, that we will, by 
all means within Our power, aid in its prosecution, until it shall be brought to 
an honorable termination. And we also exhort and admonish, particularly the 
churches belonging to our connection, and brethren and friends in general, to 
take into consideration the command of our Lord by His apostle, ' to be subject 
to the powers ordained of God over us,' and to be jointly united in the common 
cause of Liberty and Independence — to be examples to all within their reach, 
by a peaceable and quiet endurance of the privations and afflictions of the 
present war ; by a promptness to defend their violated rights when called on to 
personal service, and by a cheerfulness in meeting the accumulated, though indis- 
pensable, expenses thereof — in all things showing themselves the real friends of 
Liberty and Religion, by bringing all their energies to bear on the measures of 
the government, thereby the more speedily (under God) to bring about a happy 
termination of these calamities, by the restoration of an honorable and lasting 
peace. And, for that purpose, we further exhort them to let their united sup- 
plications ascend to the Lord of Hosts that he would graciously preside over the 
councils of our nation, be our sun and shield, and cover our armies and navies 
in the day of battle." 

Two of the members of this committee, in after life, reached the exalted 
station of governor — William Rabun and Wilson Lumpkin. The latter was 
one of the noblest men our State ever produced. Although born in Virginia, 
in 1783, he was brought to Georgia, in 1784, and may, therefore, be called a 
Georgian. He became a Baptist in early manhood, and remained faithful to his 
religious principles until his death, on the night of December 28th, 1870 — a 
period of seventy years. Though an active politician, he took a lively interest in 
religious and church matters. From the State Legislature he passed to the 
House of Representatives in Congress, and thence to the gubernatorial chair, 
and, afterwards, to the United States Senate ; in all of which positions he did 
honor to his State and credit to his denomination. On retiring from public life, 
in 1 84 1, he took up his residence in Athens, Georgia, where he spent the 
remainder of his days, honored and respected as became a man of his exalted 
worth and character. 

The former, Governor Rabun, was a North Carolinian, born in April, 1771. 
When a young man, he moved to Georgia with his father and settled in Powel- 
ton, Hancock county, by which he was sent to the Legislature. He was, for 
many years President of the Senate, and as such became Governor, March 4th, 
1817, on the death of Governor D. B. Mitchell. In November, 1817, he was 
regularly elected to the gubernatorial office, for two years, but died before the 


expiration of his term of office, in October, 1819. He was truly a religious 
man, a strong Baptist and an active and zealous church-member. Even vi^hile 
Governor of the State, he was the clerk and chorister of his church, at Powelton, 
and represented it in the Georgia Association. By request of the Legislature, 
at his death, Jesse Mercer preached a sermon before that august body, a few 
extracts from which will present the reader with a just estimate of his character, 
by one who knew not how to flatter nor how to prevaricate : 

"Your late excellent Governor was the pleasant and lovely companion of my 
youth ; my constant friend and endeared Christian brother in advancing years ; 
and, till death, my unremitted fellow-laborer and able support in all the efforts 
of benevolence and philanthropy in which I had the honor and happiness to be 
engaged, calculated either to amend or meliorate the condition of man. * * * 

" It was his felicity to have many friends, few enemies, rare equals and no 
superiors. He is gone, and has left an awful chasm behind him. A widow 
bereft of a tender and kind husband ; children of an affectionate and loving 
father ; servants of a humane and indulgent master ; neighbors of a constant 
friend and pleasant companion ; the Baptist church of her bright ornament, 
member and scribe ; two mission societies of their secretary ; the Georgia Asso- 
ciation of her clerk ; and the State of a firm politician and her honored chief. 
O, what an awful death was Governor Rabun's ! The beauty of Georgia is 
falle7i /" 

As an evidence of Governor Rabun's spirit and independence of character, 
we give an extract from a letter of his to General Jackson, written June ist, 181 8 
It was in reply to a letter from General Jackson, in which the action of the Geor- 
gia State troops, in attacking the Indian town of Chehaw, was very severely cen- 
sured. The General's letter contained this passage : " Such base cowardice and 
murderous conduct as this transaction affords, has no parallel in history, and shall 
meet its merited punishment. You, sir, as Governor of a State within my 
military division, have no right to give a military order while I am in the field." 
In his reply, after referring to a communication from General Glascock, on 
which General Jackson based his censure. Governor Rabun says : " Had you, 
sir, or General Glascock, been in possession of the facts that produced this 
affair, it is to be presumed, at least, that you would not have indulged in a 
strain so indecorous and unbecoming. I had, on the 21st of March last, stated 
the situation of our bleeding frontier to you, and requested you, in respectful 
terms, to detail a part of your overwhelming force for our protection, or that 
you would furnish supplies and I would order out more troops, to which you 
never ye' deigned a reply. You state, in a very haughty tone, that I, a Governor 
of a State under your military division, have no right to give a military order 
while you are in the field. Wretched and contemptible, indeed, must be our 
situation if this be the fact. When the liberties of the people of Georgia shall 
have been prostrated at the feet of a military despotism, then, and not till then, 
will your imperious doctrine be tamely submitted to. You may rest assured 
that if the savages continue their depredations on our unprotected frontier, I 
shall think and act for myself in that respect." 

The joint-committee of the Legislature which was appointed to consider the 
death of Governor Rabun, referred to him, in their report, as an ornament of 
society, an undeviating and zealous patriot, and an unwavering friend of humanity. 
Says the report : " Nature had endowed him with a strong and vigorous mind, 
and a firmness of character which never forsook him. Love of order and love 
of his country were conspicuous in his every action, and justice he regarded not 
only as a civil but as a religious duty. His public life flowed naturally from 
these principles. Ever obedient and attentive to the admonitions of his con- 
science, his public acts were marked with an integrity which did honor to his 
station. His private virtues were of the highest order." The following resolu- 
tion, recommended by this joint-committee, was unanimously agreed to by the 
Legislature : 

" Resolved, That the Executive and Judicial officers of this State, together 
with the members of this Legislature, do wear crape on the left arm for sixty 
days ; and that the members of both branches do attend at the Baptist church, 


on Wednesday, the 24th instant, at twelve o'clock, for the purpose of hearing a 
funeral sermon, to be delivered by the Rev. Jesse Mercer, on this mournful 

The General Committee, as well as the Board of Trustees for Mount Enon 
Academy, has ceased to exist. Although there are five Associations, there is 
no bond of general union, and the churches have no common object of interest. 
Clay is dead ; Holcombe has moved to Philadelphia ; and C. O. Screven has 
retired to Liberty county, where he is laboring faithfully. Dr. Wm. B. Johnson 
is pastor of the Savannah church, and the elder Brantly, who had for several 
years been the rector of the Augusta Academy, in 181 1, accepted the charge of 
the Beaufort. South Carolina Baptist church. Jesse Mercer is efficiently supplying 
several churches. Rev. Abraham Marshall is still pastor of Kiokee church and 
Moderator of the Georgia Association. George Franklin, Edward Talbot and 
Charles Culpepper are exercising a good influence, as pastors, in the Heph- 
zibah Association. The prevailing spirit in the churches is that of itineracy, 
but one Association only having, thus far, developed any plan approaching a 
systematic missionary effort, and that was the Savannah River, which has a 
mission committee and sustains her own State missionaries. 

It was just at this time, 181 2, that Adoniram Judson and Luther Rice were 
both converted to Baptist principles on their passage to India, although they 
sailed in different ships. The following year, 1813, Mr. Rice returned to Amer- 
ica, laid their case before the Baptist world, and, immediately a missionary 
enthusiasm was excited which resulted in the formation of the old Baptist Tri- 
ennial Convention, in i8i4, and of many missionary societies. Luther Rice 
soon came South, and was partly instrumental in originating the great missionary 
movement in Georgia. 

Baptist churches are springing up rapidly in the State, where the whites dwell ; 
but the territory of the whites extends no further west than the Altamaha and 
Ocmulgee rivers. Pulaski, Twiggs, Jones and Jasper counties are on the western 
frontier, and Franklin is the most northerly county. Our churches generally lie 
between the Ocmulgee and Savannah rivers, very few existing on the seaboard. 
In truth, about one-third only of the State has been surveyed and laid out into 
counties, the rest being inhabited by Creek and Cherokee Indians, who gave a 
great deal of trouble, and resisted the encroachments of the whites so violently 
that the military power of the general government had to be invoked. 
••^But a spirit of gloom broods over the State on account of the war with Great 
Britain. Our denomination, however, patriotically concedes the justice of our 
cause ; while the Associations all appoint, annually, days of fasting and prayer, 
for the effusion of the Spirit and the removal of war's calamities. 








An epoch is made of the year 1813, because in that year an impetus was given 
to the mission cause in Georgia, which worked a great revolution among the 
Baptists in the State, and finally resulted in the formation of our State Baptist 
Convention, and the establishment of Mercer University. 

Those who study the musty records of our denomination in Georgia, will find 
frequent references to communications from the General Baptist Mission Corn- 
mittee in Philadelphia. Let it be put on record that this Committee did 
much to foster the mission spirit in Georgia. Let it be put on record, also, that 
Luther Rice materially assisted in arousing and promoting a missionary spirit in 
our State, by visiting various localities in the State, forming mission societies, 
and maintaining with them a regular correspondence. But, while there was_ a 
strong missionary spirit inherited, as we might say, from that noble man, Daniel 
Marshall, who left his home in Connecticut to labor among the Mohawk Indians, 
yet, for want of co-operation, it had never been developed. 

The first effort at denominational co-operation was, as we have seen, a failure. 
Allusion is made to the " General Committee " formed at Powelton in 1804 ; and 
the reasons of its failure have been partly traced. Had it engaged more actively 
in missionary effort, and made no attempt at promoting Christian union among 
different denominations, it might have merged into a general convention such as 
we now have, and which is much more adapted to the genius of our denomina- 
tion. We shall now take up and trace out the different threads of influence 
that led to and resulted in the formation of our State Baptist Convention, which, 
at its origin, was merely a missionary society. 

In the beginning of this century, the southern part of our State was fortunate 
in having two educated and cultivated ministers, who promoted the cause of 
missions largely. These were C. O. Screven and Henry Holcombe. The latter 
exerted a powerful influence by his bi-monthly Analytical Repository, published 
in 1 801 and 1802, in which he advocated missions and gave missionary news. 


To those may be added the courtly and cultivJited William T. Brantly, Sr., who 
resided in Beaufort, South Carolina, and was for eight years one of the ruling 
spirits of the Savannah Association, which embraced about three times as many 
churches in South Carolina as it did in Georgia, on which account its name was 
changed to the Savannah River Association in 1806. The elder Brantly was a 
man cultivated in the highest degree and eminently of a missionary spirit. 
Two other master minds in the Savannah River Association were Dr. William 
B. Johnson, the successor of Dr. Holcombe, as pastor of the Savannah church, 
and Alexander Scott, both of whom were powerful advocates of missions and of 
the mission cause. For years Scott was the Moderator of the body, and Thomas 
Polhill was clerk. He, too. was a strong advocate of missions, and a man of 
intelligence and education, who, in 181 2, issued a very respectable work on Bap- 
tism, containing two hundred pages, in reply to " A vindication of the rights of 
infants to the ordinance of baptism," by Rev. James Russell. He was for a time 
an active member of the General Committee of the Georgia Baptists, and labored 
zealously for both missions and education for ten years, having been ordained 
in November, 1805, and dying in December, 18 14. 

The influence of these lofty characters, added to a missionary enthusiasm ex- 
cited by the conversion of Adoniram Judson and Luther Rice to Baptist princi- 
ples, awakened a strong missionary sentiment in the Savannah River Associa- 
tion. As early as 18 12 there was money sent up by the churches of this 
Association, for the support of itinerant and missionary efforts, and at the 
meeting held with the Sunbury church, in that year, a committee was appointed 
to receive and appropriate it. They employed Rev. Thomas Trowel as an 
itinerant missionary. A committee was also appointed, of which Rev. William B, 
Johnson, D. D., was chairman, to prepare and report, at the meeting for 181 3, 
"a plan for the more permanent and effectual prosecution of itinerant and mis- 
sionary efforts contemplated by the body." Dr. William B. Johnson was also 
appointed to prepare the Circular Letter for 181 3, on this subject: " THE Im- 
portance AND Advantages of Itinerant and Missionary Efforts." 

The Association met at Union church, Barnwell district, South Carolina, on 
the 27th of November, 1813, and the Circular Address prepared by WiUiam B. 
Johnson, was adopted and published in the Minutes of that year. It is a tract 
of remarkable ability, occupying nine closely printed, large pamphlet pages. 
We find also in the Minutes of this noteworthy session, that a special committee 
was appointed to consider all communications addressed to the body, and report 
upon them. In its report, the committee expressed their cordial approbation of 
the great design then forming in America for sending the gospel to the heathen, 
and also of those measures the Baptists of the United States were then pursuing 
for the accomplishment of this object. Information concerning these designs 
and measures had been communicated in letters from the Philadelphia and 
Charleston Associations, and in a Circular Address from the representatives of 
the Boston, Salem and Haverill Societies for Foreign Missions. 

Connected with their recommendation, the committee stated that in the com- 
munications referred to honorable mention was made of the ability and and per- 
severing zeal of brethren Rice and Judson, missionaries to the East, whose 
secession from their former religious connection, and union with the Baptist de- 
nomination, had originated the great design now contemplated in America, and 
the measures taken for its accomplishment. Luther Rice, being present, was 
requested to address the body and state any matters relative to this subject 
which he deemed worthy of attention. He arose and stated that he had lately 
returned from Calcutta to America, and that he had visited different Associations 
and places in the United States for the purpose of encouraging American Bap- 
tists to support foreign missions. He said he had met with uniform success, 
and it was his fixed determination, as he knew it to be that of his colleague, Mr. 
Judson, then in the East, to prosecute the foreign mission work which engaged 
their attention as soon as suitable provision should be made for its support and 

The Association appointed a day for fasting, humiliation and prayer for the 
removal of the awful scourge of war, and for an outpouring of the Spirit upon 
the churches and the world in general. It resolved, also, "That this Associa- 


tion do concur with the recommendation of the committee in relation to the 
design now forming in America, and the measures pursued for its accomplishment. 

"Resolved, also, That the churches be exhorted to use their best endeavors 
towards the support of foreign missions." 

Dr. William B. Johnson, from the committee appointed the previous year to 
prepare and report a plan for the more permanent and effectual prosecution of 
itinerant and missionary efforts contemplated by the Association, reported a 
Constitution, which was adopted, for the organization of a General Committee, 
to be formed out of the churches of the Association, in which the direction and 
management of this important matter should be vested. This committee, called 
the ■' General Committee of the Savannah River Association for the encourage- 
ment of itinerant-and missionary efforts," composed of thirteen delegates from 
various churches, organized by the election of the following officers : William 13. 
Johnson, President; Thomas F. Williams, Secretary; H. W. Williams, Treasu- 
rer; Drs. C. O. Screven and William T. Brantly, Assistants. It was located' in 

This was the first Georgia associational organization for missionary purposes. 
There had been sent up by the churches ^230.26^-, and the amount on hand, 
from the preceding year, was $106.80. The committee at once employed two 
itinerant preachers, licentiates, for one year, Rev. Thomas Trowel and Rev. 
Allen Sweat, at $80 each. They also agreed to assist Rev. Charles Felder, 
pastor of the Springtown church, and Rev. Jacob Dunham, a licensed preacher in 
the Sunbury church, to the amount of $50 each, and to give each $10 worth of 

This Association concluded to divide in 1817. The South Carolina churches 
retained the name and records. The Georgia churches formed a new Associa- 
tion at Sunbury, Georgia, and held its first session at Sunbury in November, 
1 81 8. In 1 81 9 the missionary plan of the Savannah River Association was put 
into operation in the Sunbury Association, by the annual appointment of a stand- 
ing committee of seven, which, for a great many years, employed associational 
missionaries, whose labors redounded to the glory of God and to the salvation 
of many souls. These missionaries were regularly appointed and paid by the 
Standing Committee from funds sent up for the purpose by the churches. Let 
it not be supposed, however, that because mention is thus made of the mission- 
ary work in the Sunbury and Savannah River, that none was performed by the 
other Associations of a similar nature. On the contrary, we see repeated men- 
tion of itinerant labor, in the minutes of all our early Associations, and it is ap- 
proved and encouraged. For instance, the Hephzibah Minutes of 181 3 and 1816 
say : " A number of churches in our connection expressing in their letters a de- 
sire for the continuance of itinerant preaching, the ministers and preachers agreed 
to continue it in the usual mode," etc. In 1 814 the Ocmulgee passed a resolution 
that its ministers go forth, two and two, in this work ; and the Georgia had en- 
couraged it from its organization ; but these were voluntary and unpaid laborers, 
although we read of occasional appropriations of money for itinerant preaching. 

The enthusiasm in regard to foreign missions aroused at the meeting in 181 3, 
which we have just been considering, was productive of remarkable and lasting 
effects, proving that meeting to be but one link in a most wonderful chain of 
providential events, by which the Almighty set the Baptists of America to work 
in behalf of foreign missions. Immediately after the adjournment of the Asso- 
ciation, a Baptist Foreign Mission Society was formed in Savannah, whose offi- 
cers were identical with those of the General Committee of the Savannah River 
Association, except that William T. Brantly was formally made the corresponding 
secretary. On the 17th of December, 1813, this Society adopted a, constitution 
and a circular letter, which were sent to the Baptist churches and Associations 
of the State, and resulted, in the year 1815, in the formation of missionary 
societies in the Georgia and Ocmulgee Associations, and led to the formation of 
similar societies, in February, 18 16, in the Hephzibah Association, and in June, 
18 16, in the Sarepta. The missionary spirit was now strongly developed. But 
the necessity for co-operation soon became evident. First, the Ocmulgee, 
Ebenezer and Georgia Associations resolved to co-operate in an Indian mission, 
in 1 82 1. Then the necessity of a more extensive union was perceived, and in 


1822 the " General Association" was formed, which, in 1827, changed its name to 
" The Baptist Convention for the State of Georgia." 

But it will be necessary, and will prove interesting, to trace out the different 
steps which led to these results. Let us, therefore, revert to the " Savannah 
Baptist Society for Foreign Missions " as our starting point. First, let us glance 
at its constitution. It reads thus : 

" Believing it to be the duty of Christians, as circumstances in Divine Provi- 
dence shall enable them, to adopt measures for effectuating that grand command 
of Christ, ' Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature,' and 
particularly encouraged to this duty by present indications of a providential and 
propitious nature, we, whose names are subjoined, do for this purpose, cordially 
associate ourselves as a society, and agree to be governed by the following 
constitution : 

" I. This society shall be known as " The Savannah Baptist Society for For- 
eign Missions." 

" 2. The avowed and determined object of this society is to aid in sending 
forth and supporting missionaries for the purpose of translating the Scriptures, 
preaching the gospel and gathering churches in heathen and idolatrous parts of 
the world. 

" 3. The immediate management of its concerns shall be vested in a Board of 
Directors, consisting of a president, vice-president, recording secretary, corres- 
ponding secretary, treasurer, auditor and seven trustees, to be elected by ballot at 
the first, and at each annual meeting of the society, by a majority of the mem- 
bers present. A majority of the Board shall constitute a quorum to do business. 
Also, the Board shall appoint as many assistants as they may deem necessary 
for carrying into effect the object of the society, each of whom shall be furnished 
with a copy of this constitution, for the especial purpose of obtaining subscrip- 
tions aiid donations, and of collecting and transmitting the same to the treasurer 
of the society, annually, at or before the time of the annual meeting." 

4. Prescribes the time and place of the annual meeting. 

5. Prescribes the powers and duties of the president. 

6. Gives the duties of the recording secretary. 

7. Gives the duties of the corresponding secretary. 

8. Gives the duties of the treasurer. 

9. Prescribes how money shall be paid out. 

" 10. This society shall consist of all such persons as subscribe and pay into 
the treasury annually, any sum which they, individually, may think proper ; 
Provided, that such annual subscription shall not be less than two dollars. 
Delegates from such auxiliary Baptist societies as contribute to the funds of this 
society, shall be considered as members. Any person may withdraw his name 
at pleasure. 

"II. It shall be the duty of the directors, as they may deem it expedient, to 
solicit contributions from such persons as may not choose to become members, 
to obtain subscribers to the society, as opportunity may offer ; to receive sub- 
scriptions and donations for the benefit of the society, and to pay the same over 
to the treasurer, and in all respects to advance, as far as practicable, the interest 
of the institution. 

" 12. The Board of Directors shall, without delay, appoint a delegate or dele- 
gates, to meet delegates from other similar societies, for the purpose of forming 
a " General Committee," or of devising and adopting some other practicable 
method to elicit, combine and direct the energies of the whole Baptist denomina- 
tion of the whole United States in one sacred effort to diffuse amongst idolatrous 
nations the glorious light of the gospel of salvation, 

" 13. All donations to this society, specifically donated for the translation of 
the Scriptures, shall be appropriated to that particular object." 

14. Indicates how the constitution may be altered. 

" Rev. William B. Johnson, President. 

" Rev. Charles O. Screven, Vice-President. 

" Rev. William T. Brantly, Cor. Sec'y, Henry W. Williams, Treasurer, 
Thomas F. Williams, Recording Sec'y. William E. Barnes, Auditor. 

Missionary. ^9 


" Rev. James Sweat, Charles J. Jenkins, Rev. George D. Sweet, 

Thomas Fuller, John Shick, John Stillwell, 

Elias Robert." 

This constitution reads as though it may possibly have been modelled after a 
stereotyped form, circulated by Luther Rice, or the General Committee for Foreign 
Missions in Philadelphia ; but the Circular Address issued by the society, 
and which exercised a marked influence on our denomination in Georgia, is evi- 
dently original, and deserves a place among the permanent records of the Geor- 
gia Baptists. It is headed : 

•' To the hihabitants of Georgia, and the adjacetit parts of South Carolina : 

" Friends and Brethren — As the great family of man are connected to- 
gether by the same fraternal bond, it is the high duty and interest of all its mem- 
bers to use the best means in their power for the benefit of the whole. Of all 
those means which have been employed for this great end, none have been 
found so effectual as the preaching of the everlasting gospel. The obligations 
to contribute to its extension, therefore, must be proportionably binding. 

" The gospel of Christ exhibiting the most important truths and furnishing 
the most exalted motives for action, accurately delineating the path to pure, un- 
alloyed happiness, and deriving its authority from Jehovah himself, produces, in 
its diffusion, results in relation to the benefit of man, which human sages, law- 
givers and kings have for ages labored in vain to effect. Alienated from his God 
by sin, deprived of the favor of his Creator by apostacy, man wanders in the 
earth a wretched object, a forsaken rebel, a child of hell. No ray of light, no 
gleam of hope issues from his dark abode to point out the way to restoration, 
happiness and glory. No human efforts can relieve his hopeless condition. But 
in the gospel of Christ the sun of righteousness is seen rising with healing undei- 
his wings. His divine rays, wherever they penetrate, scatter the mists which 
overwhelm man with despair. These discover to him the way of deliverance 
and joy, and lead to the portals of bliss. On a great part of the earth, these rays 
have fallen with the happiest effect, illuminating the extensive regions, turning 
their inhabitants from darkness to light, and preparing them for immortal felicity. 
But a far greater part of the earth remains unvisited by these beams, and con- 
sequently continues in darkness, and sees no light. But this part waits their 
appearance, and shall not wait in vain. The time approaches when those who 
have long sat in the region and shadow of death, shall have light to spring up 
unto them. The sun of righteousness shall diffuse among them the beams of 
light, and the whole earth shall be full of his glory. 

"Late events in divine providence prove, with convincing testimony, that this 
time fast approaches. Wars and rumors of wars, the overturning of nations, 
the rapidly increasing destruction of the Man of Sin, and the growing spread of 
divine truth — events predicted by the prophets, and represented by them as 
prelusive to the general diffusion of the gospel — clearly show that the universal 
triumph of Christ, the King of Zion, is not far distant. What deserves partic- 
ular notice in this view, is the missionary spirit which, within a few years past, 
has been kindled with enthusiastic ardor in Europe, at the altar of divine love. 
Under its influence great things have been attempted and performed in idola- 
trous nations. 

" America, catching the same hallowed spirit, has been animated to similar 
exertions. Besides many societies formed for missionary efforts in this country, 
one, to the imniortal honor of our Congregational and Presbyterian brethren, 
has been organized by them, of considerable extent and importance. Under 
their patronage, missionaries have been sent out for the purpose of effecting 
establishments in the East, for the diffusion of the gospel among the heathen 
tribes. That our brethren of these denominations should not be alone, in this 
great work, God, in the arrangements of infinite wisdom, has been pleased to 
bring some of their missionaries over to the Baptist persuasion. These, still 


desirous of pursuing their generous, disinterested career for the benefit of the 
heathen, now present themselves to the American Baptists for- support. And 
shall they present themselves in vain ? Friends and brethren, can the finger of 
divine Providence, so evidently marking out the path for us, be mistaken ? Can 
the Lord's will, so clearly made known in this dispensation, be misinterpreted ? 
Surely not ! It cannot be ! If then, it be the high duty and interest of the great 
family of man to promote each other's happiness, and the benefit of the whole, 
and that it is cannot be denied ; and if the diffusion of the gospel of Christ be the 
most effectual means of securing these objects — a truth that must be admitted ; 
then is it undoubtedly our duty and our interest to embrace the present auspi- 
cious moment, and engage with joyful haste and determined energy in the great 
work of evangelizing the poor heathen. 

" Since the secession of our dear brethren, Rice, Judson and lady, the individ- 
uals alluded to above, several missionary societies have been formed by the 
Baptists in America. These societies have for their object the establishment 
and support of foreign missions ; and it is contemplated that delegates from 
them all will convene in some central situation in the United States, for the 
purpose of organizing an efficient and practicable plan, on which the energies 
of the whole Baptist denomination, throughout America, may be elicited, com- 
' bined and directed, in one sacred effort for sending the word of life to idolatrous 
lar.ds. What a sublime spectacle will the convention present ! A numerous 
body of the Lord's people, embracing in their connection from 100,000 to 200,000 
souls, all rising in obedience to their Lord, and meeting, by delegation, in one 
august assembly, solemnly to engage in one sacred effort for effectuating the 
great command: 'Go ye into all theAvorld, and preach the gospel to every 
creature !' 

" What spectacle can more solemnly interest the benevolent heart ! What 
can be more acceptable to our heavenly Father ! We invite you, dear friends 
and brethren — we affectionately and cordially invite you — to embrace the privilege 
of uniting in so glorious a cause, so divine a work. God has put great honor 
upon us m giving us so favorable an opportunity of coming up ' to the help of 
the Lord against the mighty.' In doing so, he has conferred on us a distin- 
guished privilege. Shall we be insensible of the honor ? Shall we disregard 
the privilege ? God forbid ! Living in a country whose generous soil yields, 
with moderate industry, more than a sufficiency of the comforts of life, and 
professing, in great numbers, to be redeemed from our iniquities, our obliga- 
tions to exert ourselves for the benefit of our race and the glory of God, are 
great indeed. O, let us feel, impressively feel, the force of these obligations 
and act correspondently with them ! And we trust, in our attempt to act in 
this manner, no sectarian views, no individual prejudices, no party considera- 
tions, will have leave to operate any unfriendly influence upon a design conceived 
in disinterested benevolence, and having for its object the good of man and 
the honor of his Creator. 

" Connected with this address to you, friends and brethren, is the constitution 
on which our society is organized. According to this, you may either become 
members with us, or donors, or both. In either character we will cheerfully 
receive your aid ; and, in both, we hope to have the pleasure of ranking great 
numbers of you. 

" Wishing you grace, mercy and peace, we remain affectionately, your servants 
in the gospel, for Christ's sake. 

"William B. JoiinsO'N, Presz'denL 

"William T. Brantly, Corresponding Secretary. 

" Savannah, lyth Dece^nber, 181^." 

It was this noble document, in all likelihood, the production of William T. 
Brantly, Sr., and the attendant constitution, which, according to a suggestion in 
the letter from the Whatley's Mill church (now Bethesda), Jesse Mercer presented 
and read to the Georgia Association, at its session, in 1814, and then moved for 
the approbation of the Association, which was given most willingly and unani- 
mously. On account of "its evident importance," it was thought proper to 
recommend the subject to the consideration of the churches, and Friday before 



the first Sabbath in May, 1815, was appointed as a day on which all who were 
individually disposed, of the Georgia and of other Associations, might meet at 
Powelton, Hancock county, to form a society and digest a plan to aid in the 
glorious effort to evangelize the poor heathen in idolatrous lands. The meeting 
took place at Powelton, on the 5th of May, 181 5, and a strong missionary society 
was formed, called "The Powelton Baptist Society for Foreign Missions," of 
which Jesse Mercer was made President, and Wm. Rabun, Secretary. Wm. 
Rabun was, at that time, President of the State Senate. In its first year the 
society raised $483.34, of which Rev. John Robertson gave $12.31 J, as Dr. 
Adiel Sherwood informs us. 

At its next session, in October, 181 5, at Long Creek, Warren county, as niight 
be expected, the Georgia Association was all alive to the subject of missions. 
It received from "The Baptist Board of Foreign Missions, for the United 
States," through its agent, Luther Rice, the report of the board, accompanied 
by letters desiring the aid of the body, " to spread the gospel of Christ among 
the heathen in idolatrous lands." The Association unanimously agreed to 
co-operate in the grand design ; and, the more effectually to do so, resolved 
itself into a body for missionary purposes. Jesse Mercer, Benjamin Thompson, 
Joseph Roberts, William Rabun and James N. Brown, were appointed a committee 
to digest rules for its regulation, and to address a circular to the churches of 
the Association upon the subject, and to correspond with the Foreign Mission 
Board. The following year, at its sesssion with the church at Baird's meeting- 
house, the committee submitted a report which begins as follows, and which was 
adopted : 

" The Georgia Association, impressed with a sense of duty, and anxious to 
participate in the missionary operations now going forward, does, for that pur- 
pose, make, ordain and establish the following Constitution." 

By this constitution, seven trustees were to be chosen annually, to be denom- 
inated " The Mission Board of the Georgia Association," which should be a 
component member of " The General Missionary Convention of the Baptist 
Denomination in the United States of America for Foreign Mission." It was 
also to be an organ for the churches of the Association for domestic missionary 
operations, and act according to instructions and the means in hand. It was 
empowered to appoint an agent to excite a missionary interest among the 
churches and to collect funds, and to appoint one of their own body to repre- 
sent them in the Triennial Convention, in 1817. It was instructed to maintain 
a correspondence with the Board of Foreign Missions, and to report annually to 
the Association. The first Board appointed consisted of Jesse Mercer, William 
Rabun, Thomas Rhodes, James Matthews, William Davis, Malachi Reeves, and 
Joseph Roberts. This board continued in existence eleven years, being discon- 
tinued in 1827, when the Association resolved to send its missionary funds 
through the State Convention. 

Concerning the Mission Board of the Georgia Association, Dr. C. D. Mallary 
says, in his Life of Jesse Mercer, that it " prosecuted its business with much 
success for many years ; assisted in the establishment of a mission among the 
Creeks ; received and disbursed considerable sums of money ; kept up a cor- 
respondence with the General Board, and presented to the Association, from 
year to year, spirited and animating reports of their proceedings and of the gen- 
eral condition of the cause of missions. Mr. Mercer was uniformly appointed 
as a member of this Board, was generally its President, and invariably one of its ■ 
most liberal and efficient supporters." 

We find the following in the Minutes of the Georgia Association for 1817 : 
" Our Mission Board made a satisfactory report relative to the disposition of the 
funds committed to their direction at our last session ; whereupon they were 
dissolved, and the following brethren appointed for the ensuing year, to-wit: Mer- 
cer, Matthews, Davis, Rhodes, Reeves, Roberts and Rabun." William Rabun, 
who was also Clerk of the body, was at that time Governor of Georgia. He died 
in October, 181 9, at his plantation, near Powelton, Georgia. 

We now turn our attention for a few moments to the original Ocmulgee Asso- 
ciation. Its early history excites admiration. Its originators were pious, godly 

// ^031 


men, full of zeal and religious earnestness, and they were ardent in their endeav- 
ors to promote piety, to maintain correct church order, to spread the gospel 
within State bounds, and to advance the cause of foreign missions. Indeed, this 
was the spirit which animated all our early Baptist fathers in the State, to an 
eminent degree, but they were without those facilities for fostering all these 
causes which we now possess, and therefore their efforts were less concentrated, 
and not so intelligently directed. 

Constituted November loth, at Rooty Creek, Putnam county, by James 
Matthews, John Robertson, Robert McGinty, Benjamin and Edmund Shackel- 
ford, a committee appointed by the Georgia Association, Joseph Baker was 
elected Moderator, and William Williams, Clerk. Twenty-eight churches sent 
delegates to its second meeting, in 1811, and six others were received, and its 
Circular Letter, written by Edmund Talbot, breathes an earnest spirit of pious 
zeal for true Christian fellowship. From many devout exhortations, this only 
, is extracted : " Ye are the light of the world ; cherish, guard, exercise and ex- 
tend your fellowship with unwearied solicitude. The salvation of men depends 
wholly on the success of the Christian cause ; it is the cause of God. It con- 
stantly and rapidly gains ground, flourishes, triumphs. Its effects will reach, 
77iiist reach, the remotest nations and the latest posterity." 

Its session of 181 2, September 5ith-8th, at Shoal Creek, Randolph county, 
was a notable meeting. On Sabbath Jesse Mercer, John Ross, and the eloquent 
Thomas Rhodes, preached " to numerous and more than politely attentive 
audiences, wherein saints were comforted, convicted souls trembled, and arrows 
were made fast in the hearts of the King's enemies." The Tirzah church made 
its report exculpating Rev. Francis Flournoy, and a most stirring Circular Letter, 
written by Rev. Elijah Moseley, was read and adopted. As a part of the his- 
tory of the times, and as exhibiting the spirit of our Baptist fathers with refer- 
ence to the war of 181 2, it is presented in full to the reader. 

After an apology for writing a Circular on a subject so diverse from those 
ordinarily selected, and with a graceful allusion to the blessings of peace, the 
horrors of war, and the necessity of the conflict forced upon the country, the 
writer proceeds : 

" Your progenitors, brethren, from the commencement of the Christian era, 
during the darkest as well as the most luminous ages of antiquity, and in all 
modern times, have been the asserters of civil and religious liberty ; and, very 
generally, the most conspicuous sufferers for it. Do you, then, whose fathers 
have suffered so much for you — who have been so highly favored with its en- 
joyment — now deem it worth defending? Is it a precious gift of God? — a 
blessing? If so, can you, without impiety and a species of sacrilege — the act- 
ing in contempt of Deity — relinquish the right of self-government and, by that 
means, bring upon your souls an accumulation of guilt, of varied stains, indeed, 
but of deepest dye ? 

" Were you a sect of yesterday, grown out of and arisen from the squabblings 
of parties for power, wealth and influence in any corrupt and corrupting national 
establishment, the case would, indeed, be different. But the contrary being- 
true, and living in this country, so highly favored of the Lord, where each 
denomination enjoys fully every religious right, equal protection, and as much 
liberty as is believed to be consistent with human happiness, an indifference to, 
or supineness in defence of, these blessings, would evince a state of mind most 
depraved, and indicate the absence of every truly virtuous and religious principle. 

" It has been said that ' our constitution and form of government are unsuited 
and incompetent to sustain the shock of war.' Let us disprove this aspersion, 
by the prompt support we give them in the present conflict ; and demonstrate 
that the government has our confidence and esteem, and that we will sustain it 
with united hearts and hands. 

" This, brethren, is not a war of passion and of mad ambition on our part. 
Deeply do we sympathize with many of the virtuous subjects of the government 
our country is contending against. We lament, with genuine sorrow of soul, 
the individual miseries that it will probably occasion ; the useful and valuable 
lives that will be sacrificed ; the many amiable and worthy characters that, prob- 
ably, in consequence thereof will go, with lacerated hearts, to the grave. 


" These reflections affect us deeply. But in the eye of Eternal Justice we 
stand acquitted of this evil ; it devolves on the head of the aggressor — the 
iniquitous and corrupt government opposed to our rights. 

" Let us not imitate our enemies in savage ferocity. The exercise of the vir- 
tues of charity, humanity and generosity, as practiced by you, may, and, we 
trust, will, in some degree alleviate the miseries of war. To the practice of 
them we exhort you, in the name of Jesus. If war excites or discovers great 
vices, it may, also, be a season of practicing great virtues — the virtues that 
adorn and ennoble our nature. The brave and virtuous sons of freedom should 
ever be humane ; to them it is an ornament of glory. The character of an 
honest, virtuous American is an honorable one ; but the being inflated with a 
spirit of national vanity is ridiculous. We should guard against 'imbibing 
any portion of that spirit which cost the angels their seat.' 

" The necessity of union among the citizens of our country, cannot be too 
frequently inculcated. An honest difference of opinion may, and, probably, 
does exist among men of virtue and talents, too, who are the real friends of 
their country, with respect to the war. The right of private judgment should 
be respected and ever held sacred. No consistent republican, or true friend of 
his country wishes to impair it ; for the right of exercising our own understand- 
ing is the foundation-principle — the basis — upon which our government rests. 
Leave the abuse of liberty and of the freedom of speech and of the press, to 
the correction of the laws. No doubt the legal remedy will be applied ; but, 
remember that, whenever this right is \nX.trd\cttd, freedom expires I Incendia- 
ries, masked pretenders to republicanism and patriotism, will endeavor to excite 
an intolerant spirit— a spirit of party and caballing; will labor to effect the 
proscription of all who do not think as they affect to think ! Divisions, of the 
most mischievous and pernicious consequences, are thus, not unfrequently, 
effected. Enemies of this description are capable of doing you more essential 
injury than all the British navy ! Ships lost can be replaced ; cities demolished 
can be rebuilt ; but tinion lost is seldom regained ; and freedom once flown is 

gone FOREVER ! 

" A spirit of moderation and forbearance will tend greatly to conciliate. ' Let 
your moderation be known to all men ' is an apostolic injunction. Subjects 
the discussion of which would be proper enough at other seasons, should be 
avoided in times of peril and difficulty if the least degree of irritation may be 
the result ; and every conciliatory measure, in the adjustment of our compara- 
tively small matters of difference, should be pursued. 

"We exhort you to the strict execution of gospel discipline in the churches ; 
but, in the exercise of it, guard with watchful care against the mingling of un- 
holy tempers and passions in your own minds. By lenient faithfulness in breth- 
ren, many sorrows may be prevented to many precious souls. 

" The exhortation of our beloved Chief Magistrate, in his proclamation recom- 
mending a day of humiliation and prayer for averting national calamities and 
for a speedy return of the blessings and benign influence of peace, should be 
frequently revolved in our minds. Surely only the profane, and those inimical 
to our happy and free government — the wretched advocates of rapine and blood- 
shed — could be regardless of. or inattentive to, that call ! 

" But a greater than James Madison calls upon us to ' watch and pray.' Jesus 
Christ, our Saviour, our Redeemer, our God, calls us ! He calls us by His 
Word, Spirit and Providence, to ' pray without ceasing.' This duty, always 
necessary and pleasant to a lively faith, with peculiar propriety is more sol- 
emnly incumbent at a period like the present, when our young men are going forth 
to battle in defence of all that the heart of man holds dear — our violated rights, 
our civil and religious liberties, our wives and our little ones, the rich inheritance 
bequeathed to us by our fathers. They go forth to fight in defence of the 
tombs of our fathers, of the country which was the theatre of their glory, and 
to preserve their graves from the unhallowed tread of the enemies of Freedom ! 
The Lord Jehovah is our strength and shield : to him let us look with humble 
confidence and dependence. His omnipotent arm, so often made bare for the 
defence of his people, will support us through the perilous conflict. If we for- 


sake him not, he will never leave us a prey. By their rapacity, intolerance and 
injustice, our enemies appear to be making God their enemy also. May we 
never imitate their madness ! but may we, by putting away every evil practice 
and every evil thing from among ourselves, seek humbly his continual dwelling 
and blessed presence among us. Then, indeed, would united republican America 
become 'a praise in the earth.' Perhaps the reputation of republicanism for all 
time to come, and the fate of unborn milhons, is depending on the union and 
exertions of this generation. The Empire of Freedom, of Reason, of Religion, 
and of Laws, is again, under God, to be sustained in America by a few hands — 
by the true, consistent republicans who are the friends of liberty and law. May 
we escape the execrations of posterity, by handing down to them, unimpaired, 
the rich inheritance of Freedom we now posses^ ! If history proves any one 
truth clearly, it is this : That no nation, without public and private virtue, ever 
retained its freedom long. Religion, virtue, the practice of justice and mercy, 
and the love of truth, are essential to the very existence of a republican gov- 
ernment, producing happiness to the governing and governed alike. Americans 
only are republican ! May they, by their piety, and by the practice of all the 
lovely train of social virtues, prove themselves a grateful people for the blessings 
they enjoy, and not altogether unworthy of them ! " 

These eloquent extracts, expressing such noble and elevated sentiments, will 
serve as a fair exponent of the spirit and general disposition of the Baptists of 
that day, and have, therefore, been deemed worthy of historical embalming. 

The session for 1813 sent forth a similar letter by the hand of Francis Flour- 
noy, breathing pious and patriotic sentiments, in strong and nervous language, 
which reads like the blast of a bugle. 

The letter for 1814, however, breathes a different spirit. It discusses fully the 
ministerial work, after speaking of their strong obligations to be thankful, even 
amid the gloomy prospects of religion which had so universally prevailed. 
Strong ground in regard to itineracy was taken, and it was 

''Resolved, That the ministers of this Association, or as many of them as can, 
shall join, two and two together, and perform an itinerant tour of preaching of 
at least two weeks, and report to the next Association." 

The following was also adopted, on motion of Francis Flournoy : 

''Resolved, That the i8th day of June, (being the day on which war between 
America and England was declared,) be observed by this Association as a day 
of fasting and prayer — not that we mourn because war was declared, but we 
mourn on account of the causes which forced our government to such a dread- 
ful alternative, and because no other remedy could be found to heal our wounded 
and expiring rights but the blood of our enemies. And also that the 24th day 
of August (being the day on which the metropolis of our country was captured), 
be observed in the same solemn manner ; and that we invite our brethren and 
friends in general, and our sister Associations in this State in particular, to join 
us in the dedication of these days ; and that they be observed annually, the for- 
mer till peace be restored, and the latter till the capital of our country be rebuilt." 

The Circular Letter for 181 5, written by Peter F. Flournoy, begins: "With 
grief we read in almost all your letters lamentable tidings of barrenness and 
declension in religion ; yet, seeing that most of you are praying, according to 
the instructions of Christ to his disciples, ' Thy kingdom come,' we are encour- 
aged to hope that God will ere long send a plentiful rain to refresh His heritage 
from its weariness." And yet, in that year, the reports from the itinerant preach- 
ing, recommended the previous year, were favorable, and it was 

"Resolved, Therefore, to pursue it more extensively." 

The membership, in 181 5, was 2,666 in forty-one churches, against 2,886 in 
1 8 14; and yet the missionary influence exerted by the Foreign Mission Board in 
Philadelphia, and extended by Luther Rice, and which went out, especially from 
the Savannah Missionary Society, in 18 14, was felt in this Association, and 
resulted in the organization of the " Ocmulgee Missionary Society," in July, 181 5. 
This proved to be a strong and influential society, which succeeded in arousing a 
genuine missionary influence in the churches of the Association, and obtained 
from them in contributions a very respectable amount of money for missionary 


purposes. Its sixth annual session was held at Tirzah church, Putnam county, in 
1821, when Edmund Talbot preached an appropriate sermon, from Isaiah xxxii: 8, 
"But the liberal deviseth liberal things, and by liberal things shall he stand." 
Robert McGinty was elected President, and Benjamin Milnor, Edmund Talbot, 
and John Robertson, Vice-Presidents, while Abner Davis was made Secretary, 
William Walker, Treasurer, and William Wiliiams, Auditor Besides these offi- 
cers there were seven trustees. In addition to the balance in the Treasurer's 
hands, the contributions from various churches, swelled the total amount in the 
treasury to $445.80, of which $150 was appropriated to the General Mission 
Board of Philadelphia. At that session Edmund Talbot acted as President. 
The Circular Address sent forth with the published Minutes is an admirable 
missionary tract, elegant in style, and is a very strong document in favor of for- 
eign missions. Evidently written by a man well acquainted with the foreign 
mission news and statistics of the day, it presents them in a strong light, and 
with great skill and eloquence. Apparently it is from the pen of Edmund 

One is not surprised to find the Circular Letter of the Association for 1816, 
written by Wilson Whatley, on the" Sin of Coveteousness ;'' nor to find Decem- 
ber 24th set apart as a day of thanksgiving for blessings hoth, nah'onal and in- 
dividual, the war being over. 

Friday before the first Sabbath in January was also set apart "as a day of 
humiliation, fasting and prayer to God, that He would graciously look on Zion 
in her low estate, and pour out on her a gracious and plentiful shower to refresh 
His heritage." A similar resolution was adopted in 1817, "for the revival of 
true religion." " Brother Culpepper " was received as a messenger from the 
Hephzibah Missionary Society, and a strong and Scriptural Circular Letter, by 
Lazarus Battle, on the " Baneful effects of Drunkenness," was read and adopted. 

The missionary spirit of the Association was now thoroughly aroused, and it 
soon became engaged vigorously in mission work, contributing to the Indian 
and foreign missions. 

Let us turn our attention, now, to the Sarepta Association. At its session in 
October, 181 5, after there had been presented an "Address" of Rev. Luther 
Rice, agent of the Baptist General Board of Foreign Missions, and also the 
annual report of the Board itself, soliciting co-operation " in the great and good 
work of missionary labor," the Sarepta Association recommended that the 
brethren meet on Friday before the first Sabbath in June, 18 16, at Moriah 
meeting-house, Madison county, for the purpose of adopting measures in aid of 
missions, and to form themselves into a missionary society, if they think proper. 
Jesse Mercer attended this meeting, for he says, in a letter to Dr. Benedict, 
dated June 13th, 18 16: "The mission spirit increases in our State; but, I fear, 
is to be checked by some unfavorable reports from Philadelphia, among the 
members of the Board, etc. I should be glad to hear something about it, so as 
to be able to set it in a right light before the people in this State, who are easily 
discouraged in money matters, as you know the Baptists to be. The very sound 
of it drives every good feeling from many of their hearts. I lately attended the 
formation of a mission society in the bounds of the Sarepta Association, and 
the greatest difficulty seemed to be how their money was to be applied, and 
whether it would be judiciously appropriated, etc. If you should know any- 
thing worth transmitting, I would thank you for it." 

This letter was ominous of the sad and calamitous anti-mission troubles of 
the denomination in the State, which began in 18 19. 

Thus, we see that the Sarepta Association took its first decided stand in favor 
of missions in 181 5, and in the following year, 1816, a missionary society was 
formed, about the first of June. In 1817, the Association resolved, " That we 
cordially receive the thanks of the Board of Foreign Missions, and present ours 
to them, for their attention and information furnished us in their annual reports 
and letters," but no contributions for missions appear to have been sent up by the 

Again, in 181 8, the Sarepta Association expresses gratitude to the General 
Board for Foreign Missions, for its circular, and acknowledges the reception of 


a memorial from the Kentucky Missionary Society, inviting co-operation in the 
establishment of an Indian mission, to which the Clerk, Charles J. Jenkins, was 
directed to respond by letter. The succeeding year, 1819, witnessed further 
developments. An interesting letter was received from the Baptist Board of 
Foreign Missions, containing a request " that the Association give its views rela- 
tive to a plan for the establishment of a seminary for the education of young 
men called to the ministry." 

Charles J. Jenkins, the Clerk, was formally appointed Corresponding Secre- 
tary for the Association, in its communications with the Foreign Board, and he 
was instructed to answer that the Association was not prepared to offer any 
plan in reference to the establishment of a theological seminary. The same 
request was made of all the Baptist Associations by the Foreign Board. It 
seems that, at its previous meeting, the General or Triennial Convention, had 
made a constitutional provision for the erection of a classical and theological 
seminary, " for the purpose of aiding pious young men who, in the judgment of 
the churches of which they are members, and of the Board, possess gifts 
and graces suitable to the gospel ministry." Under • this provision • the Mis- 
sion Board of the Triennial Convention, drew up a plan for such an insti- 
tution, which was found so objectionable that further operations were suspended 
until the next session of the Convention, The result, however, was the 
establishment of Columbian College, at Washington city, in which the Bap- 
tists of Georgia manifested much interest, and for which they contributed 
large sums. This was no new idea in Georgia. As far back as August 9th, 
1814, Dr. William B. Johnson, of Savannah, wrote to Rev. Luther Rice, in 
Boston : •' There is another subject which has occupied much of my thoughts, 
since my return, to the furtherance of which I am willing to bend my exertions. 
It is the establishment of a central theological seminary. I think more is to be 
done in this business northwardly than southwardly ; and, though I have no 
pretensions to great talents, learning, influence, or property, yet I am willing to 
employ what I have received from the Lord, in these respects, for the promotion 
of His glory in this, or in any other way." 

The Missionary Society of the Sarepta Association seems to have accom- 
plished good, and exerted beneficial influences ; the missionary spirit increased, 
and money for missions began to flow into the associational treasury. At the 
session of 1820, held at Van's Creek, October 21-24, it was 

''Resolved, That the clerk of the Association for the future be considered as 
treasurer of the same, believing that we have churches and individuals in our 
bounds whose hearts pity the miseries of the heathen, and who desire to con- 
tribute something to relieve them. Information is, therefore, given that the 
treasurer of the Association will gratefully receive the least mite, either for for- 
eign or domestic missions, and it shall be devoted to the object specified by the 

It was at this session of 1820 that Rev. Adiel Sherwood, then pastor of 
Bethlehem church, near Lexington, drew up the following resolution, which he 
offered, although it was read by the clerk, Charles J. Jenkins, father of Hon. 
Charles J. Jenkins, afterwards Governor of Georgia: 

" Resolved, That we suggest for our own consideration, and, respectfully, that 
of sister Associations in this State, the propriety of organizing a general meet- 
ing of correspondence." 

After much discussion the resolution was passed. 

Dr. Sherwood was then a young man and a new comer in Georgia, but one 
who had thoroughly identified himself with the Baptist denomination in the 
State. Having been licensed by the Brushy Creek church, of the Sarepta As- 
sociation, he afterwards, in 18 19, put in his letter with the Bethlehem church, 
near Athens, and became its pastor. He was ordained in 1820, at Bethesda 
church, Greene county, during a meeting of the Executive Committee, or rather, 
"Mission Board'" of the Georgia Association, Jesse Mercer, James Armstrong 
and Malachi Reeves participating. 

At its session in 1821, held at Salem, Oglethorpe county, the Sarepta Associa- 
tion adopted the following : " We view with pleasure the exertions of our mis- 


sionary brethren in various parts of the earth, and especially of the Sarepta 
Missionary Society." 

It is apparent that the Sarepta has exhibited, in a greater and greater degree, 
the mission spirit, and for five years it has been, through a missionary society, 
collecting and disbursing funds for mission purposes in a commendable degree, 
and it has, by its action of 1820, become the originator of our Georgia Baptist 
Convention, although it does not seem to have taken an active part in the mis- 
sion connected with Indian reform. 

We will now glance at the spirit that animated the Hephzibah Association, 
from its formation to that period in our denominational history which we have 
reached — the time when our State Convention was formed. 

The Association, as we learn from the Minutes of the Georgia Association for 
1794, was constituted in September, 1795, by the union of various churches in 
the southern part of the latter Association. Being the second Association 
formed, there was no other body with which the dismissed churches could con- 
nect themselves, and therefore no letters of dismission were given. Permission 
was granted, in October,* 1 794, to such churches as might desire to form a new 
Association, to do so; and a committee was appointed to constitute these 
churches into an Association in September, 1795. Eighteen churches seem to 
have united in its formation at Buckhead ; but the body grew rapidly after a few 
years, and thirteea years after its formation contained forty-one churches, with 
a membership of 1,400. 

It cordially approved of the Powelton Conferences, sent delegates to those 
meetings, and when the " General Committee " was formed its delegates appeared 
regularly and took their seats, and acted with it until 1807. At that time George 
Franklin, Edmund Talbot, Francis Flournoy and Thomas Johnson represented 
this Association on the General Committee Board of Trustees for Mount Enon 
Academy. Previously, Robert McGinty, Francis Ross, John Ross, Edmund 
Talbot, Joel Willis', Sanders Walker, A. Tharp, Henry Hand, and others, had 
acted as representatives. In fact, this Association was thoroughly in unison with 
that whole movement. 

Nothing special marked the history of the Association in the first decade of 
its life, to make it materially differ from those we have been considering. In its 
Minutes for 1813 we learn that a number of the churches having in their letters 
expressed a desire for the continuance of itinerant preaching, " the ministers and 
preachers agreed to continue it in the usual ffiode," and they united in couples 
as follows : Franklin and Robertson, Hand and Stanford, Bateman and McGinty, 
Bush and Shirey, Hillman and Huff, Granade and Perryman, Brinson and Mer- 
chant, Pool and Mott, Armstrong and Martin, Pearce and Hawthorn, Smith and 
Robertson, Franklin, and Cutts, Culpepper and Ross, Steeley and Vickers, Man- 
ning and Whittle. 

The first Saturday in December was " recommended as a day of solemn hu- 
miliation, fasting and prayer, to implore the divine mercy and blessing on our 
government, land and nation ; and to beseech the Almighty to remove from us 
those calamities with which we are afflicted ; and that it may please Him to 
pour out a plenteous effusion of His Spirit and grace upon all the churches of 
His saints." 

This was in reference to the war then pending with Great Britain. 

The influence of the Foreign Mission Board and of the Savannah Mission 
Society in this Association is very palpable. The circular and constitution sent 
forth by the latter led to the appointment in 181 5 of a meeting at Bark Camp 
the following February, for the purpose of organizing a missionary society. "A 
missionary for Montgomery and contiguous counties was appointed, and the 
Association determined to engage more earnestly in the domestic mission work. 
On February 15th, 1816, a number of very respectable members of the Associa- 
tion met at Bark Camp and organized a missionary society after the model of 
the Foreign Mission Society of Savannah. The preamble and constitution are 
nearly identical ; but the " avowed and determined object " of the " Hephzibah 
Baptist Society, for itinerant and missionary exertions," was " the encourage- 
ment and support of itinerant and missionary efforts," 


A list of the officers elected is given : President, Rev. Charles Culpepper ; 
Vicc-Prcside7it, Rev. John Ross ; Recording Secretary, Haywood Alford ; Cor- 
responding Secretary, Littleton Spivey ; Treasurer, Thomas Byne ; Trustees : 
George Porthress, James Jackson, John Cock, Isaac Brinson, Elisha Ferryman, 
James Stephens, Eleazer Lewis. 

This Society entdred upon a vigorous existence. We .find its delegates re- 
ceived and welcomed by the Georgia Association for many years. The Ebenezer 
and Hephzibah Associations also gracefully recognize its existence and welcome 
its delegates. In the Minutes of the Hephzibah Association for 1816 the fol- 
lowing entry occurs : "A letter from the Hephzibah Baptist Society, for itinerant 
and missionary exertions, together with their Constitution and Minutes of their 
respective meetings, were received and read, and, in conformity with the request 
of that Society, through certain delegates appointed for that purpose, soliciting 
the approbation and advice of this Association, on motion, agreed to return the 
following answer : 

"We received your friendly communication, soliciting our advice and concur- 
rence in what we think to be your laudable designs. All we can say at present 
is, dear brethren, go on in the prosecution of your designs in that way you think 
may be most conclusive to the glory of God and the prosperity of Zion ; and 
that the God of Israel grant you success in the same, is our hearty prayer." 
. The Association itself supported a missionary within its own bounds in 181 6 at 
a cost of one hundred dollars, and yet the destitution could not be met sufficiently. 
The ministering brethren of the Association itself were earnestly requested to 
visit the pastorless churches, and preach to them as often as their engagements 
would admit. It cannot be denied that there seems to have been a remissness 
or unwillingness on the part of the churches, properly to sustain their pastors ; 
for the Association earnestly recommended the churches which were without 
pastors, to be " attentive to the important and necessary duty of making pro- 
vision, according to their ability, for a proper and regular support of pastors," 
and, also, properly to remunerate those ministers who should visit them as sup- 

The churches, in their letters, express a desire for the continuance of itinerant 
preaching, which was heartily assented to, and the brethren again paired off, 
two and two, with an understanding that they would thus engage in voluntary 
missionary work ; but the conviction creeps into the reflecting mind that this 
custom really worked ill among the churches, as it appears to have disinclined 
them to sustain regular pastors, and, perhaps, assisted in producing that anti- 
mission spirit, which prevailed so painfully for many years. Still, in 18 16, the 
Association with emotions of gratitude to God and thankfulness to the Board, 
listened to the pleasing information relative to the prosperous condition of For- 
eign Missions contained in letters from Dr. Staughton, Secretary, and from Rev. 
Luther Rice, Agent of the Board of Foreign Missions, in Philadelphia. 

When, in 181 7, a formal vote was taken whether the Association should con- 
tribute to the funds of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions, it was decided 
in the negative ; but a resolution was adopted that all those friendly to Foreign 
Missions were recommended to meet in January, 181 8, at the Bethel Meeting 
House, near Louisville, Jefferson county, for the purpose of forming a Foreign 
Mission Society, distinct from the Association. A Foreign Mission Society was 
formed, and yet, with a domestic Mission Society at Bark Camp, and a Foreign 
Mission Society at Louisville, the Association itself became anti-missionary in 

'The sixth Association formed in the State was the Ebenezer. It was consti- 
tuted in March, 1814, at Cool Springs meeting-house, in Wilkinson county, from 
churches dismissed from the Hephzibah and Ocmulgee Associations — six from the 
latter and eight from the former. The Hephzibah appointed brethren C. Cul- 
pepper, George Franklin, N. Robertson and J. Shirey ; and the Ocmulgee ap- 
pointed Joseph Baker, V. A. Tharpe, D. Wood, H. Hooten, and Edmund Tal- 
bot, presbyteries to meet at Cool Spring meeting-house, Wilkinson county, on 
Saturday beforethe first Sabbath in March, and constitute the churches lying in 
the forks of the Oconee and Ocmulgee rivers into an Association. This was done, 
and the first regular session was held the following August. 


In the first years of its formation, the Ebenezer Association corresponded 
with the General Baptist Mission Committee, in Philadelphia, and took an inter- 
est in " Indian Reform " among the Creeks. 

Two new Associations were formed in 1817 — the Tugalo and the Piedmont, 
The former was constituted chiefly from churches dismissed from the Sarepta 
Association, but some of its churches were in South Carolina. It was composed 
at first of the following churches : Tugalo, Beaverdam, Poplar Spring, Lower 
Nail's Creek, Double Branches, Line, Hunter's Creek, Leatherwood, Eastanallee 
Chaujie, and Liberty. In 1821 it contained nineteen churches, of which thirteen 
lay in Georgia, with a membership of 776. There were twenty-one churches 
in 1822; but nothing was done in reference to co-operation with the General 
Association. _ • 

The Piedmont was also formed in 181 7, and was really an anti-mission Asso- 
ciation from its organization. The churches represented in its second session, 
in 18 1 8, at Wesley's Creek meeting-house, were Jones Creek, Liberty county; 
Wesley's Creek, Mcintosh county ; Sarepta, Tatnall county ; Black Creek, Tatnall 
county ; Purchase, on Satillo river. With a total membership of 121, there had 
been nine baptisms during the year. 

At its session in 1819 this Association voted to have nothing to do with mis- 
sions. The Association then contained five churches and 294 members, and, 
of course, formed no connection with the General Association. One of its most 
prominent members was Isham Peacock, to whose ordination reference has 
been made, and who developed into a whisky-drinking, anti-missionary preacher, 
and lived to a great age. 

There/were now eight Associations in the State — the Georgia, the Hephzibah, 
the Sarepta, the Sunbury, the Ocmulgee, the Ebenezer. the Tugalo and the Pied- 
mont — but, although some interest was manifested in missions, yet the general 
state of vital religion was by no means gratifying. We find in all the Associa- 
tions days appointed for fasting, humiliation and prayer that God would revive 
the churches and graciously visit afflicted Zion with His Spirit. _ This unpropri- 
tious state of affairs was due partly, perhaps, mostly to the war with Great Britain, 
accompanied as it was by warfare with the Indians, whom the English_ stirred 
up to hostilities from Canada to Florida. When peace was established, in 181 5, 
war with the Indians ceased in Georgia and Alabama, but broke out again in 
1 8 17, and continued for two years, until the strong arm of General Jackson 
quenched hostility in blood at Horse Shoe Bend, in Alabama, bringing peace, and 
by treaty acquiring for the State a title to the land in her borders. These wars 
cast over the religious spirit of the day a pall of gloom and discouragement that 
lasted for years. An idea of the moral condition of the period may be obtained 
by the following extract from the Minutes of the Georgia Association for 181 5, 
which met that year at Long Creek, Warren county : 

" Received a letter from the committee of the Hopewell Presbytery, request- 
ing the appointment of some of this body to meet in a general association of 
the different denominations, to be assembled at Athens, Tuesday before the 
Commencement, in 1816, to combine their efforts to promote morality and 
■virtue, as well as religion." 

Abraham Marshall and Ed. Shackelford were appointed for the purpose, but 
we have no report of the proposed meeting. In the Minutes of 181 6 we do, 
however, find this entry : " Recommended to the churches to appoint and ob- 
serve among themselves days of humiliation and prayer to Almighty God, as 
regards the low state of religion and abounding iniquity." 

In the same year the Hephzibah Association agreed to observe " a day of hu- 
miliation, fasting and prayer " that God would " bless our country, revive religion, 
and pour out a plentiful effusion of His Holy Spirit upon all the churches of His 
saints." In the following year, 1817, the Ebenezer Association "agreed to ob- 
serve Saturday before the fourth Sabbath in July next as a day of fasting and 
solemn prayer to Almighty God to revive His gracious work among us, and make 
us more active in the ways of religion." 

The second decade of the century was, then, a period in which demoralization 
prevailed and religion languished ; nor was it until the latter half of the third 
decade that God manifested His spiritual power with wonderful effect. 


The years of this chapter embrace that period in Georg^ia Baptist history when 
the attention of the denomination was first generally directed to foreign missions. 
The impetus given to this grand cause by the conversion to Baptist principles of 
Luther Rice and Adoniram Judson and his first wife, was sensibly felt in Georgia, 
and'the interest it excited was strong and abiding. Mission societies were soon 
formed in all the Associations, and did efficient service in the mission cause. 
The Savannah River Association, which, in Georgia, became the Sunbury in 
1817, supported missionaries within its own bounds ; the Associations in middle 
Georgia took hold of the Creek mission vigorously, while the Sarepta Mission 
Society sustained a mission among the Cherokee Indians in North Georgia. 
Several of the Associations remitted respectable amounts to the Baptist Board 
for Foreign Missions, in Philadelphia, and at different times some of our prom- 
inent brethren attended the sessions of the Triennial Convention. In this chap- 
ter, however, we have but the beginning of these events. So far there has been 
but little opposition to missions. That disposition was aroused after the Anti- 
missionary Baptists of the more Northern States had held a convention, in 181 5, 
incited by the missionary enthusiasm of the day, and had enunciated their prin- 
ciples ; and we shall find that, after this period, a strong anti-missionary senti- 
ment becomes developed in Georgia. But the more pious, intelligent and best 
educated ministers and church members, beyond doubt, were in favor of the 
mission cause. 







There was an earnest desire among Southern Baptists, in the times of which 
we write, to civilize and improve their Indian neighbors. Repeatedly the Asso- 
ciations of Georgia received communications from the Baptists of Kentucky, 
soliciting co-operation in this work. Those of Mississippi also expressed a sim- 
ilar desire. The United States Congress, with a just appreciation of the mat- 
ter, in 18 19, appropriated ten thousand dollars annually for this purpose, subject 
to the direction of the President, Mr. Monroe. In Mr. Monroe's opinion it was 
best, in order to render this beneficence as extensively beneficial as possible, 
that this sum should be applied in co-operation with the exertions of benevo- 
lent associations. With the Georgia Baptists the idea of Indian improvement and 
evangelization had been a favorite one ever since the beginning of the century. 
Under the direction of the general committee. Judge Clay had corresponded 
with Major Benjamin Hawkins, United States Indian agent, who resided on the 
Indian frontier, with reference to the establishment of an English school among 
the Indians ; but the period was not a propitious one for the enterprise, and the 
project, as a matter of Christian enterprise, remained in abeyance for nearly a 
score of years, without by any means fadmg from the minds and hearts of 
Georgia Baptists. The report of the Mission Board of the Georgia Association 
for 18 18 has these words ; 

" The evangelizing of our own Indians is alone the broad work of ages. We 
invite the Association to inspect the moral state of the heathens in our own 
country ; and we ask, that if they had been taught to cheat, steal, lie and swear, 
by men called Christians, does it not prove they can be, and that it is a shame 
they have not been, a long time ago, taught the fear of God, the sz'n and Sa- 
viour oi man, and, also, to pray!" The minutes of the Georgia Association 
for the same year, 18 18, contain these words : " Received a communication from 
the Secretary of the Kentucky Mission Society, inviting our co-operation in the 
establishment of a school in that State for the education of the youth of both 
sexes, belonging to such of the neighboring Indian tribes as may be disposed 
to avail themselves of the opportunity." 

In that same year, the chiefs of the Creek Nation made it known that there 
was a prevailing desire among the Indians for instruction ; and some of the 
chiefs expressed the opinion that, if schools were but established, their benefits 
would be so apparent that the Indians themselves would support them. 


All these facts combined to urge immediate entrance upon a work for which 
Providence seemed so manifestly to be opening the way, especially as the propo- 
sition of the President secured the one great and desirable object, that those 
to whom the instruction of the Indians was confided should be moral and reli- 
gious persons. This gave to " Indian Reform " the character of a true mission. 
Pertinently, therefore, did the Mission Board of ihe Georgia Association ask, in 
its report for 1819, " Thus the door is flung wide open before us, and invites 
our entrance. Shall we now engage or not ? The question we respectfully 
submit to the decision and instruction of the Association.'' 

The Ocmulgee Association had already determined to engage in the work of 
"Indian Reform," among the Creeks, and, in 1819, had deputed Rev. Francis 
Flournoy to act as its agent in a visit to that Nation, and obtain a site for a 
school, while a committee was appointed to draught a plan of operations. It was 
composed of Elijah Mosely, Abner Davis, Edmund Talbot and Pitt Milner. 

At the session of the Ocmulgee Association for September, 1820, held at 
Bethesda, Jasper county, this committee presented its report, which was desig- 

Its different items were : 

1st. The Institution shall be situate in that section of the Nation which lies 
between the Euchee creek and the Tallapoosy river, to be fixed on by the super- 

2nd. It shall be considered under the patronage of the Baptist Board of Mis- 
sions in the United States, and directed by the joint counsel of the Ocmulgee, 
Georgia, Ebenezer, and such other Associations as may hereafter co-operate with 
them, or such trustees as they may appoint for that purpose, according to the 
regulations prescribed by the general government for Indian improvement. 

3rd. No person shall be employed in the institution who is not of decent and 
respectable character, whose example shall not be worthy of imitation, and 
whose religious sentiments are not strictly in unison with the Particular Baptists. 

4th. The immediate superintendence of the Institution shall be committed to a 
regular and exemplary minister of the Baptist order, who also shall be considered 
as a missionary to the Nation. 

5th. The superintendent, teachers and families engaged in the Institution, 
shall, from the commencement, adopt such course of conduct as shall be best 
suited, in their view, to impress on the Indians an engaging sense of civilized 
life, moral .propriety and religious obligation, by leading their view toward God 
as Creator and iinal Judge of all, and toward Jesus Christ, as the only possible 
Saviour of sinful men. 

6th. Young Indians of both sexes shall be received into the Institution (as 
soon as the necessary means are had) to be educated in reading, writing and 
arithmetick, and the civil arts, etc., at the expense of the founders, (except where 
the Indians shall choose to bear a part or the whole of the charge, in which case 
they shall have their wish freely.) 

7th. The superintendent shall make a regular annual report to the constituents 
of the progress and prospects of the Institution, and suggest such things, from 
time to time, as he shall think necessary. 

This "plan," called in Georgia Baptist history the "Plan for Iridian Reform," 
was adopted by the Association, and the appoinment of Francis Flournoy by 
the General Board as the Superintendent of the Institution, was cordially con- 
curred in by the body. Rev. B. Milner, Abner Davis, Benjamin Wilson, Wil- 
liam WiUiams and Wilson Lumpkin were appointed a Committee of Five, to be 
called Trustees, to act for the Association in the establishment of a mission 
among the Creek Indians, but as they never succeeded in holding a meeting 
during the year, for want of a quorum, their appointment was revoked in 1821, 
and three Trustees, William Williams, Abner Davis and John Milner, were 
elected to hold their appointments during, good behavior. The churches were 
recommended, in 1820, to take up an annual collection for the support of the 
school among the Creek Indians, to be transmitted to the Association in 1821, 
when Lazarus Battle was appointed Treasurer to hold the mission funds. The 


following year, 1822, a " Mission Board " of seven members was formally elected 
to assume control of the mission affairs of the Association, the Ocmulgee Mis- 
sion Society was incorporated with the Association itself, and the body was fairly 
embarked in the missionary work. 

In May, 1820, Dr. WiUiam Staughton, Corresponding Secretary of the Board 
of Managers of the Baptist General Convention of the United States, (the old 
Triennial Convention,) addressed a long and most interesting communication to 
the Georgia Association, in behalf of the Board. It contains a general view of 
the Baptist missionary operations of that period, both foreign and domestic ; 
but such extracts only as pertain to Georgia Baptist history will be given here. 
It says : 

" The managers have resumed their mission among the Cherokees with re- 
newed ardor. Missionary measures were for some time suspended in that quar- 
ter, from the uncertainty whether these Indians would continue to occupy the 
land of their progenitors, or retire westward. Liberal appropriations have been 
made to enable brother H. Posey, assisted by Mr. Dawson, a well qualified 
teacher, to effect a permanent and, with the blessing of the Redeemer, a pros- 
perous establishment in that benighted region. 

" In the Georgia and Ocmulgee Associations, the generous wish is maturing 
into holy effort to instruct and evangelize the Indians of the Creek Nation. The 
Board rejoices in their purposes of Christian benevolence, and will be happy in 
the co-operation of their counsels and exertions. They have appointed the 
Rev. Francis Flournoy, a brother in whom the Managers place great confidence, 
as possessing excellent qualifications, to commence the good work in such way 
as his own judgment and the advice of his brethren shall conclude most expe- 

The letter alludes to various other missionary stations among the Indians in 
the West and Southwest, showing that more than sixty years ago Indian missions 
were in great favor with our denomination, as they have been ever since. The 
following extract is interesting : 

" They [the Board of Managers] consider it due to the impartiality and benev- 
olence of the general government, to state that it has always contributed liber- 
ally to the Western Stations, with a view particularly to Indian reform, and has 
promised to augment such assistance in proportion as the extent of the efforts 
of the Board shall widen." 

We thus behold the United States government, by special appropriations, 
sustaining largely our General Convention in efforts to " reform " the Indians — 
which word included the two ideas of instruction and evangelization; and we 
see the Convention, through its Board of Managers, taking the initiative in estab- 
lishing a mission for " Indian Reform " among the Creek Indians in Alabama, 
in co-operation with our Georgia Associations. The following extract from the 
report of the Mission Board of the Georgia Association, for 1820, which was 
adopted, gives a clear and concise view of the state of affairs with reference to 
that mission in 1820 : 

" With regard to a school among the Creek Indians, we were of opinion, as 
the Ocmulgee Associatiori had set forward a design of the same nature, that it 
would be proper to form a co-operation with them in the effort. And we are 
happy to inform you that a pleasing concert has been readily formed in this im- 
portant object. But previously the Baptist Board of Missions for the United 
States had anticipated it as a work of no distant period, and only wanted a 
proper person to begin, to enter actively into the design. On the suggestion of 
brother Rice, concurred in by brethren Mosely and Mercer, bi other Francis 
Flournoy was appointed to the superintendence of the contemplated establish- 
ment, and to be missionary to the Nation ; and we are gratified that this ap- 
pointment has been concurred in by the Ocmulgee Association ; and we hope 
soon to receive his acceptance of this appointment, and see him enter on the 
duties of his station." 

Francis Flournoy was born in Chesterfield county, Virginia, and was a man 
of decided ability and education. He seems to have occupied quite a promi- 
nent and even influential position in the Ocmulgee Association, of which he was 


Clerk from 181 5 to 1821, and was appointed to preach in 1817, in case of fail- 
ure on the part of R. E. McGinty. He was for a number of years pastor of the 
Tirzah church, in Putnam county. About 181 1 he was impeached as a State 
Commissioner and tried, and was laid under censure by the Legislature. In 
181 1 R. E. McGinty moved, in the Ocmulgee Association, that the church at 
Tirzah, of which F. Flournoy was a member, " be advised to call able help from 
the different churches, to examine the records of the trial of brother Flournoy, 
and sum up all or any of the testimony that was had before the High Court of 
Impeachment, and more fully and manifestly declare his case, as they may 
find it." The Tirzah church observed the above, and in, 1812, the following 
report was adopted, which completely exonerated Francis Flournoy from all 
blame : 

" 772.? Baptist Chuj^ch of Christ at Tirzah, to the Ocmulgee Association : 

Greeting — In obedience to your recommendation, we have called to our 
assistance a number of the best informed helps that we could obtain, for the 
purpose of re-examining the evidence exhibited before the High Court of Im- 
peachment of this State against brother Francis Flournoy, who, having met and 
taken up the case, after giving it a calm, fair and dispassionate investigation, 
were unanimously of opinion that no just cause of condemnation can, with any 
propriety, be attached to brother Flournoy. 

It is, therefore, with pleasure that we declare to you, and all others whom it 
may concern, that, nowithstanding the many oppressions under which brother 
Flournoy has labored, he is still held by us as an orderly Christian and faithful 
minister of the gospel of Christ. Jesse Mercer, Moderator. 

William Rabun, Clerk. 

Tirzah, 4th of July, 1812. 

In 1 81 9 Mr. Flournoy was sent as an agent of the Ocmulgee Association to the 
Creek Nation, to inquire and consult in regard to the propriety and feasibility 
of establishing an English school in the Nation as the germ of a mission. While 
there he was regularly appointed Superintendent of Indian Improvement in the 
Creek Nation, which appointment was cordially concurred in by the Ocmulgee 

He was murdered at night, in his fifty-sixth year, while encamped near Mont' 
icello, in Jasper county. The murderer was a runaway negro, who hoped to 
obtain money by the crime, and who was arrested and executed. 

At its session of 18 19 a committee was appointed by the Ebenezer Associa- 
tion to co-operate with that of the Ocmulgee Association in establishing a 
Reform Mission among the Creek Indians; and, in 1820, the Association form- 
ally concurred in the " Plan for Indian Reform " adopted by the Ocmulgee, ap- 
pointed trustees, and requested its ministers to explain the entire matter to their 
churches, and propose to them methods for raising money, in support of the 
mission. Considerable enthusiasm and great unanimity were exhibited by the 
Association in sustenance of this "laudable pursuit," during the years 1821 and 
1822 ; and at its session in the latter year it was 

"Resolved, That brother Compere, Missionary for Indian Reform, be invited 
to take a tour of preaching through our bounds, and solicit contributions for 
that purpose." 

In anticipation of immediate joint action, the Georgia, Ocmulgee and Ebene- 
zer Associations had formed a Board of Managers, through the respective trus- 
tees appointed to take charge of this Indian Reform Mission. Nothing '^as 
done, however, previous to the session of 1 821, as Francis Flournoy declined 
the appointment as Superintendent, on account of his private embarrassments, 
and because no official action could be taken at any time by the Board of Man- 
agers, for want of a quorum. Toward the close of 1822, however. Rev. Lee 
Compere, of South Carolina, was appointed Superintendent, and he accepted 
the appointment. He was considered " well fitted for the work," as a man 
" possessing piety and talents," and as one whose " praise is most in those churches 
and among the brethren with whom he has most frequently been." 

Appropriations were made and Mr. Compere proceeded to his field of labor ; 


but it was found that the Methodist Conference of Georgia and South Carolina 
had, through their agent, Mr. Capers, concluded a treaty with the Creek Indians, 
which threw obstacles in Mr. Compere's way, and retarded his operations. The 
Georgia Associations received assurances that the Board of Foreign Missions, 
in Philadelphia, would take the Creek Mission under its patronage and support, 
in connection with the co-operating Associations. The Mississippi Domestic 
and Foreign Mission Society appropriated one hundred dollars to the same 
mission ; while it was ascertained that the full proportion of the appropriation 
from the United States could be relied on with certainty. 

At length, in 1823, the cheering acknowledgement of successful accomplish- 
ment was made to the Georgia Association, by its able Mission Board : " It 
affords us real gratification to inform you that the institution so long held in 
anxious anticipation among the Creek Indians, is now in successful and prom- 
ising operation, under the superintendence and management of brother Compere 
and his devoted associates. Many formidable obstacles, like the mountain which 
obstructed the building of the temple of the Lord, have subsided and become a 
plain. Between thirty and forty children have already been submitted to the 
entire care and direction of the missionaries ; and the prospect is good for as 
many as can be supported on the same terms. 

The heavy expenditures and incidental expenses attendant on making the 
establishment thus far, have been sustained by the very liberal patronage of the 
General Board, and various other collections and resources, which the report of 
the Board of Trustees for the united Associations will show, and to which 
report we refer you for particulars. We regret, deeply regret, that the Ebenezer 
Association has declined further co-operatipn in this institution, without giving 
us notice, or assigning a solitary reason." 

The following is the action of the Ebenezer in this matter, at Stone Creek, 
Twiggs county, in 1833: "Took under consideration the Indian Reform— 
whether to continue or discontinue ; and it was discontinued." V. A. Tharpe 
was Moderator, and John McKenzie, Clerk. 

As not being out of place, another extract is here given from the report made 
to the Georgia Association, in 1823, a part of which has just been quoted : 

" The moneys designated in our funds, $369, for the Creek mission, and the 
sum requisite to meet the expenses of our messenger, Adiel Sherwood, to the 
Convention, last spring, at the city of Washington, have been appropriated for 
those purposes. To sustain our jnembership in the Convention and to re-imburse, 
in some measure, the amount afforded by the General Board, to aid in the com- 
mencement of our Creek Mission, we have also appropriated the sum of $600. 
The money placed in our hands for the theological institution (Columbian 
College), has, also, been forwarded. We are impressed with the propriety of 
not suffering the Foreign Mission Funds to be the least impaired by our Creek 
Mission ; but, that, ultimately, we in the South should sustain the institution in 
the Creek Nation, and reimburse entirely, if not replenish the funds of the 
General Board. 

" Dear brethren, we recommend that you lay it to heart and devise plans the- 
most promising to procure the support, at least, for this infant establishment, 
of so much promise. We acknowledge with thankfulness to God, the pious 
deeds of several benevolent females in the church at Shiloh, in making and 
forwarding sundry garments for the children at the Creek school, and hope that 
many Rhodas in other churches will emulate their benevolence, in furnishing 
cloth, rather than garments, as the cloth can be made up better at the Station." 

" Withington Station," where this Indian Reform Mission and School were, 
was situated about thirty miles south of the locality now occupied by the city 
of Montgomery, Alabama, and was in the very midst of the Creek Nation. 

But how has the matter been progressing in the Ocmulgee Association ? Let 
the report of the Mission Board of that Association, for the year 1824, afford 
the answer. It should be remembered that, in 1822, the Association incorpo- 
rated in its own organization the operations of the flourishing Ocmulgee Mission 
Society, appointing as its successor an Associational Mission Board, which was 
elected annually. 



" The Mission Board of the Ocmulgee Association to their constituents, send 
Christian salutation : 

" Beloved Brethren — The second year is now closed since we first became 
charged with your funds, and the management of your missionary concerns. In 
discharging the duties of the trust confided to us, our steady aim and constant 
endeavors have been to give such direction to the means put into our hands as 
might best promote the interest and coming of the kingdom of our blessed Re- 
deemer. The transactions of the first year of our appointment are already be- 
fore you. It now becomes our duty to place before you the state and progress 
of those concerns subsequent to our last report. Permit us to observe that the 
Withington Station continues in a prosperous condition, and promises well to 
become a light, indeed, to the poor, benighted Creeks. There are now forty- 
two pupils in the school, who are daily progressing in the arts of civilized life 
and in the acquisition of useful knowledge. The progress already made by 
some of these pupils, in writing, has surpassed our expectations, specimens of 
which have been furnished us by the Superintendent, which we cannot forbear 
exhibiting herewith to your view. The Superintendent's books and accounts 
have also been submitted to the examination of the Executive Committee, and 
are found correct. You have to lament, with us, the afflicting dispensation that 
has recently taken away one of the members of your Board, who was also its 
treasurer. The pious and useful endeavors, and the enlightened counsel of our 
late brother, Lazarus Battle, are no more to be had and enjoyed by his brethren 
on earth. But he has rested from his lai^ors, and his wo? ks do follow hivi f" 

In 1823 the Ocmulgee Association appropriated $250 to the Withington Sta- 
tion, and in 1824 the Georgia i\ssociation appropriated $350 to the same pur- 
pose ; in each Association mission matters were for the several succeeding years 
managed by mission boards or committees of seven, which were animated by 
a good missionary spirit, and did good work, too. The report of the Mission 
Board of the Georgia Association for 1824, says, in regard to the school at 
Withington Station : 

" We are happy to say the school is still in a flourishing and prosperous con- 
dition. The Superintendent, brother Compere, attended the late session of the 
Ocmulgee Association, and presented to the Executive Committee of the United 
Board his books and accounts, which were found correct ; and specimens of 
writing, and a letter from one of the boys in the school to the patrons of the 
institution, expressive of gratitude for, and praying a continuance of, those bene- 
fits which the benighted condition of their parents forbids them to afford ; all of 
which were not only satisfactory, but highly pleasing. The prospect is truly 
encouraging, and inspires zeal m the prosecution. 

"The President of the United States has taken a lively interest in the sup- 
port of our institution, and has given it a good proportion among others. 
The General Board also continue to extend their fostering care -towards it; but 
their funds are quite exhausted. And in this regard we regret to sa}^ that the 
contributions from the churches are dzinifizsked \\htr& they should have abounded. 
Many of the churches still remain inactive. Will they never be provoked to 
emulation } Will they be content always to lie still at home, while their brethren 
go to war in the good cause of benevolence and charity ? But to the praise and 
honor of some of our beloved sisters and friends be it said, that they are pro- 
ducing a remedy for this deficiency. We have been presented by brother J. H. 
Walker with a subscription from a benevolent female society in the church and 
congregation at Greenwood, of about five hundred yards of cloth for the cloth- 
ing of the children at the Withington Station, which will be ready for trans- 
portation in a few weeks. The grateful acknowledgments of the Board are 
hereby voted them for their kind and charitable labors of love towards the 
children of the roving tribe." 

This much of the report is given, as it presents a fair idea of the estimation in 
which this mission was held at that time by many Georgia Baptists. 

The reader has now some idea of the " Indian Reform " Mission in which the 
Baptists of Georgia engaged with great enthusiasm for a few years. The "plan " 
upon which it was conducted, as adopted by the Ocmulgee and Georgia Asso- 


ciations has been given already, and those two were the main Associations 
which co-operated in sustaining the mission, though others assisted incidentally. 
This was the second general enterprise in which the Baptists of Georgia united 
their efforts, the first being the objects whose attainment was sought by the 
" General Comrhittee," consisting mainly of itinerant labors and the establish- 
ment of a Baptist college. 

It is pleasant to record that a much more cheering, hopeful and prosperous 
condition has begun to prevail in the denomination. It begins to act with some 
unity of purpose. While Abraham Marshall has passed away, his son, Jabez 
Pleiades, has risen up to supply his place, and other strong and useful men have 
become identified with us. The elder Brantly has charge of the Augusta 
church ; James Armstrong, Adiel Sherwood, J. H. T. Kilpatrick, Henry J. Rip- 
ley, have migrated to the State, while James Shannon has been converted from 
Presbyterianism. • 

A better tone begins to exist in the churches, and an unwonted activity and 
interest in denominational matters has been excited. The General Association 
has been formed ; two more Associations, Yellow River and Flint, are organized, 
and the number of Baptists in the State is about eighteen thousand. 

The State has now a population of about 400,930, of whom, in round num- 
bers, 225,048 are white, and 175,882 are colored slaves ; but emigrants are pour- 
ing in daily, and the tide is flowing rapidly towards the Chattahoochee. The 
Creeks were overcome by General Jackson in 18 19, and the lands between the 
Altamaha and the Chattahoochee were acquired. By treaties in 1817, '18 and 
'19 the land in the territory now embraced by the counties of Newton, DeKalb, 
Gwinnet, Walton, Hall and Habersham were acquired. In 1821, the State, by 
treaty, obtained from the Creek Indians a title to the lands lying between the 
Flint and Ocmulgee Rivers, including the counties of Monroe, Bibb, Crawford, 
Dooly, Houston, Upson, Fayette, Pike and Henry. By a treaty at the Indian 
Springs, in 1825, the lands between the Flint and Chattahoochee rivers were 
acquired, embracing the counties of Coweta, Campbell, Carroll, Troup, Talbot, 
Muscogee, Harris, etc. While Georgia claimed the entire state, by right of 
eminent domain, yet the Indians held a title to these lands, as individuals, and 
they resided in Western Georgia and Eastern Alabama, an object of interest and 
concern to the Christian and philanthropist, and an object of care and benevo- 
lence on the part of our general government, which, from that time to the 
present, has never ceased to approprite funds and apply measures for their 
amelioration and instruction. 

As yet there are no large towns, but few villages, and but few village churches, 
while all the churches lie in the eastern half of the state. The denomination is, 
however, rapidly spreading westward and southward with the tide of emigration. 







It has been seen that the resolution which led to the organization of the 
Georgia Baptist Convention, was adopted by the Sarepta Association in October, 
i8so, at Van's Creek. 

The first Association to meet, afterwards, was the Ocmulgee, which met at 
Bethel, Jones county, September ist, 1821, and on the following Tuesday it 
adopted a resolution declaring : " That this Association do heartily concur with 
the Sarepta in the resolution for the organization of a general meeting of cor- 
respondence ;" and Pev. Robert McGinty, John M. Gray and Cyrus White, were 
appointed delegates to represent the Ocmulgee Association. 

On Monday, October 15th, the Georgia Association, during its session of 1821, 
at Clark's Station meeting-house, Wilkes county, by resolution, " Agreed that 
this Association concur in the suggestion and recommendation of the Sarepta 
and Ocmulgee Associations, in the formation of a general meeting, ' to be com- 
posed of messengers from all the Associations in this State, or as many of them 
as shall come into the measure ;' that this meeting commence at Powelton, on 
Thursday before the fifth Sabbath in June, 1822 ; that we send up five members 
of our body to that meeting, viz : Jesse Mercer, William T. Brantly, Winder 
Hilman, James Armstrong and Jabez P. Marshall." 

In the Georgia that year the Sarepta Association was represented by Adiel 
Sherwood, and the Ocmulgee by Jeremiah Reeves and Joel CoUey, who doubt- 
less reported the action of their Associations. It is fairly presumable, therefore, 
that a general understanding existed in regard to the meeting at Powelton, in 
June, for the formation of a General Association. 

In the Sunbury Association the resolution of the Sarepta was received in 
1821, but was postponed until the next session, "for the further consideration 
of the churches;" and, at the meeting of 1822 its decision was again postponed 
for a year — that is, until 1823. 

The Ebenezer and Hephzibah Associations disregarded the invitation to unite 
in forming a General Association ; but, what is more remarkable, the Sarepta 
Association, after having, in 1820, adopted the resolution, "that we suggest for 
our own consideration, and, respectfully, that of sister Associations in the State, 
the propriety of organizing a general meeting of correspondence," when it came 
to consider the matter in accordance with its own resolution, in 1 821, passed 
the following: "We do not conceive that there is a necessity for such a me,;;t- 


The truth is, the resolution, as originally drawn up by AdieliSherwood, was as 
follows : " Resolved, that we suggest, respectfully, to the consideration of sister 
Associations in the State, the propriety of organizing a general meeting of cor- 
respondence." This was amended so as to read, ''for our own consideration, 
and, respectfully, that of sister Associations," etc. 

As, a matter of course that subject was brought in for consideration by the 
committee of arrangements for 1821, and the action stated above was taken. 
J. H. Campbell asserts that this resolution was drawn up by Isham Goss. 
Nevertheless, we find that for several years, Mr. Goss represented the Sarepta 
Association in the General Association as a messenger. 

Isham Goss was the son of Benjamin Goss, and was born in Virginia before 
his father moved to Georgia. He had three brothers — John, Jesse Hamilton 
and Horatio J. — all of whom were Baptist preachers. The two former removed 
to Virginia, where they died in the faith, after lives of usefulness. Isham em- 
braced a hope at the age of nine, and became a preacher at Beaver Dam Church, 
through the instrumentality of that useful man, William Davis. In his early 
ministerial career he was greatly beloved by his churches — Beaver Dam, Trail 
Branch, Cloud's Creek and others — and he exerted a great influence in the Asso- 
ciation. Repeatedly he was its Clerk and Moderator, and he was also President 
of the Sarepta Missionat-y Society. About 1820 or 1821 he became subject to a 
severe headache, brought on by a partial separation of the bones of the skull, 
from which he could find no relief, except from stimulants. This resulted in a 
partial derangement, from which he never fully recovered. He confessed to a 
nephew in 1839, the year he died, that he had engaged more than became a 
minister in worldly pursuits, in hopes of acquiring wealth, which, with a too 
great addiction to stimulants to assauge his extreme pain in the head, resulted 
injuriously to him morally, spiritually and physically. He was excluded from 
church fellowship, but, having moved into the bounds of the Yellow River Asso- 
ciation, was restored to the church and ministry. He, however, never recovered 
his usefulnesss. 

It can be said of him that he never drank when well, and that Dozier Thorn- 
ton and Jesse Mercer were friends and frequent visitors at his house. We have 
reasons to doubt his being the author of the anti-Convention Resolution of 1821. 

Thursday, the 27th of June, 1822, arrived. It was the day appointed by the 
Georgia Association for the assembling of delegates, from the different Associa- 
tions in the State,to form one General Association. 

The meeting took place at Powelton, and there was a large assemblage present.^ 
But two Associations, however, were represented : Georgia, by Jesse Mercer, 
Wm. T. Brantly, Winder Hilman, James Armstrong and Jabez P. Marshall ; and 
the Ocmulgee, by Cyrus White. Robert McGinty and J. M. Gray failed to at- 
tend. Adiel Sherwood was there — the man on whose motion the Convention 
assembled, and yet he was entitled to no seat, because his Association, the 
Sarepta, had, on reconsideration, declared against the necessity of such a meet- 
ing, and, of course, sent no delegates. 

The Convention met in the house of worship of the Powelton Baptist Church, 
and organized by the election of Rev. Jesse Mercer as President, and Rev. Jabez 
P. Marshall as Secretary. Jesse Mercer was, at that time, fifty-four years of age. 
Rev. Wm. T. Brantly, then thirty-four years old, was chosen Assistant Secretary. 

It was then resolved that all members from distant churches and Associa- 
tions, lay members as well as ministers, together with the members of the 
church with which the Convention was held, be invited to take part in the de- 
liberations. Among those who accepted seats were Rev. Adiel Sherwood, Rev. 
Humphrey Posey, Rev. Lee Compere, and Rev. Elisha Ferryman. 

A free interchange of sentiment on the part of those present resulted in the 
appointment of Jesse Mercer, William T. Brantly, Cyrus White and James Arm- 
strong as a Committee to draft a Constitution, to be reported the ensuing day. 
Before adjournment on Thusday, Rev. A. Sherwood was appointed to preach 
at the opening of the session next morning ; Rev. H. Posey was appointed to 
preach at its close. 

On Friday the Convention met at 10 o'clock, and Rev. A. Sherwood preached 


a written discourse from the words, " Prepare ye the way of the Lord," Luke iii: 4. 
in which he very forcibly demonstrated the need of such an organization as was 
designed by the Convention proposed to be formed, and he portrayed strongly 
the evils of sectional feelings and jealousies arising from a want of union, and 
he depicted clearly the advantages of united action. He was then pastor of a 
church in the Sarepta Association, but he had travelled extensively through the 
State, and, for several years, had been a State missionary in the employ of the 
Savannah Missionary Society. He was at that time thirty-one years of age, and 
full of fire and zeal, a man of excellent education and abilities, and very tall and 
commanding in appearance. His sermon, bristling with facts and information, 
presented the strongest reasons why the Baptists of Georgia should unite in 
some method of co-operation. 

At the conclusion of the sermon, Jesse Mercer, President of the body, led in 
prayer. During his prayer he alluded to the divisions and petty jealousies which 
had contributed to block up "the way of the Lord," and, making a hearty con- 
fession for himself and others, in respect to these, and alluding to the searching 
manner in which the scattered and disjointed condition of the denomination had 
been described in the sermon, he most touchingly exclaimed, " Hast thou found 
us out, O, our enemy ! " He then made a feeling exhortation approving of a 
Convention, weeping while he spoke, and melting the entire assembly to tears. 
His prayer and moving exhortation greatly aided in the adoption of the Consti- 
tution. Indeed, it was a matter of doubt which contributed most to effect the 
purposes of the Convention, the prayer of Mercer or the sermon of Sherwood. 

Rev. William T. Brantly then read the Constitution which had been pre- 
pared, article by article, presenting the grounds why each article should be 
adopted, and repeatedly, during his address, referring in the most commenda- 
tory manner to the sermon which had just been delivered, appealing to its facts 
and arguments as reasons for the adoption of the Constitution. He did not con- 
clude his address until the morning of the next day, Saturday, 29th of June, 
when, after mature deliberation and a full discussion, the Constitution was 

The following is a copy of the Constitution then adopted : 

" Whereas, it is highly expedient that a more close and extensive union 
among the churches of the Baptist denomination in the State of Georgia should 
exist, and that a more perfect consent and harmony and good understanding can- 
not be established without stated meetings of delegates from the several Associa- 
tions, to confer together on subjects of general interest and plans of public utility ; 
and to devise and recommend schemes for the revival of experimental and prac- 
tical religion ; for the promotion of uniformity in sentiment, practice and discip- 
ine ; for the extension of the gospel by missions and missionaries, by Bibles and 
tracts, and for the fulfilment of that scriptural injunction, " provoke one another 
to love and to good works ;" and since it hath seemed good to the Georgia 
and Ocmulgee Associations to make the first attempt to accomplish these im- 
portant objects in the State of Georgia, and delegates being appointed from 
these bodies to meet in convention at such time and place as might be agreed 
upon, and these delegates, namely : Jesse Mercer, William T. Brantly, Winder 
Hilman, J. P. Marshall and James Armstrong, on the part of the Georgia, and 
Robert McGinty, J. M. Gray and Cyrus White, on the part of the Ocmulgee, 
having been appointed to convene at Powelton, June 27th, 1822, did accordingly 
assemble and adopted the following plan of operation : 

" I. This body is constituted upon those principles of Christian faith generally 
acknowledged and received in the Baptist denomination. 

" 2. The constituents of this body are the Baptist Associations in the State of 
Georgia, or as many of them as may think proper to accede to the terms of this 

" 3. It shall be known and distinguished by the name of ' The General Baptist 
Association of the State of Georgia," and shall form the organ of general com- 
munication for the denomination throughout the State. 

" 4. Each Association may send not less than three and not more than five 
delegates to represent them in this body, and all delegates shall hold their ap- 
pointments until others are elected to succeed them. 


" 5. The officers of this union shall be a Moderator, and clerk and assistant 
clerk, who shall be appointed by ballot at each annual meeting, and shall form a 
committee of the body during the recess of the meeting ; but this committee 
may be increased as occasion may require. 

'■6. The Moderator shall perform the same duties that devolve on Modera- 
tors in the several Associations, and in addition to this, shall be authorized to 
call meetings of the committee in the interval of annual meetings should it be 
deemed expedient. 

" 7. The clerk, who shall likewise be treasurer, shall enter in a book all the 
transactions of this body. The assistant clerk shall take charge of all distant 
communications to or from this body, and shall write all the letters which it 
may require. 

" 8. Questions of difficulty may be referred from any of the Associations to 
the deliberation and advice of this body. 

"9. Acts and proceedings of this body shall be submitted, from time to time, 
to its constituents for inspection, and no decision shall be further binding upon 
any Association than the decisions of the Associations are upon the churches 
which compose them. 

" 10. The following are the specific objects of this body : i. To unite the influ- 
ence and pious intelligence of Georgia Baptists, and thereby to facilitate their 
union and co-operation. 2. To form and encourage plans for the revival of 
experimental and practical religion in the State and elsewhere. 3. To promote 
uniformity of sentiment and discipline. 4. To aid in giving effect to the useful 
plans of the Association. 5. To afford an opportunity to those who may consci- 
entiously think it their duty to form a fund for the education of pious young 
men who may be called by the Spirit and their churches to the Christian min- 
istry. 6. To correspond with bodies of other religious denominations on topics 
of general interest to the Redeemer's Kingdom, and to promote pious and use- 
ful education in the Baptist denomination. 

"II. It shall have power to form rules, make arrangements and appoint com- 
mittees for the accompHshment of any or all the above objects, provided none 
of these rules and arrangements shall be inconsistent with the Scriptures and 
the known principles of the Association. 

" 12. Two-thirds of the whole number of delegates shall form a quorum, and 
a majority shall decide a question. 

"13. The above Constitution shall be liable to amendment or alteration by 
two-thirds of the delegates present, provided the change may have been pro- 
posed by a member of the General Association at the preceding meeting. 

Jesse Mercer, Moderator. 

]. P. Marshall, Clerk" 

It will be perceived that the foregoing differs materially from the Constitution 
of the Convention at present. Various changes were, indeed, made from time to 
time ; but the most material alteration was made in 1845, by a select committee, 
which, in a report, presented the Constitution as it now exists, and which was 
unanimously adopted at Macon in 1846. 

Thus was formed that body which, in 1827, changed its name to "The Bap.- 
TiST Convention for the State of Georgia," and which more, perhaps, 
than any other one cause, has harmonized and combined the efforts of the Bap- 
tists of Georgia, and effected those beneficial results which have made Georgia 
one of the leading and most benevolent Baptist States in the South. 

The same committee which prepared the Constitution presented a Circular 
Address, which was received and adopted, and extracts from which are given 
here to show the views and arguments of those fathers who formed our State 
Convention, and established those measures of denominational progress, eleva- 
tion and co-operation which the wisdom of three score years has sanctioned and 
approved. The graceful periods are evidently from the polished pen of the elder 
Brantly : 

" All the reasons which may be applied to the support of Associations, sepa- 
rate and local, will evince the utility of one more general and comprehensive. 
If it has been found profitable to bring together the piety and wisdom of a given 


compass ; and if the united intelligence and zeal of that limited space have been 
found to possess a happy result, would it not seem desirable to increase the 
effect by enlarging the extent of the field and strengthening the means of opera- 
tion ? If delegates from churches, combining their counsels and efforts, have 
not been without works that speak for them, and vindicate their claims to 
respect and consideration, might we not presume that delegates from Associa- 
tions, forming an annual meeting from each section of the State, would bring to- 
gether a mass of information, of matured observation, of solicitude for Zion's 
prosperity, and of the true spirit of love, which would flow back with augmented 
energy to the several points from which it emanated ? 

" Viewing the known principles of independence upon which all Baptist 
churches are constituted, it is worse than idle to raise any alarms about the 
power and authority of a General Association. The idea of a spiritual judica- 
tory does not exist in the Baptist denomination, 

" Nay, such an idea cannot exist until the whole present system shall have 
been subverted, and a new one substituted in its place. Now, a General Asso- 
ciation does not go one step out of the old track; it grows naturally and 
spontaneously out of those elements of order already established and organized. 
It claims to be a member of the same family, the elder branches of which are 
so widely diffused and so well known. As the offspring of these, it will, of 
course, fall in with the designs and aid the operation of the parent bodies. 

" Why, then, will you cast an eye of suspicion upon the artless, humble plan, 
which your wisdom ought to foster and prayers to respect ? Why awaken 
apprehensions against a well-meant and hopeful scheme, which promises a new 
era in the history of our churches ; and which, by the blessing of God, will confer 
a unity of design and strength of action highly conducive to the interest of the 
common cause, upon all our existing arrangements.?" 

The Address then goes on to mention the purposes, or objects proposed by 
the General Association : 

" The revival of religion is one of the important objects which this new Asso- 
ciation will hold in anxious contemplation. To those who regard a low estate 
of religion as an affliction to the church, under which she is to repose with qui- 
etude and indolent submission, our remarks cannot be applied ; but to those 
who regard such a state as an affliction, under which she is to feel the mov- 
ings of active repentance, and to perform works suitable to the awful tokens of 
God, our observation must have a reasonable reference. For who will say, 
under any view of our religious condition, that it is not time to seek the Lord, 
nor yet to break up our fallow-ground ? It is a humbling truth that the general 
rule with churches, throughout the State, is to have the gospel preached only 
once a month ; those who have it oftener are not numerous exceptions to the 
rule. Hence three Lord's days in every month pass away with scarce a prayer 
to CQUsecrate their hours, or a holy song to hallow the wasting season. Whilst 
the ways of Zion, unbeaten by the foot of the early pilgrim, lie mourning in 
desertion and neglect, and are almost lost to the eye of the unfrequent traveller, 
the sacred abode itself presents a moving desolation— a building which seems 
almost to invite the approach of the enemy ; a few withered faces and tottering 
forms ; some heartless exercises performed with impatience and closed with 
haste ; a little worldly conversation and a few inquiries about prices current, and 
the scene is concluded until the next stated time. Brethren, if we draw a picture 
which has no reality, come forward and disprove our representation. Refute 
our assertions by facts, and show us, if you have it to show, the reverse of the 
picture. But if you cannot show the reverse, then meet us in solemn, prayerful 
deliberation upon the best methods for producing a change in this dismal history 
of events. 

" The want of exact uniformity in discipline is a source of frequent disturb- 
ances in our churches. It has often happened that cases have been disposed oi 
in one church, whilst another church could not acquiesce in the decision of its 
sister institution, and long contentions have ensued upon this diversity of discip- 
linary measures. Meanwhile, Christian fellowship has been suspended, nvalship 
and jealousy have prevailed, and angry disputes among brethren have existed, 


to the no small detriment of the sacred cause. At the same time it has been 
easy for imposing characters to shelter' themselves from deserved censure, by 
relying on the peculiar modes of an individual society, and disclaiming the prin- 
ciples of other bodies. To obviate such a state of things is one design of our 
general union. It is true that the influence even of this meeting might not 
produce an immediate change in this evil ; but it might adopt expedients to 
counteract it and gradually to produce a sameness in the usages of all the 

" Nor is it too much to hope that this General Association may be the instru- 
ment of calling forth more laborers into the Lord's harvest. The present small 
number of devoted laborers is rapidly becoming still more reduced. Within 
the last few years the interest of the Georgia Baptists has lost by deaths, 
reiBovals, and otherwise, a large portion of its most distinguished and zealous 
ministers. The names of Baker, Marshall, Sweet, Winn, Williams, Franklin 
and Boyd, Bateman and Willis, though embalmed in the dearest recollections of 
the churches and brethren who knew and appreciated their worth, live in our 
memory only to tell of the dismal vacuity which their removal from earthly 
scenes has caused. 

" Such losses impel the emotions of Zion beyond the first transports of grief, 
and extend the sorrowful affection until the force of a mighty reaction rolls 
back the current of woe in a full tide of penitence, prayer and holy action. To 
spend our time in unavailing regret is not the right way to improve an afflictive 
bereavement. To sit down in forbidden repose until the rust of inaction con- 
sumes our energies, is not the way to repair a breach. It is the Lord's work to 
qualify men with talents and grace for the holy employment of the ministry ; 
but it is our work to pray for the sending forth of such ; to watch the bruised 
reed that waves before the blast and to prop it with seasonable succors ; to fan 
the half-suffocated spark of the smoking flax ; and to run eagerly with those 
who have their faces set as if they would go up to Jerusalem, to strengthen them 
in the way. But, to speak without a figure, it is most evident that our churches 
have only themselves to blame for the fewness of their ministers. And if the 
fault is chargeable upon them, and not upon God, is it not time for them to be 
roused to a sense of their deficiency, and begin to do that which they have left 
undone ? Let pious young men receive the aids of learning ; let their dormant 
faculties be drawn out by the light of science ; let the burden of poverty be 
taken from the shoulders of those who already labor in word and doctrine ; let 
churches see that their ministers are freed from the oppressions of worldly care, 
and have their time devoted to the study of the Scriptures and the care of souls ; 
let concerts for prayer be punctually attended and devoutly observed ; let the 
slumbering energies of discipline be roused into wholesome action ; and let all 
hearts beat in unison with the holy promises of final success, and with the com- 
ing glories of the Saviour's happy reign. 

" Our meeting has been numerously attended, and the ministration of the 
word obtained a cordial and attentive reception. The parting scene on Sabbath 
was truly affecting. The flowing eyes and speaking faces seemed to say, 
' Behold, how good and how pleasant it is, for brethren to dwell together in 
unity !' 

" Jesse Mercer, Moderator. 
"J. P. Marshall, Clerk." 

The General Association, before adjourning, appointed brethren to present its 
transactions to the Ocmulgee and Georgia Associations, and requested certain 
others to represent it in the Ebenezer, Sarepta and Tugalo Associations, the 
object with reference to the three last named being to secure them as constitu- 
ents ; but, when the second meeting of the Association occurred, at Powelton, 
on Thursday, June 26th, 1823, the Ocmulgee and Georgia were, again, the only 
two Associations represented. 

In response to the appeal of the General Association, the Ocmulgee Associa- 
tion replied, partially, as follows, by letter, at her session in September, 1822 : 

" The transactions of your first convention have been presented to our body, 
by our much esteemed brother, Jesse Mercer, and have been taken into consid- 


eration. We have now to state that your specified objects meet our unanimous 
approbation. * * * We cannot close this poor token of love without express- 
ing our hope that the General Baptist Association of Georgia will prove a lasting 
blessing to the cause of the Redeemer's kingdom. * * * We further request 
your next convention to be within our bounds. 

" R. McGlNTY, Moderator. 
"James Anthony, Clerk." 

The Sarepta Association, although not prepared to become a constituent 
member of the General Association, nevertheless appointed Joseph Davis to 
prepare a friendly letter of correspondence, to be handed in at the next meeting 
of the body, by I. Goss, M. Bledsoe, R. Thornton, I. David and James Sanders, 
who were appointed correspondent messengers. It may be well to state here, 
that, although the Sarepta did not become a constituent member of the State 
Convention until 1836, it was not from a spirit of opposition so much as from 
a desire to preserve harmony and fellowship among her churches and church- 

The Ocmulgee was represented by Cyrus White, John Milner, J. M. Gray and 
W. Williams, while the Georgia sent as delegates Jesse Mercer, James Arm- 
strong, William T: Brantly and Jabez P. Marshall, Jesse Mercer was again elec- 
ted Moderator, J. P. Marshall Clerk, and William T. Brantly, Assistant Clerk. 

It is not at all necessary to collate a history of the mere business details of 
the General Association. It will be sufficient to put on record such general 
action of the body as manifested the aims, endeavors and sentiments of the 
founders of our State Convention, in regard to the condition of the denomina- 
tion at large. 

A. Sherwood, I. Goss, and I. David were received as corresponding messen- 
gers of the Sarepta Association, and admitted as constituent members ; and all 
the ministering and lay brethren present were invited to assist in a free commu- 
nication of sentiment, but not granted the privilege of voting. A. Sherwood, 
William T. Brantly and James Armstrong,. were appointed a committee to arrange 
and bring forward business for the Association. The succeeding day, Friday, 
they submitted a report which embraced the following objects : 

1. That correspondence be extended to every Association in the State, and to 
other religious bodies, as far as practicable, by address and messengers, which 
was adopted. 

2. " Thai a plan be formed to promote uniformity of church discipline." 

A. Sherwood, James Armstrong, William Williams and William T. Brantly 
were appointed to digest a plan and report the next day, 

3. " That a more strict attention be paid to the practical duties of religion." 
To meet this proposition ; " It was agreed that this body earriestly and re- 
spectfully recommend to the churches in their union throughout the State, that 
they be punctual and regular in assembling at their places of worship ; that they 
conscientiously regard the Sabbath, especially as a day of public worship, and, 
whether they have a preacher or not, read the Bible and other good books ; ex- • 
plain the Scriptures ; establish Sunday-schools ; introduce and maintain social 
prayer meetings ; preserve church discipline ; encourage promising gifts ; enforce 
Christian government in their families ; educate and catechize their children ; 
instruct their servants ; and, especially, that ministers take the lead in these 
important objects." 

4. " That the delegation from each Association present a succinct account of 
the state of religion within their boundaries." This was adopted. 

5. That agents for the Association be appointed. This was referred to 
brethren Brantly, Sherwood and Goss, as a committee, and their report, made 
the following day, stated that " they had considered the subject so far as the 
time allotted them would permit, and recommend that several agents in various 
sections of the State be requested to use their exertions to promote the interest 
of this body ; to travel and to preach to the churches ; to enlist the feelings of 
ministers and other influential members in our behalf ; to encourage family 
religion and the establishment of Sabbath- schools; to make particular inquiries 
among the brethren as to the expediency of establishing a Classical and Literary 


Seminary, to be under the patronage of the Baptists in South Carolina and 
Georgia ; to receive such donations as may be offered in aid of our general pur- 

The Committee on Uniformity of Discipline also reported on Saturday, 28th. 
as follows : 

"That, in their opinion, the matter is one of too great magnitude to be fully 
discussed within the space of one meeting, and that it is a point on which much 
inquiry should be made throughout the denomination. They therefore recom- 
mend that a correspondence be opened with such State Conventions as may 
have been already formed, and also with distinguished individuals touching this 
subject, and that the information so obtained be laid before the next meeting of 
this body." 

This was adopted, and Jesse Mercer and William T. Brantly were appointed 
to carry the design of the report into effect. Taking into consideration the 
part Rev. I. Goss took in the Sarepta Association against the General Associa- 
tion, it is singular that for several years he represented that Association, and was 
appointed to preach the Introductory sermon, at Eatonton, in 1826, which he 
did. It seems that they were received as messengers or correspondents, merely, 
from the Sarepta Association, and not as representatives from constituent bodies. 
To secure the co-operation of the non-acquiescing Associations in the State, mes- 
sengers were appointed, in 1823, to represent the General Association and urge 
a formal connection with that body. Roberts was appointed to attend the 
Hephzibah Association, A. Sherwood to attend the Sunbury, J. M. Gray the 
Piedmont, I. Goss and J. Mercer the Tugalo, J. Armstrong and M. Reeves the 
Sarepta, J. Milner and William Davis the Ebenezer ; and, in addition to this, a 
special appeal was made to each Association in the Circular Address, which is 
given as a part of the history of the times : 


The General Association of Baptists in the State of Georgia to their brethren 
throughout the State and elsewhere, with Christian salutation : 
Brethren — We had looked forward with much pleasure to our present meet- 
ing, animated by the confidence that the Associations which were not represented 
in our body at its formation, would at least send up their delegates to this meet- 
ing to obtain information satisfactory to themselves as to the character and 
objects of this Convention. In this coniidence we have not been wholly dis- 
appointed. Respectable brethren from the Sarepta and Ebenezer Associations 
were in attendance, and, we trust, may be appealed to for our justification from 
any suspicion of improper designs in forming a more extensive union. 

Should there be any good reasons agains; the united efforts of the Baptists, 
we should be happy to know them. Should it be so that, although union exists 
in the State for the purposes of legislation, yet the union of Baptists would have 
a mischievous operation ; should it be true that, although the frame of society 
among us is composed of many remote and separate members, which coalesce, 
yet the coalition of Associations would have a ruinous tendency ; should it be 
true that, although men of the world may unite upon any extensive scale for the 
accomplishment of secular designs, yet Christians, even of one State, may not 
come together without being the instruments of evil ; should it be true that men 
without religion are trustworthy, but lose their credit and honesty so soon as they 
become followers of Christ ; and should it be true that those who have been 
active in forming the General Association of Georgia are men of such suspicious 
virtue that a conspiracy against Christian liberty and morals is to be apprehended, 
then reject their offers, expose their treachery, warn good men against their in- 
sidious impositions, and guard yourself against their demands. But, is any one 
prepared to confirm such charges against the General Association ? It has set 
up no claims to obedience and submission from its members ; it has enacted no 
laws to bind the conscience or restrict the liberty of any man ; it has arrogated 
to itself no ecclesiastical jurisdiction of anv limits ; no papal threats, no episcopal 
canons, no spiritual decrees have been issued from its tribunal. What, then, is 


the harm which this union threatens ? What is the evil which is likely to grow 
out of it ? We presume that the mischiefs apprehended are some of the follow- 
ing : This union threatens to disturb the slumbers of those Christians who are 
more fond of a calm and quiet life than of the pains and sacrifices of a godly- 
conversation. It intends to exhibit the alarming spectacle of a body of behevers 
holding forth the Word of life, living up to the requirements of their station, 
awake upon their several posts of duty and attentive to the events of Provi- 
dence ; sending out Bibles, supporting missionaries at home and abroad ; main- 
taining personal, experimental and practical religion in their churches, in their 
families and in their own hearts. AH this is immensely obnoxious to the resent- 
ment of an opposite spirit. It makes religion too much a business ; requires too 
many sacrifices ; is quite too active and industrious ; requires too much praying, 
too much preaching, too much money, and, in a word, makes too much noise 
about the interests of another world. If these are the worst, faults of the Gene- 
ral Association, we should hope it might obtain the indulgence of those who 
have solemnly admitted the obligation which the word of God imposes upon all 
its friends, to consecrate their lives to the sacred cause, to be zealous in extend- 
ing the knowledge of salvation to others, as they are grateful for its saving 
benefits to themselves ; to manifest, in some degree, the same spirit which actuated 
the early Christians, who were all for Christ and Heaven. 

Brethren of the Hephzibah Association : We invite you to join with us in the 
common cause. Our proposition for a union of this sort you have once rejected ; 
but we humbly trust you will be induced to reconsider the measure. We love 
you in the Lord with a genuine Christian affection, and ardently desire that you 
might see as we see in this highly important concern. We have laid no snare 
for you, but offer you the same privileges and powers which are common to the 
Associations composing this body. We cannot beheve that you would reject a 
useful plan, knowing it to be so ; and we cannot feel contented that you should 
remain without the knowledge of that which you certainly would approve were 
you aware of its worth and importance. At least make trial by sending up dele- 
gates, and if you are then discontented with us, you shall have our cordial appro- 
bation for withdrawing. 

Brethren of the Sarepta Association : We were happy to see your messengers 
at our late meeting. You have evinced a disposition to make yourselves ac- 
quainted with the character and objects of our body, and in this you have acted 
rightly. We approve the caution and circumspection with which you proceed 
in this business, and feel anxious that we should be thoroughly known before 
we receive the official testimony of your respect and concurrence. When you 
have examined with care, and have then united with us, your approbation will be 
worth something, as it will have resulted from an enlightened and honest con- 
viction. We would not have you dragged with precipitation into a new scheme, 
as such haste would neither be useful to the scheme itself nor creditable to you. 
But we would hope, at the same time, that you have already discussed this sub- 
ject long enough, and that you are now prep^ed to accede to the terms of our 
new and interesting union. Let us hope, brethren, that we shall have the happi- 
ness to welcome your delegates to the bosom of our next meeting, and that you 
will from that time form a component part of this union. 

Brethren of the Sunbury Association : We had hoped that your just discern- 
ment would have appreciated the merits of the proposition, which was sub- 
mitted at your last meeting, to unite with us in forming one general body from 
all the Associations. Still, we cannot think that you declined the measure from 
any motives unfriendly to the common interests of the Saviour's kingdom. You 
have only to observe the characteristics of the times in which we live, to perceive 
that these are the days of co-operation in everything which beautifies the fol- 
lowers of the Saviour. Should we fail to collect the strength of our denomination, 
to embody the separate parts in one great whole ; should we overlook the obvious 
advantages of united exertion, we should be justly reproached Dy the zeal of other 
Christians, and should be wofuUy indifferent to the great things which God has 
wrought for us. Let us indulge the hope that we shall enjoy the company of 
your delegates at our next meeting. 


Brethren of the Ebenezer and Tugalo Associations : The plan of a General 
Association has already had a second trial, and is found, upon experiment, to 
possess all the advantages which were anticipated. It has brought together, in 
friendly acquaintance and harmonious deliberation, brethren who, otherwise, 
would not have been known to each other ; it has drawn close the ties of Christian 
affection ; it has created good-will and amicable understanding upon several 
subjects of general utility, and has paved the way for further attainments in 
these important particulars. Our desire is that you may be partakers with us 
of the benefit. We rely upon your Christian candor to bestow upon this sub- 
ject the attention which it merits, and we believe that you will not be inclined 
to reject it without a trial. Come, then, and examine for yourselves. Allow us 
to know you better, to love you more, to have your society as we march on 
towards the prize of the incorruptible inheritance. 

Brethren of the Georgia and Ocmulgee Associations : We are happy to say 
to you that you have done well in devising a more extensive union. As your 
delegates we have enjoyed the refreshing comfort of another interview. We 
seemed to act under the impulse of one spirit, and to have in view but one ob- 
ject. All our discussions were friendly, courteous and affectionate. 

A large concourse attended the preaching on the occasion, and we have reason 
to believe that much good was done. Much remains to be done on the plan of 
our united exertions, and your delegates cherish the confidence that you will 
not weary in well doing. 

Jesse Mercer, Moderator. 

J. P. Marshall, Clerk. 

This extract manifests the earnestness with which the originators of our State 
Baptist Convention sought to carry out their purposes, as well as the lofty ends 
they had in view, and successive years have but demonstrated the wisdom of 
their pious endeavors. 

, The Sunbury Association convened in 1823, at Power's church, Effingham 
county, and when, on Saturday, November 8th, the question of forming a con- 
nection with the " General Baptist Association for the State of Georgia " was 
resumed, after some deliberation, it was 

" Resolved, That this body adopt the proper measures to become a constitu- 
ent member of the Association ; " 

And H. J. Ripley, H. Milton, W. Connor and Samuel S. Law were appointed 
delegates to its next session. 

Adiel Sherwood and J. H. Walker, from the Georgia, and J. H. T. Kilpat- 
rick, from the Hephzibah, appeared as messengers that year, and may have influ- 
enced the body in its action. 

In 1822 the subject of uniting with the General Association was brought up in 
the Ebenezer Association, at Mount Horeb, and its decision was referred to the 
meeting of the following year, 1823. When the session for that year occurred, 
at Stone Creek, the Association "took under consideration the reference of last 
year, relative to the General Association, which was throzvn under the table." 

In 1822, Dr. Brantly presented the subject of union with the General Associa- 
tion, in the Hephzibah Association ; but the connection was rejected by the 
body, very decidedly. 

The third session of the Convention met at Eatonton in April, 1824. Three 
Associations were now constituent bodies — the Georgia, the Ocmulgee, and the 
Sunbury, all of which sent delegates, the Sarepta being represented by corres- 
ponding messengers. 

The General Association again sent forth a letter of correspondence, extracts 
from which will enable us to comprehend some of the notions then entertained 
by our leading brethren regarding the objects of the Association : 

" Several of the objects which have engaged our attention possess a high import- 
ance in the views of distant and highly respectable brethren who have favored 
us with their correspondence. 

" The inquiries which were made according to the resolution of last year, on 
the subject of some standard confession of faith, church discipline and catechism, 
and other forms of church transactions, so far as those inquiries were extended, 


have led to the behef that the time is not remote when this matter will be gener- 
ally agitated among the brethren of our large and growing denomination through- 
out the United States. There is but one voice from all — that something should 
be done in this way, and that speedily. The only difference of sentiment which 
may be apprehended is upon the best method of accomplishing the design. . . 
. . It has, therefore, been deemed expedient to continue the correspondence 
of last year, touching this design, and to request respectfully and affectionately 
from you the full and explicit declaration of your views, to be laid before our 
next annual meeting. 

" We trust, brethren, that there is among you a growing solicitude for the spir- 
itual welfare and religious instruction of the rising generation. When the hearts 
of parents are turned to the children ; when the moral and religious claims of 
the young begin to be vindicated from neglect and abuse ; when a general 
movement of holy anxiety begins to prevail towards those who are to form the 
' rudiments of future society, we may look forward to happy and cheering sea- 
sons of "refreshing from the presence of the Lord." Be not weary in well 
doing ! Prepare the minds of your offspring, by early cultivation, for a favora- 
ble reception of the truth as it is in Jesus. Let them be taught to respect reli- 
gion with all its institutions, to honor the pious persuasion of their parents, to 
regard this world as " but the bud of being " — the dawn of eternal day — and to 
prepare for the everlasting duration, where their character and portion must be 
forever fixed and unchangeable. 

" Cultivate the spirit of prayer with augmented care and assiduity. * * * 
Strive to promote the spirit of brotherly love and union, and endeavor to put !;o 
silence the ignorance of foolish men, rather by holy living than by spirited con- 
troversy ; more by the silent eloquence of a godly conversation than by the 
noisy contentions of unproductive words. Let the love of Christ dwell richly 
within you, and earnestly cultivate that heavenly plant which, in its early bud, 
is happiness, and, in its full bloom, is Heaven. Let its sacred sweets be shed 
around like the bruised myrtle, and, by its soft attractions, let your spirits be 
drawn forth to whatsoever things are lovely and of good report. 

"Continue, brethren, to send up your delegates to the General Association. This 
is the medium of Christian acquaintance, of extended co-operation, and of har- 
monious understanding. It is here the hearts of your ministers are cemented 
in love and encouraged to persevere in duty amid trials and conflicts. Here is 
the scene of unity and peace, of order and friendship. 

Jesse Mercer, Moderator. 

Adiel Sherwood, Clerk. 

The session of the General Baptist Association for 1823, it will be remem- 
bered, appointed several agents to visit various sections of the State, and use 
their best exertions to promote the interests of the Association, encourage 
family religion, establish Sunday-schools and make particular inquiries among 
the brethren and churches, so as to ascertain the general opinion in regard to 
the expediencv of establishing a classical and literary seminary. In reportmg, 
at the session'of 1824, held in Eatonton, April 22d, 23d and 24th, some of them 
stated that they found many persons favorable to weekly church services, and 
to the establishment of Sunday-schools, several of which had been already 
commenced and were prosperous ; but the plan for a seminary of learnmg met 
with the cold rebuke of many intiuential members of the Baptist churches. 
Still it was affirmed that there were many members and friends who earnestly 
desired such a seminary, and would aid in its establishment when the public 
mind was more enlightened and when more efficient support could be anticipated. 
With reference to the state of religion in the different Associations connected 
with the body, the following statements were made : In many churches of the 
Ocmulgee Association there appeared to be an absence of zeal in the promotion 
of practical religion and the spread of the gospel ; but, in others, there was a 
warm engagedness in the Redeemer's cause. In the families of the brethren 
the standard of religion had been erected ; Sabbath schools had been estab- 
lished and were prospering; weekly and concert prayer-meetings were con- 
stantly maintained and promptly attended ; and to these churches, which were 



chiefly in the counties of Henry, Newton and the upper parts of Jasper, there 
had been considerable additions. In truth the prospects within the Ocmulgee 
were more flattering than they had been a year previous, except with respect to 
the support of missions. There appeared to be little ground for hope that the 
support of the mission cause would be warmer or more liberal than it had been 

A more favorable report was received from the Sunbury Association, which 
contained in that year, 1824, eighteen churches, ten ministers and 5,257 members. 
Several of its churches had enjoyed the reviving influences of the Holy Spirit, 
and had been favored with unusual accessions to their numbers. For the most 
part, its churches were harmonious and well affected towards the spread of the 
gospel, and in it a general improvement in the denomination manifested itself. 
Special mention was made of the Missionary Committee, in that Association, 
whose duty it was to attempt supplying destitute churches and neighborhoods 
in the bounds of the Sunbury with the preaching ol the gospel. 

It was stated that to almost all the churches of the Georgia Association, 
there had been additions by baptism during the year. Especially was this the 
case at County Line church, in Oglethorpe county, and at Bethel church, in 
Wilkes county. Many churches, however, had been so refreshed as to "thank 
God and take courage," and in some the precious revival influences were still 
visible. The whole number baptized in the Association had been 293. It con- 
tained thirty-seven churches, twenty ministers and 2,986 members. The members 
of a few churches assembled at their meeting-houses punctually for worship, 
evety Sabbath ; and Sunday-schools were established and in a prosperous con- 

The Clerk, Adiel Sherwood, appends these remarks to the general proceedings 
of the General Association for 1824: "All the deliberations during the session, 
were conducted in entire harmony and in much brotherly love. No unhallowed 
spirit was discoverable ; but so apparent in the conduct of the brethren were 
those kindly feelings of the Christian, that every one appreciated the sentiment 
of the Psalmist, ' How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together 
in unity !' The preaching of the word was attended with the manifest appro- 
bation of our Lord. The congregations were frequently bathed in tears, and 
there is ground to hope that much good has been done." 

This was, indeed, a notable meeting and was attended by some eminent men. 
From the Georgia Association, there were Jesse Mercer, W. T. Brantly, James 
Armstrong, Malachi Reeves and Adiel Sherwood ; from the Ocmulgee, Jonathan 

Nichols, Edmund Talbot, B. Milner, J. CoUey and Robinson ; from the 

Sii7tbury, H. J. Riply, the commentator; from the Sarepta, Miller Bledsoe, 
Isham Goss, Henry David and James Saunders. Basil Manly, Sr., then a young 
man, was present, as a representative from the South Carolina State Convention. 
Many others were there who were invited to seats, among whom were Thomas 
Cooper, Elisha Battle, WiUiam Flournoy, William Williams, J. Robertson, B. 
Haygood, J. Gray, Wilson Connor, Cyrus White, James Brooks, and many 

Brethren F. M. Gray, Cyrus White, Wilson Connor and Adiel Sherwood were 
appointed agents of the Association, to travel for three months throughout the 
the State, preach, take up collections and form auxiliary societies, wherever 
practicable, and look to the body, at its succeeding session, for compensation ; 
and the churches were earnestly recommended to form Baptist Tract Societies, 
auxiliary to the parent society recently established at Washington City. 

It was at this meeting that Adiel Sherwood and Basil Manly were appointed 
to preach on Sabbath morning. There was a very large assembly present and 
Jesse Mercer, then in his fifty-fifth year, sat in the pulpit with them. Adiel 
Sherwood was to preach first, then in his thirty-third year, an ordained minister 
of four years only, and full of zeal and fire, and pastor of the Greenesboro 
church. B. Manly was even younger, low in stature, but with a pleasing voice 
and a most pathetic delivery. 

Sherwood, who was to preach first arose, calmly surveyed the immense con- 
gregation for some moments, and, instead of beginning his discourse, observed 


in his own quaint way, " Where shall we obtain bread to feed so great a mul- 
titude ? As for myself, I am penniless and unprovided ; but there is a lad here 
who has five barley loaves and two little fishes." He then turned and laid his 
hand upon the head of Basil Manly, who was leaning forward, his face resting 
upon his hands. "And this," Sherwood proceeded, "with the presence and 
blessing of Jesus shall constitute a feast for all." To quote Dr. Manly's own 
words concerning. the circumstance, "This well nigh upset me. But it drove 
me to prayer. The Lord loosed my own mind and unlocked the fountain of 
tears, so that it was computed that through a great part of the discourse, there 
was an average of at least five hundred persons continually bathed in tears. In 
all this Bochim there was nothing so affecting to me as the sympathetic streams 
I saw coursing down the furrowed cheeks of Father Mercer, when I turned 
round in the pupit." After the sermon the ministers descended from the pulpit, 
mourners were invited forward, hundreds threw themselves on their knees and 
Jesse Mercer led in a most affecting and tear-compelling prayer. 

As various new characters have entered upon the stage of action, it will be 
interesting to the general reader to give some information relative to them. 
One of the most distinguished men of the denomination, the venerable Abra- 
ham Marshall, has gone to his reward, universally mourned by his brethren. 
He departed this life on the 15th of August, 181 9, in the seventy-second year 
of his age. The excellent William Rabun, Governor of Georgia, has been laid in 
the tomb, also, a whole State making great lamentation over his demise. But 
Jabez Pleiades Marshall has risen up to succeed his father, as pastor of Kiokee 
church, and is taking a noble stand among the best and most useful Baptists of 
the day. Thorough-going as a missionary Baptist, he entered heart and soul 
into all the benevolent plans of the day, and was frequently called upon, by his 
brethren to act for them in responsible positions. As a preacher he was clear, 
zealous and touching, never entering the pulpit without careful preparation, 
and preaching strongly the doctrines reckoned strictly orthodox among Baptists. 
Frail in body and constitution, and yet zealous and indefatigable in his exertions, 
he wore out the delicate machine in which his persevering spirit worked, and 
passed away at an early age, in 1832. For seven years he was either Secretary, 
or Assistant Secretary, of the State Baptist Convention. 

Another controlling and influential character, who has entered with vigor on 
the stage of action among the Baptists of Georgia, is William T. Brantly, a 
courtly, courteous, highly cultivated and thoroughly educated minister and scholar. 
He became rector of the Richmond Academy, in Augusta, in 1819, and was in- 
strumental in founding the first Baptist church of that city, and also in erecting 
a handsome Baptist house of worship which cost $20,000. He was an eloquent 
preacher, of commanding presence and courtly address, who exerted a great 
and beneficial influence in the State during his six years' residence in Augusta. 
He was a man who strongly advocated, on all suitable occasions, the cause of 
education, missions, Sunday-schools and temperance. He was a polished writer, 
a distinguished educator, and a very successful pastor. It is highly probable 
that he was the author of the circular issued by the Foreign Missionary Society 
of Savannah, in 181 3, the effect of which was so potent for good among the 
Baptists of Georgia. He assisted greatly in the establishment of the Georgia 
Baptist Convention, and his hand, in all likelihood drafted its Constitution, for 
he was chairman of the committee appointed to prepare it, and he was its chief 
advocate and exponent. 

Another individual whose influence for good was widely felt and long exer- 
cised in Georgia, was Adiel Sherwood. Born at Fort Edwards, New York, 
October 3d, 1791, he arrived in Savannah at seventeen years of age, in the year 
1808, and immediately identified himself with the Baptists of the State, entering 
at once heartily into all their benevolent and evangelical plans, and laboring 
with a zeal, earnestness and intelligence that made him one of the master-build- 
ers of our denomination in the State. Splendidly educated, intensely earnest, 
devout and energetic, he stamped himself upon our denominational history in 
the State ineffaceably. The originator of our Convention, he was also the prime 
jnover in the establishment of Mercer Institute, the Manual Labor School 


which merged into Mercer University, in which he was, for a time, Theological 
Professor. For ten years he was Secretary of the State Convention, and for 
many years was one of the most successful pastors and preachers in the State. 
From 1818 to 1865 he was more or less identified with the Baptist history of 

James Armstrong, a native of New York also, who emigrated to Savannah 
and there united with the Baptists, in 18 10, afterwards settling in Wilkes county, 
where he was ordained, in 18 14, was another useful man, who has begun to 
take a most active part in Baptist matters. For more than twenty years he was 
a useful and influential minister, and, as a member of the Mission Board of the 
Georgia Baptist Convention, and as a participant in every benevolent effort, was 
active, earnest, practical, sensible, exceedingly useful, and greatly beloved. At 
his death, in 1835, he was Treasurer of the State Convention. 

Rev. J. H. T. Kilpatrick has also entered the State and taken up his residence 
in Burke county. Born in North Carolina, in 1793, highly educated, and with a 
spirit burning with zeal for missions, temperance, education and Sunday-schools, 
he was worthy to take a stand beside Mercer, Brantly, Sherwood, Screven, Tal- 
bot, McGinty, Marshall, Davis, Reeves, Thornton, and the others, then the 
strong pillars who were holding up the Baptist cause in Georgia. For years he 
struggled against the anti-mission and anti-temperance spirit in the Hephzibah 
Association, and, in the course of time, became the universally recognized de- 
fender of Baptist faith and practice in his section, one of the oldest, wealthiest 
and most influential sections in the State. 






To the bird's-eye glance at the state of religion in the Associations in 1823 
and 1824, furnished by the Minutes of the General Association for the latter 
year, it will be instructive, as well as interesting, to add what can be gathered 
from other sources, so as to present as correct a view of the denomination as 

And, first, we will revert to the seaboard, and make a few historical state- 
ments. It will be remembered that the Savannah Association, formed in 1802, 
changed its name to Savannah River in 1806, and, at its session held in New- 
ington, twenty miles above Savannah, in 1817, divided, the Georgia churches 
forming themselves into The Sunbury Association, in 181 8. The number of 
churches was twelve, containing a membership of 3,541, most of whom were 

With a regular mission committee, whose duty it was to receive and disburse 
mission funds, employ missionaries and make an annual report, this Association, 
from first to last, was unalterable and firm in its attachment to the mission 
cause and in engagement in missionary labor. Its reports and circular letters 
give no uncertain sound, but are ever bugle-blasts, calling with seraphic zeal 
upon the churches, fully to perform their share of duty in evangelizing the 
world, and inciting them especially to maintain, year after year, effective mission 
labor among the numerous colored people along the Georgia coast. With 
reference to this condition of affairs, it is only proper to bestow due credit for its 
existence upon Henry Holcombe, Alexander Scott, Thomas Polhill, James 
Sweat, William B. Johnson, C. O. Screven, William T. Brantly, Thomas F. Wil- 
liams, Andrew Marshall, Andrew Bryan, Henry Cunningham, Jacob H.Dun- 
ham, Thomas S. Winn, Evans Great, Matthew Albritton, Thomas Meredith, 
and Deacon Josiah Penfield, whose eloquent pen and Isaiah-like spirit thrilled 
the Association with utterances similar to those of the prophets of old. 

The white church of Savannah, it will be remembered, was constituted in 
1800, and Dr. H. Holcombe was its first pastor. He remained in the pastorate 
until 1 8 II, when he was succeeded by Dr. Wm. B. Johnson, who served the 
church until 18x5, when its membership was about one hundred. 

In 181 5 Dr. Johnson moved to South Carolina, and Benjamin Screven became 


pastor of the church, and so continued until 1819. James Sweat succeeded Ben- 
jamin Screven, and was pastor three years, when he resigned, and Thomas 
Meredith took charge, serving during 1823 and 1824, the church containing in 
1823 seventy-one members. In 1825, when Henry O. Wyer took charge of it, 
this church contained sixty-three members only ; but the membership nearly 
trebled itself during his pastorate of nine years. 

Rev. Henry O. Wyer was an extraordinary preacher, and deserves more than 
a passing notice in this historical sketch. He was born in Massachusetts in 
1802, and came to Georgia in 1824. In 1825 he was ordained by Rev. William 
T. Brantly and Rev. James Shannon, and was installed pastor of the Savannah 
church. He died of pneumonia, in Alexandria, Virginia, May 8th, 1857, at the 
age of fifty-five. 

To exhibit the state of religion in the Sunbury Association, we make a few 
extracts from its annual Minutes. In the " Corresponding Letter " of the Sun- 
bury Association for 1822, we find this gratifying statement : " It is a source 
of gratitude to us, as well as delight, to be able to state that the circumstances 
under which we are this season assembled, are peculiarly interesting. The 
people throughout the whole of this section of country seem to have experienced a 
general religious excitement. The congregations which have assembled for the 
purpose of worshipping God with us are unusually large, attentive and tender. 
Many, particularly of the young people, seem to be laboring under the most 
pungent conviction ; while others are enabled to ' rejoice in hope of the glory of 
God.' The season is truly animating and refreshing to the pious heart ; and we 
entertain a hope, apparently well grounded, that the time of refreshing from the 
presence of the Lord has come, and that this excitement may prove to be the 
commencement of a general and powerful revival of true godliness." 

And again : " It affords us pleasure here to state that the labors of our 
domestic missionaries have been acknowledged and blessed. As an evidence of 
this, the people among whom they have been laboring have presented us with 
most urgent solicitations that they may still be allowed to share the benefit of 
their services. We are pleased to see the manner in which missionary effort 
prospers wherever it is made." 

The Corresponding Letter for 1823 says : "Several of our churches have been 
blessed, during the last year, with the reviving influences of the Holy Spirit, and 
have beheld many, both old and young, bow to the sceptre of Immanuel. In other 
of our churches present appearances excite the hope of similar favors. The desire 
for the universal spread of the gospel is also becoming more general." In that year 
the Sunbury decided to unite with the General Association, and its first messen- 
gers were sent in 1824. H. J. Ripley alone attended. 

The Minutes and Letter for 1824 speak of the successful labors of two Asso- 
ciational missionaries and of the formation of one missionary society. On some of 
the churches God had been graciously pleased to pour out the influence of His 
Spirit. Harmony and brotherly love presided at the Association ; but it was a 
matter of grief " to be obliged to state that there are still some among us opposed 
to the cause of missions." But the brethren were exhorted not to exercise 
unkindly feelings towards them, but to pray for them, "that the veil which 
darkens their understandings may be removed." C. O. Screven was Moderator, 
and H. J. Ripley, Clerk. The session of the Sunbury for 1825 was interesting. 
Some eminent and useful men belonged to the body at that time ; among them 
was the eloquent, zealous and pious Henry O. Wyer, of the First church of 
Savannah; Dr. C. O. Screven, pastor at Sunbury; H. J. Ripley, pastor at New- 
port ; James Shannon (a very learned man, converted from Presbyterianism by 
the thesis, " Did John's baptism belong to the old or Jiew Dispensation ?"); S. S. 
Law, of Sunbury ; Andrew Marshall, pastor of First colored church of Savannah, 
and others. In its report, the Committee on Domestic Missions asserts its 
increasing conviction of the deserts of their Domestic Mission, adding : " Since 
it was established many souls have been converted ; several churches which had, 
for some time, been gradually declining, have been revived and strengthened, 
and one church has been constituted through the labors of their itinerant 


The Corresponding Letter for 1825 says : "The state of the churches con- 
stituting this Association, in some instances, gives us pain. There is too much 
indifference to spiritual things among us, and some of our churches are evidently 
in a declining state ; yet, the Lord has blessed us, and caused His power to be 
made manifest among us. His preached Word has been made effectual in the 
conversion of sinners, and vi^e indulge a hope that His children have been revived, 
and their faith more firmly established upon the Rock of Ages. We have 
enjoyed much Christian affection and harmony since we have come together, 
and hope that we feel as a band of brothers, engaged in promoting the glory of 
our Father's Kingdom." 

In that year S. S. Law was Moderator, and H. J. Ripley was Clerk. The 
number of churches was 17; ordained ministers, 12; licensed preachers, i; 
members, 5,165 ; baptisms during the year, 228, 

Let us now turn our vision to the City of Augusta. Remarkable to say, 
sixty years after its foundation, no Baptist church existed in that city, al- 
though there were large Baptist churches in existence throughout the region 
around. In May, 18 17, the first Baptist church was constituted, with eighteen 
members in the city, Abraham Marshall preaching on the occasion. During 
1818 and a part of 18 19 he acted as pastor of this church, but in the latter year, 
the trustees of Richmond Academy, for the second time, secured the services 
of Dr. Wm. T. Brantly, as rector of the Academy, and he, by permission of 
the trustees, preached to the Baptists gratuitously in the chapel. In the follow- 
ing year, 1820, he was elected pastor of the church, which then contained 
twenty-four members, and he served it most usefully until his removal to Phila- 
delphia, as Dr. Henry Holcombe's successor, in 1826, when the membership of 
the church was seventy-four. Within two years after entering upon his charge 
of this church, Mr. Brantly had the pleasure of preaching the dedication ser- 
mon of a handsome church-building which cost $20,000, the result of his own 
personal labors, and in which he preached to large congregations. 

During his pastorate at Augusta, Dr. Brantly wielded a weighty, and 
judicious influence in Georgia, ever raising his eloquent voice and using 
his polished pen in favor of those noble and grand causes which have tended 
to elevate and enlarge our denomination. For four years he served as Assist- 
ant Secretary in the General Association, and when he left the State in 1826, the 
General Association 

"Resolved, That as our beloved brother, the Rev, William T. Brantly, who 
has much endeared himself to us by his Christian deportment and faithful dis- 
charge of ministerial duties, is about to remove his residence from this State, 
we furnish him with a letter expressive of our affectionate regard and religious 

From Augusta we will turn our gaze to the centre of the State, bearing in 
mind that the state of religion in the churches was such as to bring grief to 
every devout mind. Divisions of sentiment existed. Religion in the family 
was neglected. Practical godliness was illustrated by comparatively few profes- 
sors. The ordinary duties of religion were not sufficiently attended to. Church 
discipline was not duly regarded ; and the support of pastors was by many not 
considered obligatory. On all these subjects the General Association requested 
its agents to preach, when on their travels ; and the consequence was, as we 
learn from Sherwood's manuscript notes, on the 30th of May, 1823, messengers, 
who were chiefly laymen, sent by thirteen different churches, met in convention 
at Shoal Creek, in Jasper county, to take into consideration the necessity — i. Of 
a revival of practical religion; 2. Family and church discipline; and 3. The 
duties of Christians as church-members, in support of the ministry. The only 
two ordained ministers present were John Robertson, who was made Moderator, 
and Cyrus White, who was elected Clerk. Certain originators of the scheme, 
namely Shackelford, McDowell, McLendon, Smith and Hambrick, being present, 
were invited to take seats. 

On the third item several texts were quoted showing the duty of members to 
support the ministry. Resolutions in favor of these three articles were adopted 
by the Shoal Creek Convention, and a Circular Address was issued which 


maintained that the support of the ministry, church expenses, etc., are a charge 
on the church, " and bind every member in proportion to what he hath." 

These articles were adopted by laymen chiefly ; and, among the members of 
the Convention were William Walker, William Flournoy, Thomas Cooper and 
Wilson Lumpkin, all of whom were rich men, as were most of those who 
attended. Dr. Sherwood says, in his own quaint way: "If they would not 
flinch, certainly \h& poo7' ought not." 

The General Association adopted these measures for its own, in June of that 
year, and vigorously urged them ; but some of the Associations differed aad 
were offended, as though the General Association was guilty of interference or 
presumption. The Ocmulgee, itself, at its session in November of that year, 
1823, rejected the "third item," which afterwards became a subject much dis- 
cussed, and a cause of bitter persecution — especially of Mr. Cyrus White. 

To his note recording these circumstances. Dr. Adiel Sherwood appends this 
remark: " When we are offended with plain directions to duty, it is good evi- 
dence that we dishke it." From which we may infer that many were disinchned 
properly to sustain the gospel at home ; yet, in that very Association it 31 8 were 
sent up for missions that year, $445 the year previous, and $280 the succeeding 

It is to be feared that the custom of gratuitous itinerant work performed by all 
the ministers during the summer, in the different Associations at that day, was, in 
some respects, at least, prejudicial to the cultivation of a spirit of liberality 
among church-members ; for at the very session in which tLe Ocmulgee con- 
demned " ztetn third," sixteen ministers agreed to spend, each, some weeks in 
itinerant labor among the settlements in the new counties. 

Another endeavor on the part of the General Association was to originate 
some scheme or plan for the promotion of "a uniformity of church discipline." 
Jesse Mercer and William T. Brantly were appointed a special committee, in 
1823, to correspond with the Associations, Conventions and distinguished indi- 
viduals of the denomination, regarding the subject, and lay the information 
obtained before the body. As the views of the denomination were not supposed 
to be fully understood, the session of 1824 continued the committee, requesting 
it to gather further information, and report at the next session. In 1825 the 
committee reported, judiciously, that the matter rest for the present; "but," to 
quote from the Minutes for that year, " members of the Hephzibah, Sarepta 
and Tugalo Associations being present, stated the earnest solicitude of their 
respective bodies, that some measures should be taken to carry into execution 
the subject above mentioned. 

" Whereupo7i it was resolved, That those several bodies and all the Associa- 
tions in the State, be affectionately invited to send delegates for that special 
purpose, to our next session." 

The next session was held at i|^ugusta, but, as will be readily surmised, nothing 
further was done in the matter. It appears singular, however, for such a request 
to be made as representing the " solicitude " of bodies not in connection with 
the General Association. 

In his Manuscript History of Georgia, Adiel Sherwood, who was the clerk 
of the General Association of the State, at that time, presents, in his private 
memoranda, some of the obstacles in the way of the measure proposed, which 
appeared, of course, to infringe upon the sovereignty of the churches. He 
says : " What is approved by one church is condemned by another in the same 
vicinity. For instance, some think that the testimony of respectable worldlings 
may be adduced /r^ or con. in regard to a member's conduct; others admit of 
that from the church only. Some maintain that public offences require private 
dealing, and quote Matthew chap, xviii ; others more correctly (.?) confine 
Matthew's directions to offences against your own person. Some approve of 
washing the saints' feet as an ordinance ; others reject the perpetual obligation 
altogether ; while some perform the ceremony at times, but not as an ordinance." 
To say no more on the subject, this terse presentation of its difficulties manifests 
the injudiciousness of any attempt at promoting or enforcing a strict uniformity 
of discipline among independent and sovereign churches. 


These difficulties, showing the actual impossibility of introducing perfect uni- 
formity of discipline, caused the measure to be dropped entirely, but it cannot 
be doubted that the more intelligent members of our denomination, in that day, 
experienced the evils resulting from the laxness of discipline, and foresaw the 
numerous troubles which afterwards resulted from loose and divergent views 
of church discipline and desired to avert them. 

To show something of the want of harmony, and divergence of views in re- 
gard to discipline, and the general state of unchristian feeling that existed at 
that period, it may be noted that in 1825, the Hephzibah Association rejected a 
petition to send messengers to the General Association and correspond with it, 
and to seek to bring about a tmifoi'viity of discipline. The next year, 1826, it 
appointed brethren Cummings, Huff, Granade, Gray and Brinson, a committee, 
to visit Bethesda church and rectify some disorder ; " and if order cannot be 
effected, then the committee to be clothed with authority to expel all the dis- 
orderly part of the chtirch, and give letters of dismission to those that are in 
order, to join some church that is in order, provided the church will act in con- 
junction with the committee." In regard to this. Dr. Sherwood, writes, " This 
is the earhest record of Associational usurpation." 

At its session in 1825 at Rocky Creek church, on the 13th of September, the 

Resolved, " That we set apart Friday and Saturday, before the fourth Sab- 
bath in January next, as days of fastmg and solemn prayer to God, that He 
would pour out his blessings on the churches in general, that brotherly love 
may abound more and more, and that His common blessings may be gener- 
ally poured out on our land." 

The General Association wisely sought to unite the efforts of the denomina- 
tion in promoting harmony, good order, godliness and zeal in the advancement of 
missions, education, temperance, and the establishment of Sunday-Schools and 
Bible societies. 

In its address to the Associations, in 1825, it solemnly urged them to co-operate 
in attaining these ends, soliciting " a fair hearing " for its cause. Evidently the 
production of Jesse Mercer, it concludes thus : 

" If you have objections to our plan, we say, as we have always said, meet us, 
and we will endeavor so to shape the Constitution of our Association as to re- 
move every objectionable feature. We do not wish, nor expect, to have a sys- 
tem partial or exceptionable ; but it has been our aim to act upon a plan in which 
all the Associations might harmonize. 

" Do you object to us that we are advocates for jnissiojtary exertions ? Then, 
brethren, your controversy is not with us, but with the apostles of our Lord, 
and with the Saviour Himself, who by his own command gave the first mission- 
ary impulse, under the force of which a grand system of missions has been ever 
since in successful operation. To our common Master, then, we refer you, and 
by his judgment you and we must stand or fall. 

"Do you object to us that we connect money and religion, in conducting pur 
plans of usefulness } Then your objection lies no more against us than against 
the inspired advocates of the Christian faith, who appealed to the beneficence of 
the churches for equalizing pecuniary burdens, and for diffusing the glad tidings 
of the gospel. 

Do you object to us that our plan contemplates the education of indigent 
young men, called of God and their churches to preach the gospel? We meet 
this objection with the assurance that we never thought the cause of God needed 
either the learning or the ignorance of any man to help it on ; but we have 
always considered that every minister of the gospel should be apt to teach, 
which he could not be unless he had previously learned something ; and that 
God had made it incumbent on us to seek the best preparation for His \york. If 
vou who decry and undervalue education will come forward and exhibit to us 
specimens of your own preaching, according to the form of sound words, with 
as cogent reasonings, with as pure a style, and with as uncorrupt doctrines, 
as we find in the New Testament, then we will allow you the full weight 
of a consistent judgment in this matter. Or, if you will send forward any one of 


your own number, who has been himself favored with the advantages of educa- 
tion, and he shall say that learning and intellectual improvement are needless 
or hurtful appendages to the ministerial character, then we will confess that we 
have formed a hasty judgment on the subject, and that it will be well for us to 
revise our decision. 

" Do you object to us that we are seeking sotfte peculiar pre-ejninence, and 
aiming to climb the heights which ambition descries from a distance ? But 
here, brethren, we could with equal speciousness retort the imputation, were we 
not restrained by brotherly love and forbearance. For, whether do we, who 
unite in one body where no distinction or pre-eminence can exist, or they who 
stand off with the reproachful insinuation, ' I am holier than thou ! ' more justly 
incur the suspicion of sinister aims ? 

" But we will not believe that you are so far gone in the spirit of captiousness 
and cavilling, and we therefore reiterate our most affectionate invitation to you, 
and add our earnest prayer that you may stand, perfect and complete, in all the 
will of God, rooted and grounded in the faith, and at all times prepared to give 
to every one that asketh a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and 
fear. Jesse Mercer, Moderator. 

Adiel Sherwood, Clerk." 

This extract is given for three purposes — to show something of the aims and 
objects of the General Association ; to exhibit the earnestness with which the 
Association brethren sought to secure the co-operation of others ; and to mani- 
fest the spirit which animated the leaders in the General Association. One of 
the prime objects of the General Association was to advocate the cause of mis- 
sions, and in the very session of the body which sent forth the above address, 
Jesse Mercer preached a missionary sermon, on Sabbath morning, after which 
a missionary collection was taken up that amounted to $218 ! At the present 
day such a collection would hardly be surpassed. 

The General Association from its origin, took also a bold and outspoken 
position in regard to education, both theological and classical. In 1826, its ex- 
ecutive committee was instructed to "prepare a plan to provide a fund for pur- 
poses of theological education," and, in their report the following year, " they 
recommend that each member of this body, and the several ministering breth- 
ren in our bounds, be requested to use their exertions to advance this object by 
removing prejudices and showing the value of education to a pious ministry. 
There are in the State, more than twenty thousand members. Is there one of 
these who would be deprived of the privilege of giving fifty cents for so de- 
sirable an object ? " 

The Association in 1826, resolved also, that it felt "a deep and lively interest 
in the design of the Convention of South Carolina, to establish a Seminary of 
Learning in the neighborhood of Edgefield Court-House, and that we do cor- 
dially concur with said Convention in carrying its design into effect, and that 
we will to the best of our means, contribute to its advancement." Brethren 
Brantly and Mercer, were even appointed to meet the South Carolina committee 
at Edgefield S. C, and confer with it. 

So far but three Associations have formally connected themselves with the 
General Association — the Georgia, Ocmulgee and Sunbury. The Sarepta, 
however, acknowledges and approves of its existence by sending corresponding 
messengers. This was the case, for a time or two, also, with the Yellow River 
Association, which was formed in 1824. The other Associations held aloof; 
but the Hephzibah and Ebenezer obtained a quasi representation through the 
delegates sent by the missionary societies within the bounds of those Associations. 
There is no denying that there was a decided opposition to the General Associa- 
tion, arising mainly from an apprehension that the Association might seek to 
exercise too much power over the Associations and churches, and attempt to 
diminish or curtail their freedom of action. Perhaps reason for opposition was 
also found in its attempt to promote uniformity of discipline,* as there certainly 

*The reader should be informed that desire for a uniformity of discipline was no new thing 
in Georgia among our churches. As far back as 1808, steps to that end had been taken in the Heph- 
zibah Association ; for, in the Hephzibah Minutes of 1809, we find this entry : " Agreeably to a 
resolution of last year, brother Hand presented the Philaaelphia Confession of Faith and Summary 


was, in its strenuous endeavors to advance the cause of missions, education and 

Grieved and disappointed that so few Associations coincided with its views 
and operations, after the lapse of four years, the General Association, in 1826, 
resolved, unanimously, " That, as several of the Associations in this State have 
not encouraged the designs of the General Association and, as it seems now 
doubtful when or whether they will concur, therefore the second Article of our 
Constitution is so amended that Auxiliary Societies may be admitted as compo- 
nent parts of this body on exhibiting their Constitutional Rules for our 
approbation : 

" Provided, That, in all cases, when the Associations, in which the societies 
shall be located, may manifest a wish to join our body, the said Auxiliaries shall 
be blended with the Associations in which they are located." In accordance 
with this action, afterwards, for years, the Hephzibah, Sarepta, Yellow River, 
Flint River, Pike County Auxiliary Societies, and many others sent delegates to 
the State Convention. They constituted what we now simply denominate 
Mission Societies. The form of Constitution for these Auxiliaries, prescribed by 
the session of 1826, was as follows : 

"It will be seen, by reference to the twelfth Article of these Minutes, that 
Auxiliary Societies are entitled to send delegates to this body, and enjoy all its 
privileges. A form of Constitution for such is here submitted, with the earnest 
wish that they may be formed in many neighborhoods. Why could not each 
church resolve itself into an Auxiliary ? 

" Article i. The subscribers, cordially approving of the object and Constitution 
of the General Association of the Baptists of Georgia, do agree to form a society, 

to be called the Auxiliary Society of , whose sole object shall be to co-operate 

with the General Association in encouraging missions, and especially the educa- 
tion of pious young men of our denomination preparing for the ministry. 

" 2. All persons paying one dollar or upwards annually, shall be members of 
this society. 

" 3. The business of this society shall be conducted by a Board of Directors, 
composed of a chairman, a clerk, a treasurer and two other members, who shall 
hold their offices one year, or till others are chosen. 

" 4. The duties of these officers shall be the same as those of similar officers in 
other well-regulated societies. 

" 5. The funds of this society, shall be transmitted annually to the treasury of 
the parent institution. 

" 6. No persons shall be messengers to the parent society, but such as are de- 
cidedly friendly to its interests and of good moral character. 

" 7. The Board of Directors shall meet when the interests of the society require 
it, and may call a meeting of the members annually or oftener. 

" 8. This society may receive donations from other than regular members. 

" 9. All moneys paid into the general treasury, shall be appropriated at discre- 
tion, but, when the object designed to be assisted shall be designated by the 
donors, to such objects it shall be sacredly applied. 

" 10. This Constitution may be altered at any regular meeting of the society, 
two-thirds of the members present concurring therein." 

In accordance with this constitution, many " Auxiliaries " were formed the 
names of some of which are recorded here, in addition to those already given : 
McDonough, LaGrange, Jasper County, Butts and Monroe, Putnam and 
Baldwin, Sharon, Rocky Creek, Chattahoochee, Morgan County, Gtainnett 
County, Tugaloo Society, Muscogee, Troup, Athens, County Line, {Talbot 
County^ Walton County, Gainesville, Monticello, Columbus, Twiggs County, 
Mercer Institute, Newton County, Mountain Creek, {Harris County^ Island- 
Fork, {Gwinnett County^ Meriwether County, Macon, Thomaston, Pifiey 
Grove, {Richrnond County,) and Coweta and Heard Counties. 

of Discipline. The Association, wishing to proceed with caution in a matter_ of such importance, 
thought proper to recommend a convention of delegates from the several Associations with whom we 
correspond, to meet at Powelton, in Hancock county, on Saturday before the first Sunday in May 
next, to review and (if need be) revise the same. Brethren Franklin, Talbot, Boykin and Robertson 
are appointed to represent this Association in that Convention." Through a lack of proper authori- 
tative records, we are unable to ascertain what was the result of this action, but we opine that nothing 
was done of any material influence. 


Almost alone with the aid of these Auxiliaries the noble old Georgia Associa- 
tion for at least ten years carried on the business of the Convention, promo- 
ting its interests and maintaining in our State among Baptists, an interest in 
every good word and work. But it should be clearly understood, that the best 
men of the denomination in the State, were all the while actively co-operating 
with one another in the Convention, as the body is now called ; for, in pursu- 
ance of a resolution offered in 1827, the name " General Association " was for- 
mally changed in 1828, to that of " The Baptist Convention of the State of 

For a few moments, now, we will consider the Ebenezer Association. Formed 
of fourteen churches, in 18 14, with a membership of 675, its increase was as 
follows: in 1816, twenty churches, 681 members, twenty-six baptisms; in 1818, 
twenty-one churches, 876 members, thirty-two baptisms; in 1820, twenty-five 
churches, 1,065 members, fifty-six baptisms ; in 1 821, twenty-six churches, 1,085 
members, thirty-eight baptisms ; in 1822, twenty-six churches, 1,019 members, 
forty-four baptisms; in 1823, twenty-eight churches, 1,048 members, sixty-seven 
baptisms; in 1824, twenty-nine churches, 969 members, forty-eight baptisms; 
in 1825, thirty churches, 1,070 members, and ninety-one baptisms; in 1827, 
thirty churches, 1,074 members, one hundred and twenty-nine baptisms ; and in 
1828, there were thirty-two churches, 1,198 members, and during the year two 
hundred baptisms. In the the year following, 1829, there was an increase of four 
churches, the members increase to 1,431 , and there were two hundred and seventy 
baptisms. In 1829, thirty-four churches had 1,502 members, there having been 
four hundred and ten baptisms. The Corresponding Letter of that year speaks 
with gratitude of a very general outpouring of the Spirit in the bounds of the 
Association, and affirms that the churches were united in love and fellowship, 
showing the effects of the great revival of 1827. ^ 

In its early years it corresponded with the General Baptist Board of For- 
eign Missions, at Philadelphia, and approved of the establishment of a theological 
institution. It appears that the Board of Foreign Missions, with a view to the 
establishment of what, in the end, proved to be Columbian University, requested 
the opinions of our Georgia Baptist Associations concerning the measure. The 
reply given by the Ebenezer Association, in 1819, was : 

" The Board of Foreign Missions having requested the sentiments of the 
churches and Associations, respecting the establishment of an institution for 
the education of young men called by the churches to the ministry, and who 
have not funds of their own to aid them in obtaining a suitable education ; the 
opinion of this Association is that an institution of that kind, upon proper prin- 
ciples, is laudable, but not being satisfactorily informed as to the plan spoken 
of, hope the same will be had in consideration until next Association." 

The next year, 1820, the Association adopted the following: 

" We are of opinion that such an institution appears laudable, but as we are 
unable to foresee any special benefit arising from it to the churches generally, 
we can, therefore, only say, we are willing that our brethren who are in favor of 
such a plan should pursue that object ; and if, at any future period, we get 
more fully convinced of its utility, we shall the more cheerfully come into the 

In the same year the Ebenezer concurred with the Ocmulgee Association in 
the plan for Indian Reform, appointed trustees to act in concert with those of 
the other Associations, and urged its ministers to explain the plan and raise 
funds to carry the laubable scheme into effect. This co-operation was contin- 
ued the next year, and a Circular Letter, written by the clerk, John McKenzie, was 
adopted, which is a good missionary document, ending as follows : 

" We would now call your attention to the laudable undertaking of this Asso- 
ciation, to act in concert with the Ocmulgee and Georgia Associations in estab- 
lishing a school in the Creek Nation ; and, as there are some of our brethren 
who appear not willing to engage in the work, we believe it is for the want of light. 
For if the gospel is to be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations ; 
and if the birth of Christ was to be ' glad tidings of great joy to all people ; ' 
we ask if they are not a nation } If they are, the gospel is to be preached to 


them. Are they a people ? If they are, then the ' glad tidings of great joy ' are 
to reach them. But they have no written language into which these glad tidings 
can be translated. They must, therefore, be taught to read them in some lan- 
guage into which they already are, or may be translated. This cannot be done 
without expense. We entreat you, dear brethren, to open your hearts and 
hands and come up to the help of the Lord against the mighty. Isaiah saith, 
'The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.' 
From this Scripture we understand that the disposition of the wolf and the lion 
are to be changed. We have by the sword compelled the Indian to lay down 
the tomahawk and the scalping-knife, but their disposition is not yet changed, 
and nothing can effect that but the gospel. Dear brethren, let us call to mind 
that glorious night on which the Saviour was born. The angels brought the 
glad tidings to the shepherds, and immediately there was heard a heavenly host 
singing, ' Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace and good will toward 
men.' If it was a matter of so much joy to the angels to bring these glad tidings 
to man, how much more ought we who are the happy participants of this gos- 
pel to rejoice in sending it to the poor benighted heathen ! " 

This is given as a fair illustration of the arguments advanced in that day to 
incite an interest in Indian mission work. The consequence of this address 
was a unanimous determination, the next year, 1822, to continue "in that laud- 
able pursuit ; " and the report of the Board of Trustees, of that year, for in- 
structing and evangelizing the Creek Indians, was published in the Minutes. It 
has already been referred to. It tells of two tours made by Mr. Compere, and 
of the expectation that he would be soon settled in the Nation. The report 
contains this appeal to the three co-operating Absociations : " We entreat you 
not to suffer yourselves to be ' too soon shaken in mind, or removed from the 
' help of the Lord against the mighty ; ' " and was signed by Jesse Mercer, Sec- 
retary; and yet, in the Minutes of 1823 we find this entry: "Took under con- 
sideration the Indian Reform — whether to continue or discontinue ; and it was 
discontinued." The following year, 1824, a motion to reconsider the m^atter 
was lost ; and so, also, was a motion to reconsider the action of 1823, by which 
a communication in reference to union with the General Association was " thrown 
under the table." In all these years we see small evidence of spirituality and 
growth m the churches. There were no expressions indicating love and harmo- 
nious fellowship. Some of the most prominent ministers, such as John McKenzie 
and John Blackstone, changed their views and became violently anti-missionary 
in their proclivities, after having manifested a strong missionary spirit ; yet the 
Minutes of the General Association for 1825 assure us that during these years 
the Ebenezer Missionary Society was in vigorous operation, and had an agent in 
the field collecting mission money with considerable success. 

At that time the churches of the Association were situated in Twiggs, Lau- 
rens, Wilkinson, Pulaski, Baldwin, Monroe, Dooly, Washington, and Telfair 
counties, and its prominent ministers were Eden Taylor, Henry Hand, John 
Blackstone, Charles Culpepper, James Steeley, John Ross, John McKenzie, 
Adam Jones, Vincent A. Tharp, and Theophilus Pearce. 

Among the ministers of this Association was John Ross, whose name has 
already been mentioned. He was a Virginian by birth, and born in 1781, emi- 
grating to Georgia with his father in 1798. He was among the earliest of 
those who settled the long-coveted land between the Oconee and Ocmulgee riv- 
ers, and was a man of more than respectable talents as a preacher. He lived 
in the Ebenezer Association until 1830, and was for several years its Moderator, 
although differing from the majority of his brethren in that Association in regard 
to the benevolent enterprises of the day. He was their firm friend and constant 
supporter, while the Association generally were opposed to them. Their oppo- 
sition affected his zeal, however. In 1825 he was a messenger of the Ebenezer 
Missionary Society to the General Association at Eatonton. In 1 830 he removed 
to Upson county, and held church membership within the bounds of the Co- 
lumbus Association, over which body he presided until his death, in 1837. He 
was a man of great popularity, of persuasive eloquence and impassioned manner, 
beloved and confided in by all who knew him. In the last years of his life, he 


gave freer vent to his zeal in behalf of missions and education, and exerted a 
commanding influence in the Columbus Association. At the State Convention 
in Talbotton in 1836, he warmly advocated the establishment of a Baptist col- 
lege in the State ; and attended the noted ministers' meeting in Forsyth in July 
of the same year, entered deeply into its measures, and was instrumental in 
accomplishing much good. 

Vincent A. Tharp was another leader in the Association. He, too, was a 
native of Virginia, born in 1760, and a soldier in the Revolutionary war, and 
was licensed in Georgia about 1800, serving several churches in Burke county. 
He moved to Twiggs county, and was pastor of the Stone Creek church. He 
was a man of forecast, benevolence and influence. His ability was great. 
Among the prominent traits of his character were benevolence and hospitality. 
Such men as Polhill, Franklin, Ross, Rhodes, Baker, McGinty and Mercer were 
his frequent guests. He died in 1825, having repeatedly been the Moderator of 
the Ebenezer Association, Rev. Charnick Tharp was his son, and Rev. B. F. 
Tharp is his grandson. 

Theophilus Pearce was also a Moderator of the Ebenezer Association for sev- 
eral years. He was ordained by Vincent Tharp and Henry Hooten in 181 5. 
He was a useful man, and, though of limited education and indigent circum- 
stances, he was highly respected wherever known. To the sick and dying he 
was a frequent visitor, and thus made himself greatly useful. 

We will now briefly glance at the spirit which seems to have animated the Heph- 
zibah Association during the second and third decades of the century. Its op- 
position to the General Association has been stated. Its unfriendliness to mis- 
sions was strongly manifested ; and all the mission work accomplished by the 
Association for years, was through the agency of the Hephzibah Mission So- 
ciety, which seems to have been quite an efficient organization, owing to the zeal 
of a few active and benevolent members, notably Charles J. Jenkins. At its 
third anniversary, held at Providence meeting-house, Jefferson county, this 
society had $273,40 in the treasury, and reported one missionary in the field. We 
find its messengers in all the Associations for years, and also several times in 
the General Association. The Association itself received the messengers of this 
society and bade it " God speed," but assisted not in its benevolent endeavors. 
It, however, recommended those friendly to foreign missions to meet and form 
a foreign mission society, if they felt so inclined, which was done, and the society 
continued in existence for several years. 

In the fall of 1824, it consented "to allow all the brethren that wish to join 
together and correspond with the General Association, or to join in with mission 
societies, by correspondence or otherwise, but to be entirely separate and distinct 
from the Association." 

This action, doubtless, was due to the efforts of Rev. J. H. T. Kilpatrick, then 
a new member of the Association. The next year, 1825, his church, Buckhead, 
and Isaac Brinson's church, Brushy Creek, by a petition, requested the Associa- 
tion to send messengers to the General Association of the State, to view its 
order and modes of operation ; but Mr. Kilpatrick was absent from the session 
of 1825 and, to forestall any further efforts looking to a connection with the 
General Association, the body ordered the following to be a part of its Decorum : 
"This Association shall have no right to correspond, by letter or messenger, 
with any General Association, or Committee, Missionary Society, or Board. Any 
brother moving either of the above subjects in this body, shall be considered in 
disorder and, therefore, reproved by the Moderator. But wc leave any brother 
or brethren free to correspond or contribute or not — just as their feelings may 
be in the case." But, at the request of the churches, the act was cancelled the 
following year, 1826, and the old Decorum was restored. 

To account for this unhappy condition of affairs, it is necessary to state that 
Rev. George Franklin, a ruling spirit, and who had been strongly missionary in 
sentiment, died in 181 5 or 18 16. Rev. Charles Culpepper, another strong man, 
and a ruling spirit, had become connected with the Ebenezer Association. 
Charles J. Jenkins had moved into the bounds of the Sarepta Association. 
The Rosses, R. E. McGinty, Edmund Talbot, F. Flournoy, had become members 


of the Ocmulgee Association. Henry Hand, also, had moved to a distance, and 
Winder Hillsman was dead. 

All the strong- missionary men had thus been removed from the Association, 
while J. H. T. Kilpatrick, having but recently become a member of the Associa- 
tion, had not, as yet, acquired sufficient influence to counteract the anti-missionary 
element which, assisted by Joshua Key and Jonathan Huff, he finally succeeded 
in overcoming. A turn of the tide occurred in 1828, as will be seen hereafter, 
but it was not until 1830 that the body officially recognized the General Associa- 
tion, when M. N. McCall, Jonathan Huff, Beasley, Polhill, Dye, Hudson, 
Sinquefield and Allen were appointed a committee to visit the Convention as 
spectators, witness its order, ascertain who composed it, and learn its methods 
of procedure. 

A few data will exhibit its growth and spiritual prosperity. In 1813, it 
numbered 36 churches and 922 members ; in 1817, there were 33 churches, 2,197 
members and 125 baptisms; in 1820, there were 34 churches, 2,107 members 
and 1 10 baptisms; in 1821, 35 churches, 1,806 members, 155 baptisms; in 1824, 
36 churches, 1,447 members, ']'] baptisms; in 1825, 35 churches, 1,085 members. 

During these last five years there had been a decided decrease, which was 
recovered in the years following, which included the grand revival times from 
1827 to 1831. 

In the Sarepta Association there seems to have been a much better benevo- 
lent tone. It commended missions, praised its mission society, encouraged tract 
societies, corresponded with the Foreign Mission Board, sent its ministers on 
domestic mission tours and appointed messengers to the General Association, 
but decUned to become a constituent member ; nor did it consent to do so, until 
1835. It should be borne in mind, that Charles J. Jenkins, Sr., who resided so 
many years of his life within the bounds of the Hephzibah Association, resided 
in the limits of the Sarepta Association, from 18 18 to 1822, when he moved to 
Apalachicola, Florida. 

Two new Associations were formed in 1824, two years after the constitution 
of the General Association. These were. The Yellow River, and The Flint 
i?/2/6'r Associations. The former was constituted September i8th, by a com- 
mittee, the members of which had been appointed by the Sarepta and Ocmulgee 
Associations at Harris' Springs, Newton County. The presbytery was com- 
posed of Isham Goss, Reuben Thornton, Edmund Talbot, James Brooks, 
Iverson L. Brooks, Richard Pace and Cyrus White. The latter was organized 
by brethren appointed by the Ocmulgee and Ebenezer Associations, namely. 
Edmund Talbot, J. Nichols, D. Montgomery, J. Callaway, J. Milner, V. A. 
Tharpe, T. Pearce. To form these Associations twenty-one churches were 
dismissed from the Ocmulgee Association, but six newly constituted churches 
also united with the Flint River, making twenty in all ; while the same thing 
happened in the case of the Yellow River, six newly constituted churches uniting 
with seven dismissed from the Ocmulgea, making thirteen which at first com- 
posed the Association. 

At its first session the Yellow River appointed live messengers to the General 
Association, one only of whom attended— Joel Colley, who was Moderator of 
this Association for many years. 

The Flint P^iver, at first, flatly refused to correspond with the General Asso- 

Both shared richly in the glorious benefits of the great revival of 1827 and 
1828, and both enjoyed the valuable evangelical preaching of such men as A. 
Sherwood, John E. Dawson, Jonathan Davis, E. Shackelford, J. H. Campbell, 
J. S. Callaway and V. R. Thornton. Yet the Yellow River departed from the old 
Baptist faith of missions, Bible societies, etc., refused a seat in its body to Rev. 
A. Sherwood, as a representative of the State Convention, in 1833, and to this 
day has never connected itself with the Georgia Baptist Convention; while 
the Flint River, which for nearly twenty years declined co-operation with the 
Convention and with missionary Associations, came into full accord with them, 
and has heartily and most lioerally engaged in mission, Sunday-school and 
educational enterprises to the present day. 



We have thus given a glance at the general state of religion, in our denomina- 
tion in Georgia, in the first half of the third decade of the century, and have 
touched lightly upon the history of the Associations formed in the State at that 
period. After a study of the records, wt present the following as an approxi- 
mately correct table of the statistics of our denomination in Georgia, for the 
year 1824. The figures were taken from the printed Minutes of the various 
Associations : 


1. Georgia 37 23 5 3,194 

2. Ocmulgee, ... 42 16 2 2,973 

3. Sunbury, .... 18 10 o 5.257 

4. Yellow River, . . 20 11 i 662 

5. Sarepta, .... 32 , ... . .5 5 1,366 

6. Hephzibah, ... 36 13 4 1.447 

7. Ebenezer, .... 29 14 2 969 

8. Flint River, ... 20 5 2 523 

9. Tugalo, ..... 15 . .... ID 4 1,017 

10, Piedmont, ...15 8 o 700 

264 115 25 18,108 

While as correct as statistics usually are in our Associational Minutes, yet the 
following considerations will show that the aggregate was larger than these 
figures represent. In the first place, the statistics of some churches for 1823 
are given in the Minutes ; in the second place, some churches were dismissed 
from one Association to aid in forming another, and had not yet made applica- 
tion for admission, and, therefore, are not estimated here ; and, in the third 
place, there were new churches constantly forming which had become attached 
to no Association, and whose statistics do not appear in this table. Still, these 
figures are somewhat below those given by Dr. Sherwood, in the General Asso- 
ciation Minutes of 1825, and quoted by Dr. Campbell, on page 15 of his book, 
as applying to 1825, by a slip of the pen, perhaps. The discrepancy is due to 
the fact that Dr. Sherwood counts the membership of six South Carohna 
churches, belonging to the Tugalo Association, which, of course, should be 
omitted from the Georgia statistics. He gives, also, the statistics of 1821, for 
the Hephzibah and Ebenezer Associations, while, in the mean time, various 
churches had been dismissed from these to form other Associations, thereby 
reducing the total membership of the Ebenezer and Hephzibah Associations, 






We' now turn our attention to those matters which occupied the attention of 
the denomination subsequent to 1824. One of these was the matter of " Indian 
Reform," which consisted in the support of an Indian Mission and school among 
the Creek Indians in Alabama, at Withington Station, thirty miles south of 

Though sustained largely by the Georgia Baptists, this mission was under the 
control of the General Board, at Philadelphia, which had been formed in 1814. 
That board appointed Rev. Francis Flournoy superintendent, but he declined 
the appointment, and Rev. Lee Compere, of South Carolina, was appointed in 
1822. The mission was actually commenced in 1823, much to the gratification 
of many Georgia Baptists. 

It has not been deemed necessary to dwell very minutely upon this Indian 
Mission, for the reason that no very special results ensued, and because the Bap- 
tists of Georgia soon lost their interest in it. Indeed, the last contribution for 
it was sent up to the Convention in 1828, and the amount was thirty dollars 
only. The reasons for this are put on record in the report of the Mission Board 
of the Georgia Association for 1825. After stating, among other items, that 
three hundred dollars had been appropriated to the Withington Station, the 
Board continues as follows : 

" The indisposition of some Associations, and many churches and individu- 
als, towards missionary effort and friendly co-operation, are sources of our 
regret. This is attributable, in a considerable degree, to a circumstance which 
your Board would willingly have passed by in silence. A general expression of 
disapprobation against the part 'which the superintendent of Withington Station 
has acted, has come up from the churches and many individuals, which calls for 
his removal. But very few churches have contributed at all to replenish our 
funds this year, and where any sum has been sent up, it was prohibited by most 
of them from being appropriated to said Station. Hence your Board think that 
they are called upon to act immediately on this subject ; for, as individuals, they 
are not able to support said Station, and are unwilling any longer to be respon- 
sible for the monied transactions of said superintendent. They are not wholly 
unaware of the responsibility of their situation, nor of the delicacy with which 
they should handle the feelings of their brethren. They intend to make an ex- 
pression of their opinion, not on the private or moral character of Mr. Com- 
pere, but upon those parts of his conduct which have rendered him odious in 
the eyes of this community, and which have dried up the stream of munificence 
which flowed to his support. They have not formed their opinion concerning 


him from public rumor, nor from paragraphs of party papers, but upon his own 
public and private letters. They feel confident that his acts have a bearing so 
unpropitious on the whole course of missions, that very little, if anything, will 
be done in their behalf until he is removed. As we stand connected in his sup- 
port with the General Convention of our denomination, we do not feel fully au- 
thorized to depose him ; but we think we cannot do less than to disclaim any 
connection with a man whose acts have brought said cause into such disrepute. 
Therefore, the Board recommend the adoption of the following resolution : 

" ' Resolved unanimously , That we withhold further support from the With- 
ington Station.' 

" The reasons which have induced us to recommend the adoption of the reso- 
lution are : That the Rev. Mr. Compere has meddled with concerns foreign to 
his mission ; he has, unasked, charged the United States Commissioners with 
corruption in making the treaty ; he has taken sides with those who are endeav- 
oring to render it (though an act of the general government) null and void, 
and he has vindicated the murderers of Mcintosh. He has violated his agree- 
ment with this Board, and disobeyed the instructions given him ; he has treated 
these instructions with indifference and contempt ; when written to and cau- 
tioned by the President of this body, ' that the course he was pursuing would 
bring the mission to ruin,' instead of returning a respectful answer, he has en- 
deavored to vindicate his conduct ; and has since continued to act so opposite 
to the spirit of his instructions, and that of a cautious missionary of the Cross, 
that they are compelled, though reluctantly, to take the present course. 

" And be it further resolved. That a copy of these proceedings be forthwith 
transmitted to the General Convention of our denomination in the United States. 

" Jesse Mercer, Presideftt. 

" J. P. Marshall, Secretary." 

The Mission Board, which suggested such summary and decided measures, 
was composed of Jesse Mercer, Adiel Sherwood, Malachi Reeves, J. Roberts, J. 
H. Walker and E. Battle. 

Of course we are obliged to accept the statements of the report made by such 
men as correct. Mr. Compere, however, felt it to be his duty to act as he did, 
in justice to the Indians, among whom he resided, and he claimed to the day of 
his death, that his course met the emphatic approval of John C. Calhoun, Sec- 
retary of War during Mr. Monroe's administration. Nevertheless, his conduct 
must have been decidedly injudicious, for a Christian missionary acting under 
instructions to which he had consented to yield compliance. 

He was born in England, November 3d, 1789, and died in Navarro County, 
Texas, at the residence of his son, T. H. Compere, June 15th, 1871, in his Sist 
year. He was educated at Bristol, England, under Dr. Ryland, and was raised 
to business in London. By the Baptists of England, he was sent out as a mis- 
sionary to Jamaica, but the sickliness of the climate compelled him to remove to 
South Carolina. In 1822, he was appointed missionary to the Creek Indians, 
among whom he remained six years, with his wife and family, faithfully and zeal- 
ously performing his official duties. When he was at the head of the Creek 
Mission-school it contained about two hundred Indian children as pupils. These 
he taught, assisted by his wife and Mr. Simons, afterwards a missionary of the 
Boston Board to Burmah. His wife's maiden name was Susannah Voysey, who 
was born, reared and educated in London, and an extraordinary woman of great 
worth and strength of character. The prayer-meetings in the mission house 
were largely attended by the Indians and their children. The colored slaves of 
the Indians were also fond of attending, which was offensive to some of the 
more wicked ruling chiefs. On one occasion, in the absence of Mr. Compere, 
when his wife was conducting the meeting, about twenty of the negroes who 
were in attendance were forcibly ejected from the meeting and whipped. 
The next day, Mr. Compere rode to the Indian Court or Council, dismounted, 
walked boldly up to the scowling chief and took a seat by his side. Perceiving the 
ill-temper of the Indians and a desire to intimidate him, he turned and looked 
the chief fully in the face, and said mildly but firmly, " 1 am not afraid of 


you," and gazed fixedly into the chief's eyes. Presently the stern features of 
the chief relaxed and a smile appeared on his countenance. He then proceed- 
ed with the business of the meeting. At the proper time, Mr. Compere took 
his stand in front of the chief and remonstrated against the cruel treatment of 
their slaves by the Indians in a set speech, during which a prominent chief 
fiercely raised his club to strike. As he was behind the speaker, his act was 
unknown by Mr. Compere until he had finished his address, when the Indian 
himself approached and apologized for raising his club to kill him, saying he 
could not and would not kill so good a man. Afterwards Mr. Compere had no 
further troubles with the Indians. The removal of the Indians to the Territory, 
broke up the mission and Mr. Compere bought and lived upon a farm twelve 
miles east of Montgomery. He afterwards resided in Tennessee, Mississippi, 
Arkansas and Texas, always preaching when his physical ability enabled' him 
to do so. He met heavy pecuniary reverses before the war, and lost all the rest 
through the vandalism of armed ruffians in Arkansas, during that struggle ; every- 
thing was destroyed, even his library, memoranda, papers and relics of his past 
life and history. 

Mr. Compere is described by one who knew him well, as a man of quiet un- 
assuming dignity, urbane and deferring to others, yet conscious of his own abili- 
ties. Untrammelled by hobbies and independent in thought, he was decided in 
his convictions and opinions, and very pronounced in favor of everything gener- 
ally acknowledged to be morally or religiously right He was decidedly a 
Regular Baptist, and an emphatic preacher of what is called " doctrine," but 
never preached often on exciting t^ics of dispute among denominations. Al- 
ways endeavoring to have a conscience void of offence towards God and man, 
he made himself at home in every company. With the lowly and unlettered he 
was unpretending, and, yet, without straining he showed himself the peer of the 
most pretentious, without seeming effort commanding the respect of the high- 
est and most distinguished. In sentiment and practice he was a whole-souled 
" Missionary." His style as a preacher was lively, pointed, earnest, solemn and 
solid. In holy things he never indulged in lightness, yet he was a most pleas- 
ant and affectionate fireside companion, and possessed a smiling, pleasant 
countenance, with eyes whose expression was full of kind feeling. He was 
twice married, left several children, some of whom have proved very useful. One 
of them Rev. E. L. Compere, resides at Witcherville, Arkansas, Rev. Thomas 
Hechijah Compere, lives in McLainsborough, Texas, and Mrs. Susannah Musco- 
gee Lyon, a daughter, lives at Moulton, Alabama. The last two were born 
while Mr. Compere was a missionary at Withington Station, and were named 
by the chiefs. 

No more money was sent up by the churches of the Georgia Association for 
the Creek Mission ; but, for three years longer, the Auxiliary Societies of the 
Ocmulgee and Ebenezer Associations send up gradually-diminishing sums ; and 
then the Withington Station Mission disappears from Georgia Baptist history. 
It was a fair and honest endeavor, nevertheless, on the part of men burning with 
a desire to benefit their fellow man, and the flame kindled then has never expired 
since, for no State in the South, perhaps, has felt a deeper interest in Indian 
Missions than Georgia, or contributed more to maintain them. The Mission 
actually concluded with the removal of that portion of the Creek Indians west 
of the Mississippi, in 1829, and, until their departure, Mr. Compere remained 
with them as Superintendent of the Withington Mission Station. 

In the Minutes of the General Association for 1826, we find this entry: 
" According to the wish of the Ocmulgee and Georgia Associations, as expressed 
in their Minutes, their funds were transferred to this body, to be appropriated in 
such manner — for missionary purposes — as it shall deem best," and one hundred 
dollars were appropriated to insure to the delegates appointed by the Ocmulgee 
Association a seat in the General Convention. 

The General Association thus, in 1826, became the recognized common 
medium through which the Georgia Baptists made their contributions for 
benevolent purposes of all kinds. Two years before, in 1816, the Georgia 
Association had established its Mission Board, and during that time this Board 


received, from individuals and churches, about $5,000. It donated about $1,900 
to the Creek Indian Mission, about $1,000 to Columbian College, and over $1,100 
to general missionary purposes, through the General Convention, besides turning 
over more than $i',ooo to the Treasurer of the General Association of Georgia. 

During these years the mission societies of the Sunbury, Hephzibah, Ocmulgee, 
Ebenezer and Sarepta Associations have all been collecting and disbursing funds 
for State itinerant work, for Indian Missions, for Foreign Missions, and for 
Columbian College. The Sunbury Association, through its Mission Board, 
continuously maintained several missionaries on the seaboard, who labored 
mostly among the colored people, and performed a work which redounds to the 
credit of that body, and which the historian could not fail to chronicle without 
being recreant to duty. 

Among the items reported, at the Convention of 1825, by Rev.-C. White, was 
the collection of $17.50, for educating ministers; $10.00 for Indian Reform, and 
$5.00 for Burman Mission. It is but appropriate to record again that, at the 
same session, a collection of $218.00 was taken up after the missionary sermon 
was preached by Jesse Mercer on Sabbath morning. In the following year, 
1826, he preached on missions, Sunday night, and $67.25 were collected. In 
.the morning Dr. William B. Johnson, of South Carolina, had preached on the 
education of pious young men, and I108.00 were collected for the purpose. 
Luther Rice and Basil Manly, Sr., were present and, it is presumed, lent their 
influence to the cause of education ; for the body engaged to support Jonathan 
Toole, in classical and theological studies, as a beneficiary, and instructed its 
Executive Committee, M. Reeves, B. M. Sai^ders, J. H. Walker and J. P. Mar- 
shall, to prepare some plan by which a fund for bestowing a theological education 
upon beneficiaries might be provided. This was the first definite action, looking 
to education, that was taken by the State Convention. 

Faithfulness to history requires the statement that, with few exceptions, the 
ministers of our denomination, during the third decade of the century, were un- 
learned men, and most of them were ignorant men. As bright exceptions 
among ministers, the names of William T. Brantly, Jesse Mercer, Adiel Sher- 
wood, Henry J. Ripley, Iverson L. Brooks, James Shannon, Henry O. Wyer, 
Jabez P. Marshall, B. M. Sanders, and J. H. T. Kilpatrick, may be mentioned. 
Most of these were men of fine classical education, and all of them desired the 
establishment of a denominational college of high order. This desire was, of 
course, participated in by many others, including numbers of very intelligent 
laymen, of whom our denomination could claim a large host ; but, strange to 
say, there was much opposition to education by not a few in the denomination. 

From its organization, our State Convention unhesitatingly sustained the 
cause of education. In the years 1824 and 1825, Mercer, Brantly and Sherwood 
were appointed a committee to consult with a similar committee of the South 
Carolina Convention with reference to co-operation in the establishment of an 
institution of learning in the latter State ; and in 1820 we find our State Conven- 
tion, then called the General Association, expressing a deep and lively interest 
in the design of the Convention of South Carolina to establish a seminary of 
learning in the neighborhood of Edgefield Court-house ; and, cordially concur- 
ring in the design, it promised contributions to its advancernent to the best of the 
means at its disposal. Jesse Mercer and William T. Brantly were appointed a 
committee to meet the committee of the South Carolina Convention, at Edge- 
field, in March of that year. 

The Executive Committee was also authorized to employ itinerants to travel 
and preach, and explain the designs of the General Association. This was set 
forth so plainly in the " Address to Associations and Individuals," adopted by 
the Convention, that, as part of the history of the times, it is quoted in full. It is 
not difficult to discern in its composition the hand of Adiel Sherwood, Secretary 
of the body. 

After an introduction which refers to the opposition, open and secret, which 
the Convention had encountered, the Address proceeds : 

"The feature in the Constitution of this body, which is odious to some is, 
that which proposes to afford the means of education to pious young men, 


fitting for the gospel ministry. It is designed to establish a seminary, where, 
not only candidates for the rriinistry, but every child of the denomination, may 
be educated. Opposers think they discover something in this clause which will, 
by and by, seek to 'lord it over God's heritage,' undermine the independence 
and liberty of the churches and introduce a host of imposters to corrupt the 
pure principles of Christianity. Let us examine the tendency of the principles 
held by this Association. 

"We think, and we believe every liberal minded man will coincide with us, 
that the encouragement we offer to learning would exert a most powerful influ- 
ence against such a state of things as is here apprehended. If the friends of 
the General Association were desirous of effecting that with which they stand 
charged ; if they wished to engross all the authority in the churches ; and induce 
all the members to act in accordance with a wicked design,_ they would cry 
doTon learning. They would oppose it in every shape and in every degree ; 
because in proportion as the community is enlightened, it will be the better 
qualified to resist attempts upon liberties and privileges. How do you think 
the Pope has acquired such an ascendancy over millions that they suppose him 
'infallible' and able to forgive sin? Not by educating them, but by _ keeping 
them in ignorance and shutting up the sources of information. This is his policy ; 
for he well knows if access to the Bible were easy ; if it was read from child- 
hood, and as much pains taken to explain it as by Protestant ministers, the peo- 
ple would learn that God alone can pardon the sinner — not an imperious priest. 

''Opposers, and not patrons of education as are the friends of the Association, 
should rather lie under the weight of the censure of attempting to 'lord it over 
God's heritage.' 

" A quack, who has discovered some cure for a disease, never divulges the 
secret, lest others should be as wise as himself, and then his source of wealth 
would be dried up ; whereas, those physicians who wish well to their country, 
and commiserate the unfortunate, make public every discovery which tends to 
cure disease and alleviate sorrow. 

" The friends of the Association are. by their opponents, all supposed to be 
learned. Let it be so ! Then, if they had any sinister views to accomplish, they 
would act the part of the quack and not encourage learning. They would were it 
in their power, proscribe every school denounce every minister of education who 
had not joined them, and, like the lawyers of the olden time, keep the key of knowl- 
edge in their hands, lest the unlearned should enter in, and become as wise as them- 
selves. But not so! . They urge the importance of education, not only to the 
ministry, but to every individual in the community. * * * * 

" Tyrants, who rule with a rod of iron, encourage education among the no- 
bility, and leave the rest of their subjects as ignorant as the Hottentot. More 
than two hundred students were expelled from a college in Europe, tAVO or three 
years ago, for expressing liberal, or, as we would call them, republicati senti- 
ments in politics. The ruler well knew that if they became as well versed in 
the science of government as freemen ought to be, they would discover by how 
frail a tenure the ''jus diviman regum " is held. The King of Sardinia has 
lately decreed that none of his subjects shall enjoy the privilege of education 
unless they are worth three hundred dollars ! Now, we leave it to the candid 
whether th.^ friends or the opponents of the General Association ought to be 
looked upon as dangerous men and ranked with the despots of Europe. 

" Having shown, as we trust, that the principles which govern the General Asso- 
ciation tend rather to prevent than to bring about the unhappy state of things 
in the churches which opposers seem to apprehend, we conclude with a few re- 
marks : 

•' Friends of the General Association, we have much to encourage us. The 
late public expressions in favor of education have cheered our hopes and em- 
boldened us to " take courage." ' It is too late in the day for opposers to object 
to the utility of learning in the ministry ; for the want of it is seen and felt too 
much to expect to dishearten its friends by crying it down. The illiterate min- 
ister himself, who has been useful in his day, and the instrument of winning 
many souls to Christ, weeps over his need, and the exertions now making for 


the improvement of his younger brethren causes his heart to leap for joy. The 
want of such qualifications as sanctified learning furnishes, could not produce 
opposition, in a liberal-minded man, to its attainment by others. 

" In the three Associations fully united with us there are about seventy or- 
dained and licensed preachers and 11,500 members — a majority of the denomi- 
nation in the State. If these are active at their several posts, much influence in 
our favor will be exerted, and co.nsiderable sums raised, to promote those ob- 
jects which piety holds dear. Besides, many ministers and very many friends, 
belonging to other Associations, are our warm patrons and generous supporters. 
That others may feel the importance of our designs, and be enlisted with us in 
the cause of God, we will still prefer the petition, which has engaged our hearts 
for years, to Him who sitteth on the throne. We will not cease to pray for 
them till every Christian shall bring, with willing heart, his sacrifice to the treas- 
ury of the Lord. The spirit of our petition shall not cease till the news of sal- 
vation shall have reached every hamlet and every cottage under the whole 

Jesse Mercer, Moderator. 

Adiel Sherwood, Clerk." 

There was, at that time, another educational enterprise to which contributions 
were largely made by the Baptists of Georgia — Columbian College, at Wash- 
ington City. The amounts donated by the liberality of Georgia Baptists to that 
institution, mainly through the advocacy of its agents, Luther Rice and Abner 
W. Clopton, were about $20,000. 

A good deal of money was sent on to Washington City and was acknowledged 
by the Board of Trustees of Columbian College as received from the " Geor- 
gia" and "Ocmulgee" Associations, without its being known who the original 
contributors were. Mr. Mercer, however, contributed largely to that college, 
and, at a meeting held June 30th, 1823, its Board of Trustees, in response to a 
letter received from William Walker, Sr., of Putnam county, announcing his 
intention to bestow $2,500 on the funds of 6he college, for the purpose of 
endowing a scholarship in the theological department, adopted the following : 

" Resolved, That the thanks of this Board be presented to William Walker, 
Sr., Esq., of Putnam county, Georgia, for his liberal appropriation of twenty- 
five hundred dollars to endow a scholarship of the Columbian College, in the 
District of Columbia, to be paid in two equal instalments of $1,250 each, in 
October, 1823 and 1824. 

" Resolved, That the scholarship thus liberally endowed by the aforesaid 
William Walker, Sr., Esq., be denominated, and the same is, hereby, denomi- 
nated 'The Walker Scholarship,' in the Columbian College, of the District of 

The treasurer reported the $2,500 paid in full, July 19th, 1824. 

For several years regular contributions for that college were reported in the 
financial accounts of the Georgia Association ; and no doubt Dr. C. D. Mallary, 
in his Life of Jesse Mercer, states but the simple truth when he says, concerning 
Mr. Mercer, " From the first he was much interested in the efforts which were 
made to establish a college in the District of Columbia. His name was enrolled 
among the trustees of the institution ; in the midst of its long and distressing 
embarrassments, he clung to it with a steadfast affection, and contributed to its 
support with a bountiful hand. Seldom, if ever, was an appeal to him for 
assistance made in vain. 

" And in no small degree may it be attributed to the example and influence of 
Mr. Mercer, that such liberal contributions were raised in the State of Georgia, 
in aid of that college." 

T]his extract appears in the Corresponding Letter of the Georgia Association, 
for 1827: "We have the pleasure of informing you that the Association was 
happily united in their efforts to aid in the relief of Columbian College, and 
other important designs, calculated to disseminate divine light throughout our 

Thus, we see that, from 1825 to 1830, many of the Georgia Baptists were 
rendering very material assistance towards maintaining the existence of Colum- 


bian College ; the General Association was seriously consulting with the brethren 
of the South Carolina Baptist Convention in regard to co-operation in the 
establishment of a literary and theological institution ; and the State Convention 
was seeking to devise a plan for the education of pious young men with the 
ministry in view. 

With reference to the scheme of establishing an institution of learning in 
conjunction with the South Carolina brethren, it may be briefly stated that it 
was soon abandoned ; for insurmountable difficulties arose, owing to State local 
partialities, which prevented the co-operation necessary to its consummation. 

At the session of the General Association which met at Washington, Wilkes 
county, in 1827, the Executive Committee, which had been requested to prepare 
a plan for providing a fund for theological education, submitted the following : 
" They recommend that each member of this body, and the several ministering 
brethren within our bounds, be requested to use their exertions to advance this 
object by removing prejudices and showing the value of education to a pious 
ministry. There are in the State more than 20,000 members. Is there one of 
these who would be deprived of the privilege of giving fifty cents for so desira- 
ble an object } " This report was accepted, as was also a very animated and 
hopeful address to the constituents of the General Association and to the other 
bodies of Baptists in the State. 

The address was read before the Georgia Association, at its session for 1827, 
and it was 

" Resolved, That we congratulate the members of the General Association at 
their pleasing prospects expressed in their address, and we recommend that 
body to go forward in its benevolent designs, trusting in the Lord." 

In addition, the Georgia Association recommended each of its members, and 
the several ministers within its bounds, to use their exertions to advance the 
objects of the General Association by removing prejudices and showing the 
value of education to a pious ministry. 

That noble Association was never backward nor remiss in lifting the banner 
of progress in the work of missions, education and religion ; and, what can be 
said of no other Baptist Association in Georgia, may be said of this — not a sin- 
gle one of its churches became anti-missionary in sentiment, or an opponent of the 
benevolent schemes of the day for the advancement of religion, temperance, 
Sunday-schools, education and missions. 

The necessity of education among many of the early Baptist ministers of 
Georgia was most apparent, and this partly explains the persistency of our 
fathers in their determination to establish institutions of learning. They argued 
that it was impossible for our denomination, as such, to be elevated and become 
even respectable, so as to compare favorably with other denominations and 
maintain itself before the world, without education of a high character. Facil- 
ities and conveniences for acquiring such an education they considered an abso- 
lute necessity ; but, strange to say, the opponents of education were more nu- 
merous than its supporters. One of their strange arguments was, " If learning 
is to help the preacher, why not pray to learning instead of to the Lord } " Some 
of them claimed to be inspired to preach, averring as they rose in the pulpit that 
they had given their text no consideration until that moment, when they opened 
the Bible, and that they intended to preach just as the Lord " handed out " the 
message to them. Hence, the sermon by Sherwood, preached before the State 
Convention in 1830, which repudiated the prevalent theory of inspiration, was 
made the butt of ridicule in many a sermon, and was condemned as false teach- 
ing. It was contended that the Convention itself, as tending to cultivation and 
education, would corrupt the simplicity of the truth ; wherefore many opposed 
the Convention. 

A few anecdotes may be given illustrative of the ignorance of some of the 
ministers of that day. Humphrey Posey, being invited to preach for Joel Colley, 
who was for twenty years Moderator of the Yellow River Association, took for 
his text St. Paul's assertion, " I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ," etc. ; 
and observed : " If Paul, a learned man, brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, was 
not ashamed of the Gospel, I ought not to be." In closing the services, Joel 


Colley corrected a supposed error of Mr. Posey's, asserting that his Bible was 
not like Posey's Bible, for his Bible, instead of "brought up at the feet of 
Gamaliel," read "brought up at the foot of Gammel hill" — a hill so poor it 
wouldn't sprout a pea ; and, therefore, Paul was a poor man, unable to get an 
education, and had to learn tent-making to gain a living. 

Another minister, preaching from the parable of the " Pounds," in Luke 19th, 
claimed that "an austere man," in verse 21, proved John to be an oyster-man, 
who employed his time fishing for oysters. As Dr. Sherwood says, " If such 
ignorance was ever called to preach, it brings to mind the importunity of a good 
Methodist brother in Milledgeville by the name of Pierson, who averred that the 
Lord called to him, almost every night, 'Pierson! Pierson! go preach my 
gospel ! ' '' But his brethren refused to license him because of his destitution of 
qualifications. He importuned, and they finally informed him that he mistook 
the name, and that it was Pierce whom he heard the Lord call — alluding to Dr. 
Lovick Pierce. 

Among this class of our preachers spiritualizing was exceedingly common, 
and many fanciful interpretations were given to Scripture. They represented 
Saul's armor, which was put on the stripling David, as education ; while the 
pebbles, which he slung at Goliath, were inspiration — the one a hindrance, the 
other achieving success. Had there been no such man as Jesse Mercer to stem 
this tide of ignorance and fanciful interpretation, the Bible might have been 
regarded as a book of enigmas, and the inspired sermons of the day better than 
the words of the apostles themselves. The files of The Christian Index 
show the continuous and sturdy blows Mercer dealt against the views of those who 
opposed missions and education, and the inspiration theory. In 1834 he said, 
in The Index : " The argument drawn from the gifts and promises of God to 
inspired men in favor of the advantages of ministers now is, in our judgment, a 
very deceptive one, because the analogy is not true. Will any man pretend that 
ministers are now itispired, so that their sermons may, with equal propriety, be 
styled inspired sermons? If so, then the Scriptures are not the only rule of 
faith and practice, but these sermons have equal claim." It is not a matter of 
surprise that Mercer was so strongly in favor of education. 

Another strong friend of education, in our denomination in Georgia, was Dr. 
Adiel Sherwood, who resided at Eatonton, but was pastor of the Baptist 
churches at Eatonton, Greenesboro and Milledgeville. He was also principal of 
the academy at Eatonton, and taught a class in theology, which was supported 
by the generosity of the Eatonton church. Among his pupils were J. H. 
Campbell, J. R. Hand and others. This was in 1828, 1829 and 1830. 






We will now narrate the principal events that led to the establishment of 
Mercer Institute at Penfield, in 1833. 

In the year 1829, the Georgia Baptist Convention met at Milledgeville, and 
it was announced to the body that Josiah Penfield, of Savannah, having died, 
had bequeathed to the Convention the sum of $2,500, as a fund for education, 
on condition that an equal sum was raised by the body for the same purpose. 
Thomas Stocks, Thomas Cooper, H. O. Wyer and j. H. T. Kilpatrick were 
appointed a committee to consider the matter and report the follow- 
ing Monday. In their report they suggested that the amount be subscribed 
immediately. This was promptly done and the notes were given to Dr. Sher- 
wood, the clerk and treasurer, it being understood that these notes would 
begin to draw interest whenever the legacy became available, and the prin- 
cipal should be payable when called for by the Convention. To obtain these 
subscriptions was the work of fifteen minutes, and as a matter of historical 
interest, a list is given of the persons who contributed to secure the sum required, 
together with the amount contributed by each, for which his note was given : 
Jesse Mercer, $250; Cullen Battle, $200; James Shannon, $100; Armstead 
Richardson, $75; James Davis, $50; H. O. Wyer, $150; I. L. Brooks, $100; 
James Boykin, $125 ; Barnabas Strickland, $30 ; William Walker, $100; B. M. 
Sanders, $150; Adiel Sherwood, $125; Thomas Cooper, $110; Wm. Flournoy, 
$100; James Armstrong, $50; J. H. T. Kilpatrick, $100; Joshua Key, $100; 
Andrew Battle, $50 ; R. C. Shorter, $50 ; Jonathan Davis, $50 ; Thomas Stocks, 
$50; Jabez P. Marshall, $100; Edmund Shackelford, $150; Robert C. Brown, 
$50 ; Peter Walton, $25 ; J. Whitefield (cash) $10. Total, $2,500. 

These were the men who secured the Penfield legacy for the denomination, 
thus fairly originating what, in the end, indirectly, attained to the dignity of an 
endowment for Mercer University; for securing the Penfield legacy resulted in 
the purchase of the Redd property and in the establishment of Mercer Institute, 
which was subsequently made a University and for which an endowment was 

Dr. Sherwood tells us, in his manuscripts, that he had the resolution pro- 
posing the establishment of a manual labor school drawn, and ready to be 
offered at the Convention in 1829, but that he withheld it in deference to the 


wishes of some of his brethren of the Executive Committee. For two years he 
had been residing at Eator.ton, where he was principal of the academy and 
pastor of the church, at the same time serving the churches at Greenesborough, 
and Milledgeville also. One of the very few Baptist ministers in the State, 
who had enjoyed the privilege of a thorough collegiate education, and, also, a 
theological course at Andover, Massachusetts, he not only taught in the academy 
at Eatonton, but instructed a class of eight or ten theological students during the 
years 1828, 1829 and 1830. Among these students who were sustained by the 
members of the Eatonton Baptist church, were J. H. Campbell and J. R. Hand. 
In 1831, at Buckhead, Burke county, Dr. Sherwood offered the following reso- 
lution at the State Convention : 

"Resolved, That, as soon as the funds will justify it, this Convention will es- 
tablish in some central part of the State, a classical and theological school, 
which shall unite agricultural labor with study, and be opened for those only 
preparing for the ministry." 

The Executive Committee was requested to devise a plan for raising $1,500.00 
before the first day of the following December, and if they succeeded, a school 
was to be opened as soon as possible. It is rather a singular fact that when 
B. M. Sanders was asked if he would be one of thirty to raise the 11,500.00, he 
replied that he would be the thirtieth, implying a want of faith in its procure- 

At the Convention which met at Poweltonin 1832, this resolution was altered 
so as to read thus : 

" Resolved, That, as soon as the funds will justify it, this Convention will 
establish in some central part of the State, a literary and theological school, 
which shall unite manual labor with study ; admitting others besides students 
in divinity, under the direction of the Executive Committee." 

At the same session it was reported that the $1,500.00 had been subscribed 
and half of it paid. It was reported also, that several eligible sites in different 
counties for the proposed manual-labor school had been offered on favorable 
terms. The Executive Committee was directed by the Convention to pur- 
chase the one seven miles north of Greenesborough, offered by James Redd, 
and to adopt the necessary measures for putting the school in operation by 
the first of January, 1833. Thus was adopted the site of what proved to be the 
Mecca of Georgia Baptists for nearly half a century. 

The Executive Committee that year was composed of the following breth- 
ren : Thomas Stocks, Jesse Mercer, Adiel Sherwood, B. M. Sanders, James Arm- 
strong, J. Davis and John Lumpkin. Even as late as August of 1832, these 
brethren were not altogether convinced of the feasibility of such an educa- 
tional enterprise ; for in that month they visited the manual-labor school, 
which Adiel Sherwood had opened on a small farm he had purchased for 
the purpose near Eatonton, and where he was then instructing ten or twelve 
pupils. This enterprise he had ventured upon for the express purpose of test- 
ing the manual-labor school theory, and it was only after a careful examina- 
tion of his school, in August, 1832, that the Executive Committee became 
thoroughly convinced of the practicability of the scheme, and thenceforth un- 
hesitatingly proceeded in the establishment of Mercer Institute, and even go- 
ing so far as to request Dr. Sherwood to discontinue his school, lest it should 
appear as an opposition to the institution of the Convention. To this that 
amiable person assented, of course, and discontinued his school, sending his 
pupils to Mercer Institute ; but it soon became evident that the precaution 
was unneccessary, for the Institute was not able to accommodate half the 
applicants who sought admission as pupils. 

Shortly after the session of the Convention, iu April, 1832, the Executive 
Committee purchased of Mr. Redd, 450 acres of land seven miles north of 
Greenesboro,' for ^^1,450.00, engaged Rev. B. M. Sanders, as principal and 
steward, made all other necessary arrangements, and opened the school, with 
thirty students, on the second Monday in January, 1833. Many circumstances 
recommended the site of the institution to the favorable consideration of the 


Among others were the following : Its beauty and healthfulness ; the soil 
was free and productive, and the timber abundant : it was in a neighborhood 
noted for its high moral character, and for the liberality of its residents in their 
subscriptions for the support of the Institute ; and the situation was a central 
one to the most active friends of the contemplated institution. 

The plan adopted by the Executive Committee, and upon which the institution 
was organized, is worthy of being put on record as a matter of historical interest ; 
it was as follows : 

" The ultimate and conclusive direction of all the interests and operations of 
the institution, shall be in the Executive Committee, as agent for the Convention. 

There shall be five trustees near the institution, who shall be Baptists in 
full fellowship, not under twenty-five years of age, who shall make by-laws 
for its detailed operations, supervise its interests, and decide on all differences 
between the teachers and steward. With their consent, the principal teacher 
may expel from the institution any student guilty of immoral conduct or diso- 
bedience to the by-laws ; but in all cases an appeal may lie from them to the 
Executive Committee. They shall be appointed by the committee, and shall 
report the state of the institution to it, quarterly. No debts shall be contracted 
by the committee, or trustees, on the credit of the institution, without funds in 
hand to pay, otherwise, in every such case, it shall be on their own individual 

" There shall be a steward appointed by the committee, who shall be a Bap- 
tist in full fellowship, of industrious habits and fair reputation, who shall take 
charge of the farm-tools, provisions, stock and other appendages, and be 
accountable for the faithful use or return of all that is put into his charge. Ae 
shall direct the pupils in their labor, shall labor himself, and devote his whole 
time to the interest of the institution, being subject, in all his operations, to the 
direction of the trustees. 

" There shall be a principal teacher appointed by the committee, who shall 
be a Baptist minister of sound principles, according to the generally received 
views of the Baptists in Georgia — a good classical scholar and of energetic 
character — who shall have charge of the literary and theological departments of 
the institution. Assistant teachers shall be appointed as the committee may 
deem advisable. All applicants, of good moral character shall be admitted as 
students, till the school shall be full. At the opening of each term, should there 
be conflicting claims for admission, preference shall be given to those who live 
upon the premises. All shall be required to labor three hours each day ; the 
time of labor to be arranged between the teacher and the steward, the teacher 
having preference." 

The Executive Committee resolved on the following additional regulations 
for the contemplated institution : 

"The scholastic year shall be divided into two terms, xh& first, of six months, 
from the second Monday in January to the second Monday in July ; and the 
second, of five months, froni the third Monday in July to the third Monday in 
December. The rates of tuition shall be $1.50 per month, for all students in 
English grammar, geography, history and common arithmetic; $2.50 per month 
for all in the learned languages, criticism, philosophy, mathematics and other 
higher English branches of science. All over sixteen years of age shall have 
board, room-rent and firewood for $4 per month, exclusive of their labor ; and 
those under sixteen shall pay $6 per month, and have the value of their labor 
deducted, as may be estimated by the steward and trustees ; washing shall be 
furnished for $8 per year. All of which shall be required each term in advance. 
Each student shall furnish his own bedding and candles. 

" No student shall be received for less than a year ; but abatement may be 
made by the trustees, for the board and washing of a pupil, for any absence 
that is rendered unavoidable by an act of Divine Providence." 

As the institution had been designed principally for the benefit of young men 
engaging in the ministry, all such, that were of good moral character, and 
members of some orderly Baptist church, having a license from their church to 
preach, and who could furnish satisfactory testimonials of their want of means 



to procure for themselves a suitable education, were invited to participate in the 
benefits of the Institute, and were, for several years, supplied with common 
clothing, by benevolent societies of females. In 1834, there were seven young 
men in the institution, preparing for the ministry. 

The institution was named Mercer Institute, after Jesse Mercer, the most 
influential and distinguished minister of our denomination in the State, and the 
most liberal friend of the enterprise. The village which sprang up on the site 
of the Institute was named Penfield, in honor of deacon Penfield, of Savannah, 
whose legacy of .-2,500 was the immediate cause of the estabhshment of the 

At the head of the Mercer Institute was placed Rev. B. M. Sanders, one of 
the few educated Baptists of the time, who brought to his work great energy, 
indefatigable industry, and sincere devotion to duty. Young men flocked from 
all parts of the State, and the faithful educational work done in the halls of the 
institution contributed greatly to popularize education in the minds of the peo- 
ple. But this school was not intended to impart a collegiate education. Its ele- 
vation to the character and dignity of a college was an after-thought resulting 
from an effort made by the Presbyterian denomination, in 1835, to establish a 
Presbyterian college at Washington, Georgia, where Rev. Jesse Mercer resided. 
This college, called Oglethorpe University, was finally located at Midway, near 
Milledgeville, but the discussions had greatly impressed the mind of Mr. Mercer, 
and he immediately began measures to secure funds for founding a Baptist col- 
lege, at Washington, Wilkes county. As he himself expressed it, " the notion 
took Hke-wild fire." Agents were put in the field, and in 1837, at the end of 
two years, $roo,ooo were reported as subscribed to "The Southern Baptist Col- 
lege," as it was expressed by the charter. At that time, however, a great finan- 
cial crisis occurred, and this, coupled with some dissatisfaction with the location, 
led to the surrender of the charter and to the abandonment of the Washington 
educational enterprise. This event caused doubt, confusion and discourage- 
ment in the Baptist mind. 

But the Baptists of Georgia had become thoroughly aroused on the subject of 
a denominational college. The Central Association, a body of liberal and intel- 
ligent brethren, who had subscribed $20,000 to endow the Central Professorship 
of Languages and Sacred Literature, suggested the elevation of Mercer Institute 
into a college. 

This solved the problem. The Executive Committee of the Convention took 
the matter in hand, changed the name of Mercer Institute to Mercer Uftiver- 
sity, procured the transfer of most of the subscriptions which had been made 
to " The Southern Baptist College " and, in December, 1837, obtained a charter 
for the new University. 

These events will all be comprehended better by extracts made from the pro- 
ceedings of the Georgia Baptist Convention for the year 1838. In its report to 
the Convention, in April of that year, the committee make the following state- 
ments : 

" On the 25th of last August, the following resolution, adopted by the late 
Board of Trustees of the Southern Baptist College, was laid before the com- 
mittee : 

" Resolved, That the important business of rearing and organizing a Southern 
Baptist College in Georgia, entrusted to the care of this board, has been ma- 
turely examined and inquired into. They have duly considered the means and 
resources required therefor, and are of opinion that it is inexpedient to under- 
take the building of a college under present circumstances. The reasons that 
have brought the board to this conclusion are, in part, the following : First, the 
embarrassment of the times ; secondly, the different views of brethren in regard 
to the plan proposed ; lastly, the inadequacy of the means in hand. Be it, there- 

"Resolved, further. That the whole subject be referred to the Executive 
Committee of the Baptist Convention of the State of Georgia, with the recorn- 
mendation of this board that they surrender the present charter and abandon 
the enterprise, or seek to set on foot a plan that will command the resources 
demanded for the accomplishment of the great undertaking." 


" In regard to the particular plan referred to in the preceding resolution, and 
which the trustees, who have been clothed with power for its execution, had 
abandoned, the committee felt that they had nothing to do but to surrender up 
the charter and the project to the Convention. This they have done, by express 
resolution. But still an important question urged itself on our minds : Can no 
plan be devised to secure, in some form or other, the great object which had so 
deeply enlisted the feelings of our brethren, and which, in its general bearing, 
was just as important and desirable as ever ? 

"After mature and, we trust, prayerful reflection, the committee resolved upon 
a measure which they deemed the only hopeful alternative, viz. : the connecting 
a collegiate department with the Mercer Institute. This they believed they had 
the power to do, inasmuch as ' the ultimate and conclusive direction of all the 
interests and operations of the institution ' had been vested ' in the Executive 
Committee, as agents for the Convention ; ' and they had been ' left at liberty 
to alter or amend as expediency might seem to require.' They were well assured, 
from the most authentic information, that no other location would, to any con- 
siderable extent, harmonize the efforts of the denomination in the State. The 
consideration that some of the early patrons of the school had in view its ulti- 
mate advancement to a more elevated character, was not without its weight, and 
it was evident to all that the investments which we had already made, in lands 
and buildings, would enable us to commence collegiate operations at much less 
expense than at any other location. If anything was to be done, prompt action 
seemed to be necessary. The establishment of an elevated seminary of learn- 
ing had for some time engaged the attention of our brethren ; delay, we had 
reason to fear, would produce an unfavorable reaction in their feelings, abate 
their zeal, increase discouragement, and result in failure. Besides, there was a 
reasonable prospect of being able to secure a considerable portion of the old 
subscription, should we act with promptness. 

" Since the adoption of the above named plan for the advancernent of the 
institution, the committee have been cheered by many decided expressions of 
approbation from their brethren in different parts of the State. The Georgia, 
Central and Washington Associations have passed resolutions approving of the 
arrangement, and urging the denomination to vigorous and liberal co-operation 
in its support. Between fifty and sixty thousand dollars in new subscriptions 
have been obtained, with a reasonable prospect of a large increase, should 
suitable exertions be made. About fifty thousand dollars of the subscription 
have been taken up in notes. Nothing is necessary (with God's blessing) but 
energy and perseverance to secure an ample endowment for the institution. 
This being secured, we shall have the means of sustaining an able faculty, and 
of providing all other means that may be important to render our seminary an 
ornament to our country and a blessing to the world. 

" Early measures were taken by the committee to secure such an amendment 
of the act incorporating the Convention as would authorize the establishment 
of a collegiate institution. By this amendment it will be seen that the Conven- 
tion is empowered to appoint a Board of Trustees for the management of the 
college ; this Board, we trust, will be appointed at the present meeting of the 
body, that the committee may at once transfer the interests of the institution to 
their hands. Preparatory arrangements are in such a state of forwardness that, 
with suitable exertions, the exercises of the entire collegiate department might 
be commenced early next year. 

" The committee have determined to adopt a seven years' course of study, 
commencing with the common English branches, and closing with the highest 
branches taught in our best colleges. The preparatory department is to embrace 
three years, and the collegiate four : the whole course to be under the direction 
of the same faculty. The plan of study for the first five years has been arranged, 
subject, of course, to such modification hereafter as further reflection and 
experience may recommend. The manual labor system will be continued in 
connection with both departments of the seminary. The institution is to be 
known by the name of Mercer University. 

" Considerable exertion has been made by the committee to secure the services 


of suitable persons as professors in the institution. Brother Adiel Sherwood 
has been appointed to the professorship of Sacred Literature, and brother Otis 
Smith has also been invited to accept a professorship ; they have not yet signi- 
fied their acceptance, but there is ground to hope that they will yield to our 
wishes, and to what we have every reason to believe are the wishes of the friends 
of the institution generally. Brother Albert Williams and brother Palemon L. 
Janes, graduates of the Franklin College, have been appointed teachers, with a 
view to their permanent connection with the institution. Brother Williams had 
been previously appointed principal classical teacher in place of brother Cowdry, 
whose feeble health compelled him to resign. Brother Janes is now at the North 
prosecuting his studies with a view to his more thorough improvement in the 
higher branches of mathematics and civil engineering. It is expected he will 
enter the institution as mathematical teacher early in next year. Brother B. M. 
Sanders has been'appointed college treasurer, whose report is herewith presented. 
During the last year there has been a decided improvement in the school, both 
as to its general order and discipline and the advancement of the young men in 
their literary pursuits. Both teachers and pupils, in their respective spheres, 
have exhibited a degree of industry, punctuality and zeal highly commendable. 
We would record with grateful emotions the goodness of God in again reviving 
His work in the institution. Towards the close of last j^ear the Lord was pleased 
to pour out His spirit and gather into His fold a goodly number of precious 
youths. This we regarded as a special token of His favor, and were greatly 
animated thereby in the prosecution of our labors for the improvement of the 
school. The number of students the last year has varied from seventy-five to 
ninety. Several of our present number are in the Freshman class. The brick 
building has been completed, and is now in the occupancy of the students. 
There are now upon our premises seven good buildings, five belonging to the 
institution, viz : two large school buildings, a dining hall, two comfortable dwell- 
ing houses and two other buildings belonging to the Ciceronian and Phi Delta 
Societies, a part of which has generally been occupied by some of the students 
of the school. Brethren Conner and Mallary, the former college agents, were 
appointed to collect funds for our institution, and as their previous labors would 
be mostly converted to the benefit of the Mercer University, we agreed to as- 
sume the payment of their salaries under their first appointment. Brother Jona- 
than Davis has also been appointed as one of our agents, to labor mainly in the 
western and southwestern sections of the State. 

" One of the most important measures adopted by the committee, with the 
concurrence of the trustees, with whom they held a consultation, has been the 
laying off of town lots contiguous to the school for the accomrhodation of such 
families as might wish to remove to the institution to superintend the education 
of their children. Lots to the amount of nearly ten thousand dollars have been 
sold already, under salutary restrictions, and several families have already re- 
moved to the place and commenced their improvements. The town is to be 
known by the name of Penfield — a tribute of respect to the memory of the 
late Mr. Josiah Penfield, of Savannah, who was known as one of the most liberal 
and efficient patrons of the benevolent plans of the Convention. 

"The committee, with the concurrence of the trustees, in the exercise of the 
authority granted them by the last Convention, have resolved upon the estab- 
lishment of a respectable female seminary at Penfield. A lot has been reserved 
for the institution, and three thousand dollars of money accruing from the sale 
of lots, have been voted to this object. Under the direction of the trustees and 
principal teacher, it is expected that the building will be completed by the first 
of January next, and that the institution will then be open for the reception of 

" A school for small children was opened on the premises early in the present 
year, under the direction of brother Smith, formerly a student in the institution. 
This school is in quite a prosperous condition. 

"Jesse Mercer, Chai'nnan. 

" C. D. Mallary, Assistant Secretary!' 


The female school, established as here indicated, flourished at Penfield for 
about a dozen years, and then became extinct, the chief cause of its demise 
being, perhaps, the existence of the Georgia Female College, at Madison, which 
arttracted the patronage of the Baptists. 

The two legislative acts, alluded to in the Report of 1838, are possessed of 
value in the eyes of Georgia Baptists, and are here given as a part of our 
denominational history. The first is the Act incorporating the Convention, 
passed in December, 1830, and the second is an amendment of that Act, incor- 
porating Mercer University, and passed in December, 1837. 

To i7tcorporate the Baptist Convetttzon of the State of Georgia. 

Section i. Be it ejiacted by the Senate a7id House of Represe7itatives of the 
State of Georgia, in General Assembly met, and it is hereby enacted by the au- 
thority of the same, That, from and after the passing of this Act, Jesse Mercer. 
Moderator, Adiel Sherwood, Clerk, J. P. Marshall, Assistant Clerk, James 
Armstrong, B. M. Sanders, Jonathan Davis and Thomas Stocks, who compose 
the present Executive Committee of said Convention, and their successors in 
office, shall be, and they are hereby declared to be, a body corporate, by the 
name and style of the Executive Committee of the Baptist Convention of the 
State of Georgia, and, by the said name and style, shall have perpetual succes- 
sion and power to use a common Seal to alter and amend the By-Laws of the 
same, provided such By-Laws be not repugnant to the laws and Constitution of 
the State, or of the United States. 

Sec. 2. Afid be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the 
Executive Committee aforesaid, and their successors in office, elected agreeably 
to the Constitution of said Convention, shall have full power and authority, under 
the name and style of the Executive Committee of the Baptist Convention of the 
State of Georgia, by which name they shall sue and be sued in any court of 
law or equity in this State, and to take, hold and enjoy any real or personal 
property : to sue for and recover any sum or sums of money now due, or that 
may hereafter be due to said Convention, at any court of law or equity in this 
State, or at any tribunal having jurisdiction thereof, and the rights and privileges of 
said Convention to defend in any tribunal whatever ; also to receive any bequests 
or donations whatever, made to said Convention ; and they shall be vested with 
all powers, privileges and advantages of a society incorporated ; any law, usage 
or custom to the contrary notwithstanding. 

ASBURY Hull, Speaker of the Hottse of Representatives. 
ThO-AL-^S Stocks, President of the Senate. 

Assented to December 22d,.i83o. 
George R. Gilmer, Governor. 

AN act 

To amend an Act entitled an Act to Incorporate the Baptist Convention of 
the State of Georgia. 

Section i. Be it ejiacted by the Senate a7id House of Representatives of the 
State of Georgia, i7i General Asse7nbly 7net, a7id it is hereby enacted by the 
authority of the sa7ne, That if by the Act entitled an Act to incorporate the 
Baptist Convention of the State of Georgia, said Convention, or their Executive 
Committee, are invested with taxing power, all such power is hereby annulled 
and made void. 

Sec. 2. And be it furthir enacted by the authority aforesaid. That the Exec- 
utive Committee of the Baptist Convention of the State of Georgia shall have 
power to establish and endow a collegiate institution, to be known by the name 
of the Mercer University, on the premises owned by said Convention, in 
Greene county ; and said committee are hereby authorized to make all neces- 
sary by-laws and regulations for the government of said University, provided 
they be not repugnant to the Constitution or laws of this State or the United 
States, until a Board of Trustees shall be appointed by the aforesaid Baptist 


Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That the Baptist Convention of the State 
of Georgia, may, at its next meeting, or at any subsequent meeting, elect a 
Board of Trustees for the said Mercer University, consisting of not less than 
fifteen, nor more than thirty-one, in number, who shall, or their successors in 
office, be a body politic and corporate by the name of the Trustees of Mercer 
University, and as such, they shall be capable of and liable in law, to sue and 
be sued, plead and be impleaded, and shall be authorized to use a common 
seal, to hold all manner of property, both real and personal, for the purpose of 
making a permanent endowment of said institution, and to raise funds for the 
support of the same, and for the erection of buildings, or to confer literary 
degrees, and to exercise such other power not inconsistent with the laws of this 
State or of the United States, as the aforesaid Convention may see fit to vest 
in their hands. 

Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That the aforesaid Convention shall be 
authorized to determine the manner in which said Board of Trustees shall be 
perpetuated, and the character of the individuals from whom they may be 

Sec. 5. And be it ftirther enacted, That upon the premises now owned by 
the Baptist Convention of the State of Georgia, in Greene county, or that may 
Tiereafter come into their possession, no person shall by himself, servant or agent, 
keep, have, use or maintain a gaming house or room of any description, or per- 
mit with his knowledge any house or room occupied or owned by him, to be 
used by any person whatever as a gaming place ; nor shall any person, upon 
the premises aforesaid by himself, servant or agent, keep, employ or allow, 
with his knowledge, to be kept or employed on the premises he may occupy, 
any Faro Table, Billiard Table, E. O. Table, A, B. C. Table, or any other table 
of like character ; nor shall any person, by himself, servant or agent, upon the 
premises now owned by the aforesaid Convention in Greene county, or that 
may, hereafter come into their possession, be allowed to sell ardent spirits, 
wine, cordials, porter, or any other intoxicating drinks whatever, nor permit the 
same to be done with his or her knowledge or approbation, on the premises 
which he or she may occupy, provided, however, that the Trustees of the Mer- 
cer University, may have power to authorize any individuals to sell ardent 
spirits, wine, etc., upon their premises for medical and sacramental purposes. 
Any person violating the prohibitions contained in this section, shall be liable to 
be indicted for a misdemeanor before the Supreme Court, and on conviction, 
shall be fined in a sum not less than one thousand dollars for each and every 

Sec. 6. And be it further enacted. That the Executive Committee of the 
aforesaid Convention, in executing titles for lots,, which they may sell from time 
time, shall have power to insert such conditions, as may tend further to defend 
the premises aforesaid from the nuisances specified in the foregoing section of 
this Act. Joseph Day, Speaker of the. House of Representatives. 

Robert M. Echols, President of the Senate. 

Assented to 22d December, 1837. 
George R. Gilmer, Governor. 

The Convention approved of the course adopted by the Executive Committee 
in surrendering the charter of the Southern Baptist College, and in taking the 
steps requisite for elevating Mercer Institute to the dignity of a college, with 
the name of Mercer University. A Board of Trustees, consisting of the following 
brethren, was elected, to whom was entrusted the management of the college : 
Jesse Mercer, C. D. Mallary, V. R. Thornton, Jonathan Davis, John E. Dawson, 
Malcolm Johnston, W. D. Cowdry, J. H. T. Kilpatrick, J. H. Campbell, S. G. 
Hillyer, Absalom Janes, R. Q. Dickerson, William Richards, Thomas Stocks, T. 
G. Janes, J. M. Porter, Lemuel Greene, James Davant, F. W. Cheney, E. H. 
Macon, William Lumpkin, John G. Polhill, L. H. Warren, Mark A. Cooper, John 
B. Walker, I. T. Irwin and W. H. Pope. And the Executive Committee was 
instructed to petition the next Legislature to amend the charter, or act of incor- 
poration of JVIercer University, so as to authorize the Convention to elect the 


Board of Trustees once in three years, and to require them to make an annual 
report to the Convention. 

The petition was made and the desired Act of amendment was passed by 
the Legislature ; and, at its session in 1839, held at Richland, Twiggs county, 
the Convention elected, as a Board of Trustees, for three years, Jesse Mercer, 
C. D. Mallary, V. R. Thornton, Jonathan Davis, J. E.Dawson, W. D. Cowdry, J. 
H. T. Kilpatrick, J. H. Campbell, S. G. Hillyer, Absalom Janes, R. O. Dickinson, 
Thomas Stocks, T. G. Janes, J. M. Porter, L. Greene, J. Davant, 'P'/W. Cheeney, 
E. H. Macon, W. Lumpkin, L. Warren, M. A. Cooper, J. B. Walker, W. H. 
Pope, B. M. Sanders, A. Sherwood, A. T. Holmes, James Ferryman, J. S. Law, 
W. B. Stephens. 

The report of the Board of Trustees for the year 1838, made at the Convention 
of 1839, is appended as presenting an interesting statement of the organization 
of the college, and its financial condition at the time : 

" At an early period, after the last session of your body, the trustees elect 
met at Penfield, and, after organizing, proceeded to discharge the important 
duties committed to their charge. The board were not unmindful of the 
responsibilities of their station, and of the vast importance of a good beginning, 
in an enterprise of such interest. They, therefore, opened their session, by im- 
ploring divine direction, in everything pertaining to the interests of the University. 
It was a deeply solemn and interesting occasion. 

" Immediately after the organization of the board, the Executive Committee, 
turned over to us all the funds belonging to the University ; and the board, to 
carry out the views of the Convention, proceeded to the organization of a faculty, 
at least so far as they thought expedient under the circumstances. Rev. B. M. 
Sanders was elected President, which he accepted temporarily, and upon condi- 
tion that the office might be vacated whenever an opportunity presented of 
filling it permanently. Rev. A. Sherwood was appointed professor of Ancient 
Literature and Moral Philosophy, which he accepted. Brother P. L. Janes was 
elected prospectively, professor of Mathematics ; but, by an unexpected dis- 
pensation of Providence, he was removed to his final reward. We had promised 
ourselves much from the talents and attainments of brother Janes ; but God, 
who worketh all things after the counsel of His will, saw fit to take him from 
our midst, and to His will it becomes us to be resigned. Brother S. P. Sanford 
and A. W. Ataway, were appointed assistant professors. But, in consequence 
of the imperfect organization of the faculty, the various duties were divided for 
the present, among all the members of the faculty, so that all are actually em- 
ployed. The collegiate department was more fully organized at the beginning 
of the present term, and there are now, in the Sophomore class, seven young 
gentlemen prosecuting their studies with vigor and success. There is, also, a 
Freshman class, consisting of seven, to whom we look with great interest. There 
are in all — in both departments — about ninety-five students ; and we entertain 
no doubts of the success of the enterprise, if the friends will only come up 
liberally to the work. 

" The Board have had in their employ, as agents, brethren C. D. Mallary and 
Jonathan Davis, at a salary of $1,000 per annum. Brother Connor has, also, been 
employed at $400 per annum. Brother Sherwood has also performed some 
service in this way. 

" In reference to the finances, the Board have only to say that they have under 
their control, in subscriptions and notes running to maturity, notes on demand 
and cash, about $100,000; of this amount there is about $50,000 on interest, 
invested in good stock. 

" The board have adhered rigidly to the settled policy of the Convention, in 
avoiding all responsibilities for the meeting of which they have not the means 
in hand. And they have the satisfaction to state that the University is entirely 
free from debt ; so that, if we have moved slowly, we have gone surely. We 
feel that it is also due to say that all the donations have been appropriated as 
directed by the donors. Your board felt that it was important, inasmuch as the 
great design of the institution was the promotion of God's glory, at a suitable 
time to dedicate the University to Him to whom we are indebted for our past 


prosperity, and on whom we depend for all future success. They consequently 
appointed a meeting early in February last, which continued several days, for 
this purpose. Many of the brethren attended, several sermons were preached, 
and all the religious services had reference to the prosperity of the University, 
It was a deeply solemn season. The Spirit of the Lord seemed to be poured 
out, and many prayers were offered up to God in its behalf, which we hope will 
be answered in time to come. 

"Your board feel justified in saying that with patience, diligence and pru- 
dence the institution will not only meet the expectation of its friends, but prove 
a lasting blessing to the world." Jesse MerCER, Chairman. 

John E. Dawson, Secretary. 

This board held its first meeting at Penfield in July, 1838, and then assumed 
the management of the institution ; and this date may, therefore, be regarded as 
the official beginning of Mercer University. The college classes were not 
organized, however, until January, 1839, since, at that time, the collegiate year 
corresponded with the civil year in most American colleges. The members of 
this Board of Trustees, all of whom were re-elected for three years, were fair 
representatives of the denomination in Georgia in piety, wealth, intelligence and 
in social and political influence. They gave the University its shape and 
character, and to their wise counsels, in its formative period, is due much of its 
past success. Thomas Stocks, a layman of Greene county, who labored in 
building up the Institute, was the first president of the Board of Trustees, and 
was re-elected for about twenty-five years, until failing health unfitted him for 
the duties of the office. He also presided over the Senate of Georgia for eight 
years, and was, nine years in succession, president of the Georgia Baptist 

Thus we have seen that Mercer Institute was proposed in 1831, and set in 
operation January, 1833. It had no endowment, but was sustained by tuition 
and voluntary contributions. Fellenburg had conducted a manual labor school 
successfully in Europe, and the system found many admirers and imitators in 
America, and when Mercer Institute was established, the manual labor system 
was incorporated as a part of it, and was conducted for some years without loss ; 
but, when the Institute was elevated, the system became unpopular, onerous and 
expensive. The Board of Trustees accordingly submitted the question of its 
suspension to the contributors of the University fund, as far as they could ; and, 
with the concurrence of the contributors, as far as could be ascertained, manual 
labor was suspended indefinitely in December, 1844. 

The Institute, as such, really existed six years, as the college classes were not 
organized until January, 1839. During those six years, and during 1839, the 
first year of its collegiate existence. Rev, B. M. Sanders presided over the institu- 
tion with great ability, and made it the success it was, with the aid of his advisers 
and co-adjutors. Appropriately, here, may be given extracts from his valedictory 
address, delivered before the trustees, faculty, students and friends of the 
University December 12th, 1839, when he resigned the presidency of the institu- 
tion, and retired from active official labor. These extracts present a concise 
history of the institution from its inception, and a vivid statement of the princi- 
ples on which it was conducted : 


" In retiring from the charge of this institution, to which I was called in the 
commencement of its operations, and over which I have presided, through its 
various gradations, now seven years, I am constrained to contemplate with grat- 
itude the indications it has experienced of the favor of both God and man. Its 
founders, being deeply impressed with the advantages to be derived from the 
connection of manual labor with literary instruction, and especially by candi- 
dates for the gospel ministry, and the system not having been fully tested in the 
Southern St.ates, and not very successfully in the Northern, determined on 
making the experiment, and solicited the aid of my services in carrying it into 
effect. Although the system was opposed in the beginning by numberless'pre- 
dictions that it could not be sustained, it has not only been well sustained for 


seven years, but the institution, from a feeble grammar school, has been elevated, 
by the divine blessing upon the exertions of its friends, to a state of high respec- 
tabiUty. Notwithstanding the objections some feel to labor, it has this year 
numbered its hundred students, and applications for the next are already swell- 
ing to such an amount as to excite well-grounded apprehension that all the ac- 
commodations that can be provided will not be sufficient to supply the demand. 
These indications of public favor cannot but gratify the friends of the institu- 
tion, while they afford satisfactory evidence that it will only require suitable 
arrangements with a moderate share of industry and perseverance on the part 
of the officers, to ensure the success of the system, and to secure to the institu- 
tion its undoubted advantages. 

" The origin, the design and the progress of our institution to its present state, 
may be proper subjects of reflection on this occasion. At a meeting of the Bap- 
tist Convention of this State in 1829, it was reported that a brother, Josiah Pen- 
field, of Savannah, hi^ving died, had left a bequest of $2,500 to aid in the educa- 
tion of poor young men preparing for the ministry, and to be under the direction 
of that body upon the condition of their raising an equivalent sum for the same 
object, the interest only of which should be used. The equivalent was at once 
subscribed by the brethren and friends present, although it was not until the 
beginning of the year 1833 that the legacy was paid over to the Convention, and 
the equivalent made collectable. 

" In prospect, however, of realizing this amount in a short time, and already 
in the possession of small sums received from Associations and benevolent so- 
cieties for the same object, it was thought expedient by the Convention, in 1831, 
to establish a school, theological and literary, connected with manual labor, at 
as early a period as practicable, in some convenient and central part of the 
State. To effect this without delay, the Executive Committee of the Convention, 
whose province it is to transact all its business during its recess, was directed to 
procure subscriptions, to examine locations, to receive propositions and to report 
to their next annual meeting. 

'At the meeting of the Convention in 1832, a subscription of $1,500 was 
reported, and the respective advantages of a variety of locations that had been 
examined. The one we now occupy was selected, the purchase ordered to be 
made, and the school to be gotten into operation, if practicable, by the beginning 
of a new year. The committees, with whom it wds a maxim ' not to go in debt,' 
speedily made the best arrangements the means in hand would admit. These 
arrangements consisted of two double-cabins, with a garret to each, for dwell- 
ing, for dining and for study, for both teachers and students. With these 
limited accommodations and with one assistant. I opened the institution in Jan- 
uary, 1833, with thirty-nine students, having thirty-six of them to board in my 
own family. Among those were seven young men preparing for the ministry. 

" I shall ever remember with lively emotions of pleasure the patience and 
cheerfulness with which the students of this year sustained the privations and 
trials to which they were subjected by their cramped circumstances. They may 
be truly said to have borne hardness like good soldiers. While living as in 
a camp in their midst, and burdened with the charge and responsibility of the 
literary, theological, laboring and boarding departments, I found no little sup- 
port in all my cares and labors from witnessing that, while they lived upon the 
cheapest fare, had no place for study but the common school-room, no place to 
retire to for rest but a garret without fire in the coldest weather, and labored 
diligently three hours every day, no complaint was heard, but that the most en- 
tire cheerfulness ran through all their words and actions. 

" In a word, those favorable indications of the success of the enterprise soon 
began to inspire its friends with confidence, and to animate their efforts for the 
extension of its advantages. An amount was soon raised to erect another large 
wooden building with eight comfortable rooms for dormitories, and a brick base- 
ment for chapel and school-rooms. 

" The second year's operations were commenced with increased accommoda- 
tions,, with an additional teacher and eighty students, seventy of whom boarded 
in commons, During the second and third years, the building of a larger and 


more comfortable dwelling, a commodious dining-room and two society halls, 
abundantly increased both the comforts and conveniences of the institution. 

" Thus did its interests advance, from year to year, by the multiplication of its 
friends, and the increase of their bounty, under the superintendence of a com- 
mittee whose watch-word was, 'Owe no man anything,' until 1837, the fifth 
year of its operations. During this year two circumstances occurred to give a 
strong impulse to the advancement of its prosperity. Just at this period a 
project that had been gotten up for a Baptist college to be located at Washing- 
ton, Wilkes county, was relinquished, after nearly one hundred thousand dollars 
had been subscribed for its accomplishment. This event was promptly improved 
by the Executive Committee of the Baptist Convention, charged with the interests 
of this institution, and a resolution was at once passed by them to elevate it by 
the addition of a collegiate department. An agent was appointed to obtain, if 
possible, a transfer to it of the sums that had been subscribed to the contemplated 
college at Washington. In the execution of this labor, he was peculiarly 
successful, and to the Convention of 1838, he made a report of the transfer of 
between fifty and sixty thousand dollars. 

" During this year, also, a town was laid out around the institution, and named 
after the donor of the first contribution, which had laid the foundation for its 
existence. Several thousand dollars' worth of lots were at once sold, with a 
condition prohibiting the admission on them of gambling-houses or tippling- 
shops, on pain of forfeiture of title. The number of lots sold, as well as the 
prices, were abundantly increased by a judicious arrangement of the committee 
appropriating $3,000 of the avails to build a female academy in the town. 

" Arrangements were now also made to have the male institution transferred 
to a separate board of trustees, to be appointed by the Convention once in three 
years, and required to make annual reports of the state of the institution. By 
the Convention of 1838, that board was appointed, and shortly after met and 
organized, and made the necessary arrangements for the commencement of the 
operations of the institution in its elevated character, under the title of the Mer- 
cer University, in the beginning of the present year. That board I now have 
the pleasure to address. It is well known to many of you, my brethren, with 
what doubtful apprehensions of duty, and with what consequent reluctance, I 
gave up the more general and active labors of the ministry, to take upon me the 
charge of this institution in its infancy. Yielding, however, to the strong 
impressions of my brethren that, as its more immediate and especial design was 
for the improvement of the ministry, it would afford one of the best opportuni- 
ties of promoting ministerial usefulness ; and encouraged, moreover, by my own 
convictions of the importance of early attention to the religious sentiments and 
ideas of duty to be entertained by young men entering into the labors pf the 
ministry, I eventually consented to take the charge of it until a suitable oppor- 
tunity might be presented of having the office supplied by another. 

" After laboring six years in the complicated, oppressive and responsible duties 
of principal of all the departments of the institution, and after it had, in the 
dispensation of Divine Providence, been so promoted as to justify the division of 
its several departments, and the appointment of a separate officer to the charge 
of each, I supposed the occasion had occurred that would justify my retirement. 
I consequently availed myself of it, and obtained your acceptance of my resigna- 
tion. But, being unable to procure the services of the officer of your choice to 
preside over the literary department, I was again induced to consent to your 
wishes in assuming that charge till the office could be otherwise satisfactorily 

"The desired arrangements have now been made. You have been able, in all 
departments, to obtain the services of officers of proven abilities to fill their 
respective appointments, and I now, with pleasure, again resign my charge into 
your hands. In retiring from your service as an officer of the institution, permit 
me to assure you that the testimonies, which I have received from time to time, 
of the satisfaction which my services have given, have constituted no small share 
of the reward of my labors. 

"Perniit me here to reqount some of the principles upon which your institution 


was first organized, and on which it has since been conducted by its founders ; 
principles which have no doubt contributed eminently to its past success, and in 
favor of which evident indications of divine approbation have been manifested. 
In the first place, it was a principle with them to deliberate maturely on every 
subject of investigation, and to examine well the ground about to be occupied 
before they took their position. So far from being hasty in their conclusions or 
rash and precipitate in their acts, they took care to satisfy themselves fully with 
regard to the merits of every subject, that presented its claims to their attention, 
before they put forth their labors in its behalf. 

"Although since the origin of this institution, there have been but few among 
us entering the ministry, yet it has, no doubt, been the means of abundantly 
enlarging the sphere of usefulness of a portion of that few, not only from our 
own State, but also from neighboring States. It has aided about twenty young 
brethren in their preparation for their labors, and fifteen of them gratuitously. 
Several of these are now engaged acceptably and successfully in the field of 
labor. Their efforts have already been abundantly blessed, in promoting revi- 
vals of religion in the different sections of country to which they have been 
called, as well as in advancing the benign objects of Christian benevolence. 

"Your institution has also been built upon the faith of that divine principle 
of truth, 'that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it." 
Its founders have not stopped in making sure of a good object and then labor- 
ing diligently for its accomplishment. In all their efforts they have acknowl- 
edged God, and sought his blessing in earnest prayer. How often and how 
fervently have they, in the language of the pious Psalmist, prayed, 'Establish 
thou the work of our hands upon us, yea, the work of our hands establish thou 
it.' And the Lord hath graciously heard their prayers, and wonderfully 
granted their desires, and exalted their institution to an elevation of character 
and usefulness, transcending in so short a time, the most sanguine anticipations 
of its warmest friends. In retrospecting its his::ory we are called upon to recog- 
nize the hand of God, not only in building up the interests of the institution, 
and giving it favor in the eye of the people, but more particularly in the fre- 
quent revivals of religion, with which he has been pleased to visit it ; and 
these mostly through the instrumentality of the young brethren here preparing 
for future labors in the ministry. 

"It is a heart-cheering subject of contemplation that, but one year out of seven 
has passed away without more or less religious revival among the students ; 
and that nearly one hundred of them have, here, hopefully been translated 
from the kingdom of darkness to that of light ; some of whom are already 
actively engaged in the labors of the ministry. Who can tell the influence these 
may have on the destinies of the world, through the instrumentality of their 
labors and their prayers .'' 

"Another principle, early laid down, and firmly adhered to by the 
founders of your institution, was, 'to keep out of debt.' The Convention of 
1832 passed a resolution, 'that no debt, shall be contracted by the committee 
or trustees on the credit of the institution, without funds in hand to pay, other- 
wise, in every such case, it shall be on their own individual responsibility.' 
The wisdom of this policy cannot be too highly appreciated. 

"Mt. Enon in our own State, and the Columbian College in Washington City, 
were beacons of warning for our denomination ; and well have they improved 
the melancholy lessons of instruction, that had here been taught them. Instead 
of embarrassment, and perplexity and loan, and abatement of funds by usury, 
you have now before you the free and unfettered use of all the property and 
funds of your institution. 

"My brethren of the Board of Trustees of the Mercer University, permit me 
in taking my leave of you on the present occasion, pressingly to recommend to 
your consideration, the wisdom of the policy and the sacredness of the obliga- 
tion of the holy injunction of the apostle 'Owe no man anything: Let me 
entreat you, never to forget the happy results of the example of your worthy 
predecessors, in their rigid adherence to it. It is a principle commended by the 
counsel of Heaven, and well reported of by all who have experimented on it, 


' You will no doubt be told that your library and apparatus are not complete, 
that your college buildings need enlarging and improving, and that you lack 
separate professors of several important branches of science. All these things 
are readily to be admitted, and should stimulate the friends of mental and moral 
improvement to bring in their offerings to aid in the accomplishment of those 
objects ; but none of these, nor all combined, can be a justification for running 
into that error which has embarrassed the operations of so many other institu- 
tions of our own day ; and that has been the ruin of so many in days gone by. 

"Another important principle with the founders of your institution, was, 
"10 go more fo?- substance than for show, and more for setise than sound! In 
digesting systems, in erecting buildings, in arranging studies, in selecting teach- 
ers, in a word, in every operation of the institution, this principle has had its 
influence. It was the high consideration in which this principle was held, that 
recommended so strongly to them the manual labor system of education. They 
could readily see that if thoroughly carried out, it was well calculated to make 
effective practical men ; men, not only able to understand, but also able to per- 
form whatever service might be necessary to promote the interest of their coun- 
try or their own prosperity. It is on this principle, that the instructions of the 
teachers have been addressed to the understandmg of the pupils, and not mere- 
ly to the memory, and that public examinations have been required to be thor- 
ough and undeceptive ; and on this principle it is that more attention has been 
paid to the solid branches of mental and moral improvement than to any of the 
forms of fashionable etiquette. 

" The result has proved that honesty is the best policy ; that, however the 
world may labor to deceive, it is not willing to be deceived ; and -that its imita- 
tors in hollow show are not the objects of its confidence and respect. While 
on this subject, I would remark that if I have understood the views of this 
board, they are in entire harmony with this principle ; that they consider it a 
matter of more importance to have good instructors than fine buildings ; that 
the elevation of the character and usefulness of a college depends more upon 
the talent and learning and moral principle of its faculty than on the number 
and splendor of its edifices. That you may be enabled to improve upon the best 
examples of your predecessors in honor of this benign principle, permit me to 
suggest for your consideration the propriety of giving the study of the Bible a 
more conspicuous place in this institution than it has ever heretofore had. It is 
true that it is read every morning and evening, and a portion of every Sabbath 
is devoted to Bible-class exercises ; but, as it is the only divinely-inspired book 
we have, and must embrace that course of instruction that will eventually be 
found most essential to the interest and happiness of man, is it reasonable that in 
an institution, designed by a religious people for the instruction of youth, so much 
respect should be paid to the authorities of men, and so little to that of God ? 
What will human science avail without morality ? and where can we find a sys- 
tem of morals to be compared with that taught us in the Bible .'' How sublime 
its doctrines ! how pure its precepts ! how solemn and imposing their sanctions ! 
They take hold not only of the external conduct, but control the secret workings 
of the heart. But with you, my brethren, the Bible needs no eulogium." 

The University entered upon its career with a liberal endowment for the 
times. Four agents, Posey, Connor, Davis and Mallary, were employed in 
obtaining the subscriptions, the last of whom was engaged in the work three 
years, 1837, 1838, 1839. Rev. Jesse Mercer was, by far, the largest contributor ; 
for, during his life and by will, he donated to the institution about $40,000. 
Among those who contributed amounts varying from $1,000 to $5,000, were 
CuUen Battle, R . Q. Dickinson, W. H. Pope, James Boykin, T. G. Janes, Ab- 
salom Janes, W. Peek, Solomon Graves and John B. Walker. Subscriptions 
came from seventy counties, and a few from adjacent States, all amounting, in 
1840, to $120,000.' 

While seeking to build up its own educational institutions, the Georgia Baptist 
Convention manifested a lively interest in the success and prosperity of Furman 
Theological Institution, in South Carolina ; by resolution promised such aid as 
was in our power to bestow, and invited the agents of that institution to visit 
the State and obtain subscriptions. 


And, while manifesting so much zeal in the education of the whites, the Con- 
vention, also, exhibited a strong interest in the religious instruction of the 
colored people. In 1835 the following was adopted by the body : 

" Resolved, That we recommend to all our brethren a due consideration of 
the best method of affording religious instruction to the black population among 
us ; and that such facilities be afforded for this instruction as in their best judg- 
ment may be deemed most expedient." 

At its session in 1839, the Co;fivention went further, and " Resolved., That the 
Executive Committee be instructed to make inquiry respecting the practicability 
of affording oral religious instruction to the colored people in ou'" State, and to 
make such arrangements as their means and information will permit." 

We have thus glanced at the steps taken by the friends of education in our 
denomination within the State, during the fourth decade of the century, and the 
second of the Convention's existence. We must now consider the opposition, bitter 
and persistent, which was exhibited towards benevolent institutions, and which 
led to the sad rupture in our denomination in Georgia, in the year 1837. 






A general view of the denomination at the time which we are considering, 
from 1820 to 1830, would not be complete without a more special reference to 
that spirit of opposition to missions and education which finally, in 1837, resulted 
in a division of the denomination in Georgia. 

At this day, it is hardly possible for us to appreciate the bitterness of feeling, 
and rancor of speech which prevailed, for years, among many of the churches, 
and in most of the early Associations. There is no doubt that ignorance and 
prejudice were the true causes of these denominational troubles ; and, at this 
lime to say so can justly wound no one's feelings, since allthe active participants 
have ceased their earthly labors and gone to their long home. A very few only 
can remember the later stages of the dissension. 

While there was considerable opposition to missions, and an opposition which 
gradually augmented, there seems to have been a more bitter opposition to 
education, and to the establishment of Baptist colleges. The real ground of this 
opposition to benevolent enterprises, as they were designated, was a conviction 
that they were mere human inventions and schemes, and contrary to the sim- 
plicity of the instructions enunciated in the New Testament for the spread of 
the gospel. With some, influences of a much lower nature had potency, how- 
ever. Against missions it was argued that preachers would fail to obtain a 
support, if mission collections were pressed. John Blackstone used to say that 
once he could go out on a preaching tour among the churches, and collect for 
his services from fifty to sixtj dollars ; but that, since missions had grown into 
favor he could get nothing. 

Against education it was, argued that the Holy Spirit, by inspiration, instructed 
the preacher at the moment of delivery, and that, hence, education was unneces- 
sary, if not indeed a violation of divine injunction. Others said, "These larn'd 
preachers will git all the pay, and we must work or starve !" j-* ■ u. 



The long-continued opposition to the General Association was not genuine 
merely, but even violent, and excites surprise. In the Ocmulgee Association 
several churches agitated the question of withdrawal iox years, and, in 1830, 
a majority carried the measure. It was urged that the Convention would succeed 
best through the co-operation of mere auxiliary mission societies, and would, thus, 
be enabled to obtain more money. Even James Henderson, a violent opponent, 
promised his assistance to the Convention if the Association would withdraw 
and let the Convention be carried on through the co-operation of mission socie- 
ties. But, while this opposition on the part of many arose mostly from a 
disinclination to co-operate in missionary, educational and other benevolent 
enterprises, yet, in a great measure, it was due to a sturdy spirit of independence, 
inherent in Baptists, which feared the formation of a body that might seek to 
exercise legislative or judicial prerogatives unwarranted by Scripture, and incom- 
patible with the genius of Baptist churches. 

It should be recollected that the General Committee of 1804, sought to 
promote union among all denominations ; then followed the attempt to procure 
the adoption of a common confession of faith by the Associations ; and this 
was succeeded by an endeavor to establish uniformity in church discipline. The 
sturdy independence of spirit which seems ever to have characterized the 
Georgia Baptists, rendered all these attempts futile ; and we now clearly per- 
ceive their impracticability. ' 

But, perhaps, one of the most potent causes of opposition to missions and 
education, and, therefore, one of the most effective causes which led to the dis- 
ruption of the denomination, was the influence of such anti-mission papers as 
"The Signs of the Times," and the "Primitive Baptist," published in other 
States. In fact it is hardly too much to say that it was the violent state of feel- 
ing wrought immediately by these papers in 1835 and 1836, which resulted in the 
anti-missionaries disfellowshipping the churches and Associations which en- 
gaged in the benevolent schemes of the day, in the years 1836 and 1837. This 
effected a rupture. In fact, this was itself disruption ; although the missionary 
churches and Associations never declared non-fellowship with the anti-mission- 

We will now devote a chapter to those "anti-effort" proceedings, and to that 
anti-mission spirit and excitement, which with such a bold front, resisted the 
endeavors of the Convention men to promote missions, education and temper- 
ance, and which, finally, resulted in that division in our denomination, which 
took place in 1837. It will be seen that these sentiments, though gradual in 
their manifestation, made very rapid progress. 

Among the first acts on record, which may be considered hostile to benevo- 
lent institutions, is that of the Hephzibah Association in 18 17, when the Circular 
Letter for the year, written by Charles J. Jenkins, appointed at the preceding ses- 
sion, was rejected because of its strong missionary sentiments. This action 
was taken by an Association which, in 181 5, had appointed a missionary meet- 
ing at Bark Camp, to be held in February, 1816, for the purpose of organizing 
a missionary society ; and which, in 18 16, returned the following answer to the 
letter sent by the society formed, soliciting the approbation and advice of the 
Association ; "We received your friendly communication, soliciting our advice 
and concurrence, in what we think to be your laudable designs. All we can 
say, at present, is, dear brethren, go on in the prosecution of your designs — in 
that way you think may be most conducive to the glory of God, and the pros- 
perity of Zion ; and may the God of Israel grant you success in the same, is our 
hearty prayer," etc. 

At the same session in which it rejected a missionary Circular Letter, written 
by Charles J. Jenkins, that gentleman, who was clerk of the body, was appointed 
•corresponding secretary, to communicate with the Baptist Board of Foreighn 
Missions, at Philadelphia, with witch the Association resolved to correspond; 
but the body decided in the negative, when a vote was taken whether or not the 
Association should contribute to the funds of the Board of Foreign Missions. 
All those who were friendly to Foreign Missions were recommended, however, 
to meet, the following January, at the Bethel meeting-house, near Louisville, 


Jefferson county, for the purpose of forming a Foreign Mission Society, distinct 
from the Association. 

At that time this body was, in conjunction with the Hephzibah Missionary So- 
ciety, supporting an Associational Missionary, Rev. C. Bateman ; and, at its ses- 
sion of 1 818, the churches of the Association were earnestly counselled to pro- 
mote the dissemination of the gospel throughout the bounds of the Association 
and the adjacent destitute parts, by sending up their contributions for the pur- 
pose the following year. A letter was received from the Baptist Board of For- 
eign Missions, and it was agreed " that we express our warm acknowledgments 
to the Board for their very interesting communication, and our favorable dispo- 
sition towards iAe ^reai and g-ood wor^ in which they are engaged; and that 
we wish them ' God-speed,' remaining hopeful that at a future day (not far dis- 
tant, perhaps), we shall add to our prayers such contributions as may aid their 
laudable designs." 

A letter was also received from the Kentucky Missionary Society, in response 
to which the clerk was instructed to express the thanks of the Association, and 
its earnest desires for the prosperity and success of the Kentucky Missionary 
Society. " But contemplating to engage, ourselves, in domestic missions, as far 
as our ability will enable us, and feeding a desire, if practicable, to contribute 
our mite towards the foreign missions, we cannot honestly flatter our brethren 
with any hopes of pecuniary aid." These events occurred in 1816, 1817, and 
1818. At that time Charles J. Jenkins was the clerk and treasurer of the Asso- 
ciation, and, as such, held $226.68 of Associational funds. In the two resolu- 
tions quoted his hand is plainly visible, for his influence in the body was great, 
but he moved into the bounds of the Sarepta Association in 181 9, and acted no 
longer as a constituent member of the Hephzibah. Henceforth, for years, we 
lind this next to the oldest of our Associations in opposition to missions. The 
following is Dr. A. Sherwood's estimate of Charles J. Jenkins, in his own hand- 
v^^riting : " He was a Carolinian by birth, a man of acquirements and useful- 
ness. Clerk many years of the Hephzibah Association, he took hold of religious 
and educational measures with a strong hand. He died comparatively a young 
man, but his memory is precious in all that region." This is, perhaps, the proper 
place to present a few facts in the life of this notable member of our denomina- 

Charles J. Jenkins was a quiet and unostentatious man, but very energetic 
in all that he undertook. Kind and benevolent in disposition, he was a very 
useful man, and, in every neighborhood where he lived, became a sort of adviser- 
general to the less intelligent ; but he was of that temperament which never lets 
the left hand know what the right hand does. During his minority his parents 
resided partly in South Carolina and partly in Georgia, but he was born in Geor- 
gia, in the year 1780 — a fact for which his own son, ex-Governor Jenkins, 
is our authority. About 1804 he married Miss Susan Emily Kenny, of 
Beaufort district. South Carolina, in which district he resided until his wife's 
death, which occurred in the spring of 181 5. Three years previous to that event 
he and his wife both became deeply interested in the subject of religion, and 
both had united with the Euhaw Baptist church, being baptized by Rev. James 
Sweat. For many years Mr. Jenkins was successively the ordinary of Beaufort 
district and the clerk of the Court of Common Pleas, and it was his acquaintance 
with law, and with legal forms, which, together with some medical knowledge, 
enabled him to become useful, especially to the poor, as an adviser, a lawyer and 
a physician, wherever he resided. About the beginning of the year 18 16 he 
moved to Jefferson county, Georgia, and united with the Providence church, 
twelve miles west of Louisville, and at once took an active part in the affairs of 
the Hephzibah Association. For a short time he resided within less than a half mile 
from Providence church, Jefferson county, and not more than three or four miles 
from Feng's bridge, 'on the Ogeechee, the further end of which rested on Wash- 
ington county soil. But in the early part of 1 819 he removed to Madison county, 
in the Sarepta Association, of which he was elected clerk, and as such, in 1820, 
read Dr. A. Sherwood's resolution which led to the formation of our State Con- 
vention. While in Madison county, he built a Baptist meeting-house near his 


residence, and was instrumental in the organization of a church. In 1822 he 
was appointed United States Port Surveyor and Revenue Collector of Apalachi- 
cola, Florida, but owing chiefiy to the deprivation of church privileges he re- 
signed, after holding the appointment three years, and returned to Georgia, and 
re-purchased his old farm in Jefferson county, where he died in July of the year 

Mr. Jenkins had enjoyed fair educational advantages, possessed excellent 
business capacities, and by his zeal, energy and sterling integrity, gained a con- 
trolling influence in whatever vicinity he lived. He was deeply interested in all 
denominational matters, and, outside of domestic life and private business, all 
his efforts were devoted to extending the borders of our Baptist Zion and widen- 
ing Baptist influence and usefulness. In associational matters he took a very- 
decided and active part, especially in advancing Foreign Missions ; and when, in 
1817, a Circular Letter written by him was objected toand its adoption declined,, 
because of its strong advocacy of the Mission cause, he at once secured the 
adoption of a resolution recommending the formation of a Foreign Mission So- 
ciety near Louisville, which existed for several years. 

He was, also, for years, an active member in the Hephzibah Baptist Society 
for itinerant and missionary exertions, conducting its correspondence and pro- 
moting its usefulness Plain and unostentatious in his manners, his piety was 
constant and unaffected, and to every trust imposed upon him, whether as a 
deacon or church clerk, associational clerk or treasurer, or an officer of public 
trust, he was ever faithful ; and in every community in which he lived, he be- 
came a leading and influential man, enjoying the confidence of all. Of his two 
wives, the first was the mother of his only living child, Hon. Charles J. Jenkins,. 
ex-Governor of Georgia. 

The following is extracted from a letter from him to Dr. Sherwood, dated 
Apalachicola January 2th, 1823 : "My situation is a lamentable one, and claims 
largely the commiseration and prayers of my brethren. I am in a land of dark- 
ness and cruelty, excluded from the privileges of the sanctuary, and from the 
society of Christians ; and, indeed, 1 am destitute of any society at all. But, 
hitherto, the Lord hath helped me to be resigned to His will. I sometimes have 
a refreshing from His presence, and then my soul doth magnify His name ; but, 
when I am in darkness, it is distressing indeed. I beg you to remember me at 
a throne of grace. Pray the Lord that I may possess my vessel in patience ; 
and that I may not be permitted to do anything which may cause a reproach on 
the name of the Saviour whom I have espoused." 

It is plainly observable that just after Mr. Jenkins left the Hephzibah Associa- 
tion, anti-missionary influences began to prevail. At the very next session, 
that of 1 81 9, a vote was taken to ascertain, as the Minutes express it, "whether 
this body will take any part in the missionary ;" and it was negatived. By 
this was meant, not the missionary cause, in general, but the various benevolent 
enterprises, and especially the missionary effort for Indian Reform, co-operation 
being invited by the other Associations, which were becoming interested on that 
subject. On motion, it was agreed "not to correspond with the (Baptist) For- 
eign Mission Society," of Philadelphia; and, two years later, in 1821, at the 
Darien meeting-house, Washington county, Rev. Elisha Perryman presented, and 
requested permission to read a letter to the Association from the Foreign Mis- 
sion Board ; but a majority of the brethren refused to have it read. 

This opposition to benevolence extended to the State General Association, 
correspondence with which was rejected, and, in 1825, (as we have stated else- 
where) a resolution was adopted declaring that the Association had 710 right 
to correspond, by letter or messenger, with any General Association or Commit- 
tee, Missionary Society or Board; and any brother who even made a motion on 
the subject of such a correspondence, was to be considered in disorder therefor, 
and to be reproved by the Moderator. 

The most violent anti-missionaries in the Association, at that time, were John 
Blackstone, James Gray, Jordan Smith, James Granade, and Claborn Bateman,. 
-who, for several years, had been employed as an Association missionary. 

About 1825 the anti-missionary spirit culminated in the Hephzibah Associa- 


tion, and a reaction gradually took place, although the leading men opposed to 
missions, Bible societies and benevolent enterprises continued to use active and 
violent meabures to nullify the spirit of missions. About 1827 Jordan Smith, 
for several years Moderator of the Association, re-published some resolutions of 
the Kehukee Association, called the " Reformed Association," of North Caro- 
lina, which declared non-fellowship vi^ith Bible societies, missions, etc., thus put- 
ting in the entering wedge to division. This was answered, soon after, by a 
writer named Nehemiah in a pamphlet, which had three of four editions, and 
put a quietus on the misrepresentations of the North Carolina mission-haters. 
Nehemiah, we have strong reason to beUeve, was Adiel Sherwood. Under the 
•disguise of " gr-ievances," Jordan Smith,* James Granade, James Gray, and 
others, at a Convention which they called, inveighed against evangelical enter- 
prises, and they sought boldly to antagonize their spirit and nullify their effect 
upon the popular mind in the Association. 

This anti-Convention assembled at Limestone meeting-house, Washington 
■county, September 27th, 1828, and "a letter of grievance," with some of the 
articles adopted by the brethren in Convention, were read in the session of the 
Hephzibah Association for 1828, under a suspension of the order of business ; 
but it was decided, by vote, not even to take up and consider the letter. Thus 
proved abortive the efforts of the violent anti-mission clique to accomplish their 
endeavor to render the Association completely anti-missionary. In consequence, 
the churches under their control seceded from the Hephzibah, formed a body 
which they called the Canoochee Association, lying mostly in Bullock, Washing- 
ton and Emanuel counties, which was anti-missionary in spirit. 

This body formed by these seceders was not at first called an Association, 
but a Conference. The name Canoochee Baptist Association . was given to it 
in 1838 ; but it called itself " an advisory council." The 6th article of the Consti- 
tution ran thus ; " As the love of money is the root of all evil, and has produced 
so much distress among Christians, and we wishing to live in peace ; therefore, 
this Association shall not engage in, nor in any wise encourage, any religious 
speculation, called the missionary, or by any other name, under pretense of sup- 
porting the gospel of Christ." After the death of Jordan Smith the body lan- 
guished, and some of the churches did not represent themselves, and others re- 
joined the Hephzibah Association. In 1832 it had sixteen churches, ten minis- 
ters and 365 members; in 1838 four churches were received — Lower Black 
Creek, Jones' Meeting-house, Wade's, and Luke — some, perhaps all, from the 
Hephzibah. It then had twenty churches and 804 members, of whom 247 were 
reported as baptized that year. This body has never held correspondence with 
any other Association. 

The only action of the Association, at the time, with reference to the churches 
so withdrawing, is contained in this extract from the Minutes of 1830: 

" Relative to those churches which once constituted a part of this Association, 
we think it our duty to state to the Christian community at large, that said 
churches went off from us without having so much as asked for a dismission ; 
and we, therefore, leave it with the churches of Christ, generally, to say whether 
this was orderly conduct or not ; and also to say in what point of light we are to 
view those churches who have thus acted ! " 

Two years afterwards, in 1832, a letter, brought by three messengers, from 

the Canoochee Association, was presented. It stated that the Canoochee Asso- 

: elation was not only sensible of its disorderly standing, but desired the friendly 

interposition of the Hephzibah Association to restore it, if possible, to good 

order; and it was 

" Resolved, That the only course which this Association can pursue, in jus- 
tice to herself, and according to good order, is to recommend to all those 

♦Jordan Smith resided in Washington county, and was an uneducated man of large wealth. He was 
■ kind, genial and liberal of his means, when he could understand properly the circumstances of the 
case.' He possessed the confidence of his brethren and of the men of the world as a man of sincere 
piety. He was specially noted for his hospitality, usually carrying from church on Sabbath from 
thirty to fifty of the poorer class to dine wiih him. Had he been properly instructed, his position on 
the subject of missions would have been different. When the secession occurred in the Hephzibah 
Association, he said to the seceders, " Come, brethren, let us go! Come and go to my house, all o£ 


churches which wrested themselves from this body in a disorderly manner, as- 
we conceive, to come back to us at our next Association, by letter and messen- 
gers, and make the proper and necessary acknowledgements; and that, upon their 
doing so, this Association stands pledged, not only to receive them, but also to 
grant them letters of regular and orderly dismission." 

A committee was appointed to visit the Canoochee Association, confer with it 
and report in 1834. But no conference occurred, no report was made, nor was 
any further communication ever held between the dissevered bodies. 

It seems that the Canoochee brethren denied that they gave their correspon- 
dent, D. Coleman, any authority to state, in the letter to the Hephzibah, that 
they made any " acknowledgements," but that they merely instructed him to 
" ask for letters of dismission." Therefore, when the messengers of the Hephzi- 
bah visited the Canoochee Association, they were not even invited to seats ! 
Consequently, no official communication took place. As usual, in his quaint 
but expressive way, Dr. Sherwood says in regard to this, " Ask letters of dis- 
mission from a body whose messengers were unworthy of a seat ! No doubt 
the Canoochee churches felt that they had done wrong in breaking off so ab- 
ruptly, and desired to cover up their error as much as possible Marriage after 
a misstep does not sanctify or atone for guilty acts committed before honorable 

. It may be well to state that about the period of 1 819 or 1820 there was not a 
minister in the Hephzibah Association who possessed an education extending 
beyond the merest rudiments of learning ; and of course where such ignorance 
prevailed, prejudice and bigotry also presided, and we need not, therefore, be 
much surprised at the course taken by the Association. 

In the same year, 1819, that the Hephzibah voted " to take no part in the mis- 
sionary," the Piedmont Association voted to have nothing to do with missiona- 
ries — meaning the missionary Baptists. Dr. Sherwood says, in his manuscript 
history : 

" It is to be presumed that this little body was organized to keep away from 
the light of missions and other benevolent associations ! What a converse to- 
the directions of the Saviour : ' Ye are the light of the world.' " 

Rev. Isham Peacock, of whom mention has already been made, was the father 
of this body, and he was not only anti-missionary, but anti- temperance. He 
would argue strongly against temperance societies, though he was not in the 
habit of inebriation. Dr. Sherwood, on the authority of Rev. Wilson Conner, 
states that Mr. Peacock carried whiskey in his cane, and would drink before his 
congregation, to illustrate his position that he could drink and not become intox- 
icated. " It looks strange," says Mr. Sherwood, "to see a minister nearly one 
hundred years old using such strong but dangerous arguments to carry his 
point !" 

To such an extent did Peacock carry his anti-temperance principles, that in 
1833 he would not attend the meeting of the Piedmont Association because Mr. 
Westbury, another minister of the Association, had joined a temperance society. 

In November, 1816, Luther Rice was an attendant on the session of the 
Ebenezer Association, at Mount Horeb, Pulaski county. He appeared en Sab- 
bath morning, on which day Winder Hillman, of the Hephzibah, Dozier Thorn- 
ton, of the Sarepta, and Jesse Mercer, of the Georgia, were appointed to preach. 
It was thought proper that Mr. Rice should have an opportunity to preach, and 
Winder Hillman politely gave way, that the opportunity might be afforded. It 
is reported that brethren Rice, Mercer and Thornton "delivered interesting ser- 
mons to a numerous concourse." As the messenger of the Baptist Board of 
Foreign Missions, Luther Rice presented a letter requesting correspondence 
with the Board. The request was acceded to, and Ezekiel Taylor was appointed 
corresponding secretary, and yet the correspondence was closed the following 
year. The surplus money on hand was, nevertheless, voted to support itinerant 
preaching in the lower counties of the State. Correspondence with the Foreign 
Mission Board was resumed in 1819, and Indian reform missionary work was 
formally entered upon by the appointment of a co-operating committee. The 
next year, 1820, the Ocmulgeeplan for Indian Reform was acquiesced in, and the 


collection of funds was recommended. The following is the action of the Asso- 
ciatiation : "Agreed to concur with the Ocmulgee Association relative to a plan 
for Indian Reform, and appointed the following brethren trustees, to act in concert 
with those appointed by that Association and any sister Associations that may 
come into the measures, to-wit : Fulgham, Love, Ross, Steighley and Tharpe. It 
is, therefore, recommended that the ministering brethren explain to the churches 
the object of the Association, and that such plans be laid as shall be thought 
most advisable to raise funds to carry this laudable scheme into effect." 

For two years the scheme received favor and assistance, but suddenly, in 1823, 
interest in the Indian Reform Mission was abruptly discontinued, although cor- 
respondence with the Mission Board in Philadelphia was continued. For 
the thirteen years following there was no special manifestation of hostility to 
missions or education in the Association ; yet it had not connected itself with 
the State Convention. At the session of 1836, held at Beersheba, Twiggs county, 
the following appears in the Minutes : 

"Whereas, it is inferred from the reading of some of the letters from the 
churches that the members of this body which hold to the benevolent institu- 
tions of the day have departed from the Articles of Faith and the Constitution 
of this Association, it was therefore ordered, that the said articles be read, which 
was unanimously assented to, and the following query was received, to be dis- 
cussed to the satisfaction of the body : ' Are the institutions of this day, such as 
missions, temperance, etc., consistent with the Articles of Faith of this Asso- 
ciation ?' " 

After special prayer by C. D. Mallary, the whole of Tuesday, September 27th, 
was spent in discussing this subject, and on the vote being taken, the question was 
decided in the affirmative. The delegates of seven churches — Myrtle Spring, 
Mount Nebo, Ramah, Cool Spring, Pleasant Plains, Camp Creek and Bulah — 
being dissatisfied with the result of the discussion, and being also opposed to the 
benevolent institutions of the day, left the house. 

Upon which the Association adopted the following: 

"Resolved, That differences of opinion in regard to the benevolent institutions 
of the day should not be the ground of non-fellowship among brethren." 

Three churches — by name, Camp Creek, Ramah and Bulah — having sent up 
a declaration of non-fellowship with all the benevolent institutions of the day, 
and the persons engaged in them, it was — 

'• Resolved, That we regret, very much, this hasty act of those churches ; and, 
hoping that upon a reconsideration of the matter by them, they will come to a 
different conclusion, we, therefore, most earnestly recommend to those churches 
to reconsider that matter and report to us upon the subject, at our next session," 

The Corresponding Letter to the churches, for that year, 1836, contained a 
plain statement of these facts : " It was decided by our body, after a lengthy 
discussion, that the benevolent institutions of the day are not inconsistent with 
the articles of faith upon which the Association was constituted. In conse- 
quence of this decision, the delegates from seven churches, being a small 
minority in the body, withdrew, claiming to he the true Ebenezer Association. 
It did not appear to the body that, in this proceeding, these delegates acted upon 
the authority of the churches they represent, consequently no act of censure 
was passed upon these churches ; and the charitable hope was indulged that, 
when the matter should be properly considered by them, the difficulty would be 
removed. It was decided by our body that differences of opinion in relation to 
the benevolent institutions of the day should not constitute a ground of non- 
feilowship among brethren." 

As an actual part of the history of the times of which we write, and bearm^s: 
intimately upon the " everlasting altercation about the institutions of the day," 
as Dr. Benedict expresses it, a copious extract from the Circular Letter of the 
Ebenezer Association for the year 1836 is here given : 

" Great divisions have an existence in our denomination, and, so far as we are 
able to discover, without substantial cause. Those divisions have for their 
ostensible cause the friendship for, and support of, missionary and temperance 
societies by some of our brethren. Though to many it seems that this affords 


no sufficient cause for division, to otiiers it appears to be abundant ground for 
the declaration of non-fellowship for churches and members favoring these 
societies, and the rending asunder of associations of long standing, composed of 
brethren who have for a long time seen eye to eye and face to face, and have 
communed at the same table in commemoration of the death and sufferings of 
our Lord. 

" These being the known consequences of the difference of opinion on the sub- 
ect of these societies, let us inquire what are the opinions of each party. First, if 
we are not mistaken, it is the opinion of those who oppose missionary and temper- 
ance societies, that God will cause the gospel to be preached to all the nations 
of the earth ; that He will accomplish this in the fulness of His own time and by 
the use of His own means ; that, to do this, human plans are not necessary ; 
and that the present operations have not the sanction of the Word of eternal 

" Those favoring these societies believe that God will send the gospel to all 
nations of the earth, and this in the fullness of His own time and by the use of 
His own means ; and, further, that now is the time, and that the redeemed of 
the Lord, and all that they can do and that they have, being the immediate gift 
of God, are His means ; and they trust that the Spirit of the Lord has made 
them willing to be used for this purpose. They have no doubt that the Scrip- 
tures of eternal truth sanction the plans now in operation for the spread of the 
gospel of Christ. They call upon the opposers of these huma7t plans, as they 
are called, to say what other course can be pursued for the accomplishment of 
this purpose. They speak of the blessing of God in favoring brother Judson 
with life, health, and ability to translate the whole of the Scriptures into the 
Burman language ; and they consider the blessings of God on the labors of the 
missionaries sent to various stations as /r^^ that God's own time is now ; and 
that His own means are employed in doing His own work — the spread of the 
gospel of Christ. And these things are spoken of by our missionary brethren 
as encouraging them to go on in discharge of what they believe to be their 
duty. To our anti-missionary brethren we repeat the words of our Redeemer, 
' forbid them not ;' they are not against our Lord ; for they cause the Scriptures 
to be translated and published in languages in which they have not heretofore 
been known. They cause the gospel to be preached to the heathen and God 
blesses the sermons to the conviction and conversion of heathen sinners. These 
missionary brethren are not 'against' Jesus, and, therefore, by the authority of 
His own word we say, ' forbid them not.' Can this be the cause of non-fellow- 
ship for these brethren ? O, Spirit of the Lord forbid it !" 

Then follows an exhortation to " let charity prevail," and the conclusion is : 
" Without taking part in these divisions, or expressing an opinion in favor of 
either party, we conclude this epistle by using the exhortation of the apostle to 
the Corinthian church : ' Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in 
peace, and the God of love and peace shall be with you.' 

" C. A. Tharp, Moderator. 

"James H, Lofton, Clerk." 

The anti-mission spirit, when it began to burn in the Ocmulgee Association, 
blazed forth more determinedly than in any other body, culminating in with- 
drawal from the Convention in 1830, and in a declaration of non-fellowship in 

At the remarkable session of that Association, held with the Antioch church, 
in 1827 when the great revival commenced, several churches petitioned to with- 
draw from the General Association ; but the matter was postponed until the 
succeeding session, when it was discussed and again laid over. Nor was it 
until 1830 that the anti-missionary leaders in the Association were able to in- 
duce a majority of the churches to send up petitionary letters to withdraw from 
the General Convention ; of course, such being the case, the withdrawal was 
effected. This took place at Harmony church, eight or nine miles northeast of 
Eatonton. That this was the result of opposition to benevolent enterprises, 
rather than mere opposition to the Convention, is shown by the fact that in 


1836, the Association, by resolution, concurred in the action of the Mt. Gilead 
church, Putnam county, declaring non-fellowship with all benevolent societies. 
The following year, 1837, the Ocmulgee Association itself, as a body, declares 
the benevolent institutions of the day "unscriptural and non-fellowship," and, 
furthermore, appoints a committee to help constitute a small minority of the 
churches of the Sarepta Association, which had seceded in 1836, into another 
body which was called the Oconee Association. 

These high-handed measures of the Ocmulgee immediately brought their 
legitimate fruits — division and disintegration. Liberty church, in Newton 
county, withdrew from the Association, thus repudiating the right of the Asso- 
ciation to prescribe what a church shall or shall not consider unscriptural. It 
declared by resolution adopted in conference, that it regarded all the benevolent 
institutions of the day as human institutions, designed professedly to do good 
in elevating the morals of the community and the standard of piety in the 
churches, as well as to disseminate useful and religious knowledge, spread the 
glorious gospel and circulate the Bible in the world. It declared, also, that to 
unite with or contribute to such benevolent societies was right, discretionary 
with individuals, and should not be a barrier to fellowship or communion ; and 
it resolved neither to censure nor use harsh or compulsory measures, to influence 
one another to act contrary to freedom of will, in relation to missionary pur- 
poses or benevolent institutions. (See Index of March 29th, 1838.) 

This, however, was, by no means the first withdrawal from the Ocmulgee ; 
but has been referred to merely that the reasons on record might be given. In 
1834 seven churches which had seceded from the Ocmulgee and Flint River 
Associations, impelled thereto by associational usurpations and fierce opposition 
to benevolent institutions, united and formed the Central Association, at Indian 
Creek, February ist. Such men as Adiel Sherwood, John E. Dawson, 
Thomas Cooper, J. H. Campbell, Jeremiah Clark, James Fears, J. Swanson, and 
Jesse Travis assisted in organizing this Association, which was constituted on a 
basis which recognizes and approves of Sabbath-schools, missions, the educa- 
tion of ministers, Bible, temperance and tract societies, and giving them all a 
hearty co-operation ; but averring that fellowship will not be disturbed, if a 
member does not feel it his duty to contribute to these various benevolent 
causes. This Association united with the State Convention in 1835. 

In that same year the Sarepta Association, at its session held with Falling 
Creek church, Elbert county, decided by a " large majority" to become a con- 
stituent member of the State Convention, and appointed delegates by whom she 
was represented the following year. One result of this action shows plainly its 
result upon the churches of the Association— in 1836, $782.86 were sent up 
by them. Previously, about $200.00 was the largest amount sent up, Another 
result was a schism in the Association. At the session for 1836, the propriety 
of becoming a constituent of the Convention was discussed very fully, and the 
action of 1835 was confirmed by a large majority. Rev. George Lumpkin and 
others, representing Beaver Dam, Big Spring, Big Creek, Skull Shoals and Bethle- 
hem churches, protested, and requested permission to enter their protest against 
this action upon the Minutes of the Association. Their request was granted and 
their protest was entered ; but brethren A. Chandler, J. Matthews and J. F. Hill- 
yer were appointed a committee to bring in an answer, also to be entered upon 
the Minutes. The following is a copy of the Protest : 

"We, the delegates from the churches at Beaver Dam, Big Spring,. Skull 
Shoals, and Bethlehem,, representing, as we believe, the feelings of the above 
churches, do enter this our protest against the act of a majority of this Associ- 
ation, for the following reasons : 

" ist. Because we think the Association transcended her delegated powers, in 
constraining the opposing churches to become in part constituent members of 
the Baptist State Convention by said resolution, and thereby infringed upon the 
liberty and internarrights of the opposing churches. 

" 2d. Because we are unwilling to be governed by the Baptist State Conven- 
tion, believing it to be founded upon anti-republican principles, and may, some 
day, be the overthrow of our denomination. 


" 3d. We consider the lawful protection, or powers conferred by legal sanc- 
tion, in the act of incorporation, one great step towards the subversion of civil 
and religious liberty in the constituents of said Convention. 

" 4th. That by said resolution we are brought into union and Christian cor- 
respondence with the Central Association, with which we have no fellowship, as 
we are among those who have no confidence in the flesh. 

" 5th, and lastly. Because we are constrained to correspond with bodies of 
professors against our will, and [are] prohibited from correspondence with such 
as we have fellowship [for.] 

" Therefore, the above and foregoing reasons constrain us to say to the Sa- 
repta Association that we are no longer members of your body. 

"George Lumpkin, James O.K^hi^Y, Beaver Dam ; Mark Jackson,. 
Matthew Varner, Skull Skoals ; John Lacy, Thomas Arms, Big Creek r 
Harris Thurman, Vines Smith, Big Spring ; William Patman, David^ 
Patman, Bethlehem" 

Note. — Mark Jackson and Harris Thurman, seeing the spirit and tendency of the Protest, had their 
names stricken off. 

The Answer to the Protest reads : 

" On the Jirst article, we observe. That we do not conceive that constraint is 
laid on any one, as the Association is but an advisory council, and her resolu- 
tions [but] advice ; and, therefore, no one is constrained to give only as he 
chooses. The internal rights of the churches are not affected. 

" On the second, we remark, That we cannot conceive that the Convention is 
anti-republican ; nor how it can exercise any control over the churches. Its Con- 
stitution does not allow any such construction. 

" On the third, we observe, That the act of incorporation of the Conventi&n 
confers upon it no power to oppress the churches. The act of incorporation is, 
merely, that it may hold property. Many churches in the State are also incorpo- 
rated for the same purpose ; therefore, the apprehensions of oppression are 
wholly groundless. 

" On the fourth, we remark, We correspond with the Central Association, as 
they are of the same faith and order with us. 

" On the fifth, we observe. That we do not think the act complained of in- 
volves such consequences as are represented." 

We have here a fair presentation of the flimsy reasons presented in those days 
for entertaining objections to the Convention ; although they may have had 
weight with some minds. 

We now gather that it was simply to avoid disturbing fellowship which made 
the Sarepta delay its union with the Convention. At length the majority deter- 
mined that they would no longer yield complaisance to the feelings of the minor- 
ity ; and so they cut the knot of difficulty and retardation by firmly carrying out 
the purpose to unite with the Convention. The consequence was the formation, 
in 1837, of the Oconee Association out of the seceding churches. This Associa- 
tion has never united with the State Convention. 

Another schism took place in 1837, on account of a difference of opinion 
touching the benevolent operations of the day, which resulted in the formation 
of the Rehoboth Association. Most of the ten churches at first composing this 
Association seceded from the Itcheconnah (or Ichaconna) Association, because, 
on account of their missionary views, a non-fellowship resolution passed against 
them by that Association, in 1837, beginning as follows: 

" Resolved, That the systems of the day — benevolent, so-called — such as Bible, 
missionary, temperance, tract societies, etc., are unscriptural, unsupported by- 
divine revelation, and, therefore, anti-Christian, etc., etc.," and fellowship is with- 
drawn from those churches favorable to such societies, or, rather, they are de- 
clared to be in disorder, and are cut off. 

The Rehoboth Association has proved itself to be one of the most efficient 
and zealous of the Baptist Associations of Georgia. Acting, for a great many- 
years, independently, of the Boards of the Southern Baptist Convention, it has 
sustained as missionaries Rev. Caesar Frazer, in Africa, a native African ; Rev. 


J. S. Dennard and wife, in Africa, also, both of whom died at their post ; Rev. 
T. A. Reid and Rev. J. H. Clark, in Central Africa, both of whom returned 
after years of _ useful service ; Rev. J. S. Murrow, among the Indians of the 
West, who still remains at the post of duty, laboring most faithfully ; and Rev. 
E. B. Barret and Rev. B. F. Tharp, among the soldiers of the army, during the 
war. This Association has, also, assisted in educating several young men for 
the ministry. Its moving spirits have been B. F. Tharp, Jacob King, J. M, 
Wood, H. C. Hornady, T. E. Langley, J. S. Shannon, A. J. Holmes, Wm. C. 
Wilkes, E. W. Warren, C. D. Mallary, S. Landrum, B. L. Ross and J. R. Ken- 

The formation of the Rock Mountain Association is another case of division 
on account of a difference of missionary sentiments. 

At her regular session in 1838, the Yellow River Association adopted this 
very remarkable non-fellowshipping resolution : 

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

This resolution, so similar to that adopted by the Itcheconnah, cut off and 
caused the withdrawal of six churches — Rock Bridge, Bay Creek, Long Shoals, 
Cool Spring, Macedonia and New Hope. The record from which these facts 
are drawn asserts that the words, " Abolition Society," were artfully incorpo- 
rated in the resolution with the benevolent and religious institutions specified 
for the purpose of casting odium upon them, as it was well known that there was 
not a single Abolition Society in the State of Georgia. One of the reasons given 
by the Towaliga Association why fellowship with Missionary Baptists should 
not be continued was, that in the Northern section of the United States, there was 
a connection between the Society of System Baptists and the Abolitionists, a state- 
ment which Benedict characterizes as a "gross misrepresentation." In the 
discussion which followed the introduction of this resolution at the Yellow River 
Association, several of a respectable minority took part in a firm and resolute 
opposition to its adoption, but Rev. Luke Robinson was especially distinguished 
by his able and eloquent advocacy of education, temperance and missions. When 
the leader of the anti-missionary party, a venerable old man with hoary locks, 
raised, the rallying cry, " Down with education ! down with theology ! down with 
temperance societies ! down with the Convention ! " the vote was taken, and 
the resolution was adopted. The minority immediately left the house. They 
agreed to meet on the 19th of July, 1839, and form a new Association, at Mount 
Zion, Newton county. At the appointed time delegates from ten churches 
assembled, among whom were Luke Robinson, George Daniel, A. R. Almond, 
Lewis Towers, and J. R. George, assisted by J. S. Calloway, C. D. Mallary, and 
T. Phillips. G. Daniel was elected Moderator, and E. Henderson, Clerk ; and 
thus the Stone Mountain Association was formed. 

At its session in 1837 the Flint River Association had a discussion which 
produced a division of the body. This was a result of a consideration of the 
question which, the year previous, had been referred to the churches— whether 
or not non-fellowship should be declared towards those churches in favor of 
" benevolence," as the benevolent institutions of the day were designated. The 
result was that, by a vote of twenty-three to fifteen, the Association decided 
against non-fellowshipping the benevolent churches. This meeting took place 
at the Holly Grove church, Monroe county, Rev. Joshua Calloway being Mod- 
erator, and R. M. Still, Clerk. 

The following was passed : 

"Resolved, That we are unwilling to go into any new declaration of fellow- 
ship or non-fellowship, but feel disposed to continue in the same old Baptist 
path of faith and practice which this Association has heretofore pursued." 

As soon as the result was known, Rev. William Moseley arose and said : 


" I am in the minority, where I expected to be, and it is unnecessary for me 
to remain here any longer. Therefore I bid you farewell. We will meet no 
more as brethren, but as men !" 

He then requested all who coincided with him in sentiment to meet him out 
in the woods. The delegates from fifteen churches left the building, held a con- 
sultation in the woods, and agreed to meet in convention with the County Line 
church, in Pike county, in July, 1838. They did so, and constituted the Towaliga 
Association. Its total membership at that time was 1,022, only twelve baptisms 
being reported. 

It is worthy of note that the Flint, at its session in 1837, received messengers 
from the Itcheconnah Association by a two-thirds vote, after that Association 
had passed its non-fellowship resolution. 

Mention has been made, also, of the discussion lasting a whole day, which 
took place in September, 1836, at Beersheba, Twiggs county, and which resulted 
in an affirmative answer to the question, " Are the institutions of this day, such 
as missions, temperance, etc., consistent with the Articles of Faith of this As- 
sociation ?" The result was that the messengers of seven churches left the 
house, viz : Myrtle Spring, Mount Nebo, Ramah, Cool Spring, Pleasant Plains, 
Camp Creek and Bulah, " being dissatisfied with the institutions of the day and 
•with the course pursued by the Association." These churches held a meeting 
in the following November, and published their Minutes, in which they call 
themselves the Trtte Ebenezer Association, and affirm that they had demanded 
the records of the body as belonging to them by right. And this reminds us 
that William Moseley was deeply chagrined because the Towaliga Association 
was not called the Flitit River, as he desired. When asking aid of the Ocmulgee 
to constitute the Towaliga Association, he intimated that the name of the new 
Association would be " Flint River." This was so violently opposed by James 
Henderson that Mr. Mosely declined to preach the next day, which was Sunday, 
although appointed to do so by the Association. 

In 1837 three churches, the Horeb and the Upatoi, in Talbot, and the Bethel, 
in Meriwether county, seceded from the Columbus Association by not sending 
messengers, foreseeing the strong missionary spirit which was becoming preva- 
lent in that body, and being themselves of an opposite disposition. They sent 
messengers to the Flint River Association in that year, but instead of presenting 
themselves as correspondents to the Association, they offered their letters to 
the Moseley faction at its meeting in the woods, and were received. Subsequently 
uniting with a few other small churches, these seceders from the Columbus As- 
sociation formed the Apostolic Baptist Association. 

In the same year, 1837, ten churches left the Western Association and formed 
a new union of the same name. The reasons assigned by them were that the 
Association corresponded with those who approved of missions and education, 
and refused to non-fellowship them. 

Enough has been written to show when division took place in the Baptist 
denomination in Georgia, and what the causes of it were. 

The causes of it were the deep-seated opposition in the minds and hearts of 
many Baptists to missions, education, temperance, and to the societies, or 
schemes, originated for their support and propagation, and for the dissemination 
of tracts and the Bible. That this opposition was the result of a want of 
enlightenment— that is to say, of ignorance and prejudice — is but too painfully 
apparent. It began to manifest itself openly in the Ocmulgee Association in 
1830, and, in 1837, culminated in a general declaration of non-fellowship with 
Missionary Baptists, on the part of all opposed to the benevolent schemes of 
this day. This was division, or " schism," as Dr. Sherwood calls it. He says : 
"Prior to 1835, the notion that missions, etc., were new schemes was not enter- 
tained, except by a few only ; but then, it was proclaimed that all institutions 
of the day were unscriptural." 

That was the period when a violent anti-missionary paper, " The Signs of 
the Times" began to be circulated in Georgia; and, perhaps, if was thq influ- 
-ence of this paper, and the " Fri/nitive Baptist," started in North Carolina, in 
1836, which caused the violence and bitterness of feeling in Georgia, and thus 


really led to the disruption of the denomination. For it was an article in the 
former of these papers that instigated the non-fellowship resolution passed by 
the Ocmulgee Association. 

In the summer of 1835 Jason Greer and Rowell Reese published letters in 
the Szgfis of ike Times, suggesting the propriety of declaring non-fellowship 
with those who favored all the new schemes of the day. In their wake soon 
followed Joel Colley, who, for twenty years, was the Moderator of the Yellow 
River Association. To the members of most of the Associations, even of those 
which opposed the mission cause, this was, at first, astounding. 

The Primitive Baptist came near beginning its existence in Georgia. It 
seems that William Moseley, James Henderson, and others, held a Convention 
in 1835, to consult concerning the origination of a paper in Georgia to counteract 
the influence of The Index. Rev. Joshua Lawrence, of North Carolina, was 
invited to remove to Georgia and become its editor, as it would be " a money- 
making business./ Lieutenant Doct. Biddle was, also, expected to become its 
editor ; but he decamped very suddenly. On consultation, it was agreed that 
the Primitive Baptist should be issued at Tarboro, North Carolina. For all 
these statements Dr. Sherwood is our authority. 

It is almost impossible to state fairly the exceeding bitterness of feeling and 
expression excited by the controversy on these matters. Rev. A. T. Holmes, 
in a letter to The Index, dated October 21st, 1837, writes: "The Flint River 
Association adjourned on Tuesday last, after the most stormy and unpleasant 
session I ever witnessed. On Monday, the body presented the most disgraceful 
aspect that I ever witnessed in a religious meeting. It did more harm, and I 
have no doubthad a worse effect on the community, than it will ever do good. 
Other denominations looked on with wonder and astonishment, and even regret, 
to see the Baptists so much divided ; and even the world were pointing the 
finger of scorn and saying, ' See how these professors hate, and are trying to 
devour, each other.' " 

The whole denomination was torn up and disorganized by the dissensions, 
ruptures and acrimonious criminations and recriminations, which continued 
between 1830 and 1840. Associations were torn asunder : churches were divided ; 
friendships were broken, and Christian fellowship terribly interrupted. Indeed, 
it was one of the greatest afflictions of Jesse Mercer's life, that these differences 
of opinions and violent dissensions alienated some of those brethren with whom 
he had co-operated on terms of Christian affection and confidence, and caused 
them to go so far, even, as to accuse him of departure from the gospel faith. 

This state of feeling may be illustrated by an authentic anecdote in the life 
of that good and useful man. Rev. Jacpb King, who lived near Thomaston, in 
LTpson county. Soon after the " Hard-shells," as the anti-missionaries were 
called, had withdrawn from the Missionary Baptists, old brother Nichols, a 
staunch Primitive, came to one of Jacob King's meetings. As he entered the 
house, Mr. King met him and saluted him with : " How do you do, brother 
Nichols.?" at the same time extending his hand. The extended hand was 
refused, and the only answer deigned was : " No brother of your'n !" Never- 
theless, the sermon proceeded, and Mr. King could not but perceive that Nichols 
was pleased with the discourse. This was verified by the early appearance of 
Nichols in attendance upon another of Jacob King's services, taking a seat 
near the pulpit. Mr. King preached on Christian Experience for some time, and 
then observed in his own quiet and quaint way : " I don't know whether I have 
any brethren present that approve of this kind of preaching," when, much to 
his gratification and the amusement of the audience, old brother Nichols lifted 
his head up and exclaimed, " Yes, you is !" 

In 1833, Adiel Sherwood, a messenger from the Georgia Association was, by 
the Yellow Association denied a seat, as a messenger from the State Conven- 
tion. Two or three years later, in the same Association, Rev. Reuben Thorn- 
ton, Moderator of the Sarepta Association, was prohibited from preaching in a 
meeting-house, on account of his missionary sentiments. About 1833, Sardis 
church, in Pike county, refused the use of its meeting-house to a Domestic 
Mission Society, for the purpose of holding its anniversary, although several of 


the church members and the pastor himself were connected with the society. 
And a year later, New Hope church, (in Pike or Upson county,) of which John 
Hambrick was pastor, decided that it was not " orthodox to receive into their 
pulpit, preachers who are members of benevolent societies." 

In the Tugalo Association, Jesse Mercer, though invited to a seat as a mes- 
senger from the Georgia Association, was refused a seat as a messenger from 
the General Association or State Convention, which he represented. 

In the Western Association, several churches divided because of difference 
of opinion on the subject of missions; and, in one, the Antioch, both parties 
used the same meeting house. All over the State, except in the eastern part, 
there was trouble and division and disruption of fellowship, because of differ- 
ence of sentiment, laxness of discipline and disregard of proper church order. 

A notable difficulty occurred between the Eatonton and New Salem churches, 
owing to the disorderly reception by the latter of a member of the former. 
The trouble augmented and resulted in the formation of the Central Associa- 
tion, and for several years disturbed the harmony of various Associations in the 

Sharon church, in Henry county, asked the Flint River Association to appoint 
and send a committee to her to act as pacificators or arbitrators in a difficulty 
among the members. The committee appeared at the appointed time, and au- 
thoritatively demanded the moderatorship, as a right. This claim the church de- 
nied and withheld. The committee then withdrew from the church to a grove 
and sent word for such of the members as recognized their authority to appear be- 
fore them. Seven or eight did so, and w^re recognized by the committee as the 
church, and were so reported to the Association. At its next session, thinking 
to smooth over the matter, the Association voted to receive both factions of the 
church. The result was the secession of several churches from the Association. 

Almost any number of instances might be adduced, exhibiting the exceed- 
ingly deplorable and disagreeable results, in the denomination, of that state of 
strife and dissension, which existed prior to 1837, and which culminated in a 
denominational separation in that year, which has been well marked ever since. 
It was not uncommon for anti-mission churches to excommunicate members 
who entertained missionary sentiments, and for Associations to withdraw from 
or attempt to discipline churches that retained such members. James Hender- 
son, Moderator of the Ocmulgee Association, contended "that Associations 
have the same power over churches, that churches have over their members." 
This gave rise to a dissertation by Jesse Mercer, published in the Minutes of the 
State Convention for 1833, on "The Resemblances and Differences between 
Association and Church Authority." 

But about 1836 a brighter day dawned. Another chapter, however, must be 
devoted to a still further exposition of the state of religious feeling in this dark 
period of our denominational history. 







There seems to have been no special religious interest manifested in the Bap- 
tist churches of our State during the year 1826. In 1827 a remarkable revival 
commenced in July, at Eatonton, then in the Ocmulgee Association, under the 
ministry of Adiel Sherwood. While serving three churches — Milledgeville, 
Greenesboro and Eatonton — he dwelt at the last named place and taught the 
academy there. In September he preached on Sabbath in the open air, at An- 
tioch church, Morgan county, during the session of the Ocmulgee Association 
for that year. The Holy Spirit descended with mighty power, and at the con- 
clusion of the sermon four thousand people sought the benefits of prayer in their 
behalf. Among the first to spring forward towards the stand was John E. Daw- 
son, then twenty-two years of age, and exceedingly handsome ; he had been, 
even then, married three years. He was one of the many whose conversion re- 
sulted from the descent of the Spirit that day ; and for the fifteen following years 
there were converts joining Baptist churches in the neighboring region who 
dated their first serious impressions from the day they heard that wonderfully 
blessed sermon at Antioch church. Brethren Colley and James Shannon also 
preached on Sabbath, and much excitement was produced, and thousands were 
convicted. In the words of Dr. Sherwood himself, " The oldest of God's min- 
isters were constrained to say they never saw such a wonderful appearance of 
the outpouring of God's Spirit before." The work spread throughout the State, 
resulting in the baptism, within two years, of about sixteen thousand persons. 

Ministers all over the State, aroused by the Holy Spirit to a pitch of lofty en- 
thusiasm, went from church to church, and from neighborhood to neighborhood, 
preaching with a most unusual and heaven-blessed fervor. Dr. A. Sherwood, 
in his private memoranda, records that, in thirty counties, he " tried to preach " 
three hundred and thirty-three times during the year 1828. 

The Minutes of the Georgia Association, in the Letter of Correspondence, bear 
witness to the increase in itineracy among the ministers. William Moseley, 
James Reeves and others, of the Flint River Association, who had attended the 
Ocmulgee in that year, caught a glorious impulse for preaching Jesus, and soon 
communicated their enthusiasm to others, and ere long the whole Flint River 
Association was ablaze with religious fervor, and a most powerful work was the 
result in all its bounds. Nineteen hundred baptisms were reported at the session 
of the Flint River Association for 1828. 


With but one or two exceptions all the Associations of the State felt the influ- 
ence of this remarkable revival in a marked degree. The number of baptisms 
reported at the Ocmulgee in the year 1828, for the previous twelve months, was 
1,772, and in 1829 the number of baptisms reported was 810. In the Georgia 
Association 1,761 baptisms were reported in 1828, and 708 in 1829. To the 
Ebenezer Association 200 baptisms were reported in 1828, and 270 in 1829. At 
the Convention held in May, 1828, in Monticello, the Committee on the State of 
Religion reported that it was " more flattering in Georgia than it ever was be- 
fore. On the Ocmulgee, Flint River, Yellow River and Georgia Associations 
the Lord has poured out His Spirit in rich profusion, and many have been added 
to the churches. From the Ebenezer and Tugalo Associations we have nothing 
very encouraging. The spirit of opposition to missionary efforts in the Hephzi- 
bih Association seems to be giving way. From the Sunbury Association, a 
member of this Convention, we have some encouraging prospects. Nothing 
special is heard either from the Piedmont, Sarepta or Chattahoochee Associa- 
tion. We have great reason to bless God that the glorious light of Zion is 
spreading far and wide, and will soon cover the earth." ^ 

The following year, 1829, the Convention met at Milledgeville, and the report 
on the State of Religion gives us a little further insight into the spiritual condi- 
tion of the churches and Associations : " In the bounds of those Associations 
hitherto unfriendly to the views and objects of this Convention, there is a con- 
siderable change. Some partial revivals have taken place, family altars have 
been erected, weekly prayer-meetings constantly kept up in many churches, 
some tract, Bible and Sabbath-school societies formed, and the missionary spirit 
considerably increased. In the bounds of those Associations which have united 
with this Convention, there have been many Bible, tract and Sunday-school 
societies formed, and a very great accession of members by experience and bap- 
tism. Nearly eight thousand (8,000) were baptized during the last associational 
year ; but it is agreed that the revival is on the decline. Family prayer is gen- 
erally attended to, prayer-meetings kept up in churches, and many spend every 
Sabbath in the public exercises of religion. A spirit of religious improvement 
■seems to prevail." 

The following, on the subject of Temperance, from the same report, is inter- 
esting : 

" The Anti-intemperate Society for this State is increasing, and it is worthy 
of remark, that in public assemblies hitherto accustomed to use ardent spirits to 
great excess, not half the quantity formerly made use of is now consumed. 
Very few famihes use it habitually ; and it is not now considered a breach of 
common politeness to neglect placing the dram-bottle on the board. Public 
labors, such as reaping the harvest fields, etc., are performed, frequently, with- 
out the use of the inebriating bowl ; and even at weddings, in respectable fami- 
lies, there have been many instance of entire abstinence from this liquid." 

This extract gives us a hint of the exceedinr; great evil intemperance had be- 
come in the State prior to this time. The records of the best Baptist Associa- 
tions of the State evince the strenuous and persistent efforts made by those 
Associations to abate the evil and dethrone King Alcohol. Year after year the 
churches and church members are besought urgently to combat intemperance, 
and its evils are deplored in the most feeling manner. Many church members 
deemed it no inconsistency to drink ; and the anti-missionary Baptists were as 
bitterly opposed to temperance societies as they were to mission, tract and Bible 

The first temperance society in the State of Georgia was organized at Eaton- 
ton, in the last part of July, 1827, at a union meeting of the Baptist church ; and 
the great revival of that year broke out before the meeting was closed. In the 
following spring, that of 1828, the State Temperance Society was formed, at 
Monticello, at the close of the session for that year of the Georgia Baptist Con- 
vention. The constitution, at the request of A. Sherwood, was written by Rev. 
Abner W. Clopton, of Virginia. General Shorter was elected President, and 
Rev. Edmund Shackelford was chosen Secretary. Dr. Sherwood soon succeeded 
E. Shackelford as Secretary, and served for five or six years, until he went to 


^Washington, District of Columbia, to become a professor in Columbian 
University. Tliis State Temperance Society continued to ffourish until 1834, 
holding its meetings at Milledgeville during the sessions of the Legislature. 
It had between fifty and one hundred auxiliaries. The society gradually became 
extinct after the removal of the Secretary to Washington City ; but the cause 
v^^as not abandoned by the Baptists. On the contrary, the publication of a tem- 
perance paper, called the Temperance Banner, was begun at Washington in 1834, 
by Mercer & Stokes, and it was the means of doing much good All these exer- 
tions resulted in a great temperance reformation in the State, in effecting which 
the Baptists took a most honorable part. 

At its session, in October, 1828, the Georgia Association, in its Corresponding 
Letter to the sister Associations affirmed : " We are constrained to believe that 
the God of Abraham has poured out, in these latter days, the most holy influ- 
ence of His Spirit of truth, and through its effectual teaching, the old and the 
young, the rich and the poor, the bond and the free, have flocked together to 
the feet of our Lord Jesus Christ," and "many of our sons and daughters and 
servants have rallied to the gospel trumpet's joyful sound and waving banner, 
and have become the willing subjects of the Cross of Christ." And, in the reg- 
ular proceedings for 1828, we read that "As the Lord is abundantly blessing 
the churches, and calling into them many young men : 

"Resolved, That we urge upon the churches the importance of fostering 
prominent gifts, and of encouraging those who possess them to exercise them 
frequently : 

"And, as the Lord has been pleased to favor us with a large increase of pre- 
cious souls the past year, who have been converted by mighty grace, and that 
He may abide with us, and revive those churches unvisited by the showers of 
mercy, that the residue of children, neighbors and servants perish not, and 
that our poor efforts to send the gospel to those who are perishing for lack of 
knowledge, may be more united and successful, 

"Resolved, That we observe the 13th day of November, 1829, as a day of 
thanksgiving and prayer, and release to our domestics, at our respective places 
of worship." It w^as, also, 

"Resolved unanimously, That we encourage the formation of Sabbath- 
schools, at all our houses of worship." And, at the same session, B. M. San- 
ders preached the missionary sermon, after which a collection, of $75-3 1}4' was 
taken up. 

In 1829, the same Association resolved, " That we consider it a matter of 
gratitude to God, that He disposes the churches in our bounds to sustain the 
cause of missions and education with increased energy," and it was agreed that 
" The members and friends of this body, for themselves and friends, become 
obligated to raise three thousand dollars, (including one share of $250.00 which 
has been subscribed by a benevolent lady in Augusta,) in favor of the Colum- 
bian College." 

To the Sarepta Association five hundred and nine baptisms were reported in 

1828, and, by it, the fourth of July was appointed as a day of thanksgiving. In 

1829, the same day was again appointed as a day of thanksgiving ; all heads of 
families, in Baptist churches, were recommended to have daily family worship ; 
and several brethren were appointed, as missionaries, to visit destitute neighbor- 
hoods, during the ensuing year and preach the gospel. The churches were rec- 
ommended to make the sale of ardent spirits and the frequenting of tippling shops 
a "matter of dealing," and, for the first time, the churches were recommended 
to send up contributions in aid of missions. It was resolved to take up a col- 
lection, at each annual meeting, for the same purpose ; and the first public col- 
lection for missions the ensuing year amounted to $50.46. At this session the 
Sarepta Association for the first time committed itself decidedly as favorable to 
the cause of foreign missions, several contributions being for the Burman mis- 

During the years 1827, 1828 and 1829, the Sunbury Association continued its 
associational missions, strongly encouraged the cause of missions and Sunday- 
schools, and greatly deplored the evils of intemperance, recording it as the 


" standing vote " of the body, that, considering the demoralizing effects arising 
from the intemperate use of ardent spirits : " Resolved, That we feel it a duty 
to use our exertions, by every means, to suppress this great and growing evil." 
In its Corresponding Letter for 1829, this Association affirms that "the exhibi- 
tions of Divine Mercy towards our churches have not been as remarkable as 
are experienced in some favored sections of our country." Its Letter for 1830, 
laments " additional and deplorable evidence that the churches are in a state of 
spiritual declension." 

But a brief summary of the general religious condition of the denomination 
for the year 1830. is found in the Minutes of the State Convention for that year : 

" In the Georgia Association 708 were baptized during the last associational 
year, and there is cause of gratitude that there is so much attention to family 
religion and other Christian duties, and so few departures from the standard of 
our Saviour. In this Association are twenty-eight Sabbath schools, containing 
more than 1,000 pupils; ten tract and nine temperance societies, besides other 
benevolent institutions. The churches are redoubling their exertions in the 
cause of missions and ministerial education. Seven hundred dollars were con- 
tributed for these objects, at the last annual meeting, and nearly $3,000 were 
subscribed for Columbian College. Here we see works and faith consistently- 
operating together ; the churches evince by their conduct that they are in earnest 
when they pray for more laborers to be sent into the harvest, and for a wider 
extension of the Redeemer's kingdom. 

" With regard to the Sarepta, Tugalo and Chattahoochee Associations, the 
accounts are somewhat favorable, especially as respects the first named. In 
that Association 394 were baptized during the last year, and in its bounds are 
seven temperance societies, eight tract societies and nine Sabbath schools- 
Many of the ministers have caught the spirit of domestic missions ; and that of 
foreign missions is also gaining ground. In the Tugalo Association 255 were 
baptized, and in the Chattahoochee 124. There are no benevolent societies in 
either of these two last-named Associations ; but the cause of missions is 
advancing. In the Ebenezer Association there has been considerable attention 
to religion, especially in the church at Rocky Creek. The views of many of the 
ministers in this body have been turned favorably towards the Convention. Op- 
position among lay members is giving way. Several Sabbath schools and 
temperance societies are in existence. 

"We regret to learn that in the Ocmulgeeand Flint River Associations there 
are divisions and contentions ; and religion, of course, is at a low ebb." 

The Executive Committee, at the session of April, 1830, reported four State 
missionaries employed, who had performed much useful labor. Several churches 
were reported as sustaining beneficiaries with a view to the ministry ; and the 
Convention itself, through its Executive Committee, had sustained three, among 
them J. H. Campbell, who, the Executive Committe says, " has been, under the 
direction of the Clerk (Adiel Sherwood), pursuing his studies, conducting a 
Sabbath school and Bible class, and preaching statedly in Eatonton and Greenes- 
boro. The people of the former place have strongly solicited his residence 
among them, and promise his support. The Committee recommend that he 
remain, and still be directed in his studies by the Clerk. Brother Thomas 
Cooper, who had boarded him last year, made no charge. The Committee 
voted him forty dollars." 

It is pleasant to record that after more than half a century of .ardent minis- 
terial labor this beloved brother still lingers on the confines of Time, and still 
as ardently continues to do faithful and useful work as a minister of Jesus ;. 
while the " Clerk," too, lingered on earth for a half century, beholding with joy 
and gratitude the wonderful growth of the denomination he aided so much in 
years long gone by. 

In the year 1829 there were sixteen Associations, three hundred and titty-six 
churches, about two hundred ministers and twenty-eight thousand two hundred 
and sixty-eight members. 

In the year 1831, there were seventeen Baptist Associations in Georgia, namely,- 
the Columbus, Ebenezer, Flint River, Georgia, Hephzibah, Houston, Piedmont,. 



Sarepta, Tugalo, Washington, Western, Chattahoochee, Canoochee, Echaconee, 
Oclochonee, Ocmulg^e and Yellow Riv&r. In these Associations, there were 
five hundred and six churches, two hundred and seventy-one ministers, and 
thirty-seven thousand four hundred and ninety members. In that year the 
number of baptisms reported to these Associations was three thousand one 
hundred and forty-seven. These figures are taken from The Christian 
Index of Ma-ch 17th, 1832, and the editor extracts them from the Baptist 
Tract Magazine, and says they were prepared by Rev. I. M. Allen, agent, with 
great labor and care. The table appears to quote the upper and lower Canoo- 
chee as one Association. 

In 1835 we find four more Associations formed, namely, the Appalachee, 
the Arbacoocbee, the Chastatee and Lawrenceville, thus making a total of 
twenty-one Associations, with five hundred and eighty-three churches, two 
hundred and ninety-eight ministers, forty-one thousand eight hundred and ten 
members. The growth of the denomination, therefore, from 1824 to 1835 may 
be thus discerned : 












28,268 ■ 













The remarkable fact becomes apparent, here, that from 1827 to 1831, inclu- 
sive, the additions to the churches averaged, at least five thousand annually ; 
while the annual average of the additions for the four years succeeding 1831, 
was but little over one thousand. This gives us a hint of the spirit of strife 
and dissension that was raging during those years. 

In 1830 the Ocmulgee, while holding its session at Harmony church near 
Eatonton, withdrew from the State Convention, and, although the Sunbury 
Association never severed its connection with the body, yet so seldom did its 
-delegates attend that, for half a dozen years, delegates appeared from the Geor- 
gia Association only, as a constituent. The Convention was composed of dele- 
gates from the Georgia Association and about fifteen auxiliary societies. Mes- 
sengers appeared, however, occasionally from a few of the Associations, not 
connected with the body. In 1835 the Georgia Association contained forty- 
eight churches and six thousand communicants, about one-third of whom were 

In 1835 the Central became connected with the Convention, and in 1836 the 
Sarepta united. For a year or two more auxiliary societies continued to unite 
with the Convention; but when, in 1838, the Appalachee and Hephzibah joined, 
followed by the Columbus and Rehoboth in 1839, and the Washington in 1840, 
the auxiliaries ceased to send delegates, for in rapid succession the Flint River, 
Western, Bethel and other Associations joined the Convention and the au.xiliary 
societies became extinct. 

The state of religion in the Baptist churches of the State from 1830 to 1836, 
was deplorable. It was a time of chaos and confusion ; of bitter animosity and 
dissension, and of course religion was at a very low ebb in most parts of the 
State. In the Circular Letter of the Convention, wrilten in 1831, Jesse Mercer 
himself says : 'That the standard of Christian morality is deplorably low among 
the ministry and churches of our denomination, is too obvious to be concealed. 

" Are there not many professors among us whose spirit, life and conversation 
illy become the gospel of Christ— worldly in their views and mercenary in all 
they do. so that if they were not seen in the church meeting, or at the Lord's 
table, they could not be told from mere worldlings ? And yet do they not go 
unreproved ? 

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

" And others there are, who, in the plainest sense, are drunkards, and though 
jio drunkard hath any place in the Kingdom of God and Christ, yet do they not. 


by some means — by feigned repentance or empty and vain resolves — continue 
from youili to old age in the churcli, frequently, if not habitually, drunk ? And 
are there not many such cases ? 

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

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

" Have not instances occurred in which some churches have disciplined their 
members for what others have winked at, or even commended, in theirs? And 
have not censured, and even excluded members of some, been received and nur- 
tured by other churches ? And have not ministers gotten into heated and hurt- 
ful controversies with one another, breathing towards each other the most crude 
asperities and cruel animosities ? And is it not true that one has preached what 
another, in and to the same congregation, has contradicted and exposed as un- 
sound and dangerous, by which questions which engender strife have abounded? 
And has not all this passed off, too, without any effort to correct the evil or 
reconcile these inconsiderate brethren ?" 

Mr. Mercer then proceeds to inquire into the causes of these afflictions, and 
he comprehends their causes mostly, if not altogether, in the three following 
particulars : 

1. A want of carefulness in the admission of members. 

2. The want of a close and godly discipline. 

3. An inefficient ministry. 

Dr. C. D. Mallary, in his life of Jesse Mercer, presents the following sombre 
view of the state of affairs which prevailed in our churches during the fourth de- 
cade of the century : 

"A disposition on the part of some of the Associations to interfere, in what 
was considered an arbitrary and unscriptural manner, with the affairs of the 
churches, was one of the most fruitful sources of the many distressing evils 
which so long afflicted the Baptists of Georgia. The encroachments of Associa- 
tions were met with prompt resistance on the part of many of the churches, 
mingled oftentimes, no doubt, with a spirit not the most lovely and conciliating. 
This, in some instances, was followed by attempts on the part of the Associa- 
tions to justify their previous course, and by further acts, which the churches 
deemed an unwarrantable interference with their rights. The result of these 
proceedings was, that some of the churches withdrew from the Associations, 
and some were withdrawn from, whilst others were sadly divided among them- 
selves and rent into fritgments. In many cases associational correspondence 
was laid aside, ministerial friendship and intercourse were entirely suspended, and 
the communion and fellowship of the churches broken. Bitter jealousies, evil 
surmisings and uncharitable accusations were multiplied, whilst the occasional 
attempts which were made to bring about a more desirable state of things seemed 
for a time only to aggravate the disorders they were intended to cure. 

" In the meantime the anti-missionary spirit, which it is supposed had been 
secretly operating for years, burst forth in great violence, and by its rending, 
non-fellowship policy, increased still further the work of strife and confusion." 

There seems to be little doubt that the violent and long continued opposition 
to ithe General Association and State Convention engendered a bad state of feel- 
ing, especially in the central and western portions of the State, and more par- 
ticularly in the Ocmulgee, Flint and Yellow River Associations ; and this state 
.of feeling manifested itself unpleasantly in various ways. The assumption of 
undue powers by some of the Associations caused a great deal of trouble and 
dissension. The opposition to education and missions, resulting in opposition 
to the Convention, was exceedingly strong and bitter. The opposition to Bible 
societies, tract societies and temperance societies, was bold and outspoken. 
Various questions pertaining to church order and doctrine were unsettled, and 
excited the greatest violence of speech and manner. Church discipline was lax, 
and ignorance and prejudice prevailed to a lamentable extent. ■ Criminations and 
recriminations, which resulted in much personal ill will and bad feeling, were but 


too prevalenf. Churches were split ; Associations were divided ; harsh, and some- 
times unjust discipline was exercised ; non-fellowship was frequently declared, 
and the greater part of the denomination was for years in a state of embroil- 
ment and dissension excited by feelings unbecoming true Christians. 

It does indeed appear as if the great Adversarty of Christianity, jealous of the 
prosperity of religion and of the churches during the extraordinary revival period 
of 1S27, 1 828 and 1829, sowed the tares of strife and discord among the churches, 
effecting a great reaction in the zeal and piety of many of the ministers and 
members. Practical godliness became neglected, /(7r the means to multiply and 
perpetuate the happy 7'esitlts of the revival were 7ieglected ; and thus the efforts 
of the great Adversary were, as Dr. Mallary expresses it, " so sadly and exten- 
sively successful." 

A writer to The Christian Index, then published at Philadelphia, under 
date of March 6th, 1832, states the case plainly and without any over-wrought 
coloring, and his testimony may well be admitted, as he evidently was an ad- 
herent of the anti-Convention party. He writes : 

"For several years past a controversy has been carried on between us and the 
advocates of the Convention about the objects and exertions of that body. 
Upon this subject there have been criminations and recriminations. That breth- 
ren holding the same faith, and generally the same discipline, should be thus 
unhappily arrayed against each other, is a fact to be deplored most sincerely. 
It would seem that matters ought not to remain in their present situation, if it 
could possibly be avoided. Many efforts have been made already to remedy this 
evil ; but hitherto they have been unavaihng. And shall we be contented that 
matters remain in this situation } Shall our contentions drive us farther and 
farther asunder ? Shall we stand still and behold our beloved Zion lacerated and 
torn by our contentions, and make no exertion to bring about a better state of 
things } No." 

He then proceeds to state the grounds taken by both parties in the contro- 
versy, and, briefly summed up, it consists, on the part of the Convention brethren, 
in " a deep interest manifested in foreign and domestic missions, for the_s.;ppoit 
of which they contribute and call upon the whole denomination for efficient aid. 
For the attainment of thess ends they are pressing forward; but to succeed, 
they well know that an efficient ministry is indispensable. Hence they are de- 
sirous to afford to all their young brethren, not otherwise provided for, who are 
coming into the min-stry, an opportunity to store their minds with useful in- 
formation in view of the arduous work before them. The work, in their view, is 
great, requirine the united counsels and energies of the whole denomination." 

This is a trulhful and plain statement of the case : The Convention brethren 
favored foreign and domestic missions and ministerial education, and sought to 
unite the denomination in their support. Now hear the other side : 

" In regard to ourselves, brethren, you know we have uniformly contended 
that there was no need of such an institution as the State Convention. There- 
fore, we have opposed it at every step of its progress. We know that many 
good brethren are engaged for its promotion ; but we have hithc-rto regarded 
them as led on to this more from the novelty of the thing than from any positive 
proof of its utility. But, brethren, we may have been all this time in the lurong ; 
and some recent developments seem to favor this idea. It is a fact which cannot 
be dissembled, that during the last year, whilst the Lord was pouring out His 
Spirit and reviving His work gloriously in many parts of His earthly vineyard, 
the Convention brethren were signally blessed. Look, for instance, at the 
Georgia Association ! To many of her churches hundreds have been added, 
whilst the additions to our own have been very few. And, what is still more 
humiliating, our churches are rent asunder by party broils and dissensions. 
These facts ought to have their influence in settling the question as to the pro- 
priety of a Convention. The question between Elijah and Baal's prophets was 
decided by fire from heaven upon Elijah's sacrifice f" 

The writer then goes on to suggest prayer for a knowledge of the truth, add- 
ing, " Perhaps in our debates on this subject we have indulged too much angry 
feeling. Perhaps, whilst with frowns on our countenances, we have charged 


upon our brethren visionary projects, we have fought against our best 
interests /" 

But the clouds of discord and dissension still hung loweringly over the de- 
nomination for years. 

In pursuance of its objects, the Convention went forward steadily in its mis- 
sionary and educational projects. Its Minutes show liberal contributions for 
foreign and domestic missions, and for the establishment of Mercer Institute. 
In 1833 and 1834 its missionary, J. Reeves, travelled 1,600 miles in the Cherokee 
country ; preached 162 sermons, and constituted five churches. The best minis- 
ters of the Convention persistently maintained their evangelistic efforts, and 
sought faithfully, travelling two and two, to counteract the prevailing lethargy, 
and infuse more spiritual life into the churches. It was in 1833, while a leaden 
lethargy was settled on the churches, that Mercer and Sherwood, in a preaching 
tour, came to Walnut Creek church, in Jones county, of which the venerable 
Edmund Talbot was then pastor. There was a large week-day congregation, 
and it was Sherwood's lot to preach first. Mercer followed, but was not warm 
in his discourse, yet there was some feeling manifested among the older mem- 
bers, and especially by the pastor himself. When Mercer sat down he rose to 
say a few words, but his feelings overpowered his utterance, and he was about 
to take his seat when Mr. Mercer caught hold of him by the breast of his coat, 
near the collar, and held him in his position, saying, "If you can't talk, stand 
and cry I That is the loudest kind of preaching you can do !" The aged man 
tried again, but in vain. Utterance was choked. And he did stand and weep 
over his congregation, but not alone, for nearly all in the house were affected to 
tears, and were weeping in sympathy. The preachers descended from the pulpit, 
when most of the church members came forward, and with tears in their eyes, 
asked for prayer in their behalf, in which service Mr. Mercer led, deeply affected. 
Those only who have heard him pray under such circumstances know how 
deeply his heart was stirred and how humble and impassioned were his petitions ; 
he was the importunate beggar at the footstool of mercy ; and there were few 
present who did not partake of his spirit. " If I were about to die," said a 
worldly man, " my first and last request would be for Jesse Mercer to pray for 

In 1833 there was a revival in progress in Milledgeville. At one of the meet- 
ings a brother King, who lived in the neighborhood, was called on to pray. He 
was a most excellent man and a great admirer of Jesse Mercer, and when he 
knelt in tears, perceiving the deep feeling that pervaded the assembly, he began 
thus : " Lord, we don't want to make a big Jesse Mercer prayer, but a little 
cornfield prayer," etc., alluding to the prayers negroes sometimes make, while 
at work in the cornfield. 

The men who now walked the stage of action and controlled the destinies of 
our denomination in Georgia were not the men to put their hands to the plough 
and then look back. They were men who knew the duties incumbent upon 
Christians and who appreciated the advantages of education ; the necessity and 
duty of missions and temperance ; and they were determined to " go forward." 
They were Jesse Mercer, A. Sherwood, C. D. Mallary, Thomas Stocks, B. M. 
Sanders, J. H. T. Kilpatrick, John E. Dawson, S. G. Hillyer, J. H. Campbell, H. 
Posey, V. R. Thornton, A. T. Holmes, James Carter, J. Reeves, Jacob King, 
Isaiah Langley, Francis Callaway, Reuben Thornton, George Cranberry, W. H. 
Stokes, James Davis, Thomas Cooper, James Ferryman, J. Lumpkin, Asa 
Chandler, W. Conner, W. R. Wellborn. 

At the same time they were men to do what was right and to act justly. In 
compliance with the desires of some — desires, excited either by apprehensions 
or prejudices — they, by the following action amended the Constitution of the 
Convention, in 1835, so that in articles 5, 10 and 11, there might appear no. 
semblance of control over the churches, nor any right or power to infringe 
upon their sovereignty and independence : 

" Whereas, It has been argued that this Convention, by a construction of 
her Constitution, may assume an absolute control^ over the churches and. 


thereby, infringe on, or even destroy, their rights, independence and sovereignty ; 

" Resolved, ^ That this Convention disclaims all power by which she can exer- 
cise any dominion over the Faith, or control the Discipline of the churches, or 
in anywise coerce them to do, or contribute, anything whatsoever, contrary to 
their own sense of propriety and duty." 

Still, feelings of estrangement and disagreement prevailed to a lamentable 
extent in the denomination, and the hearts of many good brethren were pained 
by this sad state of affairs. At length, on the 28th of April, 1836, the following 
appeared in The Christian Index, then published in Washington, Georgia, 
and edited by Rev. Jesse Mercer and Wm. H. Stokes : 

To the Baptist Ministers in the State of Geo?'gia : 

Dear Brethren — The divided condition of our denomination, in various 
parts of the State, is a matter of deep lamentation to all who delight in the 
prosperity of Zion. There are many neighborhoods where ministers and 
churches have no fellowship, and no pleasant Christian intercourse No Chris- 
tian, certainly no Christian minister, can contemplate these divisions with any 
other feelings than those of anxiety and grief. It is an object for which all 
should fervently pray, that the breaches which have been made should be effect- 
ually healed, and that those who are agreed in the observance cf one important 
and distinctive ordinance of religion, should be united together in faith and 
labors of love. 

Several propositions for this purpose, have been submitted to our consideration, 
but no serious and united effort has been made to carry them into effect. 
Many have expressed a wish that there might be a meeting of the Baptist 
ministers, from all the Associations in the State, for the purpose of praying and 
consulting together, with reference to the divided state of our denomination. Such 
a meeting, conducted with prudence and in the spirit of Christian affection, would, 
no doubt, lead to the most happy results. With God's blessing it might be the 
means of binding together in lasting fellowship the hearts of many of God's 
dear children, who have been too long estranged from each other, and of usher- 
ing in a brighter day upon the churches in Georgia. Deeply impressed with 
the importance of the subject, and anxious to be instrumental in promoting, in 
some humble measure, the cause of righteousness and peace, we, whose names 
are hereunto affixed, have agreed to unite in earnestly requesting our minister- 
ing brethren to attend such a meeting. The meeting will be held at Forsyth, 
Monroe county, commencing on Thursday before the second Lord's day in July 
next. The brethren in that place are desirous that we should assemble there 
and share their hospitalities. You are, therefore, dear brethren, affectionately 
invited to attend the meeting at the time and place above specified. 

What particular points will be proposed for discussion, or what shape will be 
given to the meeting, we cannot tell ; but union— union on Christian principles, 
is what we need, for which we trust all who assemble will be willing to labor in 
the spirit of the gospel. We hope you will accept of this invitation, and 
appear on the day named, and that you will request your churches to pray now 
and during the continuance of the meeting, that we may be guided by the Holy 
Spirit ; that our interview may be pleasant and profitable ; and that it may be 
the occasion of producing fraternal feeling for one another and union amongst 
the churches, of reviving religion in all our Zion and of bringing glory to God. 
Should these be the blessed results, you will not regret the time and trouble of 
your journey, nor the inconvenience which may attend the absence from your 
families. May the Lord incline you to enlist as peace-makers in the momen- 
tous matter and give you the peace-maker's blessing as your reward. 

N. B. As it would seem probable that a considerable portion of the first day 
of the meeting would be spent in special prayer for the direction of the Holy 
Spirit, we would venture to request that all the Baptist churches in the State 
would assemble on that day (namely, Thursday before the second Lord's day 
in July), and unite in prayer for a blessing upon the meeting, and for a general 


and powerful revival of religion. It would also be desirable that they should 
connect fasting with prayer, on that day. 

Signed: Jesse Mercer, Georgia .Issocintion ; Reuben Thorn'ion, Sa- 
repfa Association; Richard Pace, Ocmidgee Association; C. A. Tharp, 
Ebcnezer Association; ISAIAH Lancley, Flint River Association; EDWIN 
Dyer, Vello%u River Association; Humphrey Posey, Tttgalo Association; 
J. P. LEVERriT, Washington Association; JACOB KiNG, Itcheconnaiigh As- 
sociation; C. D. Mallary, Central Association; Obadiah Echoes, Mon- 
ticello church. 

On the appointed day a large number of ministers appeared as the advocates 
of peace, and more than fifty associated themselves together, in alliance, for its 
promotion. Matters of great moment were under consideration, and questions 
were discussed which were well calculated to produce fearful distraction, had not 
the Spirit of the Lord been present. Brethren met upon ground heretofore con- 
sidered almost forbidden, and found, to their mutual joy, that they were heirs 
to the same promise, subjects of the same faith, and children of the same hea- 
venly Father ; and they became willing to bury all animosities. 

From The Index of July 28th, 1836, the proceedings of the meeting are 
copied as a matter of denominational history : 

"I. Pursuant to public notice, a large number of Baptist ministers met at 
Forsyth, Monroe county, Georgia, on the 7th of July, 1836, for the purpose of 
endeavoring to heal the unhappy difficulties which have existed for some years 
in the denomination. The morning was spent in prayer by those brethren who 
arrived in season, and at half past eleven o'clock, at the request of those assem- 
bled, brother Jesse Mercer preached from Canticles ii, 15. 

'^1. At 2 o'clock P.M., the meeting was organized by calling brother Mercer 
to the chair, and appointing brother I. Langly, clerk, jz^y^f tempore. The names 
of the following ministers were enrolled : Jesse Mercer, Wilson Conner, Jona- 
than Nichols, Humphrey Posey, James Steely, John Ross, Benjamin Bussey, 
John Milner, Joseph R. Hand, Jonathan Davis, Isaiah Langly, C. D. Mallary, 
Green B. Waldrop, Davis Smith, Joseph Chipman, Richard Pace, Henry Collins, 
Francis Callaway, A. T. Holmes, William A. Callaway, J. H. Campbell, George 
Granberry, Benjamin Roberts, John R. Humphrey, Isaac E. Deavers, Andrew 
Cumbie, V. R, Thornton, Reuben Thornton, Gideon Leverett, William Hender-. 
son, James Reeves, Jacob King, x\llison Culpepper, Zed. R. Gordon, James 
Perryman, Obadiah Echols, James Carter, William R. Wellborn, John W. 
Cooper, William Maund, George B. Davis, James Davis, Charnick A. Tharp, 
Ephraim Strickland, Adiel Sherwood, S. G. Hillyer, John Reeves, Jeremiah 
Reeves.William Byars, Albert G. Beckham, Allen Morris, Jesse H. Davis, Robert 

"Licentiates — Thomas Wilkes, Isaac Asteen, John Hughes, William Ross, 
Edward Parks, Abisha Horn, T. B. Slade, Charles Stillwell, William Tryon. 

"Jesse Meicer was chosen Moderator, and Adiel Sherwood, Clerk. 

" A letter was handed in from Little River, Morgan county, by brother Parnell, 
expressive of the approbation of that church in the design of our meeting, and 
bespeaking for it the blessing of God. 

" 4. On motion, all the lay brethren present were invited to take part in the 
deliberations of the body. Ministers of all orders, and those not residing in 
the state, were also invited. Brother Richards, of Baltimore, and Rev. Mr. 
Patterson took a seat. Voting to be confined to the ministers. 

" Brother J. Davis moved that a committee of seven be appointed to arrange 
the business suitable to come before the meeting, and brethren J. Davis, Mallary, 
R. Thornton, Ross, Posey and Pace, were appointed. 

" 6. Committee on Preaching : Brethren Langly, Stevens, Sandford, Beall and 
Edward Callaway. 

" 7. Agreed to hold our deliberations in the Presbyterian meeting-house, 
which is kindly offered, so that preaching may go on in the Baptist. 

"8 . On motion of brother James Ross, brother James Carter and E. Beall were 
added to the Committee on Business ; afterwards the Moderator was added. 


Agreed to adjourn business and spend the remainder of the afternoon in devo- 
tional exercises. Adjourned to 9 o'clock Friday morning-. 

"9. Friday morning, brother John Milner was excused in older to attend a 
general meeting in his own neighborhood. 

" 10. Agreed to observe the ordinary rules of decorum, for government in 
our deliberations. 

" II. Brother J. Davis, from the Committee on Business, read their report in 
part, and asked farther time to complete it; on its reception, brother Nichols 
objected to some parts, and begged to withdraw his name as one of the meeting. 
Provision had been made for such cases at the commencement of the meeting. 

" Report on Business. — The Committee on the Arrangement of Business beg 
leave to report in part, and ask permission of the body to sit again for the con- 
sideration of other matters not embraced in this report, which they deem impor- 
tant to bring to the view of this meeting. 

" The Committee recommend to the meeting the adoption of the following 
agreement : 

" Agreed, that we, as a convention of ministers, utterly disclaim any intention 
to dictate to one another, or to the Associations and churches, but that we aim 
at nothing more than, by friendly intercourse, and consultation, to encourage 
fellowship and union. 

" The Committee recommend to the meeting the consideration of the follow- 
ing queries : 

" I. Do we, as a body, on doctrinal points, hold those sentiments which have 
characterized orthodox Isaptist churches from time immemorial, and particularly 
as embodied and set forth in the Articles of Faith adopted by the Georgia, 
Flint River, Ocmulgee and Yellow River Associations ? 

" 2. Is not a church, constituted on gospel principles, an independent body in 
regard to its government, and not subject to any authority but that of Christ 
the Great Head of the Church } 

" 3. Have Associations executive or disciplinary power ? 

"4. Or are they merely advisory councils, without authority to enforce their 
advice } 

" 5. Does the mere secession of a church from an Association affect its char- 
acter as an orderly body ? 

"6. What are the circumstances connected with the secession of a church 
from an Association which impair the standing of that church ? 

" 7. What circumstances connected with the withdrawment of an Association 
from a church impair the standing of that church ? 

" 8. Under what circumstances may a minority of a church be justified in 
withdrawing or separating from the majority ? 

" 9. Is it the sense of this meeting that differences of opinion in the missionary 
and such like operations should affect the fellowship of brethren or churches? 

" 10. When a church or churches have seceded from an A^ociation, and pro- 
duced by such secession a division of the church or churches, in what nYanner 
consistent with good order and discipline can a union be had ? 

"II. Is it, in the opinion of this meeting, right to re-baptize any person who 
has been baptized on a profession of failh, by a Baptist minister who is held 
orderly in the estimation of the church to which he belongs ? 

" 12. Is it the sense of this meeting that the correspondence of Associations 
should cease on account of difference of opinion between them until all proper 
means have been exhausted to remove it ? 

"13. Is it the opinion of this meeting, that Baptist churches should close 
their doors against ministers without evidence of their unsoundness in faith or 
immorality in practice ? 

" 14. Will this meeting appoint a committee to whom they will confide the 
business of drawing up a Circular Address of a conciliatory character to the 
denomination in the State, to be reported to this body for its approval ? 

"Propositions.— I. Whereas, it frequently happens that rumors unfavorable 
to the character and standing of ministers, churches and private Christians, are 
circulated, and a disposition to believe and encourage these reports, without 


sufficient evidence of their truth, is calculated in a very serious degree to origin- 
ate distance, alienation and strife, and to perpetuate those evils wherever they 
exist ; therefore, we agree, as far as in us lies, to discountenance in ourselves 
and others, a spirit of evil surmisings, and evil speaking, and to encourage 
amongst all those with whom we have intercourse, that charity ' which is kind, 
is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, hopeth all things.' 

" 2. Inasmuch as the unhappy divisions which exist amongst us, must be 
attributed in a great degree to the low state of vital godliness, and believing that 
one of the most effectual remedies for all our difficulties is to be found in a 
more elevated standard of piety, we do therefore, agree in humble reliance 
upon divine aid, to aim at greater attainments in holiness ourselves, and to 
embrace all favorable opportunities for urging the subject on the minds of our 

" 3. Whereas, difficulties of a long standing and of a complicated character, 
have disturbed the harmony of brethren and churches, and such difficulties as 
it would be impossible to adjust, by a minute investigation of every particular, 
it is the sense of this meeting that we and our brethren generally throughout 
the state, should, as far as possible, endeavor to forget all past afflictions, to 
make aU those sacrifices for the sake of peace which are consistent with gospel 
principle, and strive by friendly and Christian intercourse, by mutual confes- 
sion, forbearance and forgiveness to restore harmony to our denomination. 

"4. Whereas, in matters of difficulty and difference, Christians are liable to 
indulge an improper spirit, and to employ harsh and unchristian-like expres- 
sions, to the injury of the cause of Christ and grief of the brethren; therefore, 
if in time past, we have in conversation, writing, or preaching, evinced an im- 
proper spirit, or employed unchristian expressions, we do most sincerely regret 
it, and ask forgiveness of one another and of God, and do most sincerely pray 
that we may be enabled by God's grace, in all our future discussions, to exercise 
the utmost prudence and caution, and exhibit to none any just cause of offence. 

" 12; The first article was adopted unanimously without discussion. On the 
first query, after reading one of the Articles named, a general expression of 
approbation was given by almost every member present, except some few 
belonging to the United Association, who dissented. Then each name was 
called separately, whether the doctrines of the Confession were heartily believed, 
and all answered i'es. The members of the United Association handed in 
their answer afterwards. 

"The second query was answered unanimously in the affirmative. 

" The third unanimously. No ; that is, Associations have no disciplinary power. 

" Tile fourth unanimously, that Associations are mere advisory councils. 

" The fifth. No, unanimously. 

" The sixth answer : Those circumstances which clearly prove unsoundness in 
faith, or immorality in practice, the sister churches being judge. 

" The seventh : When the withdrawal is for unsoundness in faith or immorality 
in practice, the churches being judges. 

" 13. The eighth and ninth queries, after some discussion, were laid over till 

" 14. Saturday morning. The Committee presented the balance of their 
report on business. Accepted. 

" 15. The eighth query was taken up and postponed indefinitely. 

" The ninth was answered unanimously. No. 

" 16. The members from the United Association handed in their answer in 
writing, touching the Articles of Faith : ' Nothing in the Articles of Faith 
alluded to, presents any difficulty, except a part of the fourth Article, and some 
connexion with it in the sixth,' signed E. Strickland, John Reeves, Andrew 
Cumbie, William Byars. 

" From this it is seen clearly that they do not agree with us in faith. The 
fourth and sixth Articles alluded to, are those in our Articles touching election 
and effectual calling. 

" 17. The eighth query was, by vote, dropped from our list of queries, because 
there was considerable difference of opinion, and time would not allow longer 


" 18. The tenth query was thus answered ; By humble confession of faults of 
all parties ; by fervent prayer, a forbearing spirit, friendly intercourse and 
abhorrence of big self. 

" 19. The eleventh was dropped for want of time to discuss the subject fully ; 
most who spoke, however, were for answering it No. 

" 20. The twelfth was answered No, by all except two. 

" The thirteenth, unanimously, No. 

"The fourteenth. Yes; and brethren Mallary, Sherwood, J. Davis, V. R. 
Thornton, and Holmes, the committee. 

"The Address was read afterwards and adopted. 

" 21. The Propositions ^N^rt all adopted unanimously. After the adoption of 
the fourth and last, most of the ministers present made acknowledgement of 
faults, and begged of each other forgiveness, which was mutually granted. It 
was a sight on which angels could not but look with peculiar delight, to see 
those who, for years, had been cold and distant, who had thought and spoken 
hard things against their brethren, and even cast out their names as evil, acknowl- 
edging their errors with tears, and begging pardon. The readiness with which 
it was granted melted all in the house. Every eye was wet and every heart/«//. 
The feelings of that hour more than compensated for all the toils and difficulties 
of attending the meeting. All seemed to feel, ' I'm glad I came.' 

" 22. Voted that 4,000 copies of the proceedings be printed under the super- 
intendence of the Moderator ; and that the editors of The Index, Primitive 
Baptist, and Signs of the Times, be requested to give them an insertion in their 
respective papers. 

" The hymn, ' Blest be the tie that binds,' was sung 'with the spirit and the 
understanding,' while all gave the parting hand, and brother Posey closed with 

"Preaching was kept up during the meeting, though the interest in our delib- 
erations was so strong that the congregations at the Baptist meeting-house were 
small except at night — all desired to hear the discussions. Scarcely an unkind 
word escaped any lip ; the solicitude iox peace absorbed every mind. 

" 24. On Sabbath morning assembled, heard and adopted the Address. 

"25. Agreed to recommend a similar meeting of ministers to commence on 
Saturday before the fifth Sabbath in October next. 

" 26. Agreed that said meeting convene either in Morgan, Walton, Henry or 
Newton county, to be determined by a committee consisting of brethren 
Mercer, V. R. Thornton and J. Davis. ' The churches in those counties which 
desire it will please apply to brother Mercer, Washington, Georgia. 

" After a hymn and address by the Moderator, the meeting was dissolved., 

"Jesse yi^'KC^v., Moderator. 

" Adiel Sherwood, Cter/^. 

" Brethren Sherwood, Mercer, Mallary and Posey preached on the Sabbath in 
the Baptist meeting-house, and brethren J. Davis and Conner in the Presbyte- 
rian. Saints were evidently comforted, and many sinners alarmed." 

The following communications, from some of the few survivors of this meet- 
ing, and written at the request of the author, will be read with deep interest ; 

From Dr. S. G. Hillyer : 

This meeting was called by an article in The Christian Index, at that time 
edited by Dr. Mercer, at Washington, Georgia. The call was made, I think, by 
brother J. H. Campbell. The design of the meeting was, if possible, to bring 
about a better understanding between the discordant sections of the Baptist de- 
nomination. There were then three parties among us. First, those who were 
in favor of what were called the "benevolent institutions of the day," viz: Mis- 
sions, Sabbath-schools and temperance societies ; secondly, those who were op- 
posed to these institutions, and thirdly, a party of Baptists calling themselves 
" United Brethren." These last, as far as I now remember, occupied rather 
neutral ground as to the benevolent institutions aforesaid, but signalized them- 
selves as opposed to what they considered extreme views on the subject of Cal- 


Out of these dissensions had risen much controversy, accompanied with much 
bitterness of spirit. The evil was wide-spread, and great injury to our denomi- 
nation was the result. It was hoped that, by getting the representative men of 
all parties together in one fraternal conclave, and by kindly talking over their 
differences in a spirit of candor and courtesy, much good might be done. 

Well, the meeting was held. I do not know how many ministers were pres- 
ent, but it was an imposing assembly. I recall the names of brethren Mercer, 
Mallary, Sherwood, Echols, Bussey, Jonathan and James Davis, Tharp (father 
of our brother B. F. Tharp), Holmes and J. H. Campbell. 

The meeting was organized by electing brother Mercer Moderator, and, I 
think, brother Sherwood, Clerk. After some of the older brethren had indulged 
in a sort of informal discussion of the design of the meeting, and of the best 
method to secure that design, a committee was appointed to draw up a Confes- 
sion of Faith, in order that we might test the views of the brethren present 
upon our denominational differences, hoping thereby to develop the harmony of 
our faith, and thus to remove the charge of alleged departures from, the faith 
which had been, more or less, urged against the Missionary Baptists by their 

Either the same committee or another, I do not remember which, was instructed 
to draft resolutions which should give the views of the body as to the proper 
course to be pursued by all our people towards one another, in order to allay 
animosity and to restore good will and fraternal feeling. I do not remember 
which report was taken up first, but both were, in due time, presented. 

The confession of faith reported was, substantially, the confession of the 
Georgia Association. It underwent considerable discussion. The design was 
to allow a free and full expression of views. The discussion was very interest- 
ing. After many brethren had spoken, a motion was made asking the Modera- 
tor to favor the Convention with his views, especially upon that portion of the 
confession which refers to the doctrines of election and predestination. Hav- 
ing called upon some brother to occupy the chair, he took his stand in the aisle, 
about midway the house, and delivered an elaborate and characteristic address. 
I wish I could report it. I was young then, knew nothing about theology, and 
was eager to hear that great man on these profound subjects. I confess my own 
mind had not been clear in regard to them. Indeed, I had been greatly per- 
plexed. But as Dr. Mercer proceeded to unfold God's sovereignty, man's de- 
pravity and utter helplessness, his need of divine assistance to exercise repent- 
ance and faith, I was enabled to see the subject in a new light. While I cannot 
remember all his topics, or the order in which he presented them, yet the im- 
pression made on my mind was abiding. One sentence I distinctly recall. It 
was at the conclusion of one of his most powerful paragraphs. If I remember 
right, he had been speaking of God's electing love. Just as he reached his con- 
clusion, pausing for a moment, he suddenly exclaimed, " This is the ground of 
all my hope .'" 

As he spoke, tears rolled down his venerable cheeks. The effect upon the 
audience was subduing. Evidently his meaning was just this : Jesse Mercer 
would not have been saved if God had not called him with a holy calling, 
according to his eternal purpose and grace, given him in Christ Jesus before the 
world was. I could not fail to see that if this was true of Jesse Mercer, afertiori 
it was true of me and of everybody else. I have had no trouble about the doc- 
trine of election since that day. 

But the brother's argument afforded me relief upon another point. I had been 
grievously perplexed with the fascinations and subtleties of Campbellism. I 
had read extensively the pages of the MiUenial Harbinger, and in my inexpe- 
rience I was bewildered with its reasonings. But to my mind brother Mercer's 
argument broke down completely the fundamental doctrine of Campbellism, viz : 
that the Holy Spirit is not needed to bring a sinner to Christ. I saw, I think, 
very clearly, that the condition of the sinner, in his depravity, is utterly helpless ; 
if he is ever saved, it must be by a power other than his own — i. e. by the Holy 
Spirit. Thus, on this point also, my mind was greatly relieved. That noble ex- 
position of our doctrines convinced me that the denomination had not over- 
estimated the ability of the great and good man who delivered it. 


It is hardly nenessary to add, that the Confession of Faith which had called 
forth the discussion was adopted. 

The other report to which I alluded was very interesting. I cannot recall 
much of it at this distant day, but its design was eminently conciliatory. It 
deplored, if I remember right, the hard feelings and harsh' words which had 
marred the peace of our Zion. It recommended a more Christian spirit towards 
opponents. One of its items, especially, recommended that brethren should be 
willing, if conscious of having indulged towards any one improper words or 
feelings, to make, as far as they had the opportunity, the amende ho7iorable. 
When this item was adopted, I remember brother Sherwood rose in his place and 
said : 

"Brother Moderator, I feel like acting at once on this suggestion. I have be- 
fore me a brother of whom I have had harsh thoughts. I wish to acknowledge 
my fault. Brother Echols ! I have sometimes thought hard of you, and perhaps 
I have said about you more than was right. I now ask your forgiveness, and 
offer you my hand as a token of Christian fellowship and love 1" 

Brother Echols was taken by surprise. But he promptly rose, and accepted 
in suitable terms the proffered overture ; and, as the brethren shook hands across 
the Secretary's table, deep emotion pervaded the house. Old brother Tharp 
gave vent to his feelings by exclaiming, in audible words, " I am glad I came !" 
Other brethren followed Sherwood's example, and, I trust, many unkind feel- 
ings were then and there buried. 

It was at that meeting that I first saw brother C. D. Mallary. He impressed 
me most favorably. He was then in the vigor of his early but fully matured 
manhood. Thr closing service of the occasion was a sermon from this gifted 
and beloved brother. His text was : " Ye seek Jesus which was crucified. He 
is not here; for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord 
lay." (Matthew, 28 ; 5, 6.) The design of the discourse was to show how 
fundamental is the resurrection of Christ in the Christian system. And ably 
■did he show it. 

Thus closed the ministers' meeting at Forsyth. Nearly forty-five years have 
passed away. So far as I know, two only of the ministers who were then pres- 
ent are now living — brother J. H. Campbell and myself — and we are on the banks 
of the Jordan. We will soon go over ; but, thank God, we shall leave the glo- 
rious cause in the hands of the Master. 

From Dr. J. H. Campbell: 

For several years, there had been much controversy and strife among the 
Baptists on missions, ministerial education, Sunday Schools, temperance and 
kindred subjects. Churches had been split asunder, associations divided, and a 
general want of confidence prevailed. Many worthy brethren were perplexed, 
and knew not where to go nor what to do. The Missionary Baptists were sus- 
pected and accused of heresy, a departure from the faith, Arminianism and of 
designing to destroy the independence of the churches. Such was the state of 
things at the commencement of the year 1836. The wTiter was convinced that 
the best and only way to remedy these evils was for the ministers of the denom- 
ination to hold a meeting, and endeavor to come to a better understanding. 
Having fully matured the matter in his own mind, he submitted it in writing to 
several of his brethren — Sherwood, Mallary and others. An extra session of 
the Central Association was to be held at Antioch church, Morgan county, in 
March, 1836. It would afford a good opportunity to submit the question to the 
brethren. But the condition of his family seemed to forbid his leaving home. 
The night preceding the meeting, he was anxious and restless for fear his plan 
for callTng a ministers' meeting, which he had sent to the brethren at the Asso- 
ciation, would neither be understood nor adopted. His wife, having inquired 
into the cause of his anxiety, insisted he should go. Mounting his horse, at day- 
light, he rode forty miles by two o'clock p. m., got a number of brethren together 
at" Lot Hearn's — Sherwood, Mallary, Dawson, Thomas Cooper, Mark A. Cooper, 
etc., laid the matter before them, and had the satisfaction to see his views fully 
endorsed and adopted. A committee was appointed, with Mallary as chairman. 


to correspond with brethren, especially with the Moderators of Associations, on 
the subject of the divisions and strifes prevailing amonj us, and to get them (or 
a sufficient number of them), to unite in an invitation to the ministers in the 
State to hold a meeting with a view to the restoration of harmony and peace. 
(It was insisted that the writer, as the originator of the project, should be one 
of that committee. Bat he declined, and insisted that his name should not be 
known in the movement, feeling assured that his very name would excite preju- 
dice against it. Though young, circumstances had brought him into frequent 
and tierce conflicts with the anti-missionaries, for which they had not forgiven 
him). Jesse Mercer, then owner and editor of The Christian Index, en- 
tered heartily into the movement, an invitation, numerously signed, was soon 
published in The Index, and was circulated otherwise, and Forsyth was fixed 
upon as the place. 

" When the time arrived, Mallary came to my house, at Clinton, Jones county, 
and spent a night with me, and we went on to Forsyth together. His object was 
to refresh his mind as to the plan which I thought ought to be adopted in the 
conduct of the meeting. What number of ministers was present I do not now 
remember, but I think there were fifty or sixty. The most prominent among the 
Hardshells — Henderson, Moseley, Colley and others — were not there ; but the 
number and standing of those who composed the meeting were such as to give 
their deliberations great weight. Of course Jesse Mercer was elected Moderator. 
I think Sherwood was clerk. Mallary was chairman of the committee on busi- 
ness, and reported substantially the plan I had submitted to him : i. To agree 
on a Confession of Faith. 2. To declare that difference of opinion about mis- 
sions, Sunday-schools, Bible societies and other ' benevolent institutions,' should 
not be a ground of non-fellowship ; and 3. That the independence of the churches 
should never be infringed. The report recommended that as the Georgia Asso- 
ciation was the oldest in the State, her Articles of Faith should be used on the 
occasion, and that the members of the meeting should, each for himself, sub- 
scribe to the same. Every minister present had his name attached to the Con- 
fession above named accordingly. Resolutions were adopted in accordance with 
the recommendation of the committee on business, and mutual confidence and 
brotherly love prevailed in the meeting. The effect throughout the State was 
magical, and from that day until now the great mass of the denomination have 
striven together as one man for the faith of the gospel, thus securing for Baptist 
principles a greater triumph in Georgia than in any other country on earth." 

From Rev. T. B. Slade: 

" It gives me pleasure to respond to your request concerning the Forsyth 
meeting of 1836. But I do not think anything can be added by my recollec- 
tions of which you are not already in possession. 

" I think the meeting was held in the Methodist church, near the railroad. 
Though there were a great number of ministers present, I have a distinct recol- 
lection only of Jesse Mercer, Vincent Th«rnton, Jonathan Davis and Granby 

"I remember that Mr. Mercer was Moderator ; and that he, Mr. Davis and Mr. 
Thornton, figured as speakers, and that the meeting was occasioned by an un- 
happy feeling among some of our denomination. Arminian sentiments were 
gaining ground, contrary to our Calvinistic opinions. No doubt this assem- 
blage of ministers was productive of good, as it led to a better understanding 
among the brethren." 

The second Ministers' Conference was held at Covington, Newton county, 
October 29th, 30th and 31st, of the same year. It was attended by many very 
prominent brethren, and was a very important and useful gathering, as may be 
discovered from the proceedings, taken from The Christian Index of that 
date : 

" I. Agreeably to a recommendation of the first Ministers' Meeting, held at 
Forsyth, Monroe county, in July last, the following ministers named met at Cov- 
ington, and organized a second meeting : 

"Jesse Mercer, Humphrey Posey, Henry Hardin, Adiel Sherwood, C. D. 


Mallary, B. M. Sanders, Jeremiah Reeves, James Reeves, Richard Philips, Allen 
Morris, Joel CoUey, Jonathan Davis. A. T. Holmes, John E. Dawson, George 
Daniel, Asa Chandler, John Almand, William R. Wellborn, William Byars, D. 
G. Daniel, James Mathews, Hartwell Jackson, James Wilson, John Harris, 
Thomas U. Wilkes, William Richards, Edwin Dyer, John W. Wilson, V. R. 
Thornton, J R. Humphries, Nathan Johnson. 

" A. B. Cook, William M. Tryon, licentiates. 

"Brother H. Posey preached an introductory sermon from Romans 6 : 23: 
•The w^ages of sin is death.' 

" 2. Brother J. Mercer was elected Moderator, and brother A. Sherwood, clerk. 

"3. The following committees were appointed: 

" On Preaching.—Y.. Dyer, Johnson, T. Cooper, E. Henderson and George 

" On Business. — J. Mercer, Posey, Wellborn, D. G. Daniel, Holmes, Mallary, 
George Daniel, Almand, Dawson, Byars, James Reeves, Philips and Harris. 

" The Committee on Business consisted of one minister from each of the As- 
sociations, any of whose ministers attended and had their names recorded. 

" 4. All ministers of the several denominations, and lay members of our de- 
nomination, present, were invited to seats. 

" 5. Agreed to spend the remainder of the day in devotional exercises. Sev- 
eral brethren spoke and prayed ; others acknowledged their hard spirit, and 
asked forgiveness for unkind feehngs and harsh expressions which may have 
been indulged. Adjourned to nine o'clock Monday morning. 

"6. Loras day. — According to arrangement of the committee, brother Posey 
preached at the Methodist meeting-house in the morning, followed by brother 
Sanders in exhortation ; brother Thornton in the Baptist meeting-house, followed 
by brother Jeremiah Reeves in exhortation. In the afternoon brother Mercer 
preached in the Methodist meeting-house, followed by brother Harris in exhor- 
tation, and brother Mallary in the Baptist meeting-house, followed by brother 
James Reeves in exhortation. 

" The day was rainy and the weather unpleasant, but the congregations were 
attentive, and saints were evidently comforted, and we trust edified. 

" 7. Monday morning. — Met according to adjournment. Prayer by brother 

" 8. Called for the report of the Committee on Business, which was received 
and made the order of the meeting. 

" 9. Brethren composing the meeting, who were not present at Forsyth, ex- 
pressed their hearty concurrence in the faith which was assented to at that meet- 
ing. Brother James Wilson remarked that he could not go so far on election as 
the others. 

" 10. Agreed (as at the meeting held at Forsyth,) that we, as a Convention of 
ministers, utterly disclaim any intention to dictate to one another, or the Asso- 
ciations and churches ; but that we aim at nothing more than, by friendly inter- 
course and consultation, to encourage fellowship and union. 

"II. The following queries and propositions were discussed in a spirit of 
Christian candor and affection, and answered and adopted as stated below : 

" I. Recommended, that each important subject for discussion be introduced 
by prayer. Adopted. 

" II. Is it proper to declare nonfellowship with individuals, churches or Asso- 
ciations, without making all possible efforts, according to the spirit of the gospel, 
to reclaim them ?" 

"Answer. — No, unanimously. 

" III. Is it proper to rebaptize persons who have been baptized by a Baptist 
minister, who holds regeneration and faith as prerequisites, and who is in regular 
standing in his own church ? This query, after some discussion, was postponed 
until to-morrow morning. 

" IV. Is the Central Association, considered as to its constitution, and the cir- 
cumstances under which it was formed, such a body as should be admitted into 
the general union } The discussion of this query being protracted until a late 
hour without coming to a decision, adjourned till candle-light, to meet at the 
Female Academy. Prayer by brother George Daniel. Met according to ad- 



journment, when the discussion was resumed, after prayer by brother Choice, a 
Methodist minister, and decided by the adoption of the following: 

"Answer. — Inasmuch as the churches of the Central Association have come 
together upon a sound faith, and appear to be laboring for the advancement of 
the Redeemer's cause, in an orderly manner, it is the opinion of this body that 
those early difficulties, in which some of our brethren conceive a few of the 
churches to have been involved, should be overlooked in a spirit of love and for- 
bearance, and that the Association may be, consistently, recognized as an orderly 
body. Brethren Colley, George Daniel and Almand dissenting. 

"12. Adjourned to meet at the Baptist church to-morrow morning nine o'clock. 
Prayer by brother Moderator. 

" 13. Tuesday morning. — Met at nine o'clock. Prayer by brother Richards. 
Brother Sherwood being compelled to leave, brother Holmes was appointed to 
act as clerk during the remainder of the meeting. 

" 14. The following queries and propositions were discussed in the same spirit 
which prevailed yesterday, and answered and adopted according to the subjoined 
statement : 

" I. Is it expedient that the Baptist State Convention should continue in 
its present form of operations, under existing circumstances } After much dis- 
cussion, the following answer was adopted, brother Colley dissenting : 

" Answer. — We see no good reason why the Convention may not continue in 
its present form. Still, this body would not presume to say that the Convention 
in its organization is perfect. And we would recommend to the brethren 
throughout the State who think it susceptible of improvement, to submit their 
views to the next meeting of the Convention ; and should this be done, we would 
respectfully recommend to that body to take these suggestions into prayerful 

"11. Is it proper to rebaptize, etc. } The discussion of this query being re- 
sumed according to postponement, it was answered No — two dissenting. 

" III. W^ould it not be calculated to promote the cause of peace, if all the min- 
isters in the State were, on some particular day, to address their churches on the 
subject of harmony and brotherly love ? 

" Atiswer. — Yes, unanimously, and ministers are recommended to preach on 
this subject in their respective churches, commencing on the first Sunday in 
April next. 

" IV. Would it not be desirable for all those Associations, churches and indi- 
viduals who have been more immediately concerned in our unhappy divisions,^ 
without further delay, to discuss seriously and prayerfully this question : What 
efforts and sacrifices can we consistently make for the sake of peace and unity ? 

"Answer. — Yes, without exception. 

" V. Whereas, we have heard with extreme regret that many of our brethren 
have declared non-fellowship with the plans which are in operation for the ad- 
vancement of the cause of Christ, and with those who are friendly to them, we 
do most earnestly and affectionately recommend to our brethren to reconsider 
their course, and prayerfully inquire whether they have acted consistently with 
the charity of the gospel. Adopted without exception. 

"VI. Is not the low state of religion that generally exists in the churches a 
just cause of sorrow and lamentation ? 

"Answer. — Yes. 

"VII. What means can be adopted to encourage a general revival of practical 
godliness ? Answered by the adoption of the following : 

" We recommend that the first Lord's day in January be observed by all the 
churches in the State as a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer, with reference 
to the languishing state of religion and' the unhappy divisions which exist 
among us. 

" We suggest that it would be, probably, attended with good, if on the above 
mentioned Lord's day all our ministering brethren would preach a discourse on 
the causes of spiritual declension, and the means which, with God's blessing, 
might be calculated to promote a general revival of religion. 

" We recommend that each minister and lay brother throughout the State en- 


deavor, as far as possible, at least, during the ensuing year, to spend a portion 
of each day in special prayer for a general outpouring of God's Spirit upon the 

"We suggest the importance of a more strict and conscientious observance of 
the Lord's day. 

" We recommend to ministers and private Christians the more careful and 
diligent perusal and study of the Holy Scriptures. Cannot each brother and 
sister read the Scriptures through once a year ? 

*' We recommend more family religion as being of great importance. 

" We recommend to our ministering brethren to preach more on the subject 
of holiness, and to urge the importance of seeking high attainments in piety. 

" We deem it highly needful that all our brethren cultivate a meek, childlike 
and forgiving spirit, and that they ever hold themselves ready to make all Chris- 
tian efforts to remove stumbling blocks and heal those unhappy divisions which 

"Vin. Are the reception, dismission, exclusion and restoration of members 
and the choice of pastors among the internal rights of churches ? , 

" Answer. — Yes, unanimously. 

" IX. Can a church consistently receive or dismiss without unanimity ? 

" Ans2uer. — No, unanimously. 

" Should unreasonable objections be raised, what should be done with persons 
raising such objections ? 

" Answer. — All reasonable efforts should be made to remove those objections ; 
but if the persons persist in them to the grief of the church, we recommend 
that they should be dealt with as any other offender. 

" XL Does a church, in joining an Association, part with any of its internal 
rights } 

" A7iswer. — No, unanimously. 

" XII. Is it the sense of this meeting that associational correspondence should, 
in all cases, necessarily involve fellowship with churches and individuals .'' 

"Answer. — No, one exception. 

"XIII. Recommended that a committee be appointed to prepare a circular 
address on the nature and importance of Christian unity, and the best means of 
promoting it ; (to be appended to the Minutes of this meeting,) and that the 
brethren of different Associations be requested to have said address read be- 
fore their respective bodies at their next meeting. 

" Adopted, and that brethren J. Mercer, C. D. Mallary and A. T. Holmes ap- 
point the committee to prepare the address. 

" N. B. The queries respecting the Central Association, and the Baptist State 
Convention, were submitted by brother George Daniel, on Monday morning. 
Brother Daniel had been prevented from attending the meetings of the com- 
mittee by the inclemency of the weather. 

"15. Recommended that another meeting be held on Thursday before the 
second Sunday in July next. 

"16. Appointed brethren Mercer, V. R. Thornton and B. M. Sanders a 
committee to determine as to the place of holding said meeting. 

" 17. Resolved, That the editors of The Christian Index be requested to 
publish the proceedings of this meeting in that paper, and to print them in 
pamphlet form according to the amount of money given in for that purpose. 

" 18. Resolved, That the members of this meeting are gratefully sensible of 
the kind hospitality extended to them by the citizens of Covington, and that 
they duly appreciate the politeness of the brethren of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, and of the Reformed Church, in offering their houses of worship for 
their use during the meeting. 

" 19. After singing and prayer, the meeting was dissolved. 

" A. T. Holmes, Clerk. Jesse Mercer. Moderator." 

That the reader may see the doctrines that were discussed, and which met 
the general approval of these meetings, the Articles of Faith then held by the 
Georgia Association are given : 


" I. We believe in one only true and living God ; and that there is a trinity of 
Ipersons in the God-head — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost ; and yet 
there are not three Gods, but one God. 

" 2. We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and l>iew Testament are the 
Xvord of God, and the only rule of faith and practice. 

" 3. We believe in the fall of Adam, and the imputation of his sin to his pos- 
terity. In the corruption of human nature, and the impotency of man to recover 
■(himself by his own free w^ill — ability. 

"4. We believe in the everlasting love of God to His people, and the eternal 
"election of a definite number of the human race, to grace and glory : And that 
there was a covenant of grace or redemption made between the Father and the 
Son, before the world began, in which their salvation is secure, and that they in 
particular are redeemed. 

" 5. We believe that sinners are justified in the sight of God only by the 
righteousness of Christ imputed to them. 

'■ 6. We believe that all those who were chosen in Christ will be effectually 
called, regenerated ,converted, sanctified, and supported by the Spirit and power 
of God, so that they shall presevere in grace, and not one of them be finally lost. 

" 7. We believe that good works are the fruits of faith, and follow after justi- 
fication, and that they only justify us in the sight of men and angels, and are 
evidences of our gracious state. 

" 8. We believe that there will be a resurrection of the dead, and a general 
judgment ; and the happiness of the righteousness, and the punishment of the 
wicked will be eternal. 

" And as for Gospel order : 

" I. We believe that the visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful 
persons, who have gained Christian fellowship with each other, and have given 
themselves up to the Lord, and to one another, and have agreed to keep up a 
godly discipline, agreeably to the rules of the Gospel. 

" 2. We believe that Jesus Christ is the great Head of His Church, and only 
Law-giver, and that the government is with the body, and is the privilege of 
each individual ; and that the discipline of the church is intended for the re- 
claiming of those Christians who may be disorderly, either in principle or prac- 
tice; and must be faithfully kept up, for God's glory, and the peace and unity 
of the churches. 

" 3. We believe that water baptism and the Lord's supper are ordinances of 
the Lord, and are to be continued till His second coming. 

" 4. We believe that true believers in Jesus Christ are the only subjects of 
baptism, and that dipping is the mode. 

" 5. We believe that none but regular baptized church members have a right 
to communion at the Lord's table. 

" 6. We believe that it is the duty of every heaven-born soul to become a 
member of the visible church, to make a public profession of his faith, to be 
legally baptized, so as to have a right to, and to partake of, the Lord's supper at 
every legal opportunity, through the whole course of his life." 







We have, thus far, brought our sketch rapidly down to 1840 ; have seen Mercer 
University begin a long and successful career, as an educational institution, in 
1839; and find the denomination gradually rallying around the State Conven- 
tion. In 1840 the Convention met at Pentield, and, besides various missionary 
societies, eight Associations were constituents of the body ; namely : the Geor- 
gia, the Central, the Sarepta, the Columbus, the Appalachee, the Rehoboth, the 
Hephzibah and the Washington. The Convention was composed that year of 
a remarkably able body of Georgia Baptists, as much so, perhaps, as ever as- 
sembled together at any of our conventional meetings. Jesse Mercer was elected 
president for the nineteenth time ; John E. Dawson was chosen clerk, and C. 
D. Mallary, assistant clerk. The members of that Convention have all become 
historical characters in our denomination, and are men of whom we may well 
be proud. To them we are mainly indebted for the lofty position attained by 
our denomination in the State. It was at that session that The Christian 
Index was accepted as a donation from Jesse Mercer. That paper was origi- 
nally established at Washington City, in 1822 and called the Columbian Star, 
It had been published and edited in Philadelphia, to which place it was re- 
moved by Dr. William. T. Brantly, the elder, and had been transferred by him to 
Jesse Mercer in July, 1833. More than two years previously the matter had 
been broached to Mr. Mercer by Dr. Brantly. In May, 1831, he wrote, "I have, 
of late, thought much of the state of things in South Carolina and Georgia, in 
reference to The Index. The time has come when a southern paper of the 
kind that I am editing, will be required for Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. 
As mine is already (taken ) there, and the difficulties of mail transmission are many, 
I have thought it probable that it would be acceptable to the brethren in that 
j-egion to encourage the idea of an entire removal of The Index to some cen- 
tral point in one ox the other of the two states." In the latter half of 1-833 the 
removal was effected, and Mr. Mercer became the editor. He soon, however, 
called to his assistance Rev. William H. Stokes, who was made assistant editor, 
and the paper was published at Washington, Ga., until removed to Penfield, in 
December, 1840. 

, Through the instrumentality of this paper Mr. Mercer exerted a great and 
very beneficial influence upon the denomination in Georgia. Coming to Georgia, 
as it did, in the "troublous times," The Index became a vehicle of much bitter 


controversy, but, fortunately, was the means by which Mr. Mercer cast much 
light on many subjects, but imperfectly understood by the generality of church 
members, and he was enabled to settle the churches in a stable manner upon 
Scripture principles. It is, perhaps, impossible to overrate the good influence 
The Christian Index has exerted in the State, and for this it has ever been, 
and still is, revered. 

There were hfty thousand Baptists in Georgia in 1840. In February of that 
year Mercer University was opened with one hundred and thirty-two students 
in the collegiate and academic departments. The i^aculty were Rev. Otis Smith, 
President and Professor of Ma' hematics; Rev. Adiel Sherwood, Professor of 
Sacred Literature and Moral Philosophy ; Rev. Robert Tolifree, Professor of 
Chemistry and Natural Philosophy ; Rev. Albert Williams, I^rofessor of Ancient 
Languages; S. P. Sanford and J. W. Attaway, Assistant Professors. The Con- 
vention supported five beneficiaries in the inst'tution ; sustained three domestic 
missionaries, and one missionary among the Cherokee Indians. 

A much better condition of affairs now began to exi^-t among the churches, 
and a stronger missionary spirit and a more benevolent disposition began to , 
prevail in the Associations. The report made to the Convention in 1842, on 
State Missions will enable us to obtain a fair apprehension of the prevalent state 
of feeling among many of the Associations with reference to benevolent opera- 
tions ; 

" Flint River Association. At the request of several of the churches, this 
Association has appointed an Executive Committee to devise and carry into effect 
some plan by which some of her ministers may be employed to travel among 
the churches and labor in destitute neighborhoods, and give themselves wholly 
to prayer and the ministry of the Word. Arrangements have been made to 
have two in the field, laboring gratuitously, in the bounds of the Association: 
through the year. 

" The Hephzibah Association appointed last year, a missionary to ride in her 
bounds, and report at the next Association. 

" The Western Association has an Executive Committee for missions. It 
paid %\ 15.00 for domestic missions last year; had $183.00 sent up by the churches 
to the last Association for domestic missions ; and has appointed the preaching 
of a mission sermon at their next Association, and the taking of a collection for 
the same object. 

" The Ebenezer Associatiofi has an Executive Committee for missions, who 
report one hundred and twenty days of mission service, one hundred and one 
sermons preached, at an expense of $ After the mission sermon preached^ 
on the Lord's day $23.62 were collected. 

" 7 he Appalachce Association has an Executive Committee for missionary 
operations. It reported for last year one hundred and eighteen days of domestic 
mission service, for which they paid Si47-50- There were sent up to the Asso- 
ciation by the churches, and collected, after the mission sermon on the Lord's 
day, $188.31 for domestic missions, and five dollars for Texas missions. They 
report one Sabbath-school library containing one hundred and fifty volumes. 
Their circular to the churches is on the subject of the religious instruction of 

" The Coosa Association had received, at its last meeting, $71.12 for domestic 
missions, and appointed an Executive Committee to disburse it, allowing their 
missionaries $20.00 per month for their services. The subject of the circular of 
this Association is : 'The Importance of Sunday-schools.' 

" The Sarepta Association has an Executive Committee to direct their mis- 
sionary operations, who report two hundred and seven days' labor, and two- 
hundred and eight sermons preached, for which thev paid $197.68. They recom- 
mend ministers to devote more of their time and labor for the edification of the 
churches, and that the deacons see that their pastors are supported. 

'• The Bethel Association has an Executive Committee to search out the 
destitute places in the bounds of the body and contiguous regions, and to employ- 
missionaries to labor therein. To sustain these missionaries the churches make- 
to the body their annual contributions at the annual meetings of the body. A. 


collection is also taken up from the congregation. There is also a committee to 
procure tracts and other valuable publications to circulate among the churches, 
for the purpose of encouraging a taste for reading, and to advance the intelligence 
of the brethren. Two depositories of these books have been established, one 
at Palmyra and one at Lumpkin. 

" The Chattahoochee Association earnestly recommends to the churches to 
assemble every Sabbath for divine worship, but, as yet, are not engaged in 
domestic missions. 

" The Ocimilgee Assocz'atton, in its circular to the churches, urges the duty 
of ministers to devote the whole of their time to the gospel ministry, and, on 
the other hand, the churches ought to provide for their support. 

*' Rock Mountain Association. — In this Association a commmittee reports 
that, as far as the views of the churches have been expressed, they are in favor 
of the spread and support of the gospel ; and the Association gives it as her 
advice, that all who feel inclined to do so, should form themselves into a society, 
and make such arrangements as will soonest and best carry out their views, in 
relation to missions, both foreign and domestic. It, also, recommends the 
churches to examine the Scriptures minutely in respect to their obligations to 
hold religious meetings every Sabbath. 

" The Central Association, at its last meeting, reported $5.86 paid by its 
Executive Committee for domestic missions during the past year. It recom- 
mends, in most pressing terms. Sabbath-schools in every congregation, and has 
appointed a special agent, in every county in its bounds, to superintend Sabbath- 
school operations in its churches. It has, for several years, urged the churches,^ 
to meet every Sabbath for religious worship. 

" The Georgia Association. — This body annually turns over all its funds, for 
■ domestic as well as foreign missions, into the hands of the Exective Committee 
of the Convention; but gratuitous mission labor, in its own bounds, is urged upon 
its ministers, almost at every meeting of it. Considerable labor is done within 
its borders in this way. A new impulse has, lately, been experienced among its 
churches in relation to Sabbath-schools and weekly Sabbath meetings." 

This report, prepared and offered by B. M. Sanders, manifests a great ad- 
vance in missionary sentiment in the State, since the division. While the anti- 
missionaries have separated themselves and have performed no missionary 
labor, we see that the other Associations have organized for that work and are 
proceeding to collect money systematically for the purpose. 

The session of 1841, held at Thomaston, was made memorable by the ab- 
sence, for the first time, of Jesse Mercer who was detained at home by family 
afflictions. On the 6th of September following, he expired at the residence of 
Rev. James Carter, near Indian Spring; and the Convention of 1842, held at 
LaGrange, was called upon to take action concerning his demise. As the re- 
port adopted, written by Rev. C. D. Mallary, has, with the characteristic mod- 
esty of its author, been omitted in his Life of Jesse Mercer, it is given here : 
" Yourv Committee deem it a matter of special gratitude to God that death has 
made so few inroads upon the ranks of our ministering brethren, since our last 
session. Yet He has aimed at one lofty and shining mark, and brought 
our venerated and beloved Mercer low. We deem it proper that some 
memorial of our sorrow ; some brief tribute of our respect, should be entered 
upon the records of our body. In speaking of brother Mercer as an eminently 
wise, pious and useful man, we do not use the language of exaggeration. For 
half a century did he occupy a high and influential position among the Baptists 
of Georgia ; and few men could be named, on the entire lists of the denomina- 
tion in our country, more wise in counsel, more profound in the knowledge of 
divine things, more unwearied in pious labors, more constant in appropriations- 
to the cause of benevolence. The influence which he exerted was extensive 
and powerful ; and, yet, with how little alloy was it mingled ! It was as salu- 
tary as it was extensive, and as pure as it was powerful. The gospel which he 
unfolded with so much skill, clearness and heavenly unction, had exerted much 
of its transforming power upon his heart, and rendered him, in his character 
and life, an eminent illustration of the truth and purity of the doctrines which 
lie proclaimed. 


" Long will his useful counsels and labors in this Convention be remembered ! 
Long shall we remember his patriarchal form, his meek, simple and condescend- 
ing deportment ! Yes, thou man of God, long will we remember thee with 
filial reverence and affection ! 

" We feel that we are a bereaved family. Yet, whilst we mourn our loss, we 
would express our gratitude to God that he was spared so long to bless the 
Church, and that he has bequeathed an example to us so well calculated to rebuke 
our follies and stimulate us to every good word and work. We are reminded, 
by his death, that our lives and labors are hastening to a close, and that what- 
ever our hand findeth to do, we should do it with our might." 

It is not too much to say that no one has ever exerted upon the Baptist de- 
nomination in Georgia a more beneficial, healthy and powerful influence than 
Jesse Mercer ; no one did more to give a sound scriptural tone to its doctrine 
and practice ; no one more zealously and persistently promoted all those benev- 
olent institutions sanctioned by the gospel, and in accordance with Scripture 
principles ; nor has any one in our State been so liberal in donations to denomi- 
national enterprises. In the pulpit, at associational and conventional meetings, 
by circular addresses, in ministerial conferences, and through The Christian 
Index, not to speak of continuous and multitudinous personal labors, he did 
more to elevate our denomination in the State, and give shape to its destiny, 
than any one man who ever lived. Without the brilliancy, eloquence and intel- 
lectual power of Dr. Holcombe ; or the cultivation and scholarship of the elder 
Brantly ; or the mental training and collegiate lore of Dr. Sherwood, he never- 
theless possessed such characteristics of pious zeal, such rugged, intellectual 
ability, such far-seeing and practical wisdom, all united to a life of unflagging 
exertion and continual study of Bible truth, and to a liberality bounded by his 
means only, that he wielded a more powerful influence, and accomplished results 
more beneficial, than any other man. He began his religious life when there 
were not twenty Baptist churches in the State of Georgia, and hardly fifteen 
hundred members. He lived to see the time — over half a century later — when 
thirty-seven Associations were formed, and when there were nearly eight 
hundred churches, over three hundred ordained ministers, eighty licentiates, and 
about fifty thousand church members. 

Dr. J. H. Campbell, in his " Georgia Baptists," gives the Georgia statistics for 
1835 at 21 Associations, 583 churches, 298 ministers, and 41,810 members. An 
editorial in The Index, for January, 1841, says that there were 50,000 Baptists 
in the State. 

In The Index of September 29th, 1843, Dr. Joseph S. Baker published a 
Baptist statistical table of Georgia, giving the statistics of thirty-six Associations. 
But in a private letter to Dr. D. Benedict, dated, Penfield, Georgia, September 
13th, 1843, which is now before us, he gives the names of nine Associations not 
in his table, and of which he had no Minutes, nor any statistics, and adds : 
" The probable number of Baptists in Georgia, in 1842, was 55,000 ; the proba- 
ble number baptized that year, 6,000." This accords very well with Campbell's 
statement in his "Georgia Baptists," taken from the Convention Minutes of 
1846, that in 1845 there were 46 Associations, 464 ministers, 971 churches, and 
58,388 communicants (page 15). 

For nine years Rev. W. H. Stokes, as assistant editor of The Christian 
Index, was indefatigable in his la'jors, and to him much of the good done by 
the paper should be credited. He resigned in 1842, and in January, 1843, Dr. 
J. S. Baker, being elected by the Executive Committee of the Convention, as- 
sumed editorial control of The Index, which influential position he occupied, 
with great credit to himself and usefulness of the denomination, for half a dozen 
years. He was a very clear and forcible writer, and, by his piety and ability, 
wielded a strong influence for many years. 

There was reason for the growth in the denomination which we have chroni- 
cled, for the Minutes of all the Associations, nearly, indicate the performance 
of much State mission work ; and the summary, published each year in the 
Convention proceedings, is very gratifying to the student of denominational his- 
tory. For the information of those desirous of knowing something of our 


denominational activity in the fifth decade of the century, we make another 
extract from the Convention Report on State Missions, made in 1845. by Joseph 
Polhill. Twelve Associations were then constituents of the body, and the report 
is a condensed summary of associational work : 

" The Hephzibah Association has twenty-two churches, eleven ordained min- 
isters, a.nd an Executive Committee. They employed a missionary who rendered 
one hundred and twenty-one days' service. There are some temperance socie- 
ties, Sabbath-schools and regular monthly prayer meetings in some of the 
churches, and special conferences for the blacks. 

" The Appalachee Association has a missionary who travelled one hundred 
and fifty days, preached one hundred and seventy-six sermons, aided in the 
ordination of one minister and the constitution of one church, baptized a num- 
ber of persons, and visited many families. The missionary cause is on the 

" The Central Association conisixns nineteen churches, ten ordained ministers, 
and eight licentiates. She has three missionaries at present in her employ, who, 
together, rendered about fifteen months' service. Her ministers preach once a 
month to the colored people. Sabbath-schools are most cordially approved, 
and many are in successful operation. The temperance cause is encouraged by 
ministers and the people generally. 

" The Rehoboth Association has twenty churches and eight ordained minis- 
ters, keeps a missionary in the field (for which purpose she has a fund of about 
$600), and has a book depository in the city of Macon. Sabbath-schools are 
supported in her bounds. The religious instruction of the blacks is carefully 
attended to in some of the churches, and particular attention is paid to the 
colored church in Macon. 

" The Columbus Association employs two missionaries, one engaged in 
preaching to the destitute in her bounds, the other in visiting churches and 
families, and forming Sabbath-schools. Both have been very successful in their 
labors. Most of the churches have Sabbath-schools. Eight hundred dollars 
were collected for the above objects. Some of the churches give oral instruction 
to the colored people. 

" The Coosa Association employs one missionary, and has fifteen or twenty 
Sabbath-schools, though she finds great difficulty in procuring Sunday-school 
books. The temperance cause has been retrograding, but is now advancing. 

" The Fliiit River Association reports a domestic missionary constantly in 
her employment. A Sunday-school Convention was held with much interest, 
and many of the churches are zealously engaged in their support. The temper- 
ance cause is on the advance. In some instances oral instruction is given to 
the colored people. There is a flourishing Bible Society in Butts county. 

" The Georgia Association has thirty ordained ministers, fifteen or twenty 
licentiates, and twenty-seven churches. Efforts have been made fpr several 
years to induce the chunhes to have regular worship every Sabbath. A few 
have adopted the measure, more have preaching thrice a month and some are 
in the old order of monthly worship. Sunday-school instruction is becoming 
more common, and some efforts are made for the oral instruction of the blacks 
in Sabbath-schools, which promise well. 

" The Sunbury Association has been and still is engaged in the support of 
foreign missions and in giving the gospel to the colored people within its bounds. 
During the last year it contributed $417.57 to the former. For the colored 
mission it. employs two misssionaries — one for ihe Savannah River, and one for 
the Altamaha. They received $635.00 for their services. Most of the churches 
have Sabbath-schools and impart oral instruction to the blacks. 

" The Western Association has an Executive Committee to whom is entrus- 
ted the management of domestic mii-sions. They keep a missionary in the 
field. Sabbath-schoois have been established successfully in some churches 
and neighborhoods ; but there is a want of Sunday-school books. No regular 
system lor the instruction of the colored people has been practiced by this 

'•'The Sarepta Association has three missionaries employed, who rendered 


about one hundred and thirty days service, preached about one hundred and 
forty sermons, and rode upwards of a thousand miles. They now have two 
bretliren who devote a portion of their time to domestic missions. Sabbath- 
schools are at a very low ebb, and no special instruction is given to the colored 

" In the Tiigalo Association nothing is now doing in the department of do- 
mestic missions. It is a very destitute section. 

" The Bethel Association is engaged in most of the enterprises of the de- 
nomination. She has an Executive Committee ; keeps, generally, a domestic 
missionary employed ; encourages Sunday-schools and general benevolence in 
her churches ; and, in some churches, regular religious instruction is afforded 
the blacks." 

During the years of this decade the Convention takes very strong ground in 
favor of temperance, in its reports ; encourages education and Sabbath-schools 
in the highest degree; and vigilantly guards the interests of Mercer University. 
A theological departmrnt with a three years' course, was established in 1844 
and Dr. J. L. Dagg was made Professor of Theology. 

Several missionaries were maintained in different parts of the State, by the 
Executive Committee, who, also, sustained six beneficiaries in Mercer Univer- 
sity, three of them in the theological department, besides one at Cave Spring. 

Fourteen Associations are now connected with the Convention, and sixteen 
were represented at the session of 1S45. 

That year forms an important era in our State denominational history, be- 
cause, in I1S45. the Southern Baptists severed their organic connection with their 
Northern brethren, and formed Boards of their own, through which to carry on 
their benevolent operations ; and this was the result of events which occurred 
in our own State. 

The particular and originating cause of this separation was an application 
made by the Executive Commit'ee of the Georgia Baptist Convention, John L, 
Dagg. V. R. Thornton, J. B. Walker, Thomas Stocks and B. M. Sanders, to the 
American Baptist Home Mission Society, of Boston, for the appointment of 
Rev. James E. Reeves, as a missionary within the bounds of the Talapoosa 
Assoc iation. As Mr. Reeves was a slaveholder, the American Baptist Home 
Mission Board declined even to entenain the application, lest they should appear 
to sanction slavery. The Executive Committee immediately instructed the 
treasurer of the Convention, Absalom Janes, not to pay over any funds he might 
have in his hands for that Board, until further instructions, and at the same 
time issued an address to the Baptists of the United States, reciting the conduct 
of the Board. The State Convention, which met at Forsyth, in 1845, adopted 
the following resolutions, which were brought in by a special committee, con- 
sisting of Joshua S. Calloway, James Cranberry, Jacob King, C. S. Gaulding, 
and W. P. Burks: 

" Resolved, ist. That this body disapproves of the course pursued by the Board 
of the Baptist Home Mission Society, in refusing to appoint, as a missionarj', 
the brother recommended to their notice by the Executive Committee. 

" Resolved 2d, That we highly approve of the act of the Executive Committee, 
in withholding said mission funds until the present meeting of this body ; and 
that they be instructed to pay over the same to the Southern Baptist Domestic 
Mission Board at Marion, Alabama." 

At the same Convention a special committee, composed of Albert Williams, 
Henry O. Wyer, C. D. Mallary, A. T. Holmes and James Ferryman, ap- 
pointed to consider the report of the Executive Committee, who attended the 
formation of the Southern Baptist Convention, in Augusta, as representatives 
of the State Convention, made the following report, which was adopted : 

" While this body deeply regret the necessity of separating from our Northern 
brethren, we hig'.ly approve the action of the late meeting in Augusta, and 
earnestly recommend our churches throughout the State to support this Southern 
organization with liberal, benevolent contributions. Therefore, 

" Resolved, That this Convention become auxiliary to the Southern Baptist 
Convention, and proceed to elect five delegates to represent us in the meeting 


of that body, to be held Thursday before the second Lord's day in June, 1846" 
(in Richmond, Va.) 

It is an interesting fact that this same Convention appropriated one hundred 
dollars to aid the American Indian Mission Association of Kentucky, which was 
an Association formed by a convention of Western Baptists, at Cincinnati, in 
1843, and whose Board was located at Louisville, Ky. The formation of this 
Association, somewhat like that of the Southern Baptist Convention, grew out 
of a backwardness in sustaining Missions, among the Indians of the West, by 
the Northern Board. It continued until 1855, when, almost overwhelmed with 
debt, it was merged into the Domestic Board of the Southern Baptist Conven- 
tion, at Montgomery, which thenceforth became known as the " Domestic and 
Indian Mission Board." 

The mention of these facts, in Georgia Baptist history, exhibiting, as some 
of them do, the immediate causes of the formation of the Southern Baptist Con- 
vention, renders it pertinent and appropriate to dwell somewhat in detail on the 
organization of that Convention, and on those relevant events which preceded 
and led to its formation. 

At Augusta. Georgia, on Thursday May 8th, 1 845, three hundred and ten dele- 
gates, from Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Ala- 
bama, Louisiana, Kentucky and the District of Columbia, met in the Baptist house 
of worship and organized by the election of Dr. William B. Johnson, of 
South Carolina, as President, and Hon. Wilson Lumpkin, of Georgia, and Rev. 
J. B. Taylor, of Virginia, as Vice-Presidents, and Jesse Hartwell and James C. 
Crane, as Secretaries. The next morning the following was adopted : 

"Resolved, That for peace and harmony, and in order to accomplish the 
greatest amount of good, and for the maintenance of those scriptural principles 
on which the General Missionary Convention of the Baptist denomination of 
the United States was originally formed, it is proper that this Convention at 
once proceed to organize a society for the propagation of the Gospel." 

The reasons given for this was a declaration of the Board of the General 
■Convention, at Boston, that if " any one should offer himself as a Missionary, 
having slaves, and should insist on retaining them as his property, we could not 
appoint him." 

This innovation and departure from the course previously pursued by the 
Triennial Convention was an infraction of a resolution passed at the last session 
of that Convention. The rule of the Convention, defining who might be 
appointed missionaries, was this : "Such persons only as are in full communion 
with some church in our denomination, and who furnish satisfactory evidence 
of genuine piety, good talents and fervent zeal for the Redeemer's cause ;" and 
the resolution, of which the declaration of the acting Board was an infraction, 
was as follows : 

"Resolved, That in co-operating together, as members of this Convention, in the 
work of foreign missions, we disclaim all sanction, either expressed or implied, 
whether of slavery or anti-slavery ; but, as individuals, we are free to express 
and to promote, elsewhere, our views on these subjects, in a Christian manner 
and spirit." In less than six months the Board of the General Convention de- 
clared that it could not appoint a slaveholder to be a missionary, and " could 
never be a party to any arrangement which implies approbation of slavery." 

As many Southerners were, at that time, slaveholders, self-respect forced the 
Southern Baptists to withdraw from the General Convention. 

The Board of Managers of the Virginia Foreign Baptist Mission Society, is- 
sued a call to the Baptists of the South to send delegates to a convention to 
meet at Augusta, Georgia, and it was in pursuance of this call that a large 
number of delegates met and formed the Southern Baptist Convention. Two 
Boards were appointed, one for Foreign Missions, at Richmond, Virginia, and 
one for Home Missions, at Marion, Alabama, which have now been in useful 
existence for thirty-six years, and have done much to foster and develop the 
missionary spirit in the South. It should be a mdtter of congratulation to Geor- 
gia Baptists that this organization had its birth in their State, and was incorpo- 
rated by their State Legislature, the charter being granted on the 27th of De- 
cember, 1845. 


Many prominent Georgia Baptists took part in the formation of the Southern 
Baptist Convention, among whom were J. F. Hillyer, J. H. Campbell, H. Bunn, 
J.Hendricks, D. G. Daniell, C. M. Irwin, P. H. Mell, I. L. Brooks, T. J. 
Burney, P. W. Walton, B. M. Sanders, J. L. Dagg, A. Janes, V. R. Thornton, 
Thomas Stocks, W. H. Stokes, J. S. Baker, L. Steed, N. Polhill, Wilson 
Lumpkin, W. Richards, A. M. Walker, T. U. Wilkes, S. G. Hillyer, J. Polhill, 
G. W. Evans, James Carter, W. J. Harley, J. Davis, M. N. McCall, E. Ferryman, 
H. H. Lumpkin, E Calloway, Asa Chandler, J. B. Slack, J. H. T. Kilpatrick, C. 
H. Stilwell, C. D. Mallary, B. Thornton, M. Brinson, T. C. Armstrong, J. S. Law, 
W. O. Cheeney, Wm. H. Mcintosh, E. H. Bacon, V. Sanford, William T. Brantly, 
Jr., W. R. Gignilliat, N. M. Crawford, W. H. Pope, W. F. Baker, D. E. Butler, 
J. F. Dagg, J. W. Stapleton, P. Robinson, E. R. Carswell, J. S. Calloway, H. 
Posey, John E. Dawson, Benjamin Brantly, T. A. Gibbs, R. Tolefree, W, P. 
Steed, George Walker, J. Huff, besides various others. 

At the North this separation was desired by many, regretted by few, and ex- 
pected by all. In fact, the separation was inevitable, as a Free Mission Society 
had been already organized, in 1843, at Boston, in opposition to the Board of 
the Triennial Convention, and upon the expressed basis of non-cooperation 
with Southern churches. This Soc'ety gained favor rapidly, and, consequently, 
hastened the complete rupture between the North and South, as a measure 
which effectually prevented a division of the Baptist churches at the North. In 
reality, in April 1845, before the Convention met in Augusta, the Home Mission 
Society, at its meeting in Providence, R. I., adopted the following Preamble and 
Resolutions : 

"Whereas, The American Baptist Home Mission Society is composed of 
contributors, residing in slave-holding and non-slave-holding States ; and, 
whereas, the Constitution recognizes no distinction among the members of the 
Society as to eligibility to all the offices and appointments in the gift of the So- 
ciety and of the Board ; and, whereas, it has been found that the basis on which 
the Society was organized is one upon which all the members and friends 
of the Society are not now willing to act ; therefore, 

" Resolved, That in our opinion it is expedient that the members now form- 
ing the Society, should hereafter act in separate organizations at the South and 
at the North, in promoting the objects which were originally contemplated by 
the Society. 

"Resolved. That a committee be appointed to report a plan by which the ob- 
ject contemplated in the preceding resolution may be accomplished in the best 
way, and at the earliest period of time, consistently with the preservation of 
the constitutional rights of all the members, and with the least possible inter- 
ruption of the missionary work of the Society." 

This led to further steps, one of which was a recommendation "that the ex- 
isting organization be retained by the Northern and other churches, which may 
be willing to act together upon the basis of restriction against the appointment 
of slave holders." 

The adoption of this, by a unanimous vote, left the Southern churches no al- 
ternative but to withdraw and form a Southern Baptist Convention. The effect 
of this separation upon the Southern Baptist churches was to heighten their 
sense of responsibility and develop their resources and energies, as was evi- 
denced by their contributions. During the time they had been connected with 
the Home Mission Board — from 1832 to 1845 -their contributions amounted to 
$38,656. In the same number of years, after the separation — from 1864 to 1859 
— their contributions to the Domestic Board at Marion amounted to $204,614, be- 
sides $61,614 for Indian Missions, making a total of $266,356 against $38,656. 
Certainly the separation was providential. 

The following is a brief sketch of the first president of the South- 
ern Baptist Convention : " Rev. William BuUein Johnson, D.D.. first pres- 
ident of the Southern Baptist Convention, and for four years — from 
i8ii to 1815— pastor of the Savannah church, was born on John's Is- 
land, near Charleston, South Carolina, June 13th, 1782. His parents were 
both Baptists. In his boyhood he enjoyed the companionship of Edmund 


Bottsford, and was, in Georgetown, South Carolina, instructed by Dr. William 
Staughton, afterwards president of Columbian College. While pursuing 
the study of law, in Beaufort, South Carolina, he was converted at the close of 
a remarkable revival of religion, in October, 1804, being baptized by Joseph B. 
Cook and uniting with the Beaufort church. He ascribed his conversion to the 
labors of a pious lady, Miss Lydia Turner, of London, who, together with her 
household, had been baptized in Savannah, by Dr. Henry Holcombe. Licensed 
in January, 1805, he was ordained in January, 1806. Besides serving as a pas- 
tor of the Euhaw church, St. Luke's parish, South Carolina, he acted in the 
same capacity for the Savannah, Columbia, Greenville and Edgefield chuiches. 
For five years he gave a general supervision of the Johnson Female Seminary, 
Anderson, South Carolina, which was thus named in compliment to him, by its 
founders, taking no part in the labors of instruction, although many years of 
his life were employed both as a minister and a teacher of young ladies. He 
died October 2d, 1862. A man of high and unquestioned Christian integrity, he 
was frequently honored by his brethren with positions of official dignity. For 
many years he was moderator of the Savannah River Association ; for thirty 
years he presided over the South Carolina Convention ; he was president of the 
Triennnial Convention when it met in Baltimore ; and at the first meeting of 
the Southern Baptist Convention, in 1845, at Augusta, his venerable form was, 
by the suffrage of his brethren, placed in the chair. For such a post he was emi- 
nently qualiried by his dignity, urbanity and impartiality. To a clear intellect 
he united eminent piety, learning, fixedness of purpose, promptness and punct- 
uality ; and to the most transparent honesty, he added independence of thought 
and a large public spiritedness. As the sun was going down, in the close of a 
glorious autumn day, he sank to his final rest, with the softness of an infant's 
sleep, presenting a death scene of perfect tranquillity and peace." 

We will close this chapter with a list of Georgia delegates to the old Trien- 
nial Convention, from its organization at Philadelphia, in 1814, to the rupture, 
in 184.5. ' It will be seen that long before our General Association was formed. 
Georgia was represented in that Convention, by delegates sent from her asso- 
ciational mission boards and societies. Indeed, frequent mention is made in 
the denominational anna's of money appropriated to secure seats in that Con- 

In 1814, W. B. Johnson, then pastor at Savannah, went from a society in the 
Savannah River Association. In 1817, Jesse Mercer attended as messenger 
from the " Powelton Missionary Society," and as proxy from ihe " Ocmulgee 
Missionary Society." In 1820, Je.sse Mercer attended as messenger of the 
"Mission Board of the Georgia Association," and Elijah Mosely, as messenger 
of the " Ocmulgee Mission Society." In 1823, Adiel Sherwood represented the 
" Mission Board of the Georgia Association," and Major Abner Davis repre- 
sented the "Ocmulgee Mission Board." In 1826, Jesse Mercer attended as 
messenger of tHe " Mission Board of the Georgia Association ;" Abner Davis, 
of the " Mission Board of the Ocmulgee Association;" William T. Brantly, as 
appointee of the "General Association" or State Convention. A.Sherwood 
was appointed but did not attend. In 1829, A. Sherwood attended as messen- 
ger of the Georgia Baptist Convention. In 1832, A. Sherwood and Thomas 
Stocks represented the Georgia Baptist Convention. In 1835, Jesse Mercer and 
A. Sherwood were delegates of the State Convention. In 1838, A. Sherwood 
and John E. Dawson were delegates of the Georgia Baptist Convention. In 
1 84 1, B. M. Sanders, Jonathan Davis and Thomas Stocks were the State Con- 
vention delegates. In 1844, the State Convention was represented for the last 
time in the old Triennial Convention, by Thomas Stocks, B. M. Sanders, V. R. 
Thornton, John L. Dagg and Jesse H. Campbell. 






The year 1845 was an era in our State denominational history, made so, 
mainly by the events narrated in our last chapter. Heretofore the benevolent 
funds of the State had been disbursed chiefly through the Mission Boards at 
the North, for both Foreign and Domestic Missions ; but anti-slavery fanaticism 
among the Northern Baptists rendered a separation necessary, as well as 
expedient. In consequence our benevolence took another channel, in 1845, and 
our operations were brought under the immediate control of Southern Baptists. 
They have continued so to the present day, doubtless in accordance with a wise 
ordering of Providence. History informs us that it was the firm and decided 
stand taken by Georgia Baptists, which was the immediate cause of that rupture. 
The condition of public sentiment in our denomination, at that time, may be 
gathered from the action of the State Convention, in 1846, when the following 
was adopted : 

" Resolved, That, in the opinion of this Convention, it is expedient for the 
Southern Baptist Convention to adopt such a course at their meeting, in Rich- 
mond, as will, unequivocally, separate the South from the North in all the 
general organizations for Christian benevolence." 

It may also be gathered from the action of the Executive Committee, in Sep- 
tember, 1845, which was ratified by the State Convention, in 1846. In that 
month the committee had before it for consideration a circular addressed to 
their chairman, B. M. Sanders, from the agent of the American Baptist Pub- 
lication Society, inquiring into the expediency of sending an agent to Georgia. 
The Executive Committee passed the following resolutions : 

"Resolved, i. That it is the opinion of this committee that it would not be 
expedient for the American Baptist Publication Society to send an agent 
among us. 

" Resolved 2, That, in our opinion, public sentiment requires the formation 
of Southern Boards for Bible and publication operations." In fact a Southern 
Baptist Publication Society was organized at Savannah, in 1847, located at 
Charleston, South Carolina, and continued in existence until the war of 


We may, by a few facts, not only discover the manner in which the denom- 
inational rupture was received by the Georgia Baptists, but we can learn the 
effects of that rupture upon the ben.evolence of the churches and Associations. 

At its session, in 1845, the Georgia Association adopted the report of its Ex- 
ecutive Committee, in which the churches were informed of the Convention 
held in Augusta, " to devise ways and means whereby all the benevolent objects 
contemplated by us, as a people, might be more efficiently promoted," and the 
churches were respectfully urged to adopt vigorous measures to enable the 
several Boards appointed by the Southern Baptist Convention "to prosecute 
their praiseworthy designs." In that year $1,444.90 were collected for mission 
purposes, of which $1,163.32 were paid over to the Treasurer of the Georgia 
Baptist Convention, for various mission purposes, and $281.58 were sent to the 
American Indian Mission Association, at Louisville. The following year, 1846, 
$2,647.21 were reported as contributed to missions, during the year, of which 
$1,554.51 were sent up to the Association. Thus we see, that in one Association 
alone, mission contributions more than doubled. 

By an examination of the records, we find that the amount sent up to the 
Convention from the Associations, for benevolent purposes, in May, 1845, was 
$1,148.41; in 1846, the amount was $5,946.77; in 1847, it was $9,885.73; in 
1848, it was $8,714.24; in 1849, it was $7,392.49, and in 1850, it was $10,181.86. 
In those six years the number of Associations, in connection with the Conven- 
tion, had increased from fourteen to twenty-two. Besides these, there were in 
the State, not connected with the ("onvention, in 1846, thirty-one Associations; 
and in 1850, thirty-five Associations. The total number of Associations, in 
1846, was forty-six, with a membership of 60,000; and, in 1850, it was fifty- 
seven, with a membership of at least 70,000 — a gain of 2,000 a year. 

In the same time the number of ordained ministers, in connection with the 
Convention, increased from 240 to 365, and the total number of ordained min- 
isters increased from 464 to 628. But these figures are confessedly incomplete, 
especially in regard to the pecuniary contributions, for they represent the contri- 
butions only which were sent up to the Convention annually, which, as a matter 
of fact, were about one-half of the usual yearly benevolent contributions of the 
various Associations for all purposes. And, furthermore, these figures represent 
the contributions of those churches and Associations only,which were in con- 
nection with the State Convention. 

The names of the Associations in connection with the Convention in 1846 are 
as follows : Appalachee, Bethel, Central, Columbus, Coosa, Ebenezer, Flint 
River, Georgia, Hephzibah, Rehoboth, Sarepta, Sunbury, Washington, Western, 
Florida. This last one had been admitted in 1845, and twenty-nine of its 
thirty-two churches were in the State of Florida. It became necessary to alter 
the Constitution of the Convention, that its application for union with the Con- 
vention might be granted. 

The Washington Association was formed in December, 1828, at Sisters' 
Meeting House, in Washington county. On Friday, December the 12th, William 
R. Stansell, Job Thigpen, and Jonathan Huff, a presbytery appointed by the 
Hephzibah Association the preceding October, met and constituted five churches 
into an Association, which was called the Washington. These churches were, 
Darien, Beulah, Bethlehem, Sisters' and Jackson's, and they had all been dismissed 
from the Hephzibah Association. Brother Thigpen was Moderator, and gave 
the charge ; Jonathan Huff offered the benediction prayer, while William R. 
Stansell preached the sermon and pronounced the Association constituted. He 
was elected the first Moderator, and Lee Reaves, Clerk. The total membership 
of the churches was 318, as follows : Darien, 119 ; Beulah, 51 ; Bethlehem, 81 ; 
Sisters, 37 ; Jackson's 30. In 1830, the Association had nine churches and 533 
members; in 1835 it had twenty churches with 1,239 members; in 1841 there 
were seventeen churches with 1,227 members ; and in 1846 there were eighteen 
churches, containing 1,278 members There seems to have been no special 
interest taken in missions until 1837, although it had been customary to have a. 
missionary sermon preached on Sabbath morning, and a collection taken up. 
D. G. Daniel preached the introductory sermon at the session of 1837. On 


Sabbath morning Rev. P. Roberts preached the missionary sermon, after which 
a collection was taken for domestic missions, and "in the evening brother Mallary 
delivered a soul-animating sermon, in which h'e ably defended the cause of mis- 
sions, and we believe that many hearts received the truth in love, and thanked God 
and took courage." So say the Minutes. In that year the objects of the Con- 
vention were commended, and the elevation of Mercer Institute to a University 
was approved. The following year, 1838, the Association agreed to unite with 
the Convention, formally. 

The Western Association was formed at LaGrange, by the union of sixteen 
churches, on the 7th of November, 1829. The constituting presbytery was 
composed of two committees, appointed by the Yellow River and Flint River 
Associations, and consisting of J. CoUey, R. Gunn, G. Daniel, J. Milner, William 
Moseley, William Henderson, J Carter and J. Nichols. Joel Colley was elected 
Moderator, and J. Milner, Clerk. J. Nichols, William Moseley and A. Sher- 
wood were appointed to preach on Sabbath. The first Moderator was James 
Reeves, and the first Clerk, John Wood. 

It is a singular fact that the sixteen churches composing this Association, and 
which, in 1S30, refused to correspond with the Georgia Baptist Convention, were 
gathered through the instrumentality of James Reeves and John Wood, both of 
whom were missionaries of the Convention. The Association, however, by a 
vote of forty-two to twenty-six, determined, in 1836, that the non-felhnvship 
resolution, with all benevolent institutions, adopted by four churches, should 
not affect fellowship, thus refusing to follow the example of those four churches, 
as they had requested and desired. 

For years this body was harrassed by some churches which bitterly opposed 
all benevolent institutions, and broke up correspondence with various Associa- 
tions. At length, in 1837, some churches withdrew, and formed an anti- 
missionary Association, which they denominated " Western Association," 
assigning as their reason for acting thus, that the Association " had become 
connected with a variety of mstitutions not known in the Scriptures, which 
caused a general contusion in the churches, by attempting to unite them with 
the world in the spread of the gospel. Come out from among them, be ye separate, 
touch not, etc.," was the language these seceders used to their brethren in an 
address. A better state of things began to exist immediately. In 1839, corres- 
pondence was opened with the Rehoboth and Rock Mountain Associations, and 
was resumed with the Columbus, Sarepta, Georgia and Tallapoosa. At the 
same time a resolution was adopted, declaring that this was designed merely as 
a reciprocation of Christian regard and courtesy, and did not, in anywise, express 
an opinion with regard to the benevolent institutions of the day. 

This Association applied for union with the State Convention in 1842, and 
was cordially received. 

The Rehoboth Association was formed in 1838, by the union of ten churches, 
principally from the Itchaconnah Association, against which that Association had 
passed a non-fellowship resolution, thus virtually exscinding them. These 
churches were strongly missionary in their views and designs, which they had 
no sufficient opportunity, or room to expand in their old connection ; hence, in 
the //^w, they took the name of Rehoboth — room, space. Genesis 26:22. This 
Association united with the Convention in 1839, and has continued, to the 
present day, one of the strongest missionary bodies in the State. Both in 
Africa and the Indian Territory, it has maintained missionaries without the 
intervention of our general Boards ; and this, no doubt, has served to stimulate 
the churches to a performance of duty to an extent exceeding that of most 

The Bethel Association united with the Convention in 1843. This Associa- 
tion had been organized just ten years, and, from the first, was one of the 
strongest in the State. In 1839, it took hold of Domestic Missions in earnest, 
and soon entered upon a career of most zealous and liberal missionary effort, 
not only at home, but in Africa and among the Indians. For years it supported 
William H. Clarke, in Africa and R. J. Hogue, in the Indian Territory. Its 
missionary spirit has never flagged to the present day ; and some of the noblest 


and most liberal and devout men of our denomination in the State, have been 
in its connection and shaped its counsels. 

The Hephzibah and Appalachee Associations were admitted as constituents of 
the Georgia Baptist Convention in 1837. The latter Association was organized 
in 1835, with three churches only and two ministers — John Hendrirks and A. 
Hadway ; but it grew rapidly, and was a Missionary Association from the first. 
Its controlling spririt for years was Rev. John Hendricks, of whom Dr. Sher- 
wood says in his manuscripts : " John Hendricks, of Greenesboro', was baptized 
by the author, about 1827-28. He had been a Methodist preacher, but baptism 
troubled him, and he would not remain in uncertainty on a subject of so much 
importance. He became very useful in the Baptist churches, and removed to 
the Cherokee country. I think a son of his wears the mantle of his departed 

The Columbus Associatioia, which became a constituent of the Convention 
in 1839, was organized in November 1829, by two committees, one from the 
Itchaconnah and one from the Flint River, and was, at first, disinclined to side 
with the Missionary Baptists ; but, gradually, under the influence of better coun- 
sels, it came out boldly in favor of benevolent schemes and united with the Con- 
vention. It has long been a staunch supporter of missions, education and Sab- 
bath schools. 

The Coosa united with the Convention in 1842. It has shown itself to be 
one of the noblest Associations in the State. Formed in 1836, it spread over 
the northwest corner of the State, in the counties of Floyd, Chattooga, Walker, 
Murray, Cass and Paulding, and was very extensive in territory. It performed 
a great work in evangelizing the northern part of our State and sustained mis- 
sionaries within its own bounds and among the Cherokee Indians of North 
Georgia, without the intervention of our General Boards, until near the close of 
the war. This was the first Association in Georgia to adopt the " Independent 
plan " of conducting missions, which it did by employing David Foreman, a 
native Indian, as Missionary to the Cherokees. The example was followed by 
the Flint River, Rehoboth and Western Associations, together with a long train 
of exciting circumstances, all of which grew out of delay on the part of a Gen- 
eral Board to appropriate $100.00, sent on by the Coosa Association. It has 
proved itself to be a great friend of education, by its support of colleges, for 
both males and for females. 

In 1842, the Flint, which had been formed eighteen years before, made appli- 
cation for admittance to the Georgia Baptist Convention, and was admitted. 
At first, and for a number of years after its organization, anti-missionary senti- 
ments prevailed in this Association, but, one after another the Primitive churches 
withdrew, uniting with sympathetic Associations, and, at length this noble As- 
sociation came out boldly on the side of benevolence, united with the Conven- 
tion and has, down to the present, maintained a consistent and faithful record. 
Although it has not seen proper to work through our Convention Boards, it has 
nevertheless performed a full share in spreading and maintaining the Gospel at 
home and abroad. 

In 1850 the Middle and Middle Cherokee Associations were admitted to the 
Convention. The former was organized in 1841 and the latter in 1845. The 
Piedmont applied for admission, and was received in 1848, but no delegates 
appeared until 1855. It was the Association, formed in 1817, as we have sta- 
ted, which voted "to have nothing to do with the missionaries." 

The Tallapoosa, formed in 1838, was received into the Convention in 1848; 
and the Hightower was constituted, at Silver Spring, Forsyth county, Novem- 
ber 2oth, 1835, of ten churches, most of which had been connected with the 
Chattahoochee Association. The presbytery was composed of Wayne, Phil- 
ips, Hudson and Mears. At its session in 1836, held at Mount Zion, Cherokee 
county, a mission committee on Domestic Missions was appointed, consisting 
of Compton, Haynes, Foster, Hembree and A. Philips ; and approval was ex- 
pressed of Richard Philips, missionary of the State Convention, who was preach- 
ing in their bounds. It will, therefore, be seen that this Association was mis- 
sionary in sentiment, from its origin. The organization of Rock Mountain As- 


sociation (now called Stone Mountain) in 1839, has been given ; it united with 
the Convention in 1848, as did the Houston, also. 

Dr. Sherwood says that, in September, 1830, Big Creek, Shalom and Mount 
Horeb, of Pulaski county, Camp Creek, of Dooly, and Poplar Spring, of Wash- 
ington, petitioned for letters from the Ebenezer Association, for the purpose of 
forming this Association. Some of the churches forming it came from the Itch- 
econnah Association, and the constitution took place at Beulah church, in Hous- 
ton county. It prospered moderately until about 1837, when it split. Its eigh- 
teen churches became equally divided on the subject of missions, and much 
heart-burning and confusion arose which gradually passed away, and in 1848, 
when it joined the Convention, it had two missionaries employed within its 

Slight reference has thus been made to all the Associations which joined the 
Convention prior to 1850, at which period there were, in the State twenty-three 
anti-missionary Associations, with a membership of 12,507 in 416 churches, and 
ten Associations, not professedly anti-missionary, with a membership of 5-225, 
in 123 churchees ; besides two United Baptist Associations, with twenty-four 
churches and 816 members. 

The United Baptists, several Associations of whom still exist in the State, 
were originally " Whiteites," or the followers of Cyrus White, whose preaching 
was tinctured with Arminianism, and who secured quite a large following. They 
were an active, zealous people, not anti-missionary, and strongly " strict-con- 
structionists " in their Bible views. Entirely different from the Primitive, or 
"old school" Baptists, they were full of effort and enterprise for the spread of 
the gospel and the propagation of their sentiments. They composed the third 
party alluded to by Dr. Hillyer, in his communication to the author, and were, 
by their opponents, deemed heterodox in sentiment. 

Of Cyrus White Dr. Adiel Sherwood writes, in his invaluable historical 
repertory : 

" Cyrus White, a laborious minister, became somewhat erratic about 1830, 
and formed a small party around him, of a few churches and pastors of churches. 
His views on the atonement were regarded as rather Arminian. Mr. Mercer 
wrote ten letters to him, in pamphlet form-; others wrote criticisms on his views ; 
but he did not live long." The doctor here, doubtless, refers modestly to 

Between the years 1845 and 1850, the Baptists of Georgia interested theni- 
selves exceedingly in all the great schemes of Christian benevolence— domestic 
and foreign missions, education for males arid females, Sabbath-schools, temper- 
ance, Bible and tract societies, and assisting the Southern Baptist Publication 

With reference to the state of religion, the Convention adopted, in 1850, a 
report, of which a portion was : " Religion, generally, is in rather a low condi- 
tion, but with an upward tendency, while a number of our churches have en- 
joyed refreshing showers of divine grace. The churches are steadfast in the 
faith of the gospel, and in peace and harmony among themselves, being dis- 
turbed by but very few cases of disorder requiring the exercise of church dis- 
cipline. They are, doubtless, increasing in liberality of sentiment and feeling 
upon the long neglected subject of pastoral support, while there is a great in- 
crease of the true missionary, or apostolic spirit becoming so settled, firm and 
abiding as to promise (under God's blessing) great results in the future ; in 
short, there is a firmness and union in the churches, an 'abounding in the work 
of the Lord,' in all the diversified aspects of Christian benevolence, which con- 
stitute a firm ground of hope for the future, and should urge us forward in the 
greater diligence and zeal in the prosecution of the great objects of our high 

One of the objects frequently alluded to is the " Hearn Manual Labor 
School." This was an institution begun by the Baptists of North Georgia, in 
1839, at Cave Spring, where a Baptist church had been constituted. September 
20th, 1836. In 1839 Humphrey Posey became the agent for this school, 
obtained for it an act of incorporation, and succeeded in having it turned over to 


the State Convention, in 1844, and a board of trustees was appointed to take 
charge of it. Its title, Hcarn School, was given to it in honor of Lott Hearn, 
cf Putnam county, who pledged himself to endow the school with $12,500 at 
his death. The following account of this school is taken from " Campbell's 
Georgia Baptists : " 

"In 1846, it is mentioned, in the Minutes of the Convention, that Mr. Lott 
Hearn had died, and the treasurer had commenced suit against his executor for 
a portion of his bequest to the institution, then due. It was under the instruc- 
tion of Mr. Alfred J. King and Mr. Oliver P. Fannin. It had opened a depart- 
ment for the indigent deaf and dumb, under State patronage, and six ^r eight of 
this unfortunate class had been removed thither from Hartford, Connecticut.* 
Mr. O. P. Fannin, for many years principal of the State Asylum for the Deaf 
and Dumb established at this place, was their first teacher. 

" The school was in a highly prosperous condition in 1848, with sixty students 
in attendance ; $5,412.00, in part of the Hearn legacy of twelve thousand five 
hundred dollars, had been paid. The year following, the school was still in a 
flourishing condition, though the principal teacher, owing to some unhappy diffi- 
culties in the community, had resigned. About seven thousand dollars, besides . 
its landed interests, etc., were in hand. 

" In 1850, some of the members of the Executive Committee of the Convention 
visited Cave Spring ' to aid in healing the dissensions that had, for so long a 
time, existed am&ngst brethren ' there. What success, if any, attended their 
errand of love, does not appear. Mr. J. S. Ingraham had been secured as the 
principal, and the school was in a ' highly prosperous state.' 

"For a series of years the institution continued in a prosperous condition under 
Mr. Ingraham, generally varying from fifty to sixty pupils, notwithstanding the 
persistent opposition arrayed against it by the 'restless spirits ' already alluded 
to. Its income more than met all its expenses, and its trustees were enabled to 
take an interest, for the accommodation of its pupils, in a brick meeting-house, 
built by the Baptist church, and also to provide a comfortable residence, lot, etc., 
for the use of its excellent principal and his family. 

" In 1855 the school was under Mr. Ingraham, and was doing well in all 
respects. Sixty-six pupils had been received during the year, among whom 
were two young preachers, beneficiaries of the Convention. It was clear of 
debt, and its income exceeded its expenses, enabling its managers to add, by 
purchase, another lot of ground, so that, in all, the school owned about forty- 
five acres. The buildings and premises were in good repair. The report of 
the following year is but a repetition' of this. 

" Mr. Ingraham continued at the head of the school until the close of 1857, 
when Mr. A. J. King, its former principal, was again called to the charge of it, 
under whom prosperity^still attended it, both in its patronage and finances. 
The number of pupils admitted was eighty-four, its endowment had increased, 
and ' various additions and improvements in apparatus and school furniture had 
been made.' 

" Mr. King resigned again at the close of his second year, and Mr. James 
Courtney Browne, a young man of unusual ability, and a graduate of Mercer 
University, was called to the charge of the institution in the beginning of i860. 
His administration gave entire satisfaction; but, in the spring of 1862, he and 
most of his older pupils having joined the army of the Confederate States, the 
exercises of the school were suspended, and the remaining pupils turned over to 
the Cave Spring Female School. 

" In 1863 the Hearn School and the female school at Cave Spring were united 
temporarily under Rev. S. G. Hillyer, D. D. There were thirty-five pupils in 
the male department, and the smiles of Providence, as heretofore, seemed to 
rest upon the enterprise. That fall, however, it became necessary again to 
suspend the exercises, in consequence of the proximity of the contending 
armies. This suspension is supposed to have lasted until the close of the war. 
The buildings were much injured and the library and apparatus destroyed by 

*This Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb was originated by the author, then State Agent for this 


the enemy. The funds of the school, in the hands of the trustees, were invested 
in Confederate securities, and are thus lost. The amount lost was about four 
thousand dollars. The school, however, still has $12,000 of the Hearn legacy 
in charge of the Georgia Baptist Convention, and its landed estate, amounting 
to forty or fifty acres. 

"The history of this school should prompt men of wealth to bequeath a 
portion of their estates, at least, in such manner as may be productive of good 
after they are gone, and as may perpetuate their memory in the earth." 

N9 nobler men, no men more pious, able and zealous have graced our denom- 
inational history than those who guided Baptist affairs in the fifth decade of the 
century. Among them were Thomas Stocks, B. M. Sanders, J. L. Dagg, C. D. 
Mallary, John E. Dawson, J. H. Campbell, N. M. Crawford, P. H. Mell, J. Hen- 
dricks, Thomas Muse, T. J. Burney, John B. Walker, H. Bunn, J. S. Callaway, 
V. R. Thornton, Absalom Janes, W. H. Stokes, C. M. Irwin, J. H. T. Kilpatrick, 
William T. Brantly, Jr., G. W. Evans, William H. Turpin, Eli Warren, Lott 
Warren, M. A. Cooper, J. M. Wood, B. F. Tharpe, E. G. Cabiniss, A. T. Holmes, 
S. Landrum, J. S. Law, A. Williams, William H. Mcintosh, R. Fleming, J. S. 
Baker, C. W. Stevens, H. Posey, J. King, J. R. Kendrick, V. Sanford, S. G. 
Hillyer, T. U. Wilkes, T. B. Slade, W. D. Cowdry, Juriah Harris, Enoch Calla- 
way, D. G. Daniel, J. O. Screven, B. Langford, C. H. Stillwell, T. J. Beck, J. O. 
West, Wilson Lumpkin, Z. H. Gordon, Lott Hearn, C. C. Willis, J. Ferryman, 
S. W. Durham, J. Carter, J. Polhill, E. H. Bacon, I. L. Brooks, N. G. Foster, E. 
W. Warren, and very many others. 

All these pressed forward in the march of progress and usefulness, and 
labored earnestly, not only to build up the Baptist cause in Georgia, but to pro- 
mote every good word and work in which Christians engage. They established 
schools and colleges in all parts of the State, notably : at Madison, LaGrange, 
Perry, Rome, Cuthbert, Columbus, Cave Spring, Cassville, Cedartown, Griffin, 
and Forsyth, besides maintaining Mercer University and a school for young 
women, at Penfield. They organized a Bible Board, at LaGrange, in 1852, as 
auxiliary to the Bible Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. They con- 
tinued earnestly to support foreign and domestic missions, and missions among 
the Indians. From $10,181.86, in 1850, the contributions for missions, in 
1851, were $15,000. In 1851 the number of Associations in connection with the 
Convention was twenty-two, with 669 churches, 55,714 members and 341 
ordained ministers. The total number of Associations was fifty-seven, with 
1,183 churches, about 75,000 members, and over 600 ordained ministers. Ten 
years afterward, in 1861, at the outbreak of the war, there were sixty-five Asso- 
ciations, 1,435 churches, about 100,000 members, and 757 ordained ministers. 
In one year 6,678 had been baptized, according to the Convention Minutes of 

We must now sketch the history of that efficient body, the 


On the 23d of November, 1854, delegates from the Middle Cherokee and 
Coosa Associations met at Cassville to form an organization to take charge of 
the Cherokee Baptist College, at Cassville. John W. Lewis was elected Mod- 
erator and C. H. Stillwell, Clerk. There were present from the Middle Cherokee 
Association : Elders John Crawford, J. W. Lewis, A. W. Buford, A. R. Wright, 
and Mr. Z. Edwards. The Coosa Association was represented by E. Dyer, W. 
Newton, J. M. Wood, C. H. Stillwell and S. W. Cochran. G. W. Tumlin, from 
the Tallapoosa Association, was present, and among the ministers present, who 
accepted seats, were Dr. N. M. Crawford, J. S. Murray, William Martin, J. D.- 
CoUins, T. G. Barron, J. H. Rice, H. S. Crawford, and M. J. Crawford. A com- 
mittee was appointed to draft a Constitution, which was adopted on the after- 
noon of Friday, the 24th, and the Cherokee Baptist Convention was constituted 
by the election of regular officers : Rev. J. W. Lewis, President ; Rev. E. Dyer, 
Vice-President; C. H. Stillwell, Clerk; J. H. Rice, Assistant Clerk ; and A. W. 
Buford, Treasurer. An Executive Committee was also appointed. 

The tenth article of the Constitution gives the specific objects of the body : 


"I. To unite the friends of education, anc to combine their efforts for the estab- 
lishment and promotion of institutions of learning, where the young of both 
sexes may be thoroughly educated on the cheapest practical terms. 2. To foster 
and cherish the spirit of missions, and to facilitate missionary operations in any, 
or every, laudable way." 

These objects were afterwards enlarged, and were made to include the distri- 
bution of the Bible and other good books, and the education of indigent young 
ministers and orphans. Societies approving and co-operating might send repre- 
sentatives, there being no money basis to the representation. 

The main reason for the formation of this Convention was that there was no 
other feasible plan, apparently, for promoting the Baptist educational and mis- 
sionary interests in that section of our State. And it was hoped that this 
formation of a Convention would promote the piety and efficiency of the 
denomination in North Georgia, by securing union and co-operation. 

The body met at Cassville, in 1855, in October, and at Cedar Town, May, 
1856. At that session, 1856, the Cherokee Baptist College, which commenced 
in 1854, and which had hitherto been under the control and direction of trustees 
appointed by the Middle Cherokee Baptist Association, was received into the 
care of the Cherokee Baptist Convention, and placed under the direction of 
trustees chosen by the Convention. This was in accordance with the plan 
originally contemplated, when the college was established and incorporated, and 
a transfer of all papers and property was made from one set of trustees to the 
other. On the night of January 4th, 1856, the main building of the college 
was destroyed by fire, but was magnificently rebuilt, only to be ruthlessly 
destroyed by Sherman's army in 1864, with all its valuable apparatus, library 
and other contents. This obliterated the institution, for it has never been 

In May, 1856, the Convention adjourned to meet in July of the same year. 
C. W. Sparks was chosen President, as Dr. Lewis was absent. A formal tender 
of the supervision of Woodland College, for young ladies, at Cedar Town, was 
received from its trustees. The trust was accepted on certain conditions, and 
the Convention thus became the virtual supervisor and controller of two colleges, 
one for young men and the other for young women, trustees for both of which 
had been elected the preceding May. 

A resolution adopted May 20th, 1856, shows how much in earnest the brethren 
of this Convention were in the cause of education ; " Resolved, That our churches 
and the brethren in the ministry be earnestly requested to send up, annually, 
through our Associations, funds for educational purposes, to be equally divided 
between Woodland Female College and Cherokee Baptist College, or, as the 
donors may desire ; and that these objects be considered paramount in the liber- 
ality of our brethren till these colleges be endowed." 

While neither of the institutions became endowed, yet they maintained an 
honorable and useful existence, until the storm of war burst upon the land. 
Under the Presidency of Dr. T. Rambaut, the Cherokee Baptist College attained 
a very respectable position and accomplished much good, even under great 
financial difficulties. The Woodland College, Cedar Town, was so named in 
honor of Rev. J. M. Wood, its founder. It was originated in 1851, and was, at 
first, called The Cedar Town High School. A charter for it, as a college, was 
obtained in 1853, and Rev. J, M. Wood was elected Presiddht. The property 
was bought by the Coosa Association, and placed under the care of the Cherokee 
Baptist Convention, as already stated. Before its extinction by the exigencies of 
war, it educated a large number of young ladies. 

. The Cherokee Baptist Convention met at Petit's Creek, Cass county, in 1857, 
its constituents then being the Middle Cherokee, Coosa, Arbacoochee, EUijay 
and State Line Associations. G. W. Selvidge was elected President, and W. 
A. Mercer, Secretary. It met in Rome in 1858 and Jesse M. Wood was elected 
President, G. W. Selvidge, Vice-President, W. A. Mercer, Secretary, and A. B. 
Ross, Assistant Secretary. J. H. Campbell was received as the agent of the 
Foreign Mission Board. M. A. Cooper, J. R. Graves, S. G. Hillyer, T. Ram- 
baut, A. S. Worrell, J. McBryde, C, H. Stillwell and John H. Rice were present. 


J. R. Graves preached on Sunday to a "crowded house." J. M. Wood 
preached on education at night ; J. H. Campbell, at the Presbyterian, and Dr. 
Rambaut at the Methodist house of worship, preached on Sabbath. The 
reports all show great zeal and earnestness in every good cause — especially 
education, missions and Sunday-schools. 

The Convention met at Dalton in 1859, J. M. Wood, President. W. A. Mercer, 
Secretary. The Noonday Association had joined, and a very large and respect- 
able delegation were present. A. C. Dayton preached Sunday night. There 
were present as messengers and representatives of various benevolent causes, 
A. E. Vandivere, of Alabama, T. S. Montgomery and J. M. Bennett, of Ken- 
tucky, J. M. Pendleton, of Tennessee, M. T. Sumner, of the Domestic Mission 
Board, Alabama, D. G. Daniel, Agent of the Foreign Mission Board, F. M. 
Haygood, General Agent of the Georgia Baptist Bible and Colporter Society, 
at Macon, and W. W. Odum, Agent and Colporter of the Southwestern Pub- 
lishing House, Nashville. 

Considering the claims represented by all these persons and the special ob- 
jects of the Convention, likewise, we may form some idea of the important 
subjects brought forward and discussed by this body ; for all agents were per- 
mitted to present and press their claims. 

It was at this session that the Convention instructed its Executive Committee 
to procure a missionary to labor among the Cherokee Indians. Among those In- 
dians the Coosa Association already had a missionary at work — David M. Fore- 
man, a half-blood by birth, second Chief of the Nation, the clerk of its Court, a 
gentleman in manners and a man of tolerably good education. His appointment 
occurred as a result of the following circumstances : In 1855, the Coosa Associa- 
tion met at Pleasant Grove, Chattooga county, Ed. Dyer was elected Moderator, 
C. H. Stillwell, Clerk, and C. W. Sparks, Treasurer. In sight of the meeting 
house were the mounds, formed of loose rocks, which marked the graves of 
the Cherokee Indians. Evan Powell, a deacon of the Waterville church. 
Walker county, an humble, pious Christian, and beloved by the whole Associa- 
tion, presented a resolution that a mission be established among the Cherokee 
Indians. His earnest pleading for the perishing, whose lands the Association 
was then occupying, among whose very graves, (so much beloved by them,) 
the Association was then serving God, while the Indians were dying in ignor- 
ance of the Saviour, thrilled the whole body and excited an intense missionary 
enthusiasm. Four hundred dollars were raised, and the Executive Committee 
was requested to seek for and appoint a proper man to be a missionary of the 
Association among the Cherokees. The committee was fortunately successful 
in procuring as their missionary, David Foreman, who accomplished much 
good among those Indians. 

At that time, 1858, the Coosa, Middle Cherokee and Tallapoosa Associations, 
each had a home missionary at work within their own bounds. Although Rev. 
J. R. Chambers and Rev. V. A. Bell, were appointed by the Executive Com- 
mittee of the Cherokee Baptist Convention, as missionaries to the Cherokees, 
they both declined, and it was not until 1861 that a suitable man was secured, 
in the person of Rev. E. L. Compere, son of Rev. Lee Compere, whom the 
Executive Committee was, by formal resolution, instructed to appoint and send 
to the field. He entered into the service and was so engaged for several years. 

It may not be amiss to state the origin of another enterprise of this Conven- 
tion. At the session of 1859, in Dalton, a mass meeting was held to consider 
the question of publishing a Baptist weekly paper, and it was not only decided 
to do so, but Rev, J. M. Wood was elected its editor. The first number of the 
paper appeared at Rome, in October, 1859, and was designated the "Landmark 
Banner and Cherokee Baptist." It was afterwards moved to Atlanta and Rev. 
H. C. Hornady became associate editor. At that time the denomination in 
Georgia was greatly excited in regard to "the Board Question," "the plan of 
conducting missions," and other matters, and, in order the more fully to venti- 
late these and other matters, such as "church independence," "Young Men's 
Christian Associations," "the rights of minorities," "theological education," 
"church discipUne," "the pulpit and communion issues," this paper was origina- 


ted, and, was in truth, a lively and spicy sheet, until the devastations of war 
and the bad management of a business member of the firm blasted the enter- 

Nearly until the conclusion of the war of secession did the Cherokee Baptist 
Convention continue in vigorous and useful existence, composed of, and mainly 
conducted by, earnest and zealous Christians, many of whom still take an active 
part in the drama of life. The losses, calamities and devastations caused by 
the war, and resulting in poverty and ruin, ended not only its existence, but 
that of all its benevolent enterprises. 

It is proper to say here that the Cherokee Baptist Convention has had a suc- 
cessor, especially, as respects its work in the missionary department. We out- 
line the history oif the new body, the North Georgia Baptist General Missionary 
Association. ' 

The hearts of many brethren in North Georgia have yearned for more con- 
cert of action in fulfilling the commission for the evangelization of the world 
which our Lord on the eve of his ascension gave, not exclusively to the apostles, 
nor yet to the churches exclusively, but through them to all disciples. These 
brethren saw that thousands of Baptists in the Piedmont section of the Com- 
monwealth were doing almost nothing for missions. They realized the diffi- 
culty, if not the impossibility of uniting the Associations of Upper Georgia with 
the Baptist State Convention. The Chattahoochee Association, therefore, at its 
session in October, 1877, invited any and all Baptist Associations in good stand- 
ing, to meet with her, by delegates from Associations and churches, at Hope- 
well church, in Hall county, on Friday before the fourth Sunday in July, 1878, 
to consider the propriety of organizing for mission work. On the day appointed, 
between forty and fifty churches from a number of Associations were 
represented by delegates. By special request. Rev. W. C. Wilkes preached an 
impromptu introductory sermon, well suited to the occasion, from HI John, 8 
verse: "That we might be fellow-helpers to the truth." The body was organ- 
ized by electing Elder J. E. Reeves, Moderator, Elder W. C. Wilkes, Assistant 
Moderator, Elder D. S. McCurry, Secretary, and Berian H. Brown, Treasurer. 
The Constitution opened with this preamble : "Whereas, the Lord's people are 
commanded to 'go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature,' 
and to 'work while it is called to-day ;' and, whereas, the New Testament clearly 
teaches that the church is the Lord's instrumentality for evangelizing the world." 
The objects to be pursued by the Association were thus stated : "To unite the 
labors of Baptists in preaching the gospel everywhere, to assist weak churches 
in our bounds, and to aid worthy young men in preparing for the ministry." 
The meeting was a gracious one, and the three annual sessions since have been 
marked by harmony of feeling and by brotherly love. 

This Association has shown itself to be both a working and a growing body. 
It has given comfort to two aged, worn-out soldiers of the cross. It is sustain- 
ing a native Chinese preacher in a city of 700,000 inhabitants in a province of 
the empire of "the Anglo-Saxons of the East." It has an Indian preacher, 
O-las-se Chub-be, laboring successfully among the red men of the West. It 
assists in the education of young brother Pruitt, a student in the Southern Bap- 
tist Theological Seminary. These, we are persuaded, are but the beginnings 
of its works of faith and labors of love. May the blessing of Heaven and the 
Spirit of all grace abide on it. 

During the ten years immediately preceding the war, the host of mighty 
Baptists comprising tha Georgia Baptist Convention, were actively engaged in 
every good word and work, " and there were giants in those days." 

In 1857, Thomas Stocks was succeeded as President of the Convention, by 
P. H. Mell, who, for ten years, had been its clerk, and who inaugurated and 
established the full and admirable statistical tables which have been so excel- 
lently maintained by succeeding clerks down to the present time, especially by 
its present admirable clerk, Rev. G. R. McCall. 

The Christian Index, donated to the Convention in 1840, was moved to 
Macon in 1857, and Joseph Walker was elected editor. 


In the same year, at the session of the Convention held in Augusta, the Bible 
Board and Colporter Society was formed on the 25th of April, in the lecture- 
room of the Baptist house of worship, H. C. Hornady, Chairman, and J. H. 
Kilpatrick, Secretary. A. C. Dayton, S. Landrum and T. J. Perry were appointed 
a committee to draft a Constitution, which was submitted and adopted. The 
officers elected were J. H. DeVotie, President ; J. F. Swanson, Corresponding 
Secretary; S. Landrum, Recording Secretary; and J. DeLoache, Treasurer. 
A Board of Managers, composed of Macon brethren, were elected, and the 
society was located in that city. Six hundred dollars in cash and contributions 
were raised. 

On the 30th, at a meeting of the Board of Managers in Macon, W. N. Chau- 
doin was elected in the place of J. F. Swanson, resigned ; but he served one 
month only, when J. DeLoache was elected Corresponding Secretary and Treas- 
urer. His first report, in April, 1858, showed $2,241.26 collected, and $2,149.09 
expended. At its session in Americus, its auxiliary relationship with the Bible 
Board at Nashville was discontinued, and the society was made to occupy an 
independent position. 

The main object of this society was " to aid in the circulation of the Holy 
Scriptures and other religious books in our own and other lands." It had a 
large depository of books in Macon, and with successive depository agents, S. 
Boykin, James D. Cubbedge and F. M. Haygood, its Board of Managers kept 
it in useful operation until the end of the war, when it went out of existence 
with so many other Southern enterprises of a similar character. 

The years immediately preceding the war, were years, not only of great 
activity in our denomination, but of great commotion. Exciting questions were 
agitating the denomination, and a "split," or division, appeared threateningly 
imminent, there being, as already chronicled, two Conventions in the State. 

"Board" and "Anti-Board," " Landmark " and "Anti-Landmark," " Mission 
Plan," "Independent Action," "Rights of Minorities," and many other similar 
expressions became painfully common in the newspapers, and, it is feared, that 
too much actual bitterness of feeling prevailed, although brethen maintained 
friendly relations toward each other, personally. One good result of the war 
was to annihilate those little discussions and unite our denomination in the State 
more firmly into a large band of loving brothers. 

Previous to the war there were sixty-five Associations formed in Georgia, and 
of these there were in connection with the Georgia Baptist Convention, in 1861, 
twenty-two, the names of which are, Appalachee, Bethel, Central, Clarkesville, 
Columbus, Ebenezer, Flint River, Friendship, Georgia, Hephzibah, Houston, 
Mount Vernon, Piedmont, Rehoboth, Stone Mountain, Sarepta, State Line, Sun- 
bury, Southern, Tugalo, Washington, Western. Their reported contributions 
for missions, in 1859, amounted to $19,487.02; in i860, they amounted to 
$20,329.97; and, in 1861, to $21,180.89. 

A very small portion of these amounts was contributed by those Associations 
which were connected with the Cherokee Baptist Convention, in Northern 
Georgia, which conducted missions on the independent plan, and, besides, con- 
tributing to the home and foreign missions of the Southern Baptist Convention, 
maintained a Cherokee Indian mission of its own. 

There were, in connection with the Cherokee Baptist Convention, in 1861, 
seven Associations, namely : Coosa, Middle Cherokee, Tallapoosa, Hightower, 
EUijay, Noonday and Arbacoochie. At the Convention of i860, which met at 
Marietta, May i8th, $720.69 were reported sent up for various benevolent 
objects, while during the year, ending May i8th, the sum of $881.72 had been 
contributed for the Cherokee Indian mission alone. The session of 1861 was 
held at Calhoun, when $545.25 were reported received by the finance committee; 
while $961 had been contributed for the Cherokee Indian mission during the 
preceding year. 

It is, perhaps, unnecessary to state that it was the Associa::ions connected 
with these two Conventions, which, previous to the war, made Georgia Baptist 
history, contributed almost entirely the funds donated by the Georgia Baptists 


to the g-reat causes of missions, education and the distribution of the Bible, and 
carried forward the great benevolent and educational plans of the denomination. 
There were other and good Associations ; but to present more in detail their 
history is not possible in a brief chronicle of Georgia Baptist annals, such as 
this historical sketch presumes only to be. 






In i860, by a minority both of the electoral and popular votes, Abraham Lin- 
coln, the Republican candidate, was elected President — a " sectional President," 
as he was called ; and this was deemed the signal for action by those in the 
South who recognized the right of secession. The union of the States they be- 
lieved to be merely a voluntary bond, that could be dissolved at will by those 
States which might choose such a dissolution, whenever a sufficient inciting 
cause should occur to justify it. The election of Mr. Lincoln, the Abolition can- 
didate was, by the Southern leaders who favored secession and believed it con- 
stitutional, considered a sufficient reason for severing the Federal compact. 
This was regarded as one of the reserved rights of the States, a fair and logical 
consequence of the doctrine of State sovereignty, then maintained at the South. 
This doctrine was advocated by nearly all the most prominent politicians in 
Georgia, even by the Hon. A. H. Stephens himself, who nevertheless opposed 
secession as an impolitic and unwise measure that would prove disastrous. 
South Carolina took the lead in secession from the Union, and, in a called State 
Convention, passed an ordinance of secession, on the 24th of December, i860. 
In rapid succession her example was followed by six other States — Mississippi 
on the 9th of January, Florida and Alabama on the nth of January, Georgia on 
the 19th, Louisiana on the 26th, and Texas on the ist of February. The Seces- 
ion Convention of Georgia met at Milledgeville, the Capital, and the secession 
ordinance, written by Hon. Eugenius A. Nisbet, of Macon, was adopted, over- 
whelmingly. Delegates from the seceded States met at Montgomery, Alabama, 
on the 4th of February, and on the 8th Jefferson Davis was elected Provisional 
President, and Alexander H. Stephens, Vice-President. 

A new government was thus formed, under the name of The Confederate 
States of America. It is but right and proper to say that the Southern 
States firmly believed that they had a right to secede from the Union, and it 
was a prevalent opinion, and one expressed by President Buchanan himself, 
that no coercive measures would be employed to keep such States in the Union 
as, in their sovereign capacity, might decide to go out of it. Of course Southern 
Baptists held generally to these views, and sustained the political action of their 
States and section. 

In May, 1861, the Southern Baptist Convention met in Savannah, and Dr. 
Fuller, of Baltimore, was elected President. On motion of William H. Mcin- 
tosh, of Alabama, a committee, composed of R. Fuller, of Maryland, B. Manly, 



Sr., of Alabama; P. H. Mell, of Georgia; R. B. C. Howell, of Tennessee; J. B 
Taylor, of Virginia ; E. T. Winkler, of South Carolina ; L. W. Allen, of Ken- 
tucky ; Wm. C. Crane, of Louisiana ; G. H. Martin, of Mississippi; J. E. Broome, 
of Florida ; J. L. Prichard, of North Carolina, was instructed to report on the 
"State of the Country." The following is the report, which was unanimously 
adopted, and it should be remembered that about one-lialf of the delegates 
were Georgians. 

Dr. Richard Fuller, of Maryland, made the report : 

" We hold this truth to be self-evident, that governments are established for 
the security, prosperity and happiness of the people. When, therefore, any 
government is perverted from its proper design, becomes oppressive and abuses 
its power, the people have a right to change it. 

" As to the States once combined upon this continent, it is now manifest that 
they can no longer live together as one confederacy. 

" The Union, constituted by our forefathers, was one of co-equal sovereign 
States. The fanatical spirit of the North has long been seeking to deprive us 
of rights and franchises guaranteed by the Constitution ; and, after years of 
persistent aggression, they have, at last, accomplished their purpose. 

" In vindication of their sacred rights and honor, in self-defence, and for the 
protection of all which is dear to man, the Southern States have, practically, as- 
serted a right of seceding from a Union so degenerated from that established 
by the Constitution ;.and they have framed for themselves a government based 
upon the principles of the original compact — adopting a character which secures 
to each State its sovereign rights and privileges. 

" This new government, in thus dissolving former political connections, seeks 
to cultivate relations of amity and good will with its late confederates, and with 
all the world ; and they have thrice sent special commissioners to Washington, 
with overtures for peace, and for a fair, amicable adjustment of all difficul:ies. 
The government at Washington has insultingly repelled these reasonable pro- 
posals, and now insists upon devastating our land with fire and sword ; upon 
letting loose hordes of armed soldiers to pillage and desolate the entire South, 
for the purpose of forcing the seceded States back into unnatural union, or of 
subjugating them, and holding them as conquered provinces. 

" While the two sections of the land are thus arrayed against each other, it 
might naturally have been hoped that, at least, the churches of the North would 
interpose and protest against this appeal to the sword — this invoking of civil 
war — this deluging the country in fratricidal blood ; but, with astonishment and 
grief, we find churches and pastors of the North breathing out slaughter, and 
clamoring for sanguinary hostilities with a fierceness which we would have 
supposed impossible among the disciples of the Prince of Peace. In view of 
such premises, this Convention cannot keep silence. Recognizing the necessity 
that the whole moral influence of the people, in whatever capacity or organiza- 
tion, should be enlisted in aid of the rulers, who, by their suffrages, have been 
called to defend the endangered interests of person and property, of honor and 
liberty, it is bound to utter its voice distinctly, decidedly, emphatically, and your 
committee recommend, therefore, the subjoined resolutions : 

"Resolved, i. That impartial history cannot charge upon the South the disso- 
lution of the Union. She was foremost in advocating and cementing that Union. 
To that Union she clung, through long years of calumny, injury and insult. 
She has never ceased to raise her warning appeals against the fanaticism which 
has obstinately and incessantly warred against that Union. 

"Resolved, 2. That we most cordially approve of the formation of the gov- 
ernment of the Confederate States of America, and admire and applaud the 
noble course of that government up to the present time. 

" Resolved, J. That we will assiduously invoke the divine direction and favor 
in behalf of those who bear rule among us, that they may still exercise the same 
wise, prompt, elevated statesmanship, which has hitherto characterized their 
measures ; that their enterprises may be attended with success ; and that they 
may attain great reward, not only in seeing these Confederate States prosper 
under their administration, but in contributing to the progress of the transcend- 
,€nt kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. 


" Resolved^'4. That we most cordially tender to the President of the Confederate 
States, to his Cabinet, and to the members of the Congress now convened at 
Montgomery, the assurances of our sympathy and entire confidence. With 
them are our hearts and our hearty co-operation. 

" Resolved, j. That the lawless reign of terror at the North, the violence com- 
mitted upon unoffending citizens, above all, the threats to wage upon the South 
a warfare of savage barbarity, to devastate our homes and hearths with hosts of 
ruffians and felons, burning with lust and rapine, ought to excite the horror of 
all civilized people. God forbid that we should so far forget the spirit of Jesus 
as to suffer malice and vindictiveness to insinuate themselves into our hearts ; 
but, every principle of religion, of patriotism and of humanity, calls upon us to 
pledge our fortunes and lives in the good work of repelling an invasion designed 
to desfoy whatever is dear in our heroic traditions — whatever is sweet in domes- 
tic hopes and enjoyments — whatever is essential to our institutions and our very 
manhood — whatever is worth living or dying for. 

" Resolved, 6. That we do now engage in prayer for our friends, brothers, 
fathers, sons and citizen-soldiers, who have left their homes to go forth for the 
defence of their families and friends, and all which is dearest to the human 
heart ; and we commend to the churches represented in this body, that they 
constantly invoke a holy and merciful God to cover their heads in the day of 
battle, and give victory to their arms. 

" Resolved, 7. That we will pray for our enemies in the spirit of the Divine 
Master, who, "when he was reviled reviled not again," trusting that their pitiless 
purposes may be frustrated ; that God will grant to them a more politic, a 
more considerate, and a more Christian mind, that the fratricidal strife which 
they have decided upon, notwithstanding all our commissions and pleas for 
peace, may be arrested by that Supreme Power who maketh the wrath of man 
to praise Him ; and that thus, through the divine blessing, the prosperity of these 
sovereign and once allied States may be restored under the two governments to 
which they now and henceforth, respectively belong. 

" Resolved, S. We do recommend the churches of the Baptist denomination 
in the Southern States, to observe the first and second days of June, as days of 
humiliation, fasting, and prayer to Almighty God, that He may avert any calam- 
ities due to our sins as a people, and may look with mercy and favor upon us. 

" Resolved, g. That, whatever calamities may come upon us, our firm trust 
and hope are in God, through the atonement of His Son, and we earnestly 
beseech the churches represented in this body (a constituency of six or seven 
hundred thousand Christians), that they be prompt and importunate in prayer, 
not only for the country, but for the enterprises of the gospel which have been 
committed to our care. In the war of 181 2, the Baptists bated not a jot of 
heart or hope for the Redeemer's cause. Their zeal and liberality abounded in 
their deep afflictions. We beseech the churches to cherish the spirit, and imitate 
the example of this noble army of saints and heroes ; to be followers of them 
who, through faith and patience, inherit the promises ; to be steadfast, unmova- 
ble, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as they know that 
their labor is not in vain in the Lord. 

" Resolved, 10. That these resolutions be communicated to the Congress of 
the ' Confederate States,' at Montgomery, with the signatures of the President 
.and Secretaries of the Convention. 

"P. H. Mell, 
"James E. Broome, 
"G. H. Martin. 
"W. Carey Crane, 
" R. Fuller, 
" [AMES B. Taylor, 
"R. B. C. Howell, 
"L. W. Allen, 
"J. L. Prichard, 
"E. T. Winkler, 
"B. Manly, Sr." 


This report was adopted May 13th, 1861. 

On the 27th of April preceding, a committee, composed of N. M. Crawford, 
chairman, Junius Hillyer, Thomas Stocks, S. Sisk and J. H. Stockton, submitted 
the following report on the Political Crisis, which was adopted by the Georgia 
Baptist Convention, assembled at Athens : 

" Whereas, The State of Georgia, in the legitimate exercise of her sover- 
eignty, has withdrawn from the confederacy known as the United States of 
America ; and, for the better maintenance of her rights, honor and independence, 
has united with other States in a new confederacy, under the name of Confed- 
erate States of America; and, 

"Whereas, Abraham Lincoln, the President of the United States, is attempt- 
ing by force of arms to subjugate these States, in violation of the fundamental 
principles of American liberty ; therefore, 

''Resolved, i. By the members of the Baptist Convention of the State of 
Georgia, that we consider it to be at once a pleasure and a duty to avow that, 
both in feeling and in principle, we approve, endorse and support the govern- 
ment of the Confederate States of America. 

" Resolved, 2. That, while this Convention disclaims ail authority, whether 
ecclesiastical or civil, yet, as citizens, we deem it but a duty to urge the union of 
all the people of the ::-outh in defence of the common cause; and to express 
the confident belief that, in whatever conflict the madness of Mr. Lincoln and 
his government may force upon us, the Baptists of Georgia will not be behind 
any class of our fellow citizens in maintaining the independence of the South 
by any sacrifice of treasure or of blood. 

''Resolved, j. That we acknowledge, with devout thankfulness to Almighty 
God, the signal favor with which, up to this time, He has blessed our arms and 
our policy ; and that the Baptist churches of this State be requested to observe 
the first and second days of June next, as days of fasting and prayer, that God 
will deliver us from all the power of our enemies, and restore peace to our 

" Resolved 4, That the Confederate Government be requested to invite the 
churches of all denominations, within the Confederacy, to unite in observing 
said days of fasting and prayer. 

"Resolved, j. That copies of these resolutions be sent to President Davis, the 
Confederate Congress, and the Governor of Georgia. 

N. M. Crawford, Chairman. 

On its adoption the President, Dr. Mell, by request, invited the entire congre- 
gation to express their opinion on the sentiments of this report, and in testimony 
of their unanimous approval the entire assembly rose to their feet simul- 
taneously. On motion of J. H. Campbell, the President then called upon Dr. 
C. D. Mallary to lead in prayer. It was an interesting, solemn and devotional 

On the 17th of May the Cherokee Baptist Convention met at Calhoun,. 
Georgia, and Mark A. Cooper was elected President, with W. A. Mercer, Secre- 
tary, and T. H. Stout, Assistant Secretary. The same day, on motion, the 
regular order of business was suspended and the following resolution, offered by 
J. M. Wood, was unanimously adopted : 

" Resolved, That a special committee be appointed to draft resolutions in 
reference to the affairs of our beloved country, the Southern Confederate States 
of America, and that the Moderator act as chairman of said committee." A 
committee of seven was agreed upon, and that the President appoint the other 
six. He appointed J. M. Wood, R. M. Young, J. H. B. Shackelford, William 
Newton, D. B. Hamilton and A. B. Ross. 

On Monday, the 20th, the following repoit was presented by Mark A. Cooper, 
who addressed the Convention in a clear and forcible manner on the subject of 
the report. He was followed by J. M. Wood, and afterwards the report was 
unanimously adopted — the whole congregation voting. 

" Resolved, That we adopt and sustain the views and opinions of the Southern 
Baptist Convention, recently held in Savannah, Georgia, as set forth in the report 
of a special committee, made by Rev. Dr. Richard Fuller,, chairman. Also, 


that we adopt and sustain the opinions expressed by the Georgia Baptist Con- 
vention at its late session in Athens, Georgia, as contained in the report of a 
committee, made by Rev. Dr. N. M. Crawford. 

''Resolved, That on occasions of great pubUc concern, in which millions of our 
people find their rights, their liberties and homes invaded, it is proper that the 
opinions of organized Christian communities should be made known. The 
condition of the Confederate States of America is such an occasion. 

"Resolved, therefore. That the Cherokee Baptist Convention of Georgia, do 
declare, as just and true the following facts and opinions, to-wit : 

" I. The contest waging between the Northern United States and Southern 
Confederate States, is one of right and wrong, in which the North claims the right 
(the powers granted by their Federal Constitution being the pretext) to tax the 
South at pleasure and against its will, to sell us what they make at their own 
prices, denying us the right to buy elsewhere, at cheaper rates. This takes 
from us, against our will, the profits of our labor to aid their private enterprises, 
and enable their capitalists to employ their labor and make good their profits. 

" 2. Connected with and incidental to this, is the power claimed and exercised 
by the North to dictate to the South what kind of labor it shall use, and where 
it should be employed, restricting us in the use of our property, rendering it 
unprofitable and valueless, and denying to us equal rights in a common terri- 
tory for the purpose of destroying the tenure of our property and depriving us 
■of it. 

" 3. If the Constitution of the United States of America is what our fathers 
made it, and true Republicans have ever thought it to be, there is no power 
granted to do this. Doing it is an assumption of power unjust and oppressive. 
Northern capital, combined with hired labor, impelled by a spirit of fanaticism, 
has controlled the majority interest, has perverted the Constitution, and estab- 
lished at Washington a government with practically unlimited power. 

" 4. We of the South have resisted in the only peaceable and rightful way 
.known to us. As free and independent States we have formed that Union for 
purposes expressed in the Constitution, to be carried out by powers defined and 
-limited. For reasons assigned and deemed sufficient, as sovereign and inde- 
pendent States, we have dissolved and withdrawn from it. As such, we have 
formed a union of Confederate States. We adopted the Constitution of our 
fathers with all its good features, reforming its defects. 

" 5. All this has been done with notice to all the States with whom we were 
heretofore united. This we had a right to do. Independence as States, free- 
dom and equality as a people, we were entitled to and will have, or will take the 
alternative not to be. 

" 6. We thank the wise Disposer of human events that in this there is but one 
purpose with our people. We seek peace, and do not desire war. We do not 
intend to trespass on or invade the rights of others. We do intend that others 
shall not put hostile feet on our territory. For this we shall meet the invader at 
the line, and with our lives and fortunes defend our country, every inch of 
ground, trusting to God and our cause. 

"7. War is forced upon us. The government at Washington city is now a 
consolidation of arbitrary persons ; is a military despotism, ruled by the spirit 
of a mob, moved by fanaticism, and guided by peculiar, sectional, pecuniary in- 

" 8. It calls us 'rebels ' and 'traitors.' To make good this charge it assumes 
that our union with the States it represents still exists. And yet, so grand and 
imposing is our movement by our States and government, that, assuming us to 
be foreign powers at war with the powers at Washington city, it treats us as a 
belligerent nation ! 

" 9. It summons, at the will of a man styled President, without the authority 
'of Congress, the army and navy to fight us. Finding this too weak, without 
form of law, the same man calls on the several States for contributions of troops 
■to subdue us. These being too slow and inefficient, the same man levies troops 
indefinitely as to number and time of service, without law or authority, to ravage 
and lay waste our country, destroy our property, and make us subject to a 
willful and aggressive majority. 


■' 10. They seek to conquer us : 

" First, By dividing us. To this end they tamper with our people and buy- 
up whom they can, teaching them that one of our counties is to the State what 
a State was to the Union. 

" Second, They seek to conqi.:er us by destroying our commerce, having power 
only to ' regulate ' it. To this end they have established, or declared, a regular 
blockade of all our ports and public avenues of approach, quartering their 
armies and planting their navy to interrupt our trade. They hope, thereby to 
starve us out and deprive us of the means and power of self-defence. 

" This hope is vain and delusive. If it must be so, let them cherish it. They 
are as false to themselves as they have been to us. ' They are given up to 
believe a lie.' 

•'II. The blockade is doing for us that which we could not do for ourselves. 
They will remove it or destroy themselves. If it stands it will put them right 
and open their eyes to truth. It will restore peace to us sooner than the Minnie- 
musket or the Mississippi rifle. It will give us a victory more bloodless than 
the capture of Sumter. 

"12. Brethren, let us abide and sustain it. Their bacon and flour let them 
keep and consume. Their hardware, plantation tools, house and kitchen furni- 
ture, men's and women's clothing, let them take to another market. Let us live 
without them. As for powder and lead and arms, they will find we have more 
than Christians should force us to use — enough for the occasion. Whilst we 
pray that God will rule them and us, and spare us their use, if it is His will let 
us use them ; we will do it with all our might. 

" 13. Brethren, let their blockade be enforced if it can be, in its rigor. If we 
can't do without them it is wrong to quit them. If right to quit them, we 
should now demonstrate virtue enough to cut loose from them, cost what it 
may. We should hate to look at anything (tempted by a dollar), they would 
smuggle to us. 

"Resolved, That we have confidence in our rulers, the President and Cabinet 
and Congress. With these views and purposes, trusting in the Almighty and 
the justice of our cause, we have nothing to fear. Let those who would wrong 
and oppress, move on, until time and events, their own interest, or the will of 
our Heavenly Father, shall turn their course. 

" Mark A. Cooper, 
"J. M. Wood, 



. Young, 






B. Shackelford, 


. Newton, 




the christian index. 

At the session for 1861, the Georgia Baptist Convention instructed its " Index 
Committee " to effect a sale of The Index, with as little delay as possible ; and 
it, therefore, seems proper that a brief history of this useful adjunct of Georgia 
Baptist History should be inserted here. 

In December, 1839, Jesse Mercer laid before the Executive Committee of the 
Convention a proposition to transfer The Christian Index to the Convention, 
giving, with The Index, the house, presses and type, belonging to his printing 
establishment. He proposed to furnish the office with $500.00 worth of new 
type. The Committee recommended the Convention to accept the donation, 
which it did in May, 1840, and the paper was moved to Pentield, January ist, 
1841, Rev. William H. Stokes having been retained as editor. 

The paper had been transferred to Georgia from Philadelphia, in the latter half 
of 1833, and edited by Jesse Mercer, assisted v^ery ably, most of the time, by 
William H. Stokes. Mr. Stokes continued to edit the paper, with credit to 
himself, until January, 1843, when he resigned. Dr. J. S. Baker was then elected 
editor, a position which he tilled with marked ability, until January, 1849. He 
then tendered his resignation, when B. M. Sanders, chairman of the Executive; 


Committee conducted the paper until January of the foUov/ing year, at which 
time John F. Dagg assumed editorial control. Under his management the 
paper prospered ; and in 1854, it paid into the treasury of the Convention $463.35. 
The following year it paid into the treasury $276.59. 

During all these years the paper had been the organ of the Georgia Baptists, 
and had exerted a powerful influence for good. Its bane, however, was the 
credit system, which prevented it from ever becoming a financial success, and 
gave rise, in a large degree, to those circumstances which finally resulted in its 
sale. J. F. Dagg was succeeded by T. D. Martin, in December, 1855, and at 
the next session of the Convention, in 1856, the sale of the paper was strongly 
recommended by the Executive Committee, but they were instructed to remove 
it "to some one of the principal cities of the State." 

In July, 1856, it was decided to move the paper to Macon, and an Index 
Committee was appointed, consisting of E. G. Cabaniss, B. F. Tharp, H. Bunn, 
S. Landrum, J. DeLoache, J. Collins, William L. A. Ellis. The Convention of 
1857 adopted the following resolutions : 

" I. The energy, efficiency and business tact, apparent in everything pertaining 
to The Index, are worthy of all praise. 

" 2. The diligence, devotion and ability of the editor are also manifest ; and 
the success with which he is known to have acquitted himself, in various other 
arduous pursuits, may well have directed the attention of the Committee to 
that brother." 

Rev. Joseph Walker was the new editor, assuming his position in January, 
1857. He proved to be a strong and spicy writer and gave great life to the 
paper, which, under his care, succeeded financially. The editor's salary of 
$1,500.00, besides a surplus paid into the treasury, were the nett proceeds of 
the paper. As already intimated, Rev. S. Landrum, chairman of The Index 
Committee, edited the paper very successfully for two months, when Rev. E. 
W. Warren being elected to the position, became editor August the 25th, 1859, 
and so continuing until MaVch, i860, when he resigned, to become pastor of the 
Macon church. S. Boykin was then elected editor, and held the position until 
he purchased the paper in 1861. 

The sale of the paper had been agitated for many years. As early as 1849 
the Convention recommended its sale, but it could not be effected with pro- 
priety. In 1856 the Executive Committee presented an argument in favor of 
sale, but the Convention declined, lest the paper might cease to be a Baptist 
paper, and thus be lost to the denomination ; and for fear that its sale might 
injure the circulation of the paper, and impair its usefulness to the denomina- 
tion. The Executive Committee stated in 1856, "The management of The 
Christian Index from 1840, when it was transferred to the Convention by 
Rev. Jesse Mercer, has been a source of more perplexity to the Committee 
than all other matters trusted to their charge." 

In i86t circumstances so favorable to a sale supervened that the measure 
passed the Convention without much opposition, and the paper continued its 
career of usefulness, until General Wilson's conquering legions entered the city 
of Macon. The .last issue was mailed when the enemy were in rapid advance 
upon Macon, having captured Columbus. It had then a larger circulation than 
it had ever attained previously. 

Soon after the war, it was sold by S. Boykin, to J. J. Toon, of Atlanta, for 
the sum of $2,000 cash, and Mr. Toon, the proprietor, of the Franklin Printing 
House of Atlanta, in November, 1865, started it upon a widely extended 
career of usefulness, under the editorship of Dr. H. H. Tucker. At'the end of 
six months Dr. Tucker assumed the Presidency of Mercer University, and after 
six months more, during which Dr. W. T. Brantly wielded the editorial baton, 
Dr. D. Shaver, of Virginia, was employed, January, 1867. to edit the paper. He 
retired in September, 1874. Under his able and scholarly care the paper pros- 
pered, became a strong Baptist power and exerted a commanding influence. 

The Baptist State Convention at its session in Rome, April, 1873, "learning 
from brother Toon that it was his purpose to sell The Index, pledged its con- 
tinued and active support in circulating the paper in the hands of any proper 


purchasers." It also expressed the opinion that " it would be highly gratifying 
to the Baptists of Georgia, if some satisfactory arrangement could be made, by 
which Dr. Shaver's services could be retained as editor of the denominational 
organ." This action was taken by the adoption of a report from a committee, 
including one from each Association represented in the body, which had been 
raised to consider the interests of the paper. In pursuance of the policy thus 
marked out, a sub-committee held a conference in Atlanta with Dr. J. S. Law- 
ton and Mr. J. P. Harrison, (who organized the tirm of J. P. Harrison & Co.,) 
and the wish of the Convention was consummated by the transfer of The In- 
dex to this firm in June, 1873. The new proprietors, in the first issue under 
their management, said : 

" The undersigned are conscious of the fact that success can be obtained only 
by the cordial and active co-operation of the denomination whose tenets it is 
designed to expound. This co-operation they anticipate, as well from their 
knowledge of the liberal impulses of the churches as from the pledges of their 
representative men ; and with confidence in this support, they engage most 
heartily and hopefully in the new duties before them." 

On the retirement of Dr. Shaver, Rev. D. E. Butler became managing editor, 
and held that position until Dr. H. H. Tucker was employed in October, 1878. 
From 1833 to the present time the paper has remained the staunch supporter 
of Georgia Baptist affairs, and the regular organ of the denomination in the 
State, maintaining always a large circulation. 

At the last session of the Georgia Baptist Convention, in 188;, in Athens, 
the following resolutions were adopted, concerning this time-honored paper : 

Whereas, This Convention at its session in LaGrange in 1878, adopted the 
following preamble and resolution, to-wit : 

" Recognizing The Chrisi ian Index as the organ of our denomination 
in this State, and appreciating its importance in every field of denominational 
labor, whether as the exponent and defender of our doctrines, interests and pol- 
icy, the medium of communication between the churches, or as an invaluable 
companion in Baptist homes — we cordially and earnestly resolve : 

"I. That The Christian Index is worthy of, and should receive, the 
support of every Baptist in Georgia. 

" 2. That, as the denominational organ, it has evinced a degree of ability, 
fidelity and watchfulness over the varied interests of the denomination, which 
merits recognition by this Convention. 

■' 3. That the enterprise, liberality and zeal which have distinguished the pro- 
prietors in their conduct of The Index, commend them to the confidence and 
support of all Georgia Baptists, and give assurance of unabated efforts, on their 
part, to increase the usefulness of this denominational auxiliary. 

" 4. That all Baptist ministers in Georgia — keeping in view the importance of 
The Index as the organ of our denomination, and as a means of advancing 
vital Christianity — should regard it as a ministerial duty to urge the members 
of their respsctive congregations to give it their support ; and we invoke the 
prompt and conscientious performance of this obligation." 

And Whereas, resolutions of the same tone and intent have been repeat- 
edly adopted from time to time by this body for many years past, and were, in 
substance, reaffirmed by the Convention last year during its session in Savannah, 
in the following words, to-wit : 

" We take pleasure in acknowledging the excellence, ability and soundness of 
the time-honored Index under its present management, and commend it hear- 
tily to all Georgia Baptists." 

And W'hereas, The present managers of The Christian Index have 
increased the editorial force to a larger degree than ever before, at considerable 
expense to themselves, therefore 

Resolved, That we renew all our former indorsements of the " excellence, 
ability and soundness of the time-honored Index," and re-affirm our commen- 
dation of it to the hearty support of every Baptist in Georgia. 

To quote the words of C. D. Mallary, in a report to the Convention in 1S60 : 
" The Christian Index has had an honorable and useful history. For nearly 


orty years fnow, nearly sixty years), it has been circulating among our churches, 
mparting valuable instruction to thousands in relation to the doctrines and 
commands of our exalted Saviour, and advancing, ably and earnestly, wise and 
udicious plans for the furtherance of the Redeemer's kingdom among men. 
In the hands of Knowles and Brantly and Mercer, (long since entered into their 
heavenly rest), it accomplished a noble work ; and in the hands of beloved and 
precious brethren still living, it continued its wholesome and wide-spread min- 
strations. We pray God that it may live for a long time to come, and that its 
ife may be one of constantly increasing usefulness." 


The four years of war that ensued very soon, caused a discontinuance of 
actual participation in 'Foreign and Indian missions work, by the Southern Bap- 
tists, although contributions for those objects continued to be made by the 
Georgia Baptists, all during the war. Missions among the Indians, in the Indian 
Territory, were completely broken up, the country ravaged and pillaged, and the 
tribes scattered, as soon as the dogs of war were fairly let loose. The warlike 
nature of the Indian tribes was greatly aroused, and the Choctaws, Creeks, 
-and a portion of the Cherokees unhesitatingly dissolved their connection with 
the United States government, and not only cast in their fortunes with the 
Southern Confederacy, but took up arms and enlisted in the cause of the young 
republic. The same was true of the Seminoles and Chickasaws. To all these 
tribes the sacrifice made, in thus uniting with the South, was tremendous, put- 
ting even their national existence in peril. Among these tribes several Georgia 
Baptist Associations had maintained missionaries — for instance, the Bethel, the 
Rehoboth, the Ebenezer and the Western — but, of course, their mission work 
ceased, as the missionaries either joined the army, fled, or became government 
officers. Invasion destroyed the mission of the Baptists of North Georgia 
among the Cherokees in that region, also. Gradually, even the scope of Do- 
mestic missions became greatly circumscribed, and the benevolent contributions, 
thus diverted from their usual channels, were appropriated to the sustenance of 
missionaries in the armies and providing Bibles and religious reading for the 
soldiers. The war, entered into so hastily and with such a gallant ebullition of 
spirits, proved to be a far more serious and momentous affair than was expected, 
and the South, at length, realized that it had taken an awful step in attempting 
secession. The Mission Report, of 1862, written by William T. Brantly, the 
younger, for the Georgia Baptist Convention, contained these words : " The 
Committee on Missions report the satisfaction which they have experienced in 
finding that the churches continue to make to the mission cause contributions 
which, under the circumstances, must be regarded as liberal The fact shows 
the deep hold which this cause possesses on the affections of the churches. We 
are in the midst of one of the most desolating wars with which it has ever 
pleased God to visit any nation. Our resources have been taxed well nigh to 
exhaustion, in making provision for the brave and patriotic men who have taken 
the field to repel the invader ; while the price of living has augmented in an 
enormous ratio, the ordinary income of the great mass of the people has been 
greatly abridged ; and yet, under all these disadvantages, more than four 
thousand dollars have been paid over during the present session of the Conven- 
tion, by churches and by individuals, to the different objects of benevolence 
under the patronage of our denomination. Such contributions, under such 
circumstances, indicate a noble spirit of self-denial for Jesus. They afford a 
grateful verdure amid a barren desert— a shining light amid surrounding gloom. 
* * * * We are happy to learn that our Board at Richmond have been 
able, under a flag of truce, to send to our missionaries in foreign fields the funds 
requisite for their support. We are also pleased to know that the recipients of 
our benefactions, among the Indian tribes, are in cordial and active sympathy 
with us, in the revolution which is now in progress. Our brethren are also 
engaged in some systematic effort to preach the gospel to the soldiers in our 

At the same session the virtual suspension of Mercer University is recorded, 


which was followed by the suspension of exercises in our various colleges for 
young- ladies, in the State, the buildings of which institutions were made avail- 
able for hospital purposes, by the Confederate government. 

The report on missions, in 1863, at Griffin, informs us plainly of the course 
taken by benevolence at that time : " The liberal contributions we have received 
[at the present session] from various sources, a'liounting to about seven thous- 
and dollars, shows that our people are in possession of an intelligent appreciation 
of the position in support of the divine plan for the speedy accomplishment of 
this great end — [shedding gospel light upon all nations]. For the time being, 
the Foreign Board is but imperfectly accomplishing its work, through the agency 
of sympathising friends in Baltimore. 

" Our Domestic Mission Board, aided by Bible and colportage societies, is 
accomplishing a great work throughout the bounds of its legitimate fields. Its 
attention is chiefly directed to the army. Ministering brethren are sent among 
the brave and noble defenders of our country, who have gratuitously distributed 
to them thousands of Testaments, and millions of pages of religious reading 
matter, in tracts and religious papers." 

It is most true that hundreds of our Georgia Baptists ministers attended the 
armies of the Confederacy, during the war, and labored faithfully as missiona- 
ries, evangelists or chaplains, and the beneficial results of their devoted and self- 
sacrificing labors will be revealed by the light of eternity only. Many of them 
served as army missionaries, in the employ of our Boards or Associations, but 
others were voluntary evangelists, declining to receive any compensation what- 
ever. The well-known opposition to State patronage mainiaiaed by our de- 
nomination, was strongly exhibited by the Georgia Baptist Convention of 1864, 
held in Atlanta, which also manifested the intensity of the Baptist desire to 
minister to the spiritual wants of the soldiers in service. 

Governor Joseph E. Brown offered the following, which was adopted at that 
session of the Convention : 

" Whereas, there is great need of missionaries in the army, and of ministers 
to_ supply destitute churches at home; and, whereas, there are many ordained 
ministers of the gospel now in the Confederate armies whose services are de- 
sired by regiments, battalions and churches; therefore, be it 

" Resolved by the Georgia Baptist Convention, That a committee of three be 
appointed by the president of this Convention to correspond with his Excellency, 
the President of the Confederate States, and request him to pass an order di- 
recting the discharge from military service of any ordained minister of the • 
gospel whose services are asked by any regiment or separate battalion in service, 
or by any church as a pastor. 

" Resolved, fuyther. That this Convention does not approve of the principle 
of appointing chaplains for the army, to be paid out of the public treasury, and 
we pledge ourselves, as a denomination, to do all in our power to support all 
ministers of our denomination discharged and permitted to attend, as missiona- 
ries, upon regiments or battalions, which may petition for their services." 

The committee appointed were D. A. Vason, E. Steadman and J. I. Whitaker. 
And the truth of history requires the record to be made that the Baptists of 
Georgia poured out their treasures that the soldiers in the armies of the Con- 
federacy, during the civil war of i86i-'65, might be supplied with Testaments, 
religious literature, and the preached Word. Both ministry and laymen among 
them bore their full share in the toils, hardships and dangers of the contest, 
freely venturing life and health on the battle-field and in ministerial service, 
making sacrifice of personal comfort of pecuniary treasure, and even of life 
itself, when the exigencies of the service demanded either. 

It is a matter of special record that of the $130,000 contributed to the Domes- 
tic Board of the Southern Baptist Convention for army missions during the year 
from April, i86^„ to April, 1864, $50,000 were contributed by the Baptists of 
Georgia. And our denominational records also bear testimony that their faith 
and devotion never wavered. 

The resolutions on the State of the Country for 1862, offered by J. H. Campbell, 
may testify on that point : 


''Resolved, That the Convention heartily, solemnly and unanimously re- 
asserts the sentiments, as far as applicable to the present circumstances, of the 
resolutions on the State of the Country passed at the last session of this body. 

''Resolved, That while profoundly feeling that our cause is just, we never- 
theless have great reason to humble ourselves before Almighty God, and to 
acknowledge his chastening hand in our late reverses. 

"Resolved, That we find in the present circumstances of the co'jintry no 
cause for discouragement ; that God, our Heavenly Father, often chastens most 
promptly tl.ose whom he most loves ; and that trusting in him with the whole 
heart, we are more and more determined, by his blessing, to oppose the invader 
of our soil by every means placed in our power, and to the last extremity." 

To this may be added a similar report made by A. T. Holmes, chairman, two 
years later, in 1864, at Atlanta: 

" After three years' experience of the hardships and horrors of the desolating 
war waged against us by our unnatural foe, we find ourselves unchanged in our 
feelings and principles, as respects the indorsement and support of the Confed- 
erate States of America. While we recognize the hand of God in the reverses 
of the past year, and acknowledge that the chastisement was justly adminis- 
tered, we take courage from the fact that, to some good extent, these judgments 
have been fanctified, and that the spirit of prayer and dependence upon the 
divine assistance is more than ever manifest. 

"In the present condition of our country we find occasion for thankfulness to 
Him who guides the destinies of nations. From every point the indications are 
cheering, and hope and confidence swell our bosoms as we contemplate the final 
result. The gracious influence of divine truth upon our army as reported from 
various sources, is full of encouragement as respects the Divine purpose in 
regard to our struggling country. 

"In view of the past and present, we would call upon our brethren to act with 
reference to the declaration of the man of God, that it is better to trust in the 
Lord than to put confidence in princes. England and France may continue to 
deny us their countenance and help in our great extremity, and the nations of 
the earth may regard with indifference the tremendous struggle that involves 
our very existence as a nation ; but if the God of Heaven shall recognize us, 
all will be well." 

It cannot be said, either, that the denomination had not fully realized the 
terrible results of warfare; for in 1863 a committee composed of J. H. Camp- 
bell, M. J. Welborn, Thomas Stocks, N. M. Crawford, and B. F. Tharp were 
appointed a committee to memorialize the State Legislature in favor of the 
education of soldiers' orphans ; and, as their memorial effected no result, the 
same committee was continued in 1864, and were unanimously requested to 
renew their memorial to that body ; but as no law to effect the desired result 
was passed, at the suggestion of the Convention, naught was left but the estab- 
lishment of an Orphan's Home by the Baptists themselves, and it was done ; 
and for fifteen years it proved a necessary and useful institution. 

An examination of the Minutes of our various Associations makes it evident 
that the Baptists of the State were all intensely interested in the war, thoroughly 
loyal to the Confederate cause, hopeful even unto the end of 1864, all ardently 
enlisted in the cause of army missions, actively engaged in caring for the orphans 
of deceased soldiers, and abundant in prayers for the success of the Confederate 

In the summer of 1864, July 31st, died, C. D. Mallary, who, by abundant labors 
and a saintly life, had wielded a most exalted influence over our denomination in 
Georgia for more than thirty years. The report of the Board of Trustees of 
Mercer University for 1866, alluded to his decease in the following terms : " Since 
our last report,* death has created a vacancy in our Board, of no ordinary character. 
We allude to the decease of our much loved and revered brother, Charles Button 
Mallary, D. D. Whether as pastor in Columbia, S. C, at Augusta, Ga., at Mill- 
edgeville, at LaGrange, or elsewhere ; as missionary of the Central Association, 

*The subjugation of Georgia in April, 1865 prevented a session of the Geoigia Baptist Convention ia 
that year. 


as a member of the Convention or the Board of Trustees, who can ever forget 
his abundant labors and saintly bearing? The years of 1837-38 and '39 he 
devoted to the interest of Mercer University, as agent for its endowment. In 
1838 his name stands next to Mercer's on the Minutes of the first Board of 
Trustees, a position which he occupied with untiring fidelity, and pre-eminent 
usefulness to the day of his death. He was the peace-maker ; the man of 
devout spirit at all times ; distinguished for his piety. He was greatly good. 
His place cannot be filled, either by the Board or the Convention. The fathers 
are passing away ; may their mantles fall upon their younger brethren !" 

The report on deceased ministers for that same session of the Convention, 
written by Dr. S. G. Hillyer, pays the following graceful and just tribute to the 
memory of one of the best men the host of Georgia Baptists has ever boasted : 
" As a man, brother Mallary had no enemy. Among all classes he was regarded 
with profound respect. Even the wicked paid to his worth spontaneous homage ; 
while the virtuous and the good honored and loved him. As a laborer he was 
indefatigable. He was familiar with almost every neighborhood within the 
wide bounds of this Convention. Our cities, towns and villages, and our country 
churches knew him well. He went about, like his Divine Master, doing good. 
He was the friend of the widow and the orphan. With his kind words he 
soothed their sorrows, and with his open hand he often relieved their wants. 
He was a laborer in the cause of temperance. We can never forget his earnest 
zeal in that cause. To his last hour he was faithful to the principles which he 
had so faithfully advocated. He was a laborer in the cause of learning. The 
Convention has already heard how he toiled for our University. Your com- 
mittee deem it unnecessary to enlarge upon this topic ; but his interest in the 
educational enterprise of our denomination was not limited to Mercer University. 
While he exhibited such profound solicitude for the proper culture of our sons, 
"he was not unmindful of the wants of our daughters. LaGrange and Cuthbert, 
in their efforts in behalf of female education, felt and enjoyed the beneficence 
of his good will, and the effect of his material aid. His labors were abundant 
and they were useful ; but after all, they were only secondary. His great labor 
— that to which all else was subordinate — was the work of the ministry. While 
health und strength sustained him, /le lived to preach. He was the sinner's 
friend. Who can forget his mellow tones, as he poured forth his stirring appeals 
to the unconverted ! How his soul yearned for their salvation ! When he saw 
the tear of penitence, or heard the sigh of contrition, what sympathy overflowed' 
his loving heart ! He delighted to pour into the wounded spirit the consolation 
of redeeming love, and then to rejoice in the new-born hope of the young con- 

"As a preacher, brother Mallary stood as an equal among our most gifted men. 
His scholarship was ripe ; his theology was sound ; his style was perspicuous 
and forcible, sometimes ornate, rising under the impulse of a chaste but bold 
imagination, even to the heights of sublimity ; while his manner was earnest, 
impressive and persuasive Verily, he was a great and a good man I But he 
is gone. In the summer of 1864 his health rapidly declined. He saw his end 
approaching. Freely and even pleasantly he talked of his death as the hour of 
his deliverance. Calm, resigned and happy, he committed himself to the 
Saviour whom he loved, and patiently waited His summons. Often his counte- 
nance seemed to light up with heavenly joy. His last words testified to those 
about him his perfect peace. Without a struggle, without a groan, and appa- 
rently without a pang, he fell asleep in Jesus." 


It has been said that Georgia was subjugated in April, 1865. Yes, in that 
month there was a sudden collapse ! The Confederate flag went down. Over- 
whelming force triumphed, Secession proved a failure, and the banner of the 
stars and bars was furled forever. The greatest confusion and demoralization 
prevailed, and the whole denomination was virtually paralyzed for awhile. The 
Georgia Baptist Convention should have conveneil at Columbus, in 1865, but 
owing to the occupation of that city by the enemy, as well as to the disastrous 


termination of the war, no session could be held in the city of Columbus. In 
fact, that devoted city was plundered and partly burned, wantonly, by the ruthless 
and unscrupulous invaders ; and, as no measures had been provided previous 
to that time to secure a Convention in case of failure to meet at the appointed 
time, there was no session at all of the Georgia Baptist Convention in 1865. 

Making Macon his headquarters, the subjugator ruled the State, which cowered 
before his power. He arrested Governor Joseph E. Brown and sent him to 
Washington City. His cavalry captured President Davis at night, a few miles 
south of Macon, on his way to the coast, and brought him to Macon, where he 
lodged at the Lanier House, until President Johnson ordered him to be sent to 
Fortress Monroe. On the morning of his departure a large concourse was 
assembled in front of the hotel, where two lines of soldiers in blue, with muskets, 
stretched from the ladies' entrance to a carriage in the street. Mrs. Davis appeared 
and entered the carriage. Shortly afterwards the President stepped down 
between the two rows of muskets and took his seat beside his wife, an inex- 
pressible sadness resting upon the countenance of each, notwithstanding the 
dignified bravery with which they bore themselves under the circumstances. 
The Federal officers politely touched their caps to the departing prisoner, who 
responded in similar manner. The carriage door was shut amid the melancholy 
silence of a motionless crowd assembled. Suddenly one man, and one only, 
had the boldness or thoughtfulness to step within the line of guards to the 
carriage door and offer his hand to the fallen chief, with the words : " Good- 
bye, President Davis ! God bless you ! " Mr. Davis took the offered hand, 
with a faint smile, and was then driven to the railroad depot surrounded 
by an armed guard. The hand which President Davis shook, that April day, is 
the one which pens these lines. 

Afterwards Gen. Wilson was so lacking in generosity as to taunt the citizens 
of Macon with letting their Ex-president depart into a gloomy captivity, with- 
out one single line or word of sympathy, comfort or cheer, appearing in the 
daily paper of the city, to follow him on his way and solace his broken heart ; 
while it is true, that the same hand which shook his in front of Lanier House, 
wrote a stirring article expressing love, admiration and sympathy, and sending 
the good wishes of the Georgia Confederates after the captive, seeking thus to 
cheer and comfort him. But the editor of the paper refused to let the article 
appear, professing to fear the commanding general's anger. 

Sad and gloomv were the years that followed. An awful pall settled down 
upon the State. The slaves were all suddenly freed, and many acted in an out- 
rageous manner, though by no means to the extent one would have supposed. 
The great misfortune, accompanied by loss of so much property, broke many a 
noble Southern heart, and, here and there, all over the State, aged men were 
gathered to their fathers, unable- to bear up under the impending calamities. 

The Minutes of our Associations and of the State Convention, for years, bear 
evidence to the demoralization caused by the sad results of the war in the 
churches and among Christians. Without attempting anything like an extensive 
expose we will but lay before the reader a few extracts to show the state of our 
denomination in Georgia, in the years succeeding the war of Secession. 

The following is taken from the Report rendered by the Committee on the 
State of the Churches for 1868, in the Ebenezer Association, one of our best, 
most liberal and efficient bodies : 

" The war and its results, have largely demoralized many of our church mem- 
bers, and, as such, there is too much intemperance, profanity, neglect of church 
duties, heresies, dissensions and general unchristian conduct tolerated by the 
followers of Jesus. Many, perhaps all, of our churches need purifying, and 
the only way to secure the strength and efficiency of the churches is to keep 
them pure." 

In 1865 the Georgia Association adopted the following : 

" It is to be regretted that there is a disposition on the part of many of the 
members of the churches to engage in, or give their approbation to, practices 
of doubtful propriety, such as the iimoccnt amusements, (as they are called) 
of parties, the distillation of ardent spirits, directly or indirectly, and other 


things of like import. Others engage in practices not of doubtful propriety, 
but plainly condemned in the word of God, namely : the making, selling and 
drinking of ardent spirits as a beverage ; fiddling and dancing ; entertaining in our 
hearts against Christian brethren, envy, malice, or unkind feelings ; and other 
sinful practices, consequent upon yielding to the temptations, by which we are 
surrounded in the present state of the country;" and the Association appointed 
a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer. 

In the following year, 1866, the same noble old Association in its Report on 
the State of Religion adopted these sentiments : 

" We are painfully impressed with the fact, that there does not exist among 
our church members, generally, that profound, earnest zeal, in matters of reli- 
gion, which would fit them for aggressive movements on the world. We have, 
still, to lament that many are addicted to fashionable amusements of doubtful 
propriety, to say the least, and that many others are engrossed in schemes of 
money-making or worldly ambition — the propriety of which is not at all doubtful. 
We fear that very many whose names are enrolled on our church books, are 
too little mindful of the solemn vows which they have taken upon themselves." 

We can now more readily comprehend why the State Convention adopted 
the following resolution in 1866: 

" Resolved, That the Georgia Baptist Convention testifies its entire disappro- 
bation of church members dancing, playing cards, even for amusement, visiting 
theatres and circuses and drinking spirituous liquors as a beverage." 

An extract is now made from the Report on the State of the Churches, made 
to the New Sunbury Association, in 1869: 

" The great body of the membership is not sufficiently active ; there is too 
much worldtiness, too little family prayer, too little effort to secure and sustain 
the ministry. * * * On the other hand, there is a manifest improvement in 
the condition of our churches. Some most gracious revivals have occurred ; 
general attention is paid to Sunday Schools, and an increasing benevolence- is 

The New Sunbury is the successor of the Sunbury Association. On the 24th 
of November, 1866, in accordance with an invitation issued by Rev. S. Lan- 
drum, Moderator of the Sunbury Association, six churches of that body con- 
vened at Jones' Creek church, and, after consultation, dissolved the Sunbury 
Association, which had existed for very nearly "fifty years. This was the result 
of action taken at a regular Conference of the Salem Baptist church, in Liberty 
county, when it was decided that it would be advantageous to form a new Asso- 
ciation by the union of churches from the Sunbury, Piedmont and LInion Asso- 
ciations. A Convention of churches lying between the Savannah and Altamaha 
rivers, within a territory extending seventy-five miles from the coast, was invi- 
ted to assemble at Salem church, on the 27th and 28th of April, 1 866. At the ap- 
pointed time delegates from Gum Branch, Philadelphia, Tom's Creek, Anlioch 
and Salem, of the Union Association, and Jones' Creek and Elim, of the Pied- 
mont Association, convened and organized by the election of Rev. Lewis Price, 
Moderator, and J. L. Shaw, Clerk. After due deliberation it was decided to 
form a new Association, the meeting at Jones' Creek, on the 24th of November, 
was appointed to be held, for the purpose, and notice was transmitted by a 
committee to the Sunbury Association. 

A sufficient reason for this action was found in the fact that the ravages of 
war had so reduced the strength of the Sunbury, as to preclude all hope of fu- 
ture efficiency, unless other churches were willing to unite with it in forming a 
new body. 

Delegates from the three Associations met, Rev L. Price presided, and J. L. 
Shaw acted as Clerk, and as a platform upon which to constitute, the Constitu- 
tion and By-Laws of the Georgia Association were adopted. It was determined 
to call the new Association The New Sunbury. The Convention was then 
declared closed, the same members convened and were enrolled as delegates 
to the New Sunbury Association, and organized by the election of Rev. S. 
Landrum, Moderator, and Lewis Price, Clerk. The ministers present and taking 
part in the proceedings, were F. R. Sweat, J. Baker, W. F. Willis, J. N. Tatum, 


A. Williams, S. Landrum, H. Padgett, William Cooper, T. B. Cooper, S. B. 
Sweat and W. O. Darsey. There is no use in concealing or disguising the fact 
that the real cause of the organization of this new Association was the ravages 
and desolations committed by General Sherman's army, in 1865, which wantonly 
and maliciously burnt down the houses of worship in much of this territory, 
the people thus desolated being rendered too destitute to rebuild their meeting 
houses. In consequence some churches were entirely disbanded, and this sin- 
gular, yet excusable, action was taken by the Sunbury Association when it dis- 
solved itself. 

" Resolved, That sister Baptist churches be requested to receive members, 
who are in good standing, of churches not represented in this body, because of 
a disorganized condition, which precludes the holding of meetings and pro- 
ceeding in a regular manner ; and that we approve of the action already had 
in such special cases." 

The first corresponding letter of the New Sunbury Association, contains 
these words : " We are now in a very weakly condition, having, but a little 
time since, been overrun by the enemy, who laid waste our country, stripped 
our churches and destroyed some of our houses of worship." 

But, perhaps, the best general view of the state of religion and of the religious 
destitution in the State, will be obtained from the report of Rev. S. Landrum, 
made to the Georgia Baptist Convention, in 1869, as chairman of the Committee 
on Religious Destitution and State of Religion : 

" In Northeastern Georgia, east and north of Athens, there is not a minister 
who is supported while preaching the gospel. There are those who hold anti- 
mission sentiments, and those who are called Whiteites. The benevolence of 
the churches is low, but improving. Most of the churches have supplies ; a 
few are destitute. 

" In what is called Cherokee Georgia, there is a most interesting and promis- 
ing field for missionary labor. The Cherokee Baptist Convention is dissolved ; 
the Cassville college gone, and the building burned. Could the brethren of this 
section be persuaded to identify themselves with this Convention and with 
Mercer University, your committee are of opinion that mutual good would re- 
sult. In this portion of the State there is a general deficiency in the supply of 
preaching and Sunday-schools. One minister, for instance, is supplying six 
churches. There is a low state of spirituality, and a far too general use of in- 
toxicating drinks. Kingston, it is believed, is now destitute. 

" In Middle Georgia a district has been brought to our attention, having 
Knoxville for a centre, with a distance of forty miles around, of most deplora- 
ble destitution — churches without preaching and general demoralization. 

" From the neighborhood of Newnan, there is a report of a dearth of religious 
revivals — the letting down of social morals and the existence of intemperance. 

'• In Southwestern Georgia, Starkville is destitute. In some limited sections, 
there are not many Sunday-schools ; they go into winter-quarters, and some- 
times fail to come out in spring. 

" In the vicinity of Crawfordville all the churches, it is believed, are supplied. 
It is said that there is more general wickedness than formerly, while there are no 
general revivals. 

" In the Stone Mountain Association there is quite a range of distressing 

" Above Augusta for twenty miles, there is much need of preaching. Belair 
and Groves' churches are unprovided for. The colored people of Augusta and 
vicinity are accessible to to the ministry of white men. The KoUock street 
Baptist church, of Augusta, is in need of a larger building to accommodate the 
people in its vicinity, and the pastor is seeking means to accomplish the object. 

'• Burke county, perhaps, possesses the best Baptist meeting houses of any 
county in the State ; but there is much reason to fear that they will soon be de- 
serted, without some better means of supply. 

" Most of the city churches have m ssion stations and Sunday-schools, to 
reach those who do not attend the regular services. In these larger towns 
there is much complaint of theatre-going, balls, worldliness, and also want of 
integrity, in reference to promises and commercial honor. 


" On the coast of Southern Georgia, the destitution is well nigh universal. 
IVIany church buildings were burned ; there is no ability to rebuild ; quite a 
number of churches are dissolved. There are no pastors to gather the poor, 
scattered flocks. There is no supply from Savannah to Florida but the' few 
points which brother Daniel is able to supply, monthly, as a missionary. At 
Brunswick we have a house and Sunday-school, but no preaching. At this 
place, for more than a year, a few brethren have been beseeching the denomina- 
tion to send them a minister. The town is growing ; the Episcopalians and 
Methodists are doing well. There is no house or preaching at St. Mary's, Da- 
rien, or Waynesville ; no preaching at several churches in Liberty, Bryan and 
Chatham counties. There is a very large negro population in this part of the 
State, and, for sometime past, they have manifested much more interest in hear- 
ing our preachers, where there has been any one to hear. Here are the 
heathen at our doors ; heathen, too, who have been declared citizens and vo- 

" The flourishing town of Thomasville is without a pastor, and the church 
is able to support a young man. 

" We close the report with the following remarks : ist. That fiddling and 
dancing, drinking and social irregularities, have characterized our church mem- 
bers, of late — more than at any time within the last twenty years. This, how- 
ever, is not confined to Baptists, but the like state of things exists with other 
denominations. 2nd. That the spirituality of our people is low in its manifes- 
tations, and there is a sad Laodicean spirit generally prevailing. 3rd. That 
there is a great want of ministerial consecration and ministerial support. 4th. 
That there is much destitution among the churches, and many neighborhoods 
are unprovided with the preached Word. 5th. That there is a Sunday-school 
revival in the State, and that many new schools have been formed recently. 
6th. That the state of religion and religious destitution calls lor prayer and 
self-denial, and for the cessation of putting forward the war and poverty as 
pleas for the love of the world and the idolatry of covetousness. 7th. That our 
churches should rely more upon frequent collections of small amounts than upon 
the annual subscription of large amounts. A church of one hundred members 
can pay her pastor four hundred and eighty dollars a year, by simply collecting 
ten cents every Lord's day from each member. How easily done ! This is the 
true system — lay by every Lord's day, as the Lord hath prospered." 

Of course such a state of affairs in the churches as this report details, did 
not continue many years. Gradually a better order of things prevailed, 
although not even yet is the state of our denomination in Georgia satisfactory. 

After the war the Baptists of Georgia did not adopt any series of resolutions 
expressive of their opinion concerning the result of the war. In truth there 
was nothing to be said except to acknowledge defeat, and profess resignation to 
the will of Him who reigns in heaven and over the armies of men. 

The most important matter pertaining to affairs outside of Georgia that 
occurred, at the period just succeeding the war, was the passage, by a unani- 
mous vote, of these resolutions, by the Georgia Association, in 1865 : 

''Resolved, i. That it is the sense of this Association, and its earnest wish, 
that the Southern organizations of our denomination remain intact ; and we, 
hereby, pledge ourselves to sustain them by our prayers and substance, accord- 
ing to the ability left us, after four years of desolating war, and as a merciful 
God shall afford us ability hereafter. 

•' Resolved. 2. That in carrying out the foregoing resolution, we sincerely believe 
that we shall be using the best means of promoting the true interests and pros- 
perity of our Redeemer's kingdom. 

" Resolved, J. That from all we can learn of the light in which Northern and 
Southern Baptists look upon each other, any attempt on their part or ours, 
towards united effort, at this time, would be productive of trouble and confu- 
sion, and not of good. 

•' Resolved, 4. That it is the duty of all good men to pray that every cause of 
evil and root of bitterness be taken out of the hearts of all God's people in a'.l 
our country. 

Denominational history. 241 

'' Resolved, §. That our Domestic Mission Board be invited to occupy our Asso- 
ciational bounds, in its operations amongst the negroes, and that its agents are 
invited to visit our churches to advocate the claims of the Board." 

On the 27th of October, 1871, another of the great men of our denomination 
departed this life — Dr. N. M. Crawford. The Convention of 1872 honored his 
memory by the adoption of the following brief memorial tribute, presented by 
Rev. G. A. Nunnally, chairman of the Committee on Deceased Ministers : 
" Born of distinguished parentage, graduated with the first honor of the State 
University, gifted beyond his compeers, he consecrated his life, with child-like 
simplicity, to the unfaltering service of his Redeemer. Laden then with the 
highest offices to which the suffrages of his brethren could call him, he still 
remained the humble, devout servant of God. He was, in early life, a member 
of the Presbyterian church, until his convictions of duty led him to unite himself 
with his Baptist brethren. He was long President of Mercer University, and 
of Georgetown College, Kentucky. Guileless in life, ardent and constant in his 
affections, and simple and childlike in his habits and tastes, he has left, in the 
hearts of the living, memories tender, strong, abiding and precious." 

In 1877, the Convention, by special resolution, honored the memory of two 
of its oldest members and most useful servants — T. J. Burney and Thomas 
Stocks — both of' whom had recently deceased. To the former, for many years 
its faithful and efficient Treasurer, the Convention was indebted for the preserva- 
tion of much of its funds during the war, by his wise and judicious management, 
and thus was most of the endowment of Mercer University retained, amid the 
general wreck that accompanied the subjugation of the Confederacy. 

The return of peace beheld the re-establishment of various colleges for young 
ladies, by the Baptists of Georgia, the more prominent ones being at Madison, 
LaGrange, Forsyth, Gainesville and Rome. That at Rome, designated The 
Shorter College, is a monument of the munificent liberality of Colonel Alfred 
Shorter, a wealthy Baptist residing in Rome, who generously devoted more 
than $100,000 of his fortune to purchasing the "Cherokee Baptist Female Col- 
lege " and erecting for it magnificent buildings, beautifying the grounds, and 
providing for it excellent chemical, philosophical and astronomical apparatus. 

Another generous deed of a Georgia Baptist deserves record in these annals 
namely, the donation by Ex-Governor Joseph E. Brown, of Atlanta, of $50,000, 
in cash and bonds, to the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, at Louisville, 

These noble instances of individual liberality, in the cause of education, 
deserve to be recorded side by side with the generous deed of Jesse Mercer, in 
endowing Mercer University ; and they secure for the two donors the admira- 
tion and gratitude of their fellow-Baptists. 

All over the State there was an immense number of colored Baptists, many 
of whom were organized into churches, in the cities, under the supervision of 
the whites, while in the country, they were, generally, members of the white 
churches. It soon became apparent that it was best to separate, and the white 
brethren advised the colored ones to make a formal application for letters ot 
dismission, which were willingly granted. The whites invariably assisted their 
colored brethren in organizing their churches, and also, in building their houses 
of worship. They even went farther : they advised and aided them in organi- 
zing into Associations and in forming a State Convention, after the models fur- 
nished by the white organizations. The consequence is that a good state of 
feeling between the white and colored Baptists of Georgia has continued to ex- 
ist down to the present day. 

The present number of colored Baptists in the State, as far as can be ascer- 
tained, is twenty-eight Associations, 9,000 churches, and 110,000 members. 
About one-half of the colored churches maintain Sunday-schools. Delegates 
from the colored Associations have formed a State Convention, the main object 
of which is to establish churches and Sunday-schools throughout the State and 
promote theological education, as may be seen by the Constitution, which says 
its objects shall be : 

"I. To employ missionaries to travel through the waste places of our State, 



and gather the people and preach the gospel to them, and aid them in every 
way possible, and especially in organizing both churches and Sunday-schools. 

2. To establish a Theological Institute, for the purpose of educating young 
men and those who are preaching the gospel and have the ministry in view, or 
any of our brethren's sons that ."^ustain a good moral character, and to procure, 
immediately, some central place in Georgia, for the establishment of the same." 

Auxiliary to, and a part of this State Convention, is the colored Missionary 
Baptist Sunday-school Convention, which, though a separate body, is composed 
of the same members as the State Convention. It is an efficient body and does 
good work in establishing Sunday-schools ; its last Report embracing 200 schools, 
nearly 1,000 teachers, and 14,000 scholars. 

The Northern Home Mission Society established a Seminary for the instruc- 
tion of colored preachers and teachers, at Augusta, in 1865, which struggled 
with many difficulties until 1871. At that time an infamous man, by the name 
of Seigfried, who was at its head, was dismissed ; and the Institution was or- 
ganized in a more effective form by the present Principal, Rev. J. T. Robert, 
LL.D., a Southern man by birth, but long a resident in Ohio and Iowa, who had 
been strongly recommended to the Society by white Southern Baptist ministers 
as a suitable man for the conduct of the enterprise. Eight years of prosperity and 
progress followed, and. in 1879, it was transferred to the capital of the State, 
and now bears the name of "Atlanta Baptist Seminary." In the fall of 1878, 
Rev. D. Shaver, D. D., was associated with Dr. Robert, and still holds a position 
in the Institution. Since Dr. Robert's connection with the Institution, instruc- 
tion has been given to 371 students, of whom 142 had teaching and 229 had the 
ministry in view. Of this latter number, one was a missionary in Africa until 
his recent death, and another is editor of the Georgia Baptist, the organ of the 
colored Baptists in the State, published at Augusta ; while four have been in the 
employ of our own State Mission Board. At present (1881) it has eighty stu- 
dents, of whom fifty or more are pastors or candidates for the ministry. The 
Georgia Missionary Baptist Convention of " our brethren in black " cooperates 
with the American Baptist Home Mission Society in supporting the Seminary. 

That body has also evinced a profound interest in female education among 
its constituency. It feels the force of the maxim, that those who educate the 
women of a race win and hold the race itself. Anxious to win and hold the 
race for Christ, and for the truth as Baptists teach it in His name, a movement 
is in progress as our History goes to press to secure from churches, missionary 
societies and Sunday-schools, the sum of $5,000 for the erection of suitable 
buildings. There is a flattering prospect of early success ; and, with that 
amount in hand, the Home Mission Society will at once proceed to consummate 
this cherished purpose of the leading brethren in the Convention ; using for that 
end the proceeds of the sale of a lot in the city of Atlanta originally purchased by 
this body as the site of an institution for the education of ministers, and transferred 
to the Society when the present Seminary was built. This movement, together 
with the liberal patronage extended to the students of the Seminary as teachers 
of schools during the annual vacations, shows that our colored brethren are not 
dupes of the . Romish idea that *' ignorance is the mother of devotion." "The 
divine thirst to know " has been awakened in them, and we would fain indulge 
the hope that they may not seek to slake it, except at the spring of " the knowledge 
of the truth as it is in Christ Jesus." To assist in the accomplishment of the best 
possible issue, amid many difficulties, embarrassments and hazards, is a duty 
not to be disregarded and a privilege not to be undervalued. 

We close this chapter by presenting a table of statistics kindly prepared, at 
the special request of the author, by Rev, G. R. McCall, Clerk, for many years, 
of the State Convention. It presents as complete and as correct statistics of 
our denomination in the State as it is possible to obtain, from the year 1845 to 



The table gives the number of Associations, churches, ordained and licensed 
ministers, and numbers of the Missionary, anti-missionary and colored Baptists 
in the State of Georgia : 





1 S2 





V a 

tn • - 








(U C 






































































i,454j 800 











1,218 760 











1 1 








1,745 836 








8 1 ,043 



1,973 1,056 











2,001] 902 






711 220 




2,201 811 











2,307 956 











2,3921 725 











2,532] 762 











2,636j 694 


2 1 9,000 









2,636 762 




1 861 





2,680 809 




* Minutes of several Associations not reported— hence the loss. 
+ The war made the Minutes hard to get and imperfect. 
% Reports unsatisfactory, 
§ As estimated, but not known. 
^Colored Associations begin to be formed. 
II Wanting — not printed, by mistake. 

** Only 191 ministers colored. Mmutes fail to give names or number. 

•H' The number of ordained ministers, all white but ten ; licentiates, but five. As many or more col- 
ored ministers than whites. 
%X There are more Associations, but I have failed to get Mmutes. 

These figures are taken from the regular Minutes of the Georgia Baptist 
Convention ; but it is, perhaps, no more than proper, in a historical work, to 
give the figures presented by the Baptist Year Book, for 1881. On some 
accounts these figures may be more correct than those of Rev. G. R. McCall, 
who admits that he has not been able to secure the Minutes of all the Associa- 
tions in the State : Year 1881, 2,755 churches ; 1,630 ordained ministers ; 12,933 
additions by baptism ; 235,381 members; 118 Associations. 

This includes, of course, white and colored members. Missionary, Anti- 
missionary and United Baptists, and is, really, the statistics for the year 1880. 

The Year Book for 1881 reports, also, the population of Georgia as 1,538,983; 
number of Baptist Sunday-schools, 1,475 ; officers and teachers in them, 6,630; 
number of Sunday-school scholars, 44,150; benevolent contributions for all 
purposes, in 1880, $32,402.90. 

In connection with the striking contrast between these numbers and the 
statistics of the denomination in the earlier pages of our History, there is some- 
thing of interest and instruction in other points of difference between half a 
century ago and the present time, as brought out in the following article con- 
tributed by Dr. J. H. Campbell to The Index of July 14th, 1881 : 

" Fifty years ago, protracted meetings, as now appointed, were unknown in 
this State and in this country as well, so far as I am informed. They were not 
originally appointed, or decided upon, beforehand, but were the' result of revi- 
vals already existing. Revivals in those days were the result of the ordinary 
means of grace, and were carried on by those means alone. Happily, there 


were no professional revivalists, and such meetings were conducted by the 
pastor, aided by such ministers as he might call to his assistance. 

•' Fifty years ago, there were not half a dozen Baptist ministers in Georgia, 
who were college graduates, and the denomination did not exceed thirty thou- 
sand members, though there had been an accession of about ten thousand during 
the great revival of 1827-28, just passed. 

" Fifty years ago, mstrumental music was practiced in only two Baptist 
churches in the State that I knew of (Savannah and Augusta), and in very few 
of other denominations. A majority of our people had no fellowship with the 
practice, and many are of the same opinion still. 

" Fifty years ago, the almost invariable custom, in social and public worship, 
was to sit during singing, and to kneel during prayer. The irreverent habit of 
sitting in time of prayer had not then been introduced, and it is to be regretted 
that it has become so common in our town and city congregations. I trust our 
country churches will continue steadfastly to adhere to the old and more scriptu- 
ral way. Who would think of making a practice of sitting in secret and family 
prayer ? Ought not the habit complained of to be corrected ? 

"Fifty years ago, there was only one college in the State — Franklin College, 
at Athens, (the A in Athens was pronounced sharp,) then the State College, 
now the State University. It was controlled almost exclusively by the Presby- 
terians. There were only two or three female schools, one of the most popular 
being at ' Cherokee Corner,' on the stage road from Washington to Athens. 

" Fifty years ago, there was not a steam-engine, nor a telegraph pole, nor a 
mile of railroad in the State. The people, male and female, travelled on horse- 
back. If they went on wheels, it was in sulkies or gigs, or in the old-fashioned 
four-wheeled family carriage. Buggies had not come into use then. In the 
latter part of his life, Jesse Mercer always travelled in his four-wheeled carriage — 
not from pride, but because he was an unwieldly person and the subject of 
many infirmities. The only public conveyance was the lumbering stage-coach, 
a vehicle admirably fitted for killing horses, and for testing the patience and 
piety of passengers. 

" Fifty years ago, there was not a religious paper published in the State. A 
small sheet was issued for a short time at Mount Zion, Hancock county^ by Rev. 
Mr. Gildersleeve, a Presbyterian, but it had been tra,ns.ferred to Charleston, 
South Carolina, and was published in that city as the Citristian Obsej'ver. I 
doubt if there were ten secular papers in the State at that time. 

" Fifty years ago, the question, whether the Baptists of Georgia would be 
missionary or anti-missionary had not been decided. The Anties were in a 
decided majority, and the conflict then raging was no child's play. 1 have lived 
to see my fellow-soldiers, who stood in the fore-front of the battle, fall one after 
another until the whole line melted away. But, as the fathers fell, their sons 
took their places, and the victory is now complete. 

*' Fifty years ago, the cause of foreign missions was in its incipiency. Its 
friends were few and feeble, its enemies defiant, formalists indifferent, infidelity 
sneering, Satan raging. In view of what has been accomplished, may we not 
exclaim, ' What hath God wrought !' And may we not go further, and hope 
and expect that in the next fifty years such Scriptures as the following will be 
fulfilled : ' The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters 
cover the sea.' ' The north shall give up, and the south keep not back. He 
will bring his sons from far, and his daughters from the ends of the earth.' 
' The people shall praise thee, O God, all the people shall praise thee.' And 
that every nation, and kindred, and tongue and people under the whole heaven 
shall be shouting, ' Alleluia, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.' " 







We have endeavored briefly to trace the various methods adopted by the Bap- 
tists of Georgia for promoting education, missions, temperance and for develop- 
ing and cultivating the spirit of union and cooperation among the churches of 
the State. With very few exceptions we have found the ministers of our de- 
nomination in the State sadly deficient in education, during nearly the entire 
first half of this century. On that account there was some difficulty in obtain- 
ing thoroughly competent professors for Mercer University, during the earliest 
years of that institution. We have seen that many in the denomination opposed 
an institution that afforded learning to ministers, and many also opposed the 
formation of the State Convention, and, for many years, resisted its progress. 
We have seen that a still greater number maintained a bitter opposition to mis- 
sions and to the use of special liuman effort for the promotion of benevolent 
objects. These were what are now called the anti-mission, or Primitive Bap- 
tists, who are opposed to the academical or theological education of their 
ministry, and to Bible, Missionary, Publication Societies, and to all other volun- 
tary societies of a like nature. These they regard as of mere human invention, 
and different from that simplicity of order instituted by Christ, and declared in 
the New Testament as the law of His kingdom, and by which He would keep 
His people constantly mindful that, in the building up of His Church, through 
pastors and teachers who gather in His elect, " the excellency of the power is 
of God, and not of " men. 

When, in 181 3, missionary and other kindred institutions were introduced into 
the Baptist denomination of the United States, chiefly through the conversion 
to Baptist principles of Judson and Rice, and through the influence exerted by 
them, a spirit of discontent and opposition arose, in some churches and Asso- 
ciations. This continued to manifest itself more and more decidedly until 1832, 
when the dissatisfied churches and Associations determined to withdraw and 
form a separate organization. Therefore, in that year they issued an address to 
the churches, setting forth that they could no longer fellowship brethren _who 
countenanced the mass of humanly devised institutions that had been foisted 
upon the denomination; the pure doctrines of which they corrupted, the 
peace of which they disturbed and whose scriptural simplicity they subverted. 
All, they said, who loved the truth in its integrity and, like themselves, had 


g;roan«i under the burden of human inventions, were invited to communicate 
with them. Numbers of churches and Associations promptly responded. A 
general correspondence was opened, a meeting was held and an organization 
was formed under the distinguishing appellation of Old School Baptists, which 
name they considered as specially appropriate to themselves, not only as going 
back to the ancient order of Baptists, but from its having been given to such as 
adhered to the old doctrines of predestination and particular atonement. 

They received the Holy Scriptures alone as their rule of faith and practice — 
professed to have no confidence in human effort, nor in human schemes for re- 
form. They opposed theological schools and would not tolerate scholastic 
preachers. For removing abuses of all and every nature ; for enlightening the 
human mind, and for leading men to faith and salvation in Christ, they relied 
wholly and exclusively upon the sure Word of God and His Holy Spirit. In 
church polity they did not differ from the regular Missionary Baptists. In 
Georgia their non-fellowship article, was declared about 1836, and culminated 
in a general denominational separation, or division, in 1839, after many years of 
strife and dissension. The Abstract of Principles adopted by them, and which 
still composes the Articles of Faith held by some of the Primitive Associations 
in this State, consisted of twelve articles, which were "held by the Baptists in 
general, agreeable to the Confession of Faith adopted by upwards of one hun- 
dred congregations in England, published in Philadelphia in 1742, which is a 
standard for the Baptists." Such was their general heading, and they were as 
follows : 

'•ist. We believe in one only true and living God, and that there are three per- 
sons in the God-head, namely : The Father, Son and Holy Ghost. 

"2d. We believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the word 
of God, and the only rule of faith and practice. 

'•3d. We believe in the doctrine of eternal and particular election. 

•'4th. We believe in the doctrine of original sin. 

"5th. We believe in the doctrine of man's impotency to recover himself from 
the fallen state he is in by nature, of his own free will and ability. 

"6th. We believe that sinners are justified in the sight of God only by the im- 
puted righteousness of Christ. 

"7th. We believe that God's elect shall be called, converted and sanctified by 
the Holy Spirit, 

•*8th. We believe that the Saints shall persevere in grace, and shall never 
finally fall. 

"9th. We believe that baptism, the Lord's supper, and washing of the saints' 
feet are ordinances of Jesus Christ, and that true believers are the only subjects 
of those ordinances, and that the true mode of baptism is by immersinn. 

"loth. We believe in the resurrection of the dead, and a general judgment. 

"nth. We believe that the punishment of the wicked will be everlasting, and 
the joys of the righteous will be eternal. 

"1 2th. We believe that no minister has a right to the administration of the 
ordinances of baptism and the Lord's supper, only such as are regularly called, 
and come under the imposition of hands by a regularly authorized Presbytery." 

That which led immediately to separation was the adoption of the "13th 
article," as it was called by those bodies in which the anti-mission element pre- 

The following is the substance of that article, the wording of which varied : 

" Resolved, That the institutions of the day, called Benevolent, to-wit : Con- 
vention, Bible Society, Tract Society, Temperance Society, Abolition Society, 
Sunday-school Union Society, Theological Seminary, and all other institutions 
tributary to the missionary plan now existing in the United States, are unscrip- 
tural ; and that we, as an Association, will not correspond with any Association 
that is connected with them, nor will we hold in our union, or fellowship, any 
church that is connected with them." 

Of course the passage of this resolution separated those who adopted it from 
their Missionary brethren, and, with regard to an actual schism or division from 
them, required no action on their part. They have, ever, fairly asserted, there- 


fore, that they did not non-fellowship their Anti-Misr^ion brethren, and pro- 
duce divisiori ; but the rupture was effected by those opposed to benevolent 
schemes, which was indeed true. Undoubtedly the ablest, most pious, most 
cultivated and influential ministers and members were found in the ranks of the 
regular Baptists, who strongly favored missions and education, and who 
founded Mercer Institute, which, in a few years, developed into Mercer Uni- 
versity, and has proved beneficial, in an incalculable degree, to the Baptists of 

They were those who formed and maintained the State Convention, which, 
perhaps, more than any other human cause, by uniting the Baptists of the State, 
effectuated their elevation and advancement, as a denomination. Yet the Anti- 
missionaries charged that it was the State Convention which caused the de- 
struction of fellowship, resulting in the division of the denomination. 

To this, Jesse Mercer replied : "Before any acts can be considered 'fellowship- 
destroying,' they must be ascertained to be either immoral in themselves, or evil 
in their tendency. But what immorality or evil tendency was there in the ob- 
jects of the General Association ? For instance, what immorality can there be 
in an effort to unite the influence and pious intelligence of Georgia Baptists, so 
as, thereby, to facilitate their union and co-operation ? Or, what evil can there be 
in forming and encouraging plans for the revival of experimental and practical 
religion 1 Or, can there be any sin in giving effect to the useful plans of the 
several Associations ? Or, can it be thought a bad thing to furnish the means 
for the education of young, pious and indigent men, who are approved by their 
churches, as called of God to the Baptist ministry ? Or, can it be regarded by 
any as an immoral thing to promote pious and useful education in the Baptist 
denomination ? We cannot conclude that any man whose mind has been in any 
wise imbued by that wisdom which is necessary to direct, will pretend that 
there is any cause in any of these objects to break the union of the churches." 

It is a fact that, before the establishment of Mercer Institute, the Convention 
sustained several young men, with the ministry in prospect, in different institu- 
tions of learning; and in the Minutes for 1 826-7-8-9-30-1-2, we peruse regu- 
lar reports concerning these beneficiaries. In 1832, eight beneficiaries were 
receiving instruction, sustained by the Convention. At length, in 1833, Mercer 
Institute was established, and for six years was conducted most successfully 
and prosperously by B. M. Sanders and his coadjutors, Ira O. McDaniel, J. F. 
Hillyer, J. W. Attaway, W. D. Cowdry, A. Williams and S. P. Sanford. The 
attendance on the school was limited only by its capacity to furnish board and 
lodgings for the students. The number of students the first year was thirty- 
nine, and the average attendance during the succeeding five years was ninety- 
one. The young men, members of the most substantial and respectable families 
in the State, engaged in the manual labor required with cheerfulness and indus- 
try, and, at the same time, they pursued their studies with earnestness and per- 
severance. For several hours each day they performed the usual manual labor 
of a farm, receiving for pay six cents an hour. They also pursued a course of 
study that was full and exacting. The discipline of the Institute, under B. M. 
Sanders, was firm, vigilant and comprehensive, and the school was recognized 
as one of the very best in the State. Its excellence was due mostly to the capa- 
bilities and exertions of B. M. Sanders, who had been educated at Columbia, 
South Carolina, and who was a man of great energy, strict integrity, good 
judgment and excellent business tact. He was ordained at' Williams Creek 
church, in Warren county, January 5th, 1825, in the thirty-sixth year of his 
age, by Jesse Mercer, Malachi Reeves, Joseph Roberts, John H. Walker and 
Jabez P. Marshall officiating as a presbytery. He was a well educated man, and 
his practical knowledge acquired in farming adapted him admirably to his posi- 
sion, united as it was to his wonderful energy and administrative abilities. 
Doubtless the total lack of some of these requisites, on the part of his successors, 
was one reason of the disgust which soon attached to the manual labor system. 
The Institute was deservedly very dear to the heart of the denomination, and 
did much to unite it and concentrate its exertions. In regard to manual labor, 
it is certain that B. M. Sanders favored it strongly, and so did Ira O. McDaniel, 


who for six years witnessed its practical exemplification. It seems, however, to 
have become irksome and burdensome, after the Institute was elevated to a 
college, and was discontinued after a few years. In December, 1844, the Board 
of Trustees suspended this department of the Institution by the following ac- 
tion : 

"Whereas, the Manual Labor Department of Mercer University has been 
sustained at a heavy expense — an expense which the present state of our fund 
will not justify, and has, in our judgment, materially retarded the growth of our 
institution, after as favorable experiment as we have been able to make of the 
scheme , and, whereas, the contributors of the University fund have, so far as 
they have been called upon, expressed themselves, with almost entire unanimity, 
ready to concur in any measure in reference to the system which the Board of 
Trustees may deem essential to the prosperity of the institution ; and, whereas, 
the Board of Trustees have found themselves, under all circumstances, unable 
to accomplish, to any desirable extent, the important and benevolent designs for 
which it was originally organized ; be it, therefore, 

"Resolved, That this department be, and is hereby, indefanitely suspended." 

This action was acceded to by the Convention of 1845, which met at Forsyth. 

The history of Mercer University and its officers, must be summed up very 
briefly. As has been stated, the college classes were organized in January, 1839. 
The first graduating class of three, received the first diplomas of the University 
in 1 841 ; they were Richard M. Johnston, still living and an eminent instructor 
in Maryland ; Benjamin F. Tharpe, also still living and an eminent divine, with 
his residence at Perry, Georgia, on whom his alma mater has conferred the 
honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity; and A. R. Wellborn, Doctor of Med- 
icine, .still living and residing in Atlanta. 

With the exception of seven years, there has been a regular succession of 
graduating classes since 1841. The denomination had then a small number, 
only of educated men, from whom to elect professors, and for several years 
there were frequent changes in the faculty ; consequently an efficient faculty was 
enrolled gradually. But before the close of the first decade, its organization 
began to attain stability. One of the faculty. Prof. S. P. Sanford, entered the 
Institute as a teacher, in 1838, and has served continuously through the whole 
existence of the University to the present time, a period of forty-three years. 
Another, Prof. J. E. Willet, an alumnus of 1846, who was elected Professor in 
1847, has served continuously for thirty-four years. As instructors they have 
proved themselves unsurpassed in their departments. 

The education of young ministers was the primary intention of the founders 
of Mercer Institute. Theological education in the University was specifically 
provided for, in some of the legacies and subscriptions. Very appropriately, in 
1840, Rev. Adiel Sherwood was elected the first Theological Professor — a man 
who had received excellent classical and theological training. Since making 
Georgia his permanent home, in 1818, he had been an active minister, had or- 
ganized several churches, had preached very extensively, had taught a number 
of young ministers at his own house, and had been foremost in all measures 
for the progress of the denomination in the State. The actual originator of the 
Convention and of Mercer Institute — it was desired that he should develop the 
Theological Department of the University, which had grown, in a great measure, 
from his earnest advocacy of liberal education. But he remained a Professor 
three years only, accepting a call to the Presidency of Shurtliff College, in Illi- 
nois, in 1843. In 1845 the Theological Department of Mercer University was 
more fully organized, and was continued until 1862. In that time seven classes, 
numbering twelve members, graduated with the degree of B. D. The course 
was quite extensive and thorough, embracing Greek, Hebrew, Systematic and 
Practical Theology, Ecclesiastical History and Biblical Literature. Two Pro- 
fessors usually gave most of their time to instruction in this department, and 
the course of study extended through three years. The exigencies of the civil 
war caused a suspension of the Theological Department, at that time not much 
regretted, as the Southern Baptist Convention had organized the Southern Bap- 
tist Theological Seminary, at Greenville, South Carolina. A concentration of 


money and patronage on that enterprise, in order to build up a first class Theo- 
logical Seminary at the South, was deemed advisable by the Southern Baptists 
generally, in consequence of which the Theological Department of Mercer 
University has never been re-opened. Indeed, one of the Theological Profess- 
ors of Mercer, Dr. William Williams, left in 1859, to join the Faculty at Green- 
ville, being elected to that position. 

Within a few years the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has been re- 
moved to Louisville, Keiitucky, and in consequence of its distance from Geor- 
gia, and by reason of the specific purpose of part of the endowment of Mercer 
University, the re-opening of the Theological Department at an early day, is 
canvassed ; but, in case of its resurrection, the course of instruction may be 
more elementary and less regular, than in the Seminary. 

Most of the graduates in this department had not received previous training 
in a literary college, and, therefore, have not impressed themselves on the de- 
nomination to the same extent that some students did who graduated in the 
Collegiate Department, but who did not take a theological course afterwards. 
This evinces that nothing can take the place of thorough literary training to one 
who is to move men by writing, speaking and teaching. 

The curriculum of the Classical department of Mercer University has been a 
close one, embracing the studies usually taught in colleges of a respectable 
grade. The regular course embraces four years, and leads to the degree of A.B. 

A scientific course, including all of the regular course, except ancient languages, 
is completed in three years, and leads to the degree of Bachelor of Science — 
B.S.; but the great m.ajority of students pursue the regular course. The aim 
of the trustees and faculty, from the beginning, has been to maintain as elevated 
a standard of scholarship as the preparatory schools and the condition of the 
country would justify; and this has made the position which Mercer University 
has held, among the educational institutions, eminently respectable. 

The number of graduates in the Classical department has been (to 1880) 440, 
in the regular course, and seven in the scientific course. Of these graduates 
seventy-seven have been ministers of the gospel. Adding to these the twelve 
theological graduates and seventy-five or eighty who have taken a partial course 
in the Institute and University, and who have become ministers of the gospel, 
and we have a total of about one hundred and seventy Baptist ministers, who 
have received their education in this " classical and theological school," insti- 
tuted by our Baptist fathers, nearly half a century ago. And, although the 
Theological department has been maintained through about one-third, only, of 
the existence of the institution, yet the primary thought of the founders — edu- 
cation of ministers, — has, as we see, been largely reaUzed. 

The law school was organized in 1873, with three professors and sixteen 
students, and its course extends through one year. Twenty-four graduates, 
with the degree of B.L., have completed the studies of this school. 

The civil war affected the interests of Mercer University in more ways than 

During the spring of 1861 and 1862, the senior classes of those years joined 
the army almost in a body. The senior class of 1861, the largest ever gradu- 
ated, lost nine of its thirty-one members in military service. During the contin- 
uance of the war, a skeleton, merely, of college organization was preserved, for 
the reason that the material for classes was almost entirely absorbed by the 
demands of the service ; and, with the close of the war ,came temporary con- 
fusion and demoralization. The railroads of the State had been torn up, postal 
facilities were interrupted, civil authority was suspended ; investments m stocks, 
bonds and personal loans became unproductive if not useless ; general confusion 
and derangement in social and political affairs prevailed, and it seemed but the 
dictate of reason and common sense, to suspend the exercises of the institution. 
Indeed, in this state of things the University virtually dissolved itself in May, 
1865. The Board of Trustees could not have a meeting, and the faculty reluct- 
antly closed the doors of the college. The two senior members of the faculty- 
Professors Sanford and Willet— however, opened a school in the college build- 
ings, held a quasi commencement in July, and, as well as they could, under the 


circumstances, carried on the mixed studies of preparatory and college classes, 
until the close of the year. The trustees succeeded in holding a meeting in 
December of 1865, and began the rehabilitation of the University and the 
reorganization of the faculty. Three officers were appointed who conducted 
the school until July, 1866, when two more were elected, one of whom entered 
on his duties immediately and the other did so at the beginning of 1867. The 
classes of the period succeeding the war were noted for orderly conduct and 
great application to study ; for they appeared to realize that the issue of the 
war had wrought a revolution in the fortunes, industries and employments of 
the Southern people, and that, afterwards, the success of young men was to 
depend on personal effort, in which education entered as an important factor. 
Hence, with great earnestness of purpose, they bent all their energies to the 
acquisition of knowledge. 

The war affected the college in another and unexpected manner — in regard to 
its location; and the result was its removal from Penfield to Macon. In 1850, 
at the meeting of the Convention at Marietta, a feeble effort was made to move 
the college to Griffin. In 1857 a more determined effort at removal was made 
in the Convention which met at Augusta, but it experienced a most decided re- 
pulse. But the war, and especially the redundant currency it set afloat, made 
men and communities more adventurous and speculative, and under thi&ififiu- 
ence the project of moving the University assumed a new phase. Several cities, 
appreciating the advantages of an endowed college owned by a large denomin- 
ation, offered valuable pecuniary inducements to the friends of Mercer Univer- 
sity, to secure its removal. Consequently the question of removal was re- 
opened and fully discussed in the Convention which assembled at Newnan in 
April, 1870. By a vote of 71 to 16, it was resolved to move the University 
from Penfield ; and, at a subsequent conference of the Board of Trustees and 
a Committee of the Convention, the city of Macon was adopted as the location 
of the college. In consideration of free tuition to a certain number of scholars 
to be selected by that city, Macon gave the University $125,000 in bonds, and 
seven acres of land on Tatnall Square. The removal, however, necessitated a 
change in the charter by the State Legislature, pending which the University 
was suspended during the spring of 1 871, and a collegiate school was conducted 
by the Faculty, in the city of Macon. The new charter having been perfected, 
Mercer University was again formally opened in October, 1871, at Macon. 
The Trustees proceeded to the erection of a large and handsome four-story 
brick building, containing over thirty rooms, to contain the library and appa- 
ratus and rooms for the purposes of recitation. They erected, also, a brick 
building as a dormitory and dining-hall for students. A chapel and a building 
to contain the museurn and to furnish lecture rooms were in contemplation, 
but the financial panic of 1873 caused a suspension of further proceedings. 

Macon, the new home of the University, is a central, healthy city, which is 
becoming an educational centre. The site, or campus, of seven acres, looking 
out upon Tatnall Square, is capable of great ornamentation, and will become as 
dear to the newer graduates as the beautiful oak-embowered campus of Pen- 
field was to the older classes. 

The future of this institution depends upon an exhibition of generous liber- 
ality, akin to that put forth by our Baptist fathers, when the denomination in 
the State numbered not more than 50,000 members. For more than a quarter 
of a century the endowment contributed by them was managed by T. J. Bur- 
ney, of Madison, treasurer of the Convention and of the University, of whom 
Dr. J. H. Campbell, for many years a member of the Board of Trustees, says 
truthfully, in his " Georgia Baptists :" A more faithful and efficient officer, per- 
haps, never lived. The Trustees adopted his views on all subjects affecting 
their finances, and he was authorized to carry them out at his own discretion. 
And it was, unquestionably, owing to his wisdom and foresight that a large pro- 
portion of these funds were saved during the late war, while other institutions 
became bankrupt. 

The presidents and the professors in the various departments have been as 



Rev. Billington M. Sanders, 1839; Rev. Otis Smith, i84o-'43; Rev. Jchn L. 
Dagg, D.D., 1844-54; Rev. Nathaniel M.Crawford, D.D., 1855-56, and 1858- 
'65; Rev. Henry Holcombe Tucker, D.D., i866-'7i ; and Rev. Archibald J. 
Battle, D.D., 1872 to the present date, i88i. 


Sacred Lzterattcre and Moral Philosophy. — Rev. Adiel Sherwood, D.D., 
i84o-'4i ; Rev. William J. Hard, i84i-'42: and Rev. J. L. Revnolds, D.D., 

Systetnatzc a?id Pastoral Theology. — Rev. John L. Dagg, D.D., 1 844-' 5 5 ; 
Rev. William Williams, D.D., i856-'59; and Rev. Shaler G. Hillyer, D.D., 

Ecclesiastical History and Biblical Literature. — Rev. Nathaniel M. Craw- 
ford, D.D., 1846-56 ; and i858-'65. 


Mathematics. — Shelton P. Sanford, LL.D., 1838 to the present time, 1881. 

Ancient Languages. — Rev. Albert Williams, 1840- '41 ; Rev. Patrick H. Mell, 
D.D., 1841-55; Uriah W. Wise, i856-'62; William G. Woodfin, i856-'62, 
and 1866-78; and Rev. Epenetus A. Steed, 1872 to the present time, 1881. 

Belles Letters.— Ktv. S. G. Hillyer, D.D., i845-'55 ; Rev. H. H. Tucker, D.D., 
LL.D., i856-'62 : Rev. John J. Brantly, D.D., 1867 to the present time, 1881. 

Natural Philosophy, Chemistry and Geology. — Robert Tolefree, M.D., 1840- 
'41 ; Benjamin Osgood Pierce. i84i-'47, and i848-'49; and Joseph E. Willet, 
1847 to the present time, 1881. 

Modern Langicages. — William G. Woodfin, i856-'72, and 1866; and Rev. 
John J. Brantly, D.D., 1867 to the present time, 1881. 

Adjunct Professors and Tutors. — IraO. McDaniel, 1839; Rev. John W. At- 
taway, i839-'4i ; Rev. William J. Hard, i84i-'42; W. K. Posey, 1841 ; R.J. 
Miller, 1842; Rev. Thomas D. Martin, 1843-55; Thomas A. Seals, 1856; J. 
Lumpkin Andrews, 1857 ; Tohn T. McGinty, 1857, and Adrian S. Morgan, 1858. 


Equity, Jurisprudence, Pleading and Practice. — Hon. Carlton B. Cole, 
i873-'75 ; and John C. Rutherford, A.M., 1875 to the present time, 1881. 

Ifiternational and Constitutional Law. — Hon. CHfford Anderson, 1873 to 
the present time, 1881. 

Commo7i and Statute Law. — Walter B. Hill, A.M.. B.L., 1873 to the present 
time, 1881. 


Rev. B. M. Sanders, who had been the central figure in the Institute, con- 
sented to remain one year as President of the University. It was, indeed, fit- 
ting that he should launch upon its new career of usefulness, the bark which he 
had guided so successfully through the six years of its preceding existence. 

Rev. Otis Smith, the second President, remained three years, and gave diplo- 
mas to the first two graduating classes. 

Rev. Dr. Dagg, succeeded in 1844, to a Presidency of ten years. With very 
superior mental endowments, varied and solid scholarship, venerable presence, 
affable manners, aptness in teaching and steadiness in discipline, he commanded 
the love and reverence of the whole institution. He gave dignity and character 
to the new college, and enabled it deservedly to take high rank among the col- 
leges of the State. 

Rev. Dr. Crawford, inherited much of the massive intellect of his father, Hon. 
William H. Crawford. His mind mastered, with equal ease, almost every de- 
partment of thought, and in almost every branch of science he was learned. 
Modest, sincere, sagacious, companionable, independent, and with great clear- 
ness and coolness of judgment, he won the respect and admiration of his stu- 
dents, and was beloved as a wise counsellor in the assemblies of his brethren. 
During his presidency, the rigidity of discipline which American colleges had 
inherited from the European, was greatly relaxed. 


Rev. Dr. Tucker, the next President, was possessed of remarkable acuteness, 
originality and readiness of intellect : clear, brilliant, magnetic, he excited such 
enthusiasm as few instructors have the power to do. " You are gentlemen, and 
the sons of gentlemen," was the key-note of a discipline which banished from 
college all silly tricks and pranks, and begat true manliness of character. In 
fact, the fresh vitahty of his administration is still felt in the institution. 

Rev. Dr. Battle came to the University shortly after its settlement in its new 
home at Macon. Dr. Cullen Battle, his father, a prominent Baptist of Georgia, 
had been a liberal donor to the University, but had removed to Alabama, thus 
carrying his son Archibald to another State, where, on arriving at manhood, he 
occupied positions of distinction and influence. On his return to his native 
State, Dr. Battle was received with a warm welcome, and found friends in all. 
As an educator and a college president, he has proved to be not only a superior 
scholar, but prudent and firm in administration, and more than equal to the 
demands of his position. While his career as an educator has been very suc- 
cessful, he has produced some original thought in a work on the Human Will, 
which has been very highly commended. By his courteous demeanor and high 
Christian character, he has attached to the College the community which had 
contributed so liberally to its endowment. Under his administration the College 
has prospered, and students have sustained a high reputation for good order 
and studiousness. 

Some of the professors of Mercer University have been men of commanding 
influence and abilities. One of these was Dr. P. H. Mell, who for fourteen 
years greatly benefitted the College by his services, and acquired a reputation 
that obtained for him a professorship in the State University, which he retained 
till two years ago, when he was elevated to the high and honorable position of 
Chancellor of that institution. As clerk of the Georgia Baptist Convention, he 
served ten years, the same number of years that Adiel Sherwood served ; and 
as President, he has served nineteen years, the same number of years that Jesse 
Mercer served, and much of the efficiency of the Convention may be attributed 
to him. For the last quarter of a century he has been Moderator of the Georgia 
Association, and in all these situations his influence in regard to Baptist doctrine 
and usage has been salutary and conservative. He has exerted an influence in 
the denomination second to that of no other. With, perhaps, no superior as a 
disciplinarian, he has few, if any, equals as an acute dialectician. From the year 
1846, when he first became clerk of the Convention, down to the present time, 
he has exerted a strong influence for good in the denomination, and the faithful 
labor of ten years in the institution, places Mercer University deeply in his debt. 

Dr. J. J. Brantly is one of the most polished and scholarly professors who has 
ever been connected with the institution. Professor W. G. Woodfin, for many 
years Professor of Ancient Languages, was an accomplished and most valuable 
instructor while connected with the institution. He, too, is now a professor in 
the State University. Rev. E. A. Steed has been excelled by no instructor in 
the ancient languages who has ever been connected with the University, nor 
perhaps by any in any other institution of learning. Dr. S. G. Hillyer, for many 
years connected with the College, and now pastor at Washington, Georgia, was 
a sound theologian and eloquent preacher, and exerted a good influence when 
a professor. Professors Willet and Sanford are unsurpassed in their depart- 
ments, and, by their long and faithful services, have greatly endeared themselves 
to the denomination. 

The reader now has a fair idea of the inception, the growth and the establish- 
ment of Mercer University. It sprung from a desire for an educated ministry, 
but this intention enlarged into the broader purpose of the higher education of 
Baptist sons, and in this great work the minds and hearts of those Georgia 
Baptists who are connected with the Convention have, been enhsted. They 
have brought to it their offerings of time, money and wisdom, and, when neces- 
essary, have sacrificed for it their preferences for locations and measures. This 
fusion of mind and heart has unified and consolidated the regular denomination 
in the State, and has girded it for the great religious work it has wrought. The 
University, thus founded in the prayers, sacrifices and best purposes of the 


Georgia Baptists, and becoming the centre of its intellectual culture, has ever 
been the rallying point of the denomination. With the return of stability and 
prosperity to the country, the institution should enter on a new era of enlight- 
ened progress. New buildings, a more numerous faculty and increased appli- 
ances ot all kmds are required by the larger numbers and greater intelligence 
of the denomination ; and it is hoped and believed that the Baptists of the State 
are ripe for an enlargement of the aims and works of their beloved University 

P°ul I J Baptists of Georgia Mercer has this undoubted claim, that it was 
estabhshed for grand and useful purposes by the fathers of the denomination, 
and has been transmitted to us as a sacred trust. It is. therefore, in a peculiar 
sense, our own heritage, and demands from us unremitting care and devotion • 
and right worthy is it of all our jealous and watchful solicitude. It has con- 
tributed, in a high degree, to the solid growth, the exalted character and the 
commanding influence of the denomination. It has added largely to the intelli- 
gent and influential element of our Baptist brotherhood. It has been a potent 
factor in the progress of our principles. It has done much to exalt the character 
of our ministry, and, by its fruitful career and its honorable position, has given 
a noble prestige to the Christian community which it represents. 

In view of what it has accomplished, we cannot afford to dispense with so 
powerful an agency for good ; and to suffer it to languish, would reduce us to 
inferiority and insignificance. 

But, if the University is to go on achieving results in proportion to the ad- 
vancing intelligence of the age and to the demands of Christian scholarship, 
and if It IS to hold its position abreast of the progressive institutions of the 
country, it must possess the needful appliances. In order that no material 
equipment nor any instructional facility may be wanting ; in order that build- 
ings, apparatus, library, and the courses and methods of instruction may be 
such as the times and circumstances require, its endowment must be increased. 

Let us hope that the Baptists of Georgia may awake to a deeper solicitude, 
and a more active zeal, and to an abounding liberality towards this noble legacy 
of their fathers — Mercer University. 








A very interesting cliapter might be written concerning the bold stand ever 
taken by the Georgia Baptists in favor of political and religious liberty. Wash- 
ington himself praised the Baptists for their patriotism and for the courage they 
exhibited during the glorious struggle for liberty in the war of Independence. 
The same spirit was manifested in the war of 1812. As we have seen, the 
Georgia Baptists exhibited an ardent attachment to country at that crisis ; the 
Associations adopted patriotic resolutions and appointed days of fasting and 
prayer for the success of our arms ; while the ministers incited the community 
to support the cause of the country. 

But underneath the sentiment of patriotism is the feeling oi good will to man, 
which takes a higher and broader range than mere patriotism, because it is a 
higher and nobler sentiment. It was this solicitude for the benefit and rights 
of others that led our Baptist fathers to proclaim the gospel in all parts of the 
State, with and without reward, and which induced them to expend their money 
in the erection of meeting houses, in contributions for schools, colleges, and 
academies, in missions among their red neighbors, the Creeks and Cherokees, 
and in sending the good news of salvation to the heathen of the old world. It 
was this sentiment that led the Georgia Association, in 1794, to memorialize 
the State Legislature by making a law to prevent the operations of the African 
slave trade, as far as Georgia was concerned ; which memorial Henry Graybill 
and James Sims were instructed to present to the General Assembly, at its next 
session.* This same feeling has led the Georgia Baptists, in all their existence, 
to manifest a lively interest in the mental and moral elevation of the negro 
race, causing them repeatedly, in their Associations and Conventions, not only 
to urge the instruction of the colored race, but to contribute its money freely 
for its evangelization and moral and religious training. The truth of this is 
evinced by the existence of thousands of colored Baptists, all over Georgia, who 
formed themselves into churches immediately after the war, and whose good 

*The following extract from the Minutes of the Georgia Association for 1794, from the only copy 
known to be in existence, is the action of that body to which reference is made : " A memorial moving 
to the Legislature that a law be made to prevent the future importation of slaves, was presented, read 
and approved, and ordered to be signed by the Moderator and Clerk. Also, Henry Graybill and 
James Sims were appointed to present the same to the next session of the General Assembly." 


order, sobriety and religious training was a matter of surprise to Northern visi- 
tors, to whom it never occurred that credit should be given to the white Baptists 
of the State for such a favorable state of affairs. 

It may not be amiss to quote here the action of the Georgia Association in 
1864, relative to the marital relation among slaves, as exhibiting the sacredness 
which the Baptists attach to that relation. The following resolution, drawn up 
and offered by Dr. H. H. Tucker, on the 8th of October, 1864, at the session 
which met at Pine Grove, Columbia county, was unanimously adopted : 

"Resolved, That it is the firm belief and conviction of this body that the in- 
stitution of marriage was ordained by Almighty God for the benefit of the 
whole human race, without respect to color ; that it ought to be maintained in 
its original purity among all classes of people, in all countries and in all ages, 
till the end of time ; and that, consequently, the law of Georgia, in its failure to 
recognize and protect this relationship between our slaves, is essentially defec- 
tive, and ought to be amended." 

Mere legal sanction possesses no sacredness in Baptist opinion, when contrary 
to their prevailing sentiment of good will to man. 

The same feeling extended itself towards the young in the establishment of 
Sunday-schools, and towards all classes and ages in the formation of temper- 
ance societies. The Baptists formed and mainly carried on the first temperance 
society in the State, and were greatly instrumental in the successes achieved by 
the great temperance crusade in the State between 1825 and 1835, which 
aided so materially in casting odium upon liquor-drinking, and upon the custom 
of keeping hquor and offering it to the household guest, and using it on festive 

The first temperance paper ever published in the State was originated and, 
for some years, published at a pecuniary loss, by a Baptist — Jesse Mercer^and 
was called The Temperance Banner. 


In regard to religious liberty and the rights of conscience, the records show 
that the Baptists of Georgia have, in no degree, been behind their brethren of 
Rhode Island and Virginia in fidelity to that great distinguishing trait of our 
denomination. The rnost preposterous utterance ever made in the Georgia 
Legislature, was that which gave for one reason why a charter should not be 
granted to Mount Enon College that the numbers and influence of the Baptists 
ought not to be augmented, lest the religious liberties of the State be endangered, 
because the denomination being then largely in the preponderance in the State, 
everything would eventually be under Baptist control and direction. 

It is a historical fact that, though highly respected by his Baptist brethren, 
and though extensively known as belonging to the Baptist denomination, yet the 
Hon. Wilson Lumpkin, when a candidate for Governor, was not generally 
supported by his denomination. Although elected, he received but a small vote 
from his Baptist friends. This simply shows that Baptists need never be 
expected to unite in forming a political party, or to gain political power. This 
was exemplified in the strongest possible manner in 1785 when the State Legis- 
lature enacted the following law, to provide lor the establishment and support 
of the public duties of religion : 

" An Xct for the Establishment and Support of the Public Duties of Religion. 

'• As the knowledge and practice of the principles of the Christian religion 
tends greatly to make good members of society, as well as good men, and is no 
less necessary to present than to future happiness, its regular establishment and 
support is among the most important objects of legislative determination ; and 
that the minds of the citizens of this State may be properly informed and 
impressed by the great principles of moral obligation, and thus be induced by 
inclination, furnished with opportunity, and favored by law, to render public 
religious honors to the Supreme Being : 


" Be it enacted by the representatives of the freemeti of the State of Georgia 
in General Assembly met, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same. 
That in each county of this State which contains thirty heads of families, there 
be duly chosen and appointed a minister of the gospel, who shall on every 
Sunday publicly explain and inculcate the great doctrines and precepts of the 
Christian religion, as opportunity shall offer, at such place or places as the heads 
of families, or a majority of them, shall -think best suited to advance the cause 
of religion and the good of the people within said county. 

" And for the encouragement of persons of known and approved piety and 
learning to devote themselves wholly to so sacred an employment : 

" Be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid,. That of the public tax 
from time to time paid into the treasury of the State, there be deducted at the 
rate of four pence on every hundred pounds valuation of property, and in the 
same proportion for all other taxable property, which shall be appropriated and 
set apart for the county from which it was received by the treasurer for the 
support of religion within such county. 

"The mode of choosing the minister shall be by subscription of not less than 
thirty heads of families, which shall be certified by an assistant judge, and two 
justices of the peace, within the county, on which the Governor shall give an 
order to the treasurer to pay out of the money appropriated to the support of 
religion in said county, to the person so chosen as their minister, according to 
the valuation of the property of such subscribers in the return of the county. 
A certificate from the justices aforesaid, with an order from the Governor, shall 
be the mode of obtaining each yearly payment ; and, unless it is drawn out of 
the treasury in manner aforesaid, within one year after it is so received by the 
treasurer, it shall revert to the common funds of the State for the customary 
expenditures of government. 

" Whenever the number of inhabitants in any county is so much increased 
as to dispose them to bear a greater expense for their better accommodation, 
and they are desirous of being made separate and distinct congregations, the 
sam^e shall be set forth by a petition of not less than twenty heads of families 
to the General Assembly, and, on their being set off as a separate parish, they 
shall be entitled to a dividend of the money of the said county, in proportion to 
the valuation of their property, in the return of such county, such proportion to 
be drawn out of the treasury in the manner before pointed out. 

"And be it further etiacted by the authority aforesaid. That all the different 
sects and denominations of the Christian relieion shall have free and equal 
liberty and toleration in the exercise of their religion within this State. 

" Provided always. That nothing in this Act shall extend or be construed to 
extend to, effect, or in anywise injure any of the funds, subscriptions or any 
public moneys which have been or may hereafter be appropriated for the sup- 
port of any religious societies whatever within this State. And _ all religious 
societies heretofore formed are hereby confirmed and established in all usages, 
rights, immunities and privileges they usually had, held or enjoyed. 

" Signed by order of the House of Assembly at Savannah, the twenty-first 
day of February, 1785. "Joseph Habersham, Speaker." 

It was against this Act that the Georgia Baptist Association remonstrated ; 
which Remonstrance w^'i presented in the fall of 1785. by Silas Mercer and 
Peter Smith, under appointment of the Association. A copy of that remon- 
strance was procured by Adiel Sherwood, from the Marshall family, though in 
an incomplete condition, and is here given publicity for the first time : 

It was found by the author among Dr. Sherwood's papers, left with the Bap- 
tist Historical Society of Philadelphia by Dr. Benedict, and is in Dr. Sherwood's 
own handwriting, copied by him from the original document : 

" To the Honorable, the Speaker and General Assembly of the State of Geor- 
gia, the Remonstrance of the Baptist Association, met at the Kiokee meet- 
ing-house, the i6th of May, 1783, sheweth : 
That, according to the observation of Solomon, oppression maketh a wise 

man mad, and that religious oppression is, of all others, the most intolerable. 


and, therefore, laws which best secure the Hberty of the subjects, and especially 
those which preserve religious liberty inviolate, will tend most to attach the 
minds of the citizens to the State, and best promote concord among themselves ; 

" That your remonstrants conceive the late Act for the regular establishment 
and support of religion will be so far from subserving the interests of the Church 
or State, as perhaps, the framers might design that it will, if carried into execu- 
tion, be injurious to both ; 

" That civil and religious government ought not to be blended together, as 
each of them stands on a different basis : civil government originates with 
the people, and every freeman has a right to a share in that to which he 
is subjected ; religious government does not belong to the people at large, 
but the admission and exclusion of the members thereof are to be regulated by 
the qualifications laid down in the word of God ; 

" That churches are voluntary societies, who consider Christ as their King 
and Lawgiver, and who acknowledge no other Master but Him in things per- 
taining to the conscience. The Holy Scriptures they receive as their statute 
book, and, as church members, they belong to a kingdom which is not of this 
world, and, therefore, the sanctions of the laws they are under are spiritual. 
All the punishments which church rulers have a right to inflict by Christ's 
authority are excommunication, or an exclusion of an unworthy member from 
society ; 

" That religious societies, or churches, are not, as many conceive, to be formed 
by the Legislature, according to the plan of civil government where Christianity 
happens to be professed : religion does not need such carnal weapons as acts of 
assembly and civil sanctions, nor can they be applied to it without destroying 
it: Christians know they are bound to obey magistrates, to pay them tribute, to pray 
for them, to fight for them and to defend them, but to give them the honor due 
to Christ would be the readiest way to ruin them : Christ is the King and Lord of 
the conscience, and it is an encroachment upon his prerogative for civil rulers 
to interfere in matters pertaining thereto ; 

" That when legislators, who were chosen to make laws for the government 
of the State, presume to make laws for the church, they are acting quite out of 
their province, and by the same authority [that] they make one regulation they 
[may] make others ; your remonstrants, therefore, look on the legislators assum- 
ing the headship of the Church and making provision for its support, as a step- 
ping stone to the establishment of a^jarticular denomination in preference and 
at the expense of the rest ; 

" That your remonstrants sincerely believe that nothing of this kind was in- 
tended by the honorable, the General Assembly, when they passed the late Act, 
but it is, evidently, a first link which draws after it, a chain of baneful conse- 
quences ; for, those who are employed by the legislature to act in any post, 
must expect to have their conduct regulated thereby, and to be accountable 
thereto, for the discharge of the trust ; and it will, probably, by degrees, issue 
in determining who shall preach, where they shall preach, what they shall preach. 
When religion is turned into a policy and made subservient to private interest, 
it will ever bring tyranny along with it and should, therefore, be opposed in its 
first appearances. The Three Penny Act on tea was a trifle in itself, but a 
badge of slavery, and a precedent [for] more destructive measures. 

" That, whatever rites and ceremonies are established as the religion of any 
country, some will be found, who, like Eli's posterity, M'ill crouch to the Rulers 
and say : ' Put me, I pray thee, into the priest's office, that I may eat a piece of 
bread.' Such time-servers will eye the emolument more than the purity of re- 
ligion, and be swayed more by interest \ha.npri7iciple. These, while they plead 
for national churches and the authority of the State in matters of religion, will 
stand prepared to follow it for the loaves, under whatever form it may assume, 
and, having prostituted their own consciences to mercenary purposes, they will 
be the first to insist on the necessity of uniformity, and to urge the State to en- 
force it, that power and numbers may keep them in countenance. 

" That your remonstrants acknowledge that morality is essential to good gov- 
ernment, and as rulers should be a terror to evil-doers and a praise to them 
that do well, laws should be made for the punishment of vice, without regard 


to any religious denomination, and protection should be offered to each in their 
just rights, but statesmen derive no authority from God or men, to judge heresy 
and establish systems of religious opinions or modes of religious worship. 
Fines, imprisonments, tortures and deaths of various kinds, on a religious ac- 
count, are the genuine but diabolical offspring of ecclesiastical establishments. 
It is evident that none of these can take place in a State where all are left free 
to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences, unbribed and 
unmolested. That the general commission given by Christ to his ministers en- 
joined them to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, 
that is, as far as they have opportunity ; but the Act referred to, by your re- 
monstrants, enacts that the minister shall, on every Sunday, publicly explain 
the great doctrines of the Christian religion at such place or places as the heads 
of families, or a majority of them, shall think best suited to the people within 
said county. Your remonstrants conceive that here are large strides towards 
taking the " — 

Unfortunately the remaining page or pages of the Remonstrance were lost ; 
but the foregoing gives a fair idea of the document, which was written, doubt- 
less, by Silas Mercer. It is a noble production, and was worthy of even such a 
man. The doctor seems doubtful whether Sanders Walker or Peter Smith 
was the companion of Mercer in the presentation of the document, but appears 
to favor the latter. He says the obnoxious act was repealed in the fall of 1785, 
after the presentation of this Remonstrance. 

Surely it was preposterous to assume that the Baptists of that day were in 
any way likely to be dangerous to the religious liberties of the people. 

The presentation of their remonstrance to the Legislature of our State, insist- 
ing, as it does, upon full religious liberty, strikingly evinced one great, and it 
might be added distinguishing, peculiarity of our denomination — its attachment 
to religious liberty. Theirs was the most numerous denomination in the State, 
and the Baptists might have formed and supported their churches over the entire 
State, under the law giving "thirty famihes the right to choose a minister," who 
was to be supported from the State treasury ; but, according to their principles, 
the gospel should be supported by those who hear it, and not by " four pence on 
every hundred pounds paid into the treasury." They insist upon perfect freedom 
in worship, and are unwilling that the State shall be taxed to support or maintain 
religious worship in any way. In other words, they believe in an entire sepa- 
ration of " Church " and " State." So strongly was this feeling manifested during 
the late war, that many Baptist ministers scrupled to serve as army chaplains 
in pay of the government, and some served independently as such through a 
part or the whole of the war without pay, rather than infringe on a principle 
ingrained in Baptist faith. It is well known that in the first Georgia Constitu- 
tion, adopted m 1777, the sixty-second article made clergymen ineligible to seats 
in the Legislature. The State had but few inhabitants then, and there was no 
Baptist influence in the State worth regarding. But in the Constitutional Con- 
vention of 1789, at Augusta, there were at least two Baptists— Abraham Mar- 
shall and Jeremiah Walker— and then the article excluding ministers was 
rescinded. In the Amending Convention of 1795, there were Benjamin Davis, 
Thomas Polhill and Silas Mercer, Baptist ministers ; and in the Convention of 
1798, which, while it took for its basis the Constitution of 1789, as amended m 
1795, yet formed an mdependent structure, the following Baptists were mem- 
bers : George Franklin, Benjamin Davis, Thomas Polhill, Benjamm Mosely, 
Thomas Gilbert, Jesse Mercer, ministers, and Matthew Rabun and others, lay- 
men. Among the "principal actors" in this Convention, Dr. William Bacon 
Stevens, in his History of Georgia, numbers Jesse Mercer, and says that the 
section of the Constitution "securing liberty of conscience in matters of religion 
was written by Rev. Jesse Mercer." 

Such Baptists as those named above could not act otherwise than discounte- 
nance every measure which might infringe upon inalienable rights— the rights 
of conscience ; for every Baptist church is, in itself, a republic in miniature. 
" The government is with the body," is a sentiment dear to every member of 
the Baptist denomination; they rejoice that it is not committed to church 


wardens, to the preacher in charge, to the bishop, to the ruling elders, to pres- 
byteries, conferences, associations, conventions, nor to any other body or set of 
oflficers, but to the church itself. With them "the church is the highest ecclesi- 
astical authority on earth," and they do not admit that the civil courts have any 
power or right to prescribe regulations regarding worship, or dictate who shall 
or shall not take part in or conduct divine worship. 

This has been exemplified, even in our day, as late as 1863, when a number of 
Baptists of Georgia sent to the State Legislature a protest against an enactment 
in the Code of Georgia, which made it unlawful to license a negro to preach, 
whether free or a slave. This protest, written by Dr. H. H. Tucker, assisted in 
procuring the repeal of the obnoxious law, and, in a most able and pointed 
manner, declares the position of the Baptists of Georgia with reference to the 
principle of religious liberty, and as such it deserves to be put permanently on 
record in a history of our people. 

The following petition was drawn up by Rev. H. H. Tucker, formerly Pro- 
fessor in Mercer University, and was presented to the Legislature just prior to 
its repeal of the section of the New Code, to which allusion is made. The Leg- 
islature, however, left in full force the old law requiring permission to be ob- 
tained from the Inferior Court before a slave can be licensed to preach : 

" To the Honorable the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of 
Georgia : 

" The petition of the undersigned members of Baptist churches, and citizens 
of Georgia, respectfully sheweth, that whereas. His Excellency the Governor, 
in his recent message to. your Honorable Body, did recommend the repeal of 
Section 1376 of the New Code which section reads as follows, to- wit : 

" It shall be unlawful for any church, society or other body, or any persons, 
to grant any license or other authority to any slave or free person of color to 
preach, or exhort, or otherwise officiate in church matters." 

" And whereas the objections to said section are of the gravest possible char- 
acter, to-wit : 

" It is objectionable in the first place, because it virtually unites Church and 
State. Its very phraseology shows that the legislation embodied therein, has 
reference to ' Church matters,' and these are matters over which no human tri- 
bunal has any jurisdiction. However inexpedient, unwise and improper, it may 
be for churches to authorize unsuitable persons, whether white or black, to 
preach, it is still more inexpedient, unwise and improper for civil authorities to 
take cognizance of matters purely ecclesiastical. As Baptists, we desire to put 
on record our solemn protest against this encroachment of the kingdom of this 
world upon the kingdom of Christ. We quote the language Of our Baptist 
ancestors, put on record in the city of London, in the year 1646, when we say 

" ' Concerning the worship of God,' (and the licensing of a preacher being a 
part of the service of God is equivalent to an act of worship.) 'there is but one 
lawgiver which is able to save and to destroy, which is Jesus Christ who hath 
given laws and rules sufficient in his word for his worship ; and for any to make 
more were to charge Christ with want of wisdom or faithfulness, or both, in not 
making laws enough or not good enough for his house ; surely it is our wisdom, 
duty and privilege to observe Christ's laws only.' 

" Section 1376 of the new Code of Georgia is an attempt to improve upon the 
laws which Christ has given to his people ; it is a usurpation of ecclesiastical 
power by civil authorities ; it is a seizure by force of the things that are God's, 
and a rendering of them unto Caesar ; it is a consolidation under one govern- 
ment, of things which belong to two separate and distinct tribunals. What 
would be the outcry if a Baptist or any other church were to attempt to prescribe 
the length of the Governor's term of office, or to say of how many members 
the Legislature shall consist, or to prescribe the qualifications of Legislators or , 
of voters, or to regulate the taxes, or to make laws for the collection of debts, 
or for the punishment of crimes ; or in any other way to trespass upon the au- 


thority of civil government ? Yet a church has as much right to dictate to the 
Legislature on these matters, as the Legislature has to dictate to a church v,-hom 
it shall authorize to preach. The truth is, the two jurisdictions are world- 
wide apart, and any attempt to force them into union is as unwise as it is un- 
hallowed. _ In too many instances already, the Church has committed whoredom 
with the kings of the earth, and the result has been disastrous. 

" The section in question is objectionable, in the second place, because it tres- 
passes upon the rights of conscience, and is a violation of religious liberty. To 
say nothing of the sacred right of the black, to preach, exhort or pray, if God 
has called and commanded him to do either, cases might arise, in which we 
might feel it our duty as Baptists to license a man of color to preach or other- 
wise officiate in church matters. To grant such license, would then be a part 
of our religion ; but the Code of Georgia forbids our acting according to the 
dictates of our own consciences, in this particular, and in prescribing what our 
religion shall not be, virtually prescribes what it shall be. We protest against 
this attempt to bind our consciences. Our religion is a matter between us and 
our God ; with which no power on earth has a right to interfere. Soul-liberty 
is the rightful heritage of all God's moral creatures. Not even over the reli- 
gion of the slave has civil authority any power, nor yet has it over that of the 

" Involved in this objectionable feature, and forming perhaps a part of it, is 
another. There are in the State of Georgia, not far from one hundred thousand 
Baptist communicants, to say nothing of adherents and friends. If the spirit 
of the section be carried out, the whole of this vast proportion of the popula- 
tion, will be forced to the unhappy alternative, of deciding whether they will 
obey the law of Georgia or the law of God. If the law were enforced by ex- 
treme penalties, we must either violate our consciences or become martyrs. 
Doubtless some who are among us would forsake their principles in the day of 
trial ; but others, the better part, we hope the great majority, the upright, the 
conscientious, the pure and the true, would stand by their religion to the last, 
and say with apostolic boldness : ' Whether it is right in the sight of God to 
hearken unto you more than unto God. judge ye.' Thus a large proportion of 
the best part of the population of the State, would be arrayed in hostility to its 
laws. The rebels would consist, not of the profane and the lawless, but of 
those whose nature and whose religion prompt them to be peaceable, quiet, loyal 
and law-abiding. Facts have indeed already transpired which, to some extent, 
corroborate what has been said. The Baptist church in Columbus, Georgia, 
with the new Code spread open before their eyes, and with a full knowledge 
and understanding of the intent and meaning of section 1376, and after a thor- 
ough discussion of its provisions, deliberately violated the same, and ordained 
two negroes to officiate in church matters in the office of Deacon. Should the 
same intolerant, bigoted and persecuting spirit which prompted the making of 
the law, be let loose to enforce it, we doubt not, that the Baptists of Columbus 
would be ready for the gibbet or the stake rather than recede from their princi- 
ples, and as thousands of Baptists in centuries past, have done, would seal their 
testimony with their blood. 

" It is, however, a remarkable fact, in regard to the law in question, that it has 
no penalty ; and this we regard as another objectionable feature. If we ai:e 
forbidden to worship God according to the dictates of our own consciences, (for 
as already said, the' licensing of a preacher is an act of worship,) we want to 
know what penalty we incur. If it be a fine, it will not be the first time that we 
have been robbed for the testimony of Jesus. If it be imprisonment, we at 
least have this consolation, that the incarceration of our bodies will be easier 
to endure than the fetters of despotism on our consciences. If it be death, our 
history for eighteen centuries has made us familiar with it. As the matter now 
stands, we are merely liable to be dispersed by a mob without redress. It would 
seem that the civil authority, either afraid or ashamed to enforce its own laws, 
■turns over the execution of them to the rabble. Virtuous and unoffending cit- 
izens quietly worshipping God, are to be made the sport of the profligate amd 
the base. The assembly of the saints of Jesus Christ is liable to be broken up 


by a mob, just such as that which in Jerusalem cried out ' Crucify him ! crucify 
him !' and the Code of Georgia provides no remedy but encourages the act. 
We protest against the execution of laws by the lawless. If we must be ar- 
rested and arraigned let it be done not by drunkards and ruffians, (for no others 
would molest us,) but let it be done by the sheriff. Let not the State shrink 
from the execution of its own enactments ; but let the constable come with his 
tip-staff and arrest the proceedings of the people of God. 

" But while the law in question is in the highest degree objectionable at any 
time, it is especially so at this time. Since we have cut loose from our connex- 
ion with that peculiar people whose territory lies North of ours, and since we 
have been from under their pernicious and unhallowed influence, there has been 
a very general and a very rapid spread of a sentiment among all our people in 
favor of ameliorating as far as possible the physical, mental, and above all the 
moral condition of our slaves. Indeed it is well known among us, that this 
sentiment would long since have accomplished its benevolent plans, had it not 
been restrained and held in by Northern fanaticism. But now that that horrid 
incubus is removed, the feeUng long pent up, has broken out, and there is a 
loud and universal demand for reform. Aside from the wicked interference of 
abolitionists, which while we were united to them, made reform impossible, our 
minds have heretofore been so absorbed with the defence of our institutions, 
that we have neglected to cherish and develop them as we desired to do. Now, 
the barrier to progress is broken down ; now, we have the leisure, as we have 
long since had the disposition, to improve the condition of our slaves. Just at 
this crisis the new Ct)de steps in and commands the voice of reform to be silent ; 
nay it puts back the sun many degrees on the dial ; it reverses the wheels of 
progress, and puts us back to the days of Puritan bigotry and Popish intoler- 
ance ; it puts us back and puts us down to a point where we have never been ; it 
reduces us to a level with the legislators of early New England. If just at this 
point of time we do worse instead of doing better, it would seem that Northern 
influence, instead of restraining us from good as it has done, has actually re- 
strained us from evil. We trust that the speedy correction of the egregious 
blunder of the Code, will prevent this false impression from going forth to the 

" But aside from local or temporary objections, and aside from its attempted 
despotism over the consciences of men, the most objectionable feature of all, in. 
the obnoxious section, is its heaven-daring impiety. It trespasses not only on 
the rights of men, but on the rights of God. It dictates to the Almighty of 
what color his preachers shall be. 

" The great majority of the human race are of dark complexion. If one of 
these among us is called by the great Head of the Church to minister in holy 
things, the Code of Georgia forbids obedience ; it stops the preaching of the 
everlasting gospel on the ground of a police regulation ; it says to Omnipotence, 
'Thus far shalt thou go, and no farther;' it allows Jehovah to have minis- 
ters of a certain complexion and no other, and so exacting and rigid are these 
regulations imposed on the Almighty, that they not only forbid his having 
preachers such as he may choose, but also prescribe that none shall even exhort, 
or in any way whatever ' officiate in church matters,' unless they be approved 
by this self-exalted and heaven-defying tribunal. Nor is there any reason to 
suppose that the spirit which prompted the act now under protest .would stop, 
if unchecked, at its present point of audacity. Having prescribed color as 
one qualification for the pulpit to-day, it might prescribe another qualification 
to-morrow. Quite likely a certain amount of learning might be called for 
next, and a multitude of Baptist preachers, and of the most useful men who 
ever lived, would be suspended from their sacred calling. Next, the dress of 
the clergyman might be prescribed ; the surplice and gown might be made 
obligatory, and the uncouth limbs of our rustic brethren be enveloped in silken 
canonicals. Next, the ordinances of the church might come under legislative 
review, and Baptists be forced to sprinkle candidates for Baptism, which, in their 
view, is no baptism at all ; or they might be forced to perform some ceremony 
over their children which they believe to be unscriptural in origin and pernicious 


in influence. Next, the question in dispute between the Calvinist and the 
Arminian might be the subject of the legislative investigation and decision. 
Next, we might have iire and faggot. 

" In short, all history shows, that when the civil power begins to encroach upon 
' church matters," (to use the phraseology of section 1376,) it never ceases until 
it attains to the triple crown and the keys. Nor does it usually make bold 
beginnings. Like the little section slipped into the new Code, it begins furtively 
and claims only one thing at a time. Insidious in its approaches, it is the more 
important that we should be ever on the alert and crush it at its very inception. 

" It is worthy of special mention, and ought, for the credit of the State to be 
put on permanent and public record, that until the adoption of the new Code, 
the section under protest never was a part of the law of Georgia. It is indeed 
a question whether it is a law now, violative as it is of constitutional rights, 
adopted as it was in an unconstitutional manner, and inserted, as it was, into the 
Code surreptitiously. Three persons were appointed by the Legislature to codify 
existing laws. Their duties extended thus far and no farther. It was never 
dreamed that they would make laws. Indeed, the Legislature, even if it had 
the disposition, had not the power thus to delegate its legislative authority. The 
committee of both Houses, who reported on the Code, affirm that they were the 
more ready to recommend its adoption because no graft had been made upon 
the old stock, no new feature had been introduced, and, above all, no new prin- 
ciples brought to bear. Persuaded of this, the joint committee recommended 
the adoption of the new Code. Believing this, the Legislature did adopt it ; and 
now, to our astonishment, we find that a new principle has been introduced — a 
principle which is radical and fundamental, and one, too, which is in direct 
antagonism to the spirit and genius of all American institutions. How such a 
thing could have occurred is unknown to us. It may have been an accident. 
Be that as it may, it is to the credit of the Legislature that this act was never 
read in the hearing of its members three times, as all laws are ; nay they never 
heard it once : nor is it probable that at the time of its adoption, a solitary 
member of either House was aware of its existence, 

" Now, therefore, we, the undersigned, in view of the above objectionable 
features of section 1 376, of the new Code, do most earnestly add to the recom- 
mendation of His Excellency, the Governor, our prayer to your honorable body 
that said section be repealed. 

" And whereas, furthermore, before the adoption of the new Code, it was the 

law of Georgia, enacted and to be found, that negroes should 

not be allowed to preach except on a permit, to be granted be the Inferior Court, 
and, whereas, said law is obnoxious to the very same objections thav have been 
urged against section 1376, of the new Code, and is, in point of fact, just as real, 
if not as great a usurpation of ecclesiastical power by civil authority, and is just 
as insidious in its nature, and as unhappy in its natural results ; we therefore, 
do most respectfully but most earnestly petition that said law be also repealed, 
or so amended as not to infringe upon the rights of the Church of Christ. 

" We have heretofore submitted to this law, not because we acquiesced in its 
spirit, but because the inconvenience to which it puts us was not very great, and 
because we were not disposed to make an ado about what seemed to be a small 
matter. But we are now convinced that we ought to have protested at the 
beginning. The first step in violation of our religious liberties, just as we might 
have expected, has been followed by a second ; and the long standing of the 
first without rebuke, may now be urged as an argument against its repeal. We 
are now, therefore, the more in haste to enter our protest against both, lest the 
same argument be urged in favor of both, and the way prepared for still further 
encroachment upon the rights of conscience. We maintain in this, as in the 
former case, that the Church of Christ and the Inferior Court are two separate 
organizations, having each a distinct jurisdiction. The preachers of the gospel 
are the officers of the church ; and the Inferior Court has no more right to say 
who shall be the officers of the church than the church has to say who shall be 
the officers of the Inferior Court. We have to confess that we are to blame for 
not having protested against this law before ; but now repenting of this our 


fault, especially since we have seen the consequences of our negligence, we 
hereby declare that we cannot conscientiously submit to its provisions : and as 
we desire, above all things, to be a law-abiding people, we earnestly pray for its 
repeal, and for the repeal of any other law which may infringe, in the slighest 
degree, on the religious rights of any one. 

" In this petition we have spoken of ourselves exclusively as Baptists. We do 
not, by this, mean to intimate that we are the only people who object to the laws 
in question. On the contrary, we believe that now that the bearing of these laws 
has been brought to light which heretofore was not observed, the whole popula- 
tion of the State would unanimously join v\iih us in the petition ; and if there 
be but few signatures hereunto annexed, it is only because in our haste to get 
the matter before your honorable body, we have not taken the time to secure 
a larger number. 

" And now respectfully but earnestly urging upon you this, our petition, and 
praying the blessing of God upon you individually and collectively, upon the 
State and upon the Confederate States, 

" We have the honor to be your fellow-citizens, 

D. E. Butler, N. M. Crawford, 

Thomas Stocks, T. R. Thornton, 


J. R. Sanders, S. P. Sanford, 

N. HoBBS, • H. C. Peek, 

John E. Jackson, James Burk, 

Thomas Mosley, John B. Shields, 

J. R. Kendrick, W. S. Stokes, 

A. B. Sharp, William E. Woodfin, 

J. E. Willet, p. Robinson, 

H. H. Tucker, W. B. Crawford, 

E.E.Jones, John B. Walker, 

Isaac L. Gary, L. M. Willson, 

William Hearn. 

education of colored ministers. 

Since the emancipation of the colored race, and the constitution of Baptists 
among them into churches separate from the whites, the question as to the 
education of their ministers has assumed momentous proportions. On that 
question, our people at the South at large, and in this State, have expressed 
decided views. The Southern Baptist Convention, in its session at Charleston, 
1875, said: " In the impoverished condition of the South, and with the need of 
strengthening the special work which the Southern Baptist Convention is com- 
mitted to prosecute, there is no probability of an early endowment of schools 
under our charge for the better education of a colored ministry. The Conven- 
tion has adopted the policy of sustaining students at the seminaries controlled 
by the American Baptist Home Mission Society. It is much to be desired that 
larger contributions for this purpose may be secured from both white and 
colored Baptists." And with regard to this work as prosecuted in our own 
State under the auspices of the Home Mission Society, the Georgia Baptist 
Convention said, in 1875 : "The Institute for colored ministers, under the care 
and mstruction of our esteemed brother, J. T. Robert, is doing a noble work 
for our colored population. We trust that many will avail themselves of the 
excellent course of instruction there, and that the school may prove an incalcu- 
lable blessing in evangelizing and elevating the race." In 1876, it said : "We 
are pleased to observe that the enterprise of educating colored Baptist ministers, 
at Augusta, Georgia, is in successful operation," and bespoke "the confidence 
of the brethren for the enterprise." It said, in 1877; "We recommend the 
school to the patronage of our people." In 1878, it said: "We recommend 
our brethren to aid in sending pious and promising young men who have the 
ministry in view " to this school ; a recommendation which was " urged in view 
of the fact, among other facts, that Romanists are making strenuous efforts to 


control our colored people, by giving them cheap or gratuitous education." It 
said, in 1879: "The institution deserves our sympathy and most cordial co- 
operation. It is doing a most important work, and is indispensable as an 
educator of this most needy class of our population." Some may doubt whether 
it is not yet too soon to anticipate the verdict of history in this matter ; but 
may we not with reasonable confidence persuade ourselves that posterity will 
recognize in these views of the two Conventions, ' the sound wisdom which the 
Lord layeth up for the righteous ?' Beyond all question, at least, ignorance is 
not the mother of devotion ; and not to educate the ministry of a race would 
be to doom its churches to extinction, or to a corruption worse than extinction. 


It is rather difficult for us, at the present day, to realize the extent to which, 
what we are accustomed to designate pulpit "affiliation," was carried by 
some of the most eminent ministers of our denomination at the close of the 
last century, and at the beginning of the present one. Of course there existed 
a corresponding inclination to "Christian union," which the well-defined de- 
nominational lines, of the present day, render almost incomprehensible to us. 
A few extracts from some hitherto unpublished manuscripts of Dr. Adiel Sher- 
wood's, bearing on this point, will be given, to enable us to obtain an idea of 
the sentiment existing at the time of which our record treats. He writes : 
"Landmarkism was not developed among Missionary Baptists, in Mercer's day. 
He admitted Pedobaptist ministers into his pulpit, especially agents that were 
pleading the cause of benevolence. His father before him, Silas Mercer, used 
frequently to make tours of preaching with the Rev. William Springer, one of 
Jesse's instructors in the learned languages. He was a learned Presbyterian, 
and the first minister of that order ordained in the up-country. Ministers of all 
denominations were invited to seats in both the Georgia Association and State 
Convention, when Mercer was Moderator." See Minutes of the Georgia Asso- 
ciation and State Convention for 1824, 1833, 1834 — "ministers of our own and 
other denominations, not of this body, were cordially invited to sit with us." 
So, by the Convention in 1826, 1827, 1828, 1829, 1830, 1832, 1833 — "ministers 
of all denominations." Messrs. Davis and Kennedy, in 1826; Webster, in 
1828; and Reed, in 1832, took seats. Both Silas and Jesse Mercer frequently 
preached with Mr. Springer, a Presbyterian. Between 1820 and 1830, Dr. Cum- 
mins preached regularly a year, once a month at Shiloh, Greene county, in his 
trips into Oglethorpe or Clarke. At the close, the church offered him one hun- 
dred dollars for his services, which he declined, observing that it was in his 
route, and hence no trouble. 

It was well known that, for two years. Dr. Holcombe was the regular pastor 
of a congregation composed of different denominations, in Savannah — 1800 and 
1 801 ; but, if any one supposes him to have been an open-communionist, he 
has but to read the following from the Analytical Repository of September and 
October, 1802, in a published letter on mixed-communion : 

"I perfectly agree with you that, desirable as union among Christians is, it 
must never be sought at the expense of integrity ; but an object so important, 
you will readily admit, ought to be promoted by all means in our power, con- 
sistent with the word of God and a good conscience. Be assured, my brother, 
that it is only on the ground and principles of eternal truth that I seek union. 
My public expressions, you will find, admit of no other construction. God for- 
bid that I should ever, intentionally, deviate a hair's breadth, from rectitude, or, 
which is the same thing — the rules of the gospel. 

"Among other important object which, as a writer, I have in view, I wish to 
show to the world that the Baptists hold no illiberal sentiments, and are not only 
willing, but desirous to meet their brethren of other persuasions, on any fair 
grounds, with a view to a scriptural accommodation of existing differences, as 
far as these may be inimical to peace and our success against the common 

Jesse Mercer's sentiments on this subject may be learned in an extract from 


a Circular Letter of the Georgia Association, written by him in 182 1. He pre- 
sents briefly the reasons why Baptists "cannot reasonably hold communion at 
the Lord's table with those who, in Christian profession, differ in faith and prac- 
tice, to-wit : I . Because the union is broken and the dependence lost between 
you and them, so that union would be a shadow without any proper substance — 
too pretensional for sacred and sincere Christianity. 2. Because there is no disci- 
pline instituted among the denominations, the influence of which can preserve 
such an attempt at communion from the grossest impositions and wildest dis- 
orders ; and, of consequence, must be absurd, until some regulation be estab- 
lished among the parties and they all agree 'to walk by the same rule,' and 'to 
speak the same thing.' 3. Because you and they are not, and, in the present 
state of religious affairs, cannot become members together of the same body ; 
whice is a capital requisition in the gospel to a meet communion. And 4. Be- 
cause the principles and practices which first produced and still prolong the 
difference of denominational character among professed Christians, are so het- 
erodox and discordant, that the maintaining of the one is, of necessary conse- 
quence, the destruction of the other. To attempt communion in such a state of 
things, would be to form a religious chaos, and to promote envy and strife, as 
the legitimate tendency. This may be exemplified immediately, by reference 
to the ordinance of baptism ; if the Pedobaptists establish their baptism as true, 
yours is absurd ; but if yours be maintained as the gospel ordinance, then theirs 
is no baptism at all. It must, then, be improper and disloyal to attempt com- 
munion until these discordant principles are done away, and the parties concil- 
iated in Christian love and unison ; yet, dear brethren, we exhort and admonish 
you to carry yourselves towards them as Christian professors ; engage with 
them and invite them to engage with you in exercises of devotion and enterpri- 
ses of usefulness ; go with them freely as far as you can preserve a good con- 
science and the fellowship of your brethren, and stop where you must, accor- 
ding to the Scriptures." 

While courtesies were extended to Pedobaptist ministers as preachers by 
our denomination in the early years of the century, it is certain that their official 
acts, as ministers, were not recognized as valid by the denomination. In 181 1, 
the Ocmulgee Association rejected the application for membership of the Rich- 
land Creek church, m Twiggs county, deeming ils constitution invalid, because 
the ordination of Elijah Hammack, one of the two ministers forming the pres- 
bytery, was invalid, and because one mimsier alone, Rev. Isaiah Shire, could 
not form a presbytery. The ordination of Elijah Hammack was invalid, be- 
cause he " was ordained by William Lord, whose ordination was considered in- 
valid ;" and his ordination was considered invalid because " he was ordained by 
a presbytery not of our faith and order " — that is, by Pedobaptist ministers. 
The defect in the constitution of the Richland Creek church was remedied, for 
we find it and four others "found sound and orthodox, and cordially received," 
in 1812. 

The denomination had been much agitated about twenty years previous to 
this strict action of the Ocmulgee Association by a little remissness on the part 
of the Georgia Association itself, and had gained wisdom by experience. It 
happened thus: In 1788, at Clark's Station, the Association admitted as a 
" help " James Hutchi7ison, who had formerly been a Methodist preacher, and 
who, on a profession of his faith, was " baptized by immersion," (as the Minutes 
of that year express it,) by Mr. Thomas Humphries, a Methodist minister. Mr. 
Hutchinson was received into the Clark's Station church on his Pedobaptist 
immersion, " having declined the Methodist discipline and communion," and 
having made a public declaration of his experience. Jesse Mercer himself was 
present at that session of the Georgia Association, and was, with Alexander 
Scott, Jacob Gibson, Thomas Mercer, Ezekiel Campbell, and others, admitted 
as a " help." Writing mostly from memory of this matter, Mr. Mercer says, in 
his history of the Georgia Association, that Mr. Hutchinson appeared at the 
Association and, after requesting it, was permitted to relate his experience with 
a view to uniting with the Clark Station church. His relation being satisfac- 
tory, he was received into membership. " But although he gave up the Meth- 


odist discipline and doctrines and embraced fully those of the Baptist denomina- 
tion, he did not feel at liberty to give up his baptism, having been immersed 
upon a profession of his faith by the Rev. Mr. Humphries, a regular minister 
of .the Methodist connection." 

This was made a question for the Association to consider, and it decided to 
admit Mr. Hutchinson on his Pedobaptist immersion, though many were opposed 
to it. Eloquent and truly fervent in spirit, Mr. Hutchinson conciliated many, 
and did much good as a minister. He went to Virginia on a visit to his rela- 
tions, and continued his ministrations there with great success, receiving and 
baptizing about one hundred persons, as the fruit of his labors, and organizing 
them into a church, but when the church applied for admission into an Associa- 
tion, it was rejected on account of the invalidity of their baptism. 

Thus was practically shown how invalid are the official acts of ministers not 
of our faith and order — in plain terms, of unbaptized ministers. Mr. Hutchin- 
son afterwards submitted to valid baptism, and all his people, but two or three, 
followed his example. " Thus," Mr. Mercer says, " terminated a most fierce 
and distressing controversy." 

In the very year, 1 811, that the Ocmulgee Association rejected Pedobaptist 
immersion, the Georgia, having by experience and instruction grown wiser in 
church order, " Resolved, That the subject of the next Circular Letter be our 
reasons for rejecting Methodist or Pedobaptist baptism by immersion as invalid, 
and that brother Mercer write the same." The Circular Letter was written and 
unanimously adopted at the session of 181 2, having previously been examined 
by Abraham Marshall and E. Shackelford, at Mr. Mercer's own request. It is 
here given in full : 
" The Elders and brethren of the Georgia Association to the brethren they 

represent — Greeting : 

" Beloved in Christ — From our earliest connection, we have studiously selected 
for the subjects of our addresses to you, those doctrines and duties which 
seemed the best suited to confirm and increase your faith in Christ ; to edify 
and comfort your hearts, being knit together in love ; and to lead you on to 
that Ught and perfection which would honor and commend the cause in which 
you have embarked, and reflect the highest praise and glory of God who has 
called you into his marvellous light. But while you have endeavored to keep 
yourselves unmixed with, and unspotted from, the world as a chaste virgiti to 
Christ, you have excited some unpleasantness among the religious denomina- 
tions around you, because you have not found it consistent to admit theifi and 
their ad7ninistrations as orderly and valid. We therefore propose as the 
subject of this letter, the reasons, briefly, which lead us to deem Pedobaptist 
administrations, though in the proper mode, invalid. That this subject may 
be as clear as our epistolary limits will admit, we propose to lay down a_ few 
scriptural propositions, whose legitimate inferences will, we trust, bring into, 
though a concise, yet sufficiently, clear view, the reasons in question. 

"I. The APOSTOLIC CHURCH continued throtigh all ages to the end of the 
world, is the only TRUE GOSPEL CHURCH. 

" The truth of this proposition is not only frequently intimated, but strongly 
affirmed by the prophets. They speak of a glorious state of religious affairs to 
take place on the coming of the Messiah, which they say shall continue or 
endure, as the sun, or days of heaven— Psalm Ixxxix, 29, 36, 37 ; shall never be 
cut off— Isaiah Iv, 14; and shall stand forever — Daniel ii, 44. Christ affirms 
nothing shall prevail against His church, no, not the gates of hell— Matthew xiv, 
18. But John puts this point beyond all contradiction in his prophetic history 
of the Church, in which, though he admits of various outward modifications, he 
maintains an uninterrupted succession from the apostolic age, till the world 
shall end. 

" II. Of this Church CHRIST is the only head, and true source of all eccleszas- 

tzcal (tfttltOTitv m 

" Although the Scriptures are illumined by this truth, yet it may not be imperti- 
nent to cite a few passages in point. To me, says Christ, is authority given- 
John V, 22, 27. And knowing the love of power, and the strong propensity to 


rule, in the human heart, He frequently and emphatically declares Himself, to 
His apostles, to be their only Lord and Master — Matthew xxiii, 8, lo. The 
apostles concur in ascribing this honor to Him ; and transmit it to all after ages 
of the Chu''ch — Acts ii, 36; Ephesians i, 22, and v, 23; Collossians ii, 10. But 
the commission of the apostles, the matter, manner, and majesty of which are 
enough to make a saint triumph, an angel rejoice, and a devil tremble, caps the 
whole — Matthew xxviii, 18, 19. 

"III. Gospel ministers are servaiits in the Church, are all equal, and have 
no power to lord it over the heritage of their Lord. 

" By the examples of a little child in the midst, and the exercise of dominion 
over the Gentiles by their princes, our Lord teaches humility, and denies to His 
apostles the exercise of lordship over His Church — -Matthew xviii, 2, 6 ; xx, 25, 26. 
He calls them brethren, and directs that they should not be called masters, but 
servants— Matthew xxii, 8, 11. The Acts and Epistles of the apostles show 
their observance of their Lord's commands. Here we see them the messen- 
gers AND SERVANTS of the churches, which proves the power to be in the 
churches and not in them — Acts vi, 5 ; xv, 4, 22 ; 2 Corinthians viii, 23 ; Philip- 
pians ii, 25 ; 2 Corinthians iv, 5. Timothy is instructed how to behave himself 
in the church, which is the pillar and ground of the truth ; but if the power 
had been constituted in him, the advice should have been given the church, 
that she might have known how to behave herself in the presence of her 
BISHOP — I Timothy iii, 15, compared with Matthew xviii, 17. 

" IV. All things are to be done iii FAITH, according to the, gospel pattern. 

" Faith is made capital in the Scriptures, and the want of it equals unbelief. 
The house of Israel is often complained of for the lack of it ; the apostles are 
admonished to have it, and upbraided for their unbelief — Deuteronomy xxxii, 
22 ; Mark xi, 22 ; xvi, 14. The apostle Paul declares, without it it is im- 
possible to please God, and that he that doubts of what he does is damned 
in doing it because he acts without faith — i Corinthians iv, 13 ; Hebrews xi, 6; 
Romans xiv, 23. 

" From these propositions, thus established, we draw the following inferences, 
as clear and certain truths : 

"I. That all churches and ministers who originated since the apostles, and not 
successively to them, are not in gospel order ; and therefore cannot be acknowl- 
edged as such. 

"II. That all who have been ordained to the work of the ministry without 
the knowledge and call of the Church, by popes, councils, etc., are the creatures 
of those who constituted them, and not the servants of Christ, or His Church, 
and therefore have no right to administer for them. 

" III. That those who have set aside the discipline of the gospel, and have 
given law to, and exercised dominion over, the Church, are usurpers over the 
place and oilce of Christ, are against Him ; and therefore may not be accepted 
m their offices. 

" IV. That they who administer contrary to their own, or the faith of the 
gospel, cannot administer for God ; since without the gospel faith He has nothing 
to minister ; and without their own He accepts no service ; therefore the admin- 
istrations of such are unwarrantable impositions in any way. 

" Our reasons, therefore, for rejecting baptism by immersion, when adminis- 
tered by Pedobaptist ministers, are : 

" I. That they are connected with churches clearly out of the apostolic 
succession, and therefore clearly out of the apostolic commission. 

" II. That they have derived their authority, by ordination, from the bishops 
of Rome, or from individuals, who have taken it on themselves to give it. 

" III. That they hold a higher rank in the churches than the apostles did, are 
not accountable to, and of consequence not triable by, the Church ; but are 
amenable only to or among themselves. 

" IV. That they all, as we think, admini^r contrary to the pattern of the 
gospel, and some, when occasion requires, will act contrary to their own pro- 
fessed faith. Now as we know of none implicated in this case, but are in some 
or all of the above defects, either of which we deem sufficient to disqualify for 
meet gospel administration, therefore we hold their administrations invalid. 


" But if it should be said that the apostolic succession cannot be ascertained, 
and then it is proper to act without it ; we say, that the loss of the succession 
can never prove it futile, nor justify any one out of it. The Pedobaptists, by 
their own histories, admit they are not of it ; but we do not, and shall think 
ourselves entitled to the claim until the reverse be clearly shown. And should 
any think authority derived from the mother of harlots sufficient to qualify 
to administer a gospel ordinance, they will be so charitable as not to condemn 
us for preferring that derived from Christ. And should any still more absurdly 
plead that ordination received from an individual is sufficient ; we leave them to 
show what is the use of ordination, and why it exists. If any think an admin- 
istration will suffice which has no pattern in the gospel, they will suffer us to 
act according to the divine order with impunity. And if it should be said that 
faith in the subject is all that is necessary, we beg leave to require it where the 
Scriptures do, that is, everyzvhere. But we must close. We beseech you, breth- 
ren, while you hold fast the form of your profession, be ready to unite with 
those from whom you differ, as far as the principles of eternal truth will justify. 
And while you firmly oppose that shadowy union so often urged, be instant in 
prayer, and exert yourselves to bring about that which is in heart, and after 
godliness. Which the Lord hasten in its season. Amen, and Amen ! 

" A. Marshall, Moderator. 

"Jesse Mercer, Clerk." 


For many years Dr. Adiel Sherwood was engaged in collecting materials for 
his Gazetteer and for a history of the Baptists of Georgia.. From the material 
left by him we have made a few extracts on different subjects from his manu- 
scripts, which were written about the year 1840. 

" Sabbath-schools. — These were encouraged by the resolutions of Associa- 
tions, and established in every church in some counties, but were neglected in 
others. The author commenced one at Trail Creek meeting-house, near 
Athens, in July, 18 19. The Anties opposed them, and excluded some persons 
for attending and allowing their children to attend ; but the denomination, gen- 
erally, have approved them, and have used untiring efforts to circulate knowl- 
edge among all classes." 

•• Perusal of the Scriptures. — This has been frequently enjoined from the 
pulpit and by Associations. In 1834, the Central Association recommended 
that each church member read the Bible through during the year. This was 
complied with by several. Other Associations followed in this recommendation, 
the practice became quite general, and the Bible was perused more than ordina- 
rily. If the religion of Protestants is founded on the Bible, surely they ought 
to peruse its sacred and enlightening pages ! 

" It is not to be inferred from these remarks that the Bible was not frequently 
read through by many persons prior to this recommendation, but only that this 
increased the amount of reading, and probably swelled greatly the number of 

" Sanctity of the Sabbath.— On this subject the Associations have expressed 
themselves freely— that the Sabbath ought to be religiously observed by abstain- 
ing from all amusements and all labor, works of mercy and necessity excepted. 
Yet there are many violations by members of the church, such as visiting, trav- 
elling, etc. The following clause is found in the Circular of the Georgia Asso- 
ciation, 1832 : 

" ' While we admit that there are some professing Christians who suppose 
that keeping the Sabbath constitutes the very essence of piety, we maintain that 
he who makes no difference between it and other days is far from the true 
faith,' " 

" 5/^2/6^/.— Similar,sentiments to those manifested in the following have been 
expressed by a large number of Associations : 

" ' Resolved, That we understand the Scriptures fully to recognize the relation 
of Christian master and Christian servant, without the shadow of censure on 


the existence of such relation, but that they give full directions how each party- 
should fulfill the duties of such relation.' Minutes of the Georgia Association 
for 1835." 

" Treatment of Slaves. — A query on this subject is answered by the Ocmul- 
gee Association in 1 8 19: ' They should treat them with humanity and justice 
(Eph. 6 : 9; Col. 4: i), and we recommend the members to watch over each 
other, and if any should treat them otherwise, that they should be dealt with 
as transgressors.' 

"Some churches think that when a slave, a member of the church, diso- 
beys his master, that he should first be cited to the church, and, without satis- 
faction being given, should be excluded : then the master is at liberty to chas- 
tise. But that slaves ought to be cited for disobedience is not avowed by many. 

" Slaves generally attend worship every Sabbath, and frequently constitute the 
larger part of the congregation. The religious ones commune at the same 
table with their masters. Prior to 1829 there was no law to prevent their being 
taught to read. In the fall of that year, an inflammatory pamphlet, by Walker, 
v^2i% found in Savannah, by the pastor of the African Church, (an aged and 
pious African, whose good conduct had purchased his freedom,) and mmedi- 
ately carried to the Mayor ; he forwarded it post-haste to the Legislature ; and 
the law referred to was passed. 

" The Scriptures are read, however, to their servants, by many families statedly, 
and by most pious families occasionally. Missionaries, among the Methodists, 
especially, go around to preach exclusively to the blacks ; much oral instruction is 
given, in many counties systematically ; and many servants know a great deal 
about the doctrines of the Bible. 

" Twenty years ago there were dozens of ordained negroes who used to preach 
every Sabbath to those of their own color ; but the churches have not ordained 
any lately, though many are licensed, and preach as occasion and convenience 
may require. 

_" The African churches in Augusta and Savannah have regularly ordained 
ministers of their own color — men generally of excellent character, capable of 
reading the Scriptures and expounding their meaning. 

" The owner who treats his slaves cruelly, or feeds and clothes them scantily, 
is sure to be looked upon with suspicion and contempt ; yet there are many, no 
doubt, who do not act the good master's part." 

"Rough Esthnate of Labor Performed. — The missionaries have performed 
about fifteen years' labor in destitute parts of the State, i. e. : their labors have 
been equal to the services of one man constantly for that number of years. 
This is a low estimate : probably twenty-two years would be nearer the truth. 
They established the first churches in the bounds of the Western Association — 
in Troup and contiguous counties — out of which the body was formed, in 
November, 1829. The principal missionaries [in that section] were James 
Reeves and John Wood. 

" The first churches, too, in the Cherokee country were organized by the 
missionaries of this body — Jeremiah Reeves, Philips and Pearson. Several of 
those churches which are in Randolph, Lee and other counties, in the Bethel 
Association, were gathered by the labors of Travis Everett. 

" The missionaries of the Convention have circulated, too, Bibles and other 
good books, besides thousands of tracts on religious subjects designed to amend 
the heart and life. Volunteer missions, also, have been made by the friends of 
the institution into various parts of the State, in order to remove prejudice and 
stir up the churches to practical duties. 

" Thousands of volumes of standard books have been given to ministers for 
their improvement, about twenty of whom have been sustained at schools and 
academies for a longer or shorter period. 

"About $25,000 have been contributed to foreign missions. 

"The benefits of the Manual Labor School began in 1833. B. M. Sanders, 
Principal, will never be fully known till the light of etfernity shines upon us. 
Various revivals have been experienced — one commencing in 1827, one in 1834, 
another in 1837, others in 1839 and 1840." 



The boundaries of Georgia, by the charter of the Province, included all the 
territory "which lies from the most northern part of a stream, or river there, 
commonly called the Savannah, all along the sea coast to the southward, to the 
southern stream of a certain other great water or river, called the Altamaha, 
and westwardly from the heads of the said rivers, respectively, in direct lines to 
the south seas ; and all that share, circuit and precinct of land, within the said 
boundaries, with the islands on the sea, lying opposite the eastern coast of the 
said lands, within twenty leagues of the same, which are not inhabited already, 
or settled by any authority derived from the crown of Great Britain," etc. By 
the "south seas" here was meant the Pacific Ocean. Practically, the claim un- 
der this charter never extended west of the Mississippi river, as we learn by the 
fourth article of the treaty between the United States and Spain, dated October 
27th, 1795. "It is, likewise agreed that the western boundary of the United 
States, which separates them from the Spanish Colony of Louisiana, is in the 
middle of the channel or bed of the river Mississippi, from the northern bound- 
ary of the said States to the completion of the thirty-first degree of latitude 
north of the equator." By the Constitution of the State of Georgia, adopted 
May 30th, 1798, the boundaries of the State are described as extending from 
the mouth of the Savannah to the northern boundary line of South Carolina, 
thence west to the Mississippi ; down the middle of that river to the 
thirty-first degree north latitude ; thence to the middle of the Apalach- 
icola, or Chattahoochee, river ; thence along the middle thereof to the 
junction of the Flint river ; and thence along the middle of St. Mary's river to 
the Atlantic coast, and so back to the mouth of the Savannah river. All this, 
Georgia claimed as eminent domain ; but it was the Indian titles to this land 
which was purchased in Augusta, and it was this purchase, by treaty, from 
them, which gave Georgia her real title to all that land. 

^ AND 


I will give you pastors according to mine 
heart, which shall feed you with knowledge 

and understanding." 

— Jeremiah 3:15. 


Page 7, for " Elijah Moon Amos," read " Elijah Moore Amos." 

Page 65, 2oth line from bottom, for " following autumn," read " meantime." 

Page 6s, 19th line from bottom, for " about this time," read " when about sixteen. 

Page 6s, 17th line from bottom, after "determined," insert "when nineteen." 

Page 66, 7th line from bottom, for 1869," read " 1868." 

Page 67, 2d line from bottom, for "Pickens," read "Anderson." 

Page 82, for " Joel W. Butts," read " John W. Bitts." 




" Star differs from star in glory," we are told by an 
apostle. _ A like difference obtains, doubtless, among the 
lives which find reverent, loving record in this volume. 
But the mass of those who scan the '-midnight pomp" 
of the heavens, can never know how far the greater or 
less brightness of the stars is inherent in themselves, 
and how far it depends on accidental circumstances — 
such, for example, as distance in space. Beyond all ques- 
tion, indeed, there are orbs twinkling so faintly in the 
remote depths of the firmament as not to catch the heed- 
less glance, which, if brought as near to the earth as our 
sun, would pour on the vision, in comparison with that luminary, a seven-fold 
blaze of intolerable splendor. And so, as regards these lives, who shall venture 
to say which was really most lustrous with that only glory of the soul — the 
righteousness, knowledge and "hohness of truth "which constitute the divine 
image ? Who shall take the ro/e of the prophet, and tell us which of them is 
destined to glow with surpassing brightness, when the obscuring mists of 
human misapprehension clear away, and that light of God which alone makes 
manifest, shines through and through them all ? We at least put from us every 
thought of presumption like this, and proceed to trace, lovingly and reverently, 
such record of each as lies within the range of our humble capabilities. 

The arrangement of the sketches in alphabetical order requires us to begin 
with Alexander Pope Abell, a man who never sought the first place in his 
life, but has often been constrained to accept it by the confidence and affection 
of his Christian brethren. Born on the 23d of July, 1817, four miles west of 
Charlottesville, Albemarle county Virginia, the eldest of three brothers, sons 
of Rev. John S. and Lydia B. Abell, Alexander Pope Abell has made an im- 
press on the Southern Baptist work, almost unique in character and results. He 
has spent a busy life in works of love. His first impressions were made by 
the teachings of his father, an honored minister of the Baptist denomination. Al- 
though he was not baptized until 1833, yet, when but fifteen years of age, he 
undertook the management of a Sunday-school in the mountains near his home. 
He was baptized by Rev. R. L. Coleman and joined the Baptist church in Char- 
lottesville. His first Christian experience amid his native mountains, fashioned 
in the stern school of the early Virginia Baptists, was followed by a tender long- 
ing to be useful in the Master's cause as a private member of the church. He 
entered into the Sunday-school work on a broader, higher plane than was 
known in that day. The rough experience of his early life well fitted him for 
the toils, the tears, the triumphs which should follow in after years, when as an 
intelligent Christian he should labor for souls. 


As a business man he has had an extended experience. Earnest, honest, faith- 
ful in all things, his promotion was rapid and success secured. Clerk, partner, 
head of firm, cashier of banl<, secretary and manager of a large insurance 
company, vice-president of a national bank, president, manager of a firm doing 
a large home and foreign business in Savannah, his business hours have been 
fully occupied. Millions of wealth have passed through his hands and every 
dollar has been accounted for ; and all for whom he labored have given the cer- 
tificate — " Well done, good and faithful servant. " 

At an early period of his religious life, the brethren of his church desired to 
have him set apart for the ministry. As an earnest, ready, impressive speaker, 
he had awakened a strong persuasion in those around him as to his qualification 
in this respect. Perhaps few of our best scholars have so extended a vocab- 
ulary of pure English or use such elegant language. He has paid great attention 
not only to the pronunciation but to the exact meaning of words ; consequently, 
whatever he may say, is couched in simple, strong terms, and necessarily makes 
a due impression. He decided not to allow himself to be ordained, believing 
that he was called to labor as a private member. 

His work was commenced among the lowly. He started an afternoon 
'Sunday-school five miles from Charlottesville, which for several years he kept 
up as an " Evergreen School, " in the face of the prediction that a country 
school could not be maintained through the winter in that part of Virginia. 
At the same time he also had charge of the Baptist school in town. His health 
failing he removed to Staunton, Virginia, where he worked up a fine school. 
Previous to this school, the denomination had little or no representation in that 
town. The church organized from this school is to-day one of the strongest in 
Virginia, outside of Richmond. 

Wherever he has lived, he has been called to the head of a Sunday-school ; 
in Charlottesville, Staunton, Virginia, Savannah, Georgia, Greenville, South Car- 
olina, where he is in charge of a flourishing mission school. He was elected 
deacon of the Charlottesville church, also in Staunton, Savannah, and Green- 
ville. In August, 1840, he was appointed clerk of the Albemarle Baptist Asso- 
ciation, and held this office until 1872, when he was elected Moderator. He 
removed to Savannah, Georgia, that year, and was elected clerk of the New Sun- 
bury Association. He was secretary of the General Baptist Association of Vir- 
ginia eighteen years, and secretary of the Southern Baptist Convention at 
several of its sessions. 

He has passed through all the offices of the different temperance organiza- 
tions, taking an active part in this work. 

Previous to the war he was actively engaged in the religious instruction of the 
colored people. Every Sunday he met with them for Bible reading, singing 
and prayer. It is a significant fact that the colored Baptists have two fine 
churches, one of them, the handsomest church-building in Charlottesville. So 
well grounded are these brethren in the faith and practice of our denomination, 
that no other denomination has been able to establish a church among the 
colored people — at least so far as this writer knows. 

Mr. Abell has always taken a deep interest in the religious welfare of 
young men. Especially has this been the case since the loss of his only son, 
who, a boy in years, gave his life for his country in 1864. This blow was crush- 
ing to the loving parents. God mercifully sustained them and the love which 
the father had given the son was not buried in the grave, but, hallowed and 
purified, it was consecrated to the service of the Master in efforts to save the 
young men around him. His labor has not been fruitless. Young men all 
over our southern land speak lovingly of the tender words which this good 
man spake while urging the claims of God on their hearts and lives. Hun- 
dreds of young men who have studied at the University of Virginia look upon 
Mr. Abell as their spiritual leader. 

He has, for a number of years, advocated the earnest consecration of all Chris- 
tians to active service " in the Lord." Through his efforts, many blessed 
meetings have been held by the private members during the sessions of the 
various Associations in Virginia and Georgia. 



Mr. Abell ie a man of strong convictions, unyielding in the line of duty, ready 
to confess his faults and mistakes ; of a warm, tender, charitable disposition, 
always looking for the good points of those with whom he comes in contact ; 
courtly in his manners, having all the graceful affability belonging to the old-tirne 
Virginia gentlemen, he makes friends wherever he goes and his presence in 
every family is hailed with delight by old and young. 

Married at twenty years of age to Miss Ann McLeod, a Scotch lady, whose 
ancestors figured largely in the history of their fatherland, his wife has proved 
a helpmeet indeed. The raven-locked young man and the fair-haired lass have 
travelled, side by side, forty-three years, sharing sorrows and joys, helping and 
encouraging each other — and now that the hair is bleaching and the body bend- 
ing in the long years, the same loving, tender smile, the same pleasant, encour- 
aging words, greet friends and neighbors from the man and wife, and people 
feel that it is good for them to meet this Christian couple. Mr. Abell has his 
only child, Mrs. R. S. Morgan, living with him. His home-life is very beautiful. 
Romping with his four grand-children, he the merriest and noisiest, the little 
ones know the friend, the sympathizer — the father. 


"The kingdom of God came not with 
observation ; " and its history through 
every age attests that the men whose ca- 
reer is most free from outward show are 
not always the least effective workers in 
that kingdom. A life passed in a narrow 
sphere, apart from the great centres of 
society, and attracting little notice or ap- 
plause from the world at large, may yet 
be luminous with the illustration of high 
principles, and rich with the harvest of 
abundant and abiding usefulness. This 
truth, too precious to humble souls ever to 
grow trite, is exemplified in the work of 
T. J. Adams as a preacher and a teacher. 

He was born in 1831, graduated in 1850, 
entered immediately on teaching as a pro- 
fession in his native county, Washington, 

and has pursued it ever since. There is a , . , o u 1 

point of view, and that not the least philosophical, from which the School- 
master shows as almost the central figure of our century ; and the labors of 
Mr. Adams in this department for thirty years have purchased to him a good 
degree among educators. Under the light of his own experience he has struck 
out new and striking methods of tuition. In the "Practical School " now con- 
ducted by him at Linton, Hancock county, he instructs, not by text-books 
only or chiefly, but by lectures, illlistrations, ocular demonstrations, with experi- 
ments, objects, etc. This is a wide and important departure from the cus- 
tomary reliance on mere theoretical routine ; but he has advanced further and 
higher. On commencing his profession he found that he learned more the first 
year he taught than ever before, and was thus brought face to face with the 
principle, that the attempt to impart knowledge is a potent agency in acquiring 
it. To secure the benefit of this principle for the youth entrusted to his care, he 
decided to make his pupils in some sort teachers. Each pupil is required to 
consult his text-book on a particular subject, and then, without the book, tp 
lecture on that subject, after Mr. Adams, giving illustrations, making experi- 
ments etc In this way not simply the faculty of memory is cultivated, but 


power of expression, ability to pursue consecutive trains of thought, and 
skill in reducing knowledge from .shadowy forms of theory to practical and 
profitable applications. As the result of long trial, he pronounces these meth- 
ods wonderfully effective in the self-development of students. 

On his conversion he became a Baptist, after a prayerful personal investiga- 
tion of the New Testament — -that only teacher in the true school of theology, 
Acting here, too, on the principle of acquiring knowledge by attempting to 
impart it, and obeying the voice of " the Spirit and the Bride " which called him 
to the work of saving souls, he became a minister of the gospel. For more 
than twenty years he has, like John on the banks of the Jordan, pointed men 
to " the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world; " serving the 
Sandersville, Island Creek, Darien, Ohoope, Union, Bethlehem and other 
churches in Washington and Hancock counties. He is highly esteemed by 
his churches as a good preacher and a fine pastor. As fond of preaching as of 
teaching, he frequently says, " They are the two highest callings in the world." 
During his ministry he has baptized many believers in Christ. He is Mod- 
erator of the Washington Association, and exerts a very great influence in that 
body, in the churches, and in society. It is the verdict of " the jury of the 
vicinage," which has known his manner of life from his youth, that he is a 
noble, generous, unostentatious, high-minded Christian gentleman. 


Aaron Adkins was born in Warren county, Georgia, August 24th, 1794. 
As his parents were among the early settlers of the State and comparatively poor, 
he possessed, when young, very limited opportunities for mental development. 
But as soon after his marriage as his worldly circumstances allowed him to 
spare the time from personal labor, he went to school with three of his own 
children, to repair this lack of early education, and manifested through life a 
force and balance of intellect that would have won success in almost any 
undertaking on which he might have concentrated his energies. 

He was baptized by Elder James Grenade and united with Little Brier Creek 
church, March, 1821 ; became its clerk, January, 1827; was licensed to preach, 
1830; and was admitted to full ministerial functions, March, 1836, by ordination 
at the hands of Elders Huff and Ferryman. The year following began his 
pastorate of Brier Creek church, which was to continue, with the exception of 
two years, until his death. During a little more than a quarter of a century, he 
baptized into its fellowship 265 whites, besides a large number of colored 
persons. He was pastor of Friendship church also, and gathered a goodly 
band into that. 

While he benefited by the improvement in manners consequent on the in- 
crease of wealth and learning in the country, he never attained to a very polite 
carriage in private intercourse with society, or to a graceful manner in the 

He was somewhat above the ordinary stature, of striking personal appearance, 
with a countenance expressive of meekness, kindness and reverence. Trans- 
parent in character, seeking worthy ends openly, holding his passions under firm 
control, he possessed "the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit," and yet was 
not lacking in courage or disposed to withhold an expression of opinion in the 
face of opposition. His domestic life was exemplary, and family worship 
was maintained by him, with the requirement of attendance on the part 
of all its members. His judgment in the management of his pecuniary 
affairs was excellent, and secured him a large estate, though he started in 
life with nothing or next to nothing. But he withstood the seductions of cov- 



etousness — that vice which Dr. Wayland used to say would destroy the souls 
of more professed ("hristians than any other, and for many years before his 
death was content if his possessions yielded a support to himself, his family 
and his servants. He did not read extensively, but spared no pains to secure a 
knowedge of ecclesiastical history, and made the Bible "the book of books." 
His sermons were chiefly doctrinal, but not without a constant reference to prac- 
tice ; and while he made no pretension to the graces of oratory, he had that 
"unction from the Holy One," which, if it entertains the hearers less, more 
powerfully and permanently affects them. 


Elijah Moon Amos, was born in Montgomery county, 
Alabama, November 27th, 181 8. He was the only son of 
Captain Charles and Phalba Amos : the former having 
been Captain in the American army of 18 12 and 18 14. 
Both his maternal and paternal grandfathers were Cap- 
tains in the war of American Independence. By the death 
of his parents he was left a destitute orphan in his ninth 
year, dependent on his mother's relatives, with whom he 
remained four years. He was then carried to Knoxville, 
Georgia, by his uncle Elijah Moon Amos, after whom he 
was named, and by whom he was reared and partially edu- 
cated. In youth he was, for five or six years, disabled and tortured by an 
attack of white swelling, which interfered with his education but enabled him 
to devote much time to reading works in history, biography, romance and 
poetry. When sufficiently restored he became a salesman in his uncle's store, 
and so remained until his twenty-second year, when he was taken into part- 

In the year 1841, (December 21st.), he was united in marriage to Miss Lucinda 
Ansley, the result of which union was the birth of eight children — four sons and 
four daughters. 

In the summer of 1842, he was converted to God, and after due reflection 
and investigation connected himself, in the same year, with the Knoxville Bap- 
tist church, by experience and baptism, although his pious mother was a Meth- 
odist and he was brought up under the influence of that denomination. By the 
Knoxville church he was made a deacon in 1844. In 1853 he was licensed, and 
in 1855 ordained by the same church. In neither instance however, did he 
seek such action on the part of the church, but discouraged it. He served the 
Knoxville church, as pastor during the year 1856, in the latter part of which 
year he moved to Cherokee Georgia and settled on a farm in Whitfield county, 
remaining there six years, and part of the time serving two churches. In 
1862, he removed to Middle Georgia, and settled in Forsyth, Monroe county, 
where he has resided ever since. 

After the war, the necessities of a large and dependent family compelled 
him to return to his former secular vocation, mercantile business, in which 
he is still engaged, preaching occasionally when his health permits. 

For fifteen years he was treasurer of the Rehoboth Baptist Association, 
the disabilities of age, only, forcing him to refuse a re-election. In 1864 he 
was chosen by Judge E. G. Cabaniss, chief collector of Confederate taxes in 
Georgia, to act as book-keeper and auditor of tax-returns, in which capacity 
he served until the close of the war. He has acted as alderman of the town of 
Forsyth, and for the last four years has served the county of Monroe as a mem- 


ber of the board of commissioners of roads, revenues etc., which offices, though 
accepted, were not solicited. 

He has always been a man of much natural timidity and being, also, for many 
years, a great sufferer from dyspepsia, he has been, at times, subject to such de- 
jection of mind and spirits that, to some extent, his usefulness was impaired. 
Still, he is a man very highly respected and trusted by those who know him, 
who has led a useful life, and raised and educated a large family of children. 

He has been called upon to endure many afflictions, but the most crushing 
blow was the loss of his wife in 1 873, beneath which stroke both body and brain 
reeled. God, however, sustained him and sanctified the affliction to him, spoke 
a calm to his sea of sorrow, and in the bestowal of peace and serenity enabled 
him to realize how much the night of sorrow is surpassed by the morning of 
rejoicing. This happy frame of mind is due, perhaps, partly to prayer and trust, 
and partly to study and meditation on the Psalms, and other devotional portions 
of the Scriptures. 

He never enjoyed the advantages of systematic theological study, nor of any 
special instruction in the preparation and delivery of sermons. He simply 
studied the doctrines and duties contained in a text prayerfully, and then, with 
his mind thoroughly imbued with the subject, sought to deliver his message 
without note or manuscript, other than such division of the subject as he may 
have made, and depending upon the Holy Spirit for divine help. Though 
modest, he is yet ambitious ; and though timid, is yet sensitive to slight or 
neglect, and while compelled to follow a secular employment, would have pre- 
ferred an active ministerial life. 


Anselm Anthony was born on the 9th of June 1778. 
in Campbell county, Virginia. He was the son of Joseph 
Anthony and his wife, Ann Clark, daughter of Colonel 
Clark, an officer in the Revolutionary war. Shortly after 
that war Joseph Anthony moved to Georgia, and settled 
in Wilkes county. Here Anselm obtained such educa- 
tional advantages only as were afforded by country 
schools ; but, being fond of books, he devoted all his 
leisure hours to reading, and amassed a great fund of 
information. Even at that age, he was calm and dignified 
in his deportment, and gentle and courteous towards his 

He began to preach about 18 10 or 181 2, and was licensed by the Fishing 
Creek church, Wilkes county, Georgia, in 18 14, and for a while, had charge of 
that church. Then he became pastor of the Baptist church at Madison, Georgia, 
and for several years resided in that place, serving, also, other churches in 
Morgan county. In 1824, he moved to Gwinnett county, where he served 
various churches. He was married in 1806 to Sarah Menzies, of North Car- 
olina, who died in 1830. Eight children, three sons and five daughters, wer© 
the result of this union. After remaining a widower five years, he was united 
in matrimony to Miss Catharine Blakely, of Wilkes county, Georgia. About 
six years after his second marriage, a stroke of paralysis, which affected one 
entire side of his frame, and from which he never fully recovered, put an end to 
his ministerial work. 

In 1843 his second wife died, and he lived alone until 1858, when he was in- 
duced to break up house-keeping and reside with his son, in Meriwether county. 
While on a visit to his daughter in Polk county, in January 1859, he became 


helpless and remained so until January 1868, when he died, in the eighty-ninth 
year of his age. When informed that his departure was near at hand, he 
said, " I know it ; but I feel that the Lord is with me, and that he will never 
leave me nor forsake me." Calm and peaceful was his departure from earth. 
Never did evening set more softly and gently, than this way-worn pilgrim fell 
asleep in Jesus. Without a struggle, without a sigh, he closed his eyes in