Skip to main content

Full text of "Sketches of Virginia : historical and biographical"

See other formats




\ \ 





■. Sv 

A KO y E lL E 

* * 

I I , I » 

>.l > J - 

• i » 

' ' ' I 

• • 

f • > 

. * « « 


1 t 

1 « 

»* » • i • • 

« » * 










nonb &mtB. 

Sttttni €iititi% $ti'i$*&. 



/THi, new york] 



Entered, according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1855, hy 


in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Eastern 

District of Pennsylvania. 


• » 


* * , • 

4 f \ - 





%\\% Wfsxk, 





Errors arising from misapprehension, or omission, when made known, cheerfully corrected. 



Fairfax's Grant — The first Settlements west of the Blue Ridge, in Vir- 
ginia — Grants to Vanmeter — Joist Hite removes to Virginia — 
Other Settlers — Frederick County set off — Extracts from the Records 
of Court page 13-17 



Verses by a Young Lady — Visit to theiChurch and Church-yard — The 
Early Settlers — Names of Families^ — Extent of Settlement — Mis- 
sionaries — First Pastor — Second Pastor — Third Pastor — Inscrip- 
tion on a Tomb-stone — William Hoge — Robert White — Samuel 
Glass 18-24 



Stone Church, Augusta — Grants to Burden and Beverly — Missiona- 
ries — Mr. Craig, the first Pastor — His Early Life — Emigrates to 
America while a Youth — Visits the Triple Forks — His views of the 
Congregation — His Domestic Arrangements — The old Burying- 
ground — Epitaphs of the three Ministers 25-34 



The Name — John Lewis — Col. Patton — John Preston — John Van- 

lear — John M'Cue— James C. Willson 35-39 



Samuel Davies — Effort to remove Jonathan Edwards to Virginia — 
Formation of Hanover Presbytery — The Records — John Craig — 
John Todd — Extracts from the Records of the Council of State — 
Letter to Whitfield — Efforts for a College in Kentucky — Close of 
Life — Robert Henry — Origin of Briery Congregation — Anecdote 
of Mr. Henry — His Death — John Wright — Causes of Toleration 
— John Brown — John Martin — Some Acts of Presbytery 40-58 





Origin of the Congregation, from Mr. Houston's Letter — Building the 
Church — Classical School — Samuel Brown — His Birth — Educa- 
tion — Missionary Tours — Settlement — Labors — Estimation of his 
Charge — Of his Brethren — His Death 58-71 



Henry Pattillo — William Richardson — Andrew Millar — Samuel Black 
— Hugh M'Aclen — Richard Sankey — James Waddell, D. D. — James 
Hunt — David Rice — Mrs. Samuel Blair's Sketch of Herself — James 
Creswell — Charles Cummings — Samuel Leake — David Caldwell — 
Joseph Alexander — Thomas Jackson — William Irwin — Hezekiah 
Balch — The Presbytery of Orange formed t . . . 72-89 



First Inhabitants — Ephraim M'Dowell — Epitaph — Mary Greenlee — 
Missionaries — Call to John Brown — His Life and Labors — His 
Supporters, a list of — List of Subscribers, and the sums given for 
his support — The Alexander Family — Archibald Alexander 91-104 




James Campbell — Samuel Edmundson — Caleb Wallace — William 
Graham — James Templeton — Samuel M'Corkle — Samuel Stanhope 
Smith — John B. Smith — Edward Crawford — Archibald Scott — 
Samuel Doak — John Montgomery — James M'Connel — Benjamin 
Erwin — William Willson — James Crawford — Samuel Shannon — * 

James Mitchel — Moses Hoge — John M'Cue — Adam Rankin — Sam- 
uel Carrick — Samuel Houston — Andrew M'Clure — John D. Blair. 105-113 



Letters from Ex-Governor Campbell on the Early Settlements on Hol- 
ston — Call to Mr. Cummings — Incidents in his Life — The Campbells 
of Holston — Official Report of the Battle of King's Mountain — The 
Loss in Campbell's Regiment — Col. Patrick Ferguson -Incidents 
in his Life 114-133 



Mr. Mitchel's Appearance — His Birth and Ancestry — His entrance on 
the work of the ministrv — His Conversion — Visits Kentucky — Is 
Ordnined — Removes to Bedford — The Great Awakening — Anecdote 
of his preaching in Newmarket — His Preaching — His Sickness and 
Death. Mr. Houston's birth and education — Journal of his military 
tour, and bis account of the battle of Guilford — Enters the Ministry 

— Goes to Tennessee — Returns to Virginia — Settles at High Bridge 

— His Death — His Epitaph 133-149 





Georo-e Draper emigrates from Pennsylvania — Residence on the Alle- 
gheny — Inroads of the Indians — Col. Patton killed — The Family 
taken Captive — Go down the Kanawha to Ohio — Goes to the Big 
Scioto — Her Occupation — Goes to the Big Bone Licks — Escapes 
with an old Dutch Woman — Her Journey Homewards — Escapes 
the observation of the Indians in sight — Her Sufferings — The old 
"Woman threatens to kill her — Reaches the Frontier — Is Recognised 

— Meets her Husband — The Search for her Child — Various Battles 
with the Indians — Her Son, the captive, comes home — Is Educated 

— Married — His various removals, and Incidents in his Life 149-159 


cornstalk; and the battle at point pleasant. 

The Shawanees owned the Valley of the Shenandoah — First known 
of Cornstalk — His Endowments — An Indian Confederacy — An ex- 
pedition against them planned — Point Pleasant the rendezvous — 
Tories collected — Gen. Andrew Lewis to command — The march 
down the Kenawha — The approach of the Indians — The spirit of 
the Soldiers — Cornstalk leads the Indians — The Shawanees — Lewis 
prepares for Battle — The Fight commences soon after sunrise, and 
lasts all day — Attacked in the rear, the Indians retreat — The Gov- 
ernor arrests the pursuit — Cornstalk in Conference — Eminent Men 
in the Battle — Cornstalk visits the Point — Is detained as Hostage — 
His Son visits him — Is detained — Both Slain ► 159-168 




Birth-place — Education — Loses his Mother — Enters College — A Re- 
vival in College — Professes Religion — Is deprived of the use of his 
income — Revival on Guinea Creek — Mr. Hill lives at Col. Read's — 
Becomes Candidate for the Ministry — Is Licensed — A Missionary 
Tour — Interesting Incidents — Ride with Mr. Turner — Sick at Win- 
chester — Second Mission — Visits Richmond — Col. Gordon's — David 
Smith — Methodist Meeting — Williamsburg— Mr. Holt — Third Mis- 
sion — Has Cary Allen as his Companion — Goes over to the Holston 
— Matthew Lyle — Returns and visits the Potomac — Visits the Valley 
around Winchester — Ordained and settled in Jefferson County — His 
Endowments to Preach — Is Married — Winchester Presbytery formed 169-190 



His Birth-place and Parentage — His Appearance — His Early Habits — 
Marries — Is Awakened under Mr. Lacy's preaching — The Beefsteak 
Club — Mr. Turner visits his Mother in distress — Is hopefully Con- 
verted — Exhorts in Meetings — The Club broken up — Is taken on 
trial for Licensure — His Endowments as a Speaker — Go-Pastor with 
Mr. Mitchel — Anecdote told by his Son — His Appearance at Pres- 
bytery—At Synod in Lexington — His Will — His Death 190-201 




Origin of Bethel — First Pastor, Mr. Cummings — Second Pastor, Mr. 
Scott — His Origin — His entrance to the Ministry — The new Meet- 
ing-House — Memorial of Presbytery — The Memorial of Messrs. 
Smith and Todd — Convention of the Presbyterian Church — Soldiers 
in the Revolution — Alarm at the approach of Tarleton — An old 
Soldier — Sacred Lyric by Davies — Mr. Scott's Appearance — His 
Preaching — His Abilities — His Death — His Family — The Exer- 
cises — Rev. William M'Pheeters, D. D. — His Origin — His Pious 
Mother — Her Experience and Death — Letter from Dr. M'Farland — 
He enters the Ministry — Preaches in Kentucky — In Bethel — Called 
to Raleigh — Organizes a Church — Resigns the Pastoral Care — His 
Domestic Relations — A Letter from his Daughter — Death of his 
Son — His own Death 202-216 



His first Ministerial Services — When taken under care of Presbytery 

— His Trial Pieces — His Companions in Study — His Examinations 

— Is made Elder — Goes to the Assembly — His visit to Mr. Hoge — 
His visit to Philadelphia — Graham's Attachment to the Youth — ■ 
His Trial Sermon for Licensure — His Examination and Licensure 
in Winchester — His Winter's Work — The attention excited by his 
Preaching — Becomes a resident it* Charlotte — Is ordained — The 
Copartnership — Materials for Church History — Mrs. Legrand .... 217-223 



Parentage of Allen — His Peculiarities — His Reflections on the Hogs — 
His commencing a course of Classical Studies — His Comic Power — 
' John Gilpin — His Conversion — Desires the Ministry — Difficulties in 
the way — Becomes Candidate — Is Delayed — Is Licensed — Goes to 
Kentucky with Robert Marshall — His Preaching on Silver Creek — 
Returns to Virginia — Incident in Campbell — Again visits Kentucky 
— Mr. Calhoon goes in company — Allen's attempt to imitate Calhoon 
— His Mission in Virginia — Col. Skillern — Sermon at his House — 
Address to. the Negroes — His Interview at a Tavern — Infidelity re- 
buked in Lexington by him — Letter from Daniel Allen — William 
Calhoon — His Childhood — Enters College — Takes Allein's Alarm 
to William Hill — Becomes Candidate for the Ministry — Goes to Ken- 
tucky with Cary Allen — Settles in Kentucky — Removes to Virginia 

— Settles in Albemarle — Removes to Augusta County — His Charac- 
teristics — His Interview with William Wirt — Mr. Wirt's Conver- 
sion 223-240 



His Birth-place — His Parentage — His Early Training — Loss of his 
Mother — Makes profession of Religion — His Youthful Studies — 
Goes to Liberty Hall — Lives with Mr. Baxter at New London — Pri- 
vate Teacher at Malvern Hills — His Improvement and his Trials — 
Returns Home — His Sickness — Seeks the office of Tutor in College 241-247 




Efforts of the Board to get a President — Mr. Alexander declines — 
Mr. Blair declines — Apply to Mr. Alexander again — He accepts — 
Removes to College — Rice and Alexander conjoined become lasting 
Friends — Arrangements for Preaching — Members of Hanover Pres- 
bytery — The Charitable Fund — Mr. Rice leaves College — Mr. Alex- 
ander visits Ohio — Mr. Speece becomes Tutor — The Subject of 
Baptism — Estimation of Mr. Rice 248-260 



Graham, Rice, and Baxter — Baxter's Birth-place and Parentage — 
Incident in his Early Life — His Teacher, M'Nemara — Member of 
College — Professes Faith — Mr. Stuart's Letters — Is Licensed — Mar- 
ries — Col. Fleming — Chosen Rector of Washington Academy, Lex- 
ington 260-269 




Circumstances — Mr. Alexander goes to Assembly — By the residence 
of Dr. Waddell — Visits New England — Returns to the College — 
Becomes Son-in-law of Dr. Waddell — Call to Cumberland — Mr. 
Rice's Letter to Mrs. Morton — Specimens of Preaching — His Diffi- 
culties — Is Married — Becomes Candidate for the Ministry — Is 
Licensed — Minutes of Presbytery transcribed — Mr. Rice called to 
Cub Creek — Mr. Tompkins, a Baptist Minister — Second step towards 
a Theological Seminary — Dr. Alexander's estimation of Mr. Rice at 
that time 269-280 




Ministers of the Synod of Virginia — Mr. Baxter visits Kentucky — 
Letter to Archibald Alexander, giving in detail the facts and circum- 
stances of the Revival in Kentucky — Revival in Bedford — Mr. Bax- 
ter, with some young people, visits Bedford 280-290 



His Income — His Duties in College — The Studies of College — Number 
of Students completing their Studies — Endowment of the College by 
the Cincinnati — Name of the Institution changed — Dr. Baxter as 
President — He is invited to other Institutions — His Domestic Affairs 290-294 



Birth-place — Parentage — Childhood — Seeks an Education — Goes to 
Liberty Hall — Licensed — Is Associated with Mr. Baxter — Is Married 


— One of the Committee on the Magazine — His Articles — An Ex- 
tract — His Earlv Death — Mary Hanna — Letter from S. B. Wilson, 
D. D.— Matthew Hanna 294-301 



Members of the Church — Colored Members — Mr. Rice teaches School 
— An Incident — Slave Population — Slaves Members, their condition 
— The Account of them by Rev. S. J. Price — Articles in the Maga- 
zine — Donation by Mr. Baker — Collections for a Library — Mr. Alex- 
ander removes from Virginia — Dr. Hoge chosen President — Reasons 
for accepting the Office — Dr. Alexander Moderator of Assembly — 
His Sermon — A Seminary determined upon — Mr. Rice opens As- 
sembly — His Studies — His Desires — Anecdote of Drury Lacy — Mr. 
Lacy visits Richmond — Propositions to remove Mr. Rice to Rich- 
mond — Situation of Hanover Presbytery 301-310 



Population of Winchester — Unable to agree upon the Candidates — 
Turn their attention to Mr. Hill — Unanimous Invitation — His Influ- 
ence — The Situation of the Congregation — A Revival — William Wil- 
liamson — John Lyle — Mr. Hill's Preaching — His Domestic Engage- 
ments — An Incident 310-319 



Richmond at the time of his Removal — The Burning of the Theatre — 
Renewed Efforts to get Mr. Rice to Richmond — He determines to go 
— Removes to Richmond — Letter to Dr. Alexander — Reception in 
Richmond — Presbytery in Richmond — Installation Services — Vir- 
ginia Bible Society — Difficulties to be overcome — An Incident — The 
Monumental Church — Friendship of Mr. Buchanan — New Church 
— The Christian Monitor — Death of Mrs. Morton — The last days of 
Drury Lacy — Application for an Act of Incorporation — Rev. Samuel 
J. Mills — The Magazine — The Printing Press — The Pamphleteer — 
The University of Virginia — Josiah Smith — Mr. Chester's Visit — 
Young Men's Missionary Society — D. D. — Meeti'ng of General As- 
sembly, 1820 and 1822 — The General Association of Connecticut — 
Of Massachusetts — Dr. Sprague's Account . 319-340 



Theodore Tudor becomes a Pupil — Taken Sick — Visited by his Mother 

— She becomes a Believer — John Randolph of Roanoke — Tudor 
goes to Harvard University — Leaves College — Visits England, and 
Dies — Randolph's Letter to Rice — The Trials of John Randolph — 
His Opinion of Dr. Hoge — Letter to Judge Henry St. George Tucker 

— Death of Mrs. Randolph 340-349 




His Birth-place — Of German Origin — Samuel Brown encourages him — 
Begins his Classic Education under Mr. Graham — Great Success in 
Study — Makes profession of Religion — Begins the study of Divinity 

— Stops his trials on account of difficulty about Baptism — Becomes 
Tutor at Hampden Sidney — Is Immersed — Returns to the Presby- 
terian Church, and is licensed to preach — Settles in Maryland — 
Returns to Virginia — Settles in Powhatan — Removes to Augusta — 
His Journal — His Installation — The case of George Bourne — On 
account of his doings on the subject of Slavery, Mr. Bourne is de- 
posed — The case goes before the Assembly — Back to Presbytery — 
Again to Assembly — The Deposition Confirmed — Mr. Speece's opin- 
ions on Slavery 349-365 



Circumstances leading to his removal — The labors and last days of Dr. 
Hoge — The estimation in which Dr. Iloge was held — The Assembly 
founds a Theological Seminary, excited by a memorial from Philadel- 
phia Presbytery, on the proposition of Archibald Alexander — Mr. 
Hoge's death — Mr. Alexander chosen President of Hampden 
Sidney College — Mr. J. T. Cushing chosen Professor — The 
Seminary transferred to Hanover Presbytery — J. H. Rice chosen 
Professor — He is chosen President of Princeton College — Letter 
from Dr. Miller — Letter from Dr. M'Dowell — Second Letter from 
Dr. Miller — Dr. Rice to Dr. Woods — Third Letter from Dr. Miller- 
Mental Exercises of Dr. Rice— Declines the Presidency of the College 

— Letter to Dr. Alexander — Death of Mrs. Wood— Fourth Letter 
from Dr. Miller — Visit to the Eastern Shore — Accepts the Professor- 

ghip — Visit to the State of New York 365-387 



State of Hanover Presbytery — Of Hampden Sidney — President Cush- 
ing — Mr. Rice's situation, by an eye-witness — Mr. Marsh — The Pro- 
fessor's House — The Inauguration — The first class of Students — 
Mr. Marsh employed — Funds of the Seminary — A great Southern 
Seminary — Dr. Alexander's visit — Mr. Roy appointed Agent — Little 
Scholarship — Funds transferred to the Trustees of General Assembly 

— The Assembly accepts the keeping of the funds, and takes the 
oversight of the Seminary — The nine Resolutions — The Synod of 
Virginia agrees to take the place of the Presbytery — The Synod of 
North Carolina agrees to join with Synod of Virginia — Dr. Caldwell 
in debate — Matthew Lyle — The Episcopal Controversy— Review of 
Bishop Ravenscroft's four Sermons and his Pamphlet 387-410 



Reasons for entering on them — Visits New York in summer of 1827 — 
Extracts from his Letters — Goes up the North River — Visits Phila- 
delphia in the fall of 1827, and winter of 1827-8 — Mr. Nettleton's 
visit to Virginia followed by great religious excitements — Dr. Rice's 
Letters about it — Mr. Goodrich chosen Professor 410-428 




He preaches the Sermon before the Board of Foreign Missions — James 
B. Taylor — Dr. Rice's Library bought for the Seminary — Dr. Rice's 
plan for a full course of study under four Professors — Students reduce 
the price of board — Dr. Rice states his position — The Boston House 
— Agency in North Carolina — Hanover Presbytery divided — A Series 
of Letters addressed to Ex-President Madison — Visit to New York — 
Goes Home Sick — His last Sermon 428-435 



Confined to his House — Letter to Dr. Wisner — Memorial to the As- 
sembly on Foreign Missions — Its disposition — Mr. Staunton assists 
Dr. Rice — Illness increases — Drs. M'Auley and M'Dowell elected 
Professors — Mr. Ballentine attends upon Dr. Rice — The Closing 
Scene of his Life — Major Morton — The Burial 435-444 



1st. Indefatigable in his Efforts — 2d. Earnest in Intellectual Improve- 
ment — 3d. A Friend of the Colored Race — 4th. Was fond of his Pen 
— 5tb. A quick sense of the Ridiculous — 6th. Happy in his Domestic 
Relations — 7th. Always caring for the Seminary — Letter to Dr. 
M'Farland — 8th. Excels in the Class Room — 9th. Abundant in 
Labors — His Resolutions 444-456 



Chosen Professor — Enters upon the duties of his Office — His Inau- 
gural Address — Dr. Hill's Charge — The State of the Southern 
Churches 456-463 




Domestic Affliction — Winchester, a visit to, in 1853 — Burial of Eliza- 
beth M. Hill — Visit to the Grave- Yards — Daniel Morgan — Gen. 
Robedeau — Judge White — Various Inscriptions — Dr. Hill finds 
Trouble — Proposes a renewal of their Covenant to the Church — 
His habits in Discussions — Some Collisions — Subject of Dancing — 
Choice of a Successor — A new Church organized — John Matthews, 
D. D. — Mr. Riddle settled in Winchester — Is removed to Pittsburg — 
Dr. Hill resigns his Charge — Removes to Presbytery of West Hano- 
ver — To Alexandria — To Winchester 463-480 



His views of Theological Seminaries — An active friend of the Tem- 
perance Cause — State of the Question — Death — Dr. Baxter's opinion 
of him — New Measures — Dr. Hendren's opinion of him — His Li- 
brary — Poetry, the last from his Pen 480-486 




Position of the Southern Churches in regard to matters in Controversy 
— 1st. Examination of Ministers — 2d. Churches formed on the Plan 
of Union — Plan of Union — 3d. Case of Rev. Albert Barnes — 4th. 
Cause of Foreign Missions — Reception and disposition of Dr. Rice's 
Memorial — Presbytery of Baltimore resolves to engage in Foreign 
Missions — Western Foreign Missionary Society formed — Report laid 
before the Assembly, 1832 — Central Board of Foreign Missions — 
Western Board transferred to Assembly — Not Accepted — Dr. Mil- 
ler's Letter about Dr. Rice's Memorial — 5th. The Act and Testimony 
— Against Errors — 6th. The Subject of Slavery — Lastly. A Division 
of the Presbyterian Church — Position of the Virginia Synod — Act 
of the Virginia Synod, adopted at Petersburg — The Virginia Pres- 
byteries determine to go into Convention 486-512 



The President— Movements of Southern Members — Committee of 
Business — Resolutions Proposed — Errors Condemned — In Doctrine, 
Order, and Discipline — Memorial Prepared — Miscellaneous Reso- 
lutions 513-520 



Expectation of the Churches — The Opening Services — The Presentation 
of the Memorial — The Report of the Committee on it — Resolution 
abrogating the Plan of Union — Debate upon it — Postponement of 
the Debate on Errors of Doctrine — Resolution for Citation — Debate 
upon it — Messrs. Beman and Plumer — Committee on the State of 
the Church — The peaceable division of the Church contemplated — 
The Committee Disagree — Their Reports — Dr. Baxter's Principle 
on a Constitutional Question — Brought forward in Convention — 
And in the Assembly — Debate upon its application to the Western 
Reserve — The Vote — Foreign Missions — Preparations for a Lawsuit 
— Errors Condemned — Protests Entered — Where they may all be 
found — Adjournment of the Assembly 521-538 



The Excitement on account of the action of the Assembly — Dr. Bax- 
ter's Position and Course — Watchman of the South — Action of the 
Presbyteries — Action of the Board of Directors of Union Theological 
Seminary — Resignation of Professors — Position of Drs. Hill and 
Baxter — Division of Presbyteries, beginning with Abington — Elec- 
tion of new Professors — Records of Hanover Presbytery — Dr. Hodge's 
and Dr. Hill's History of the Infancy of Presbyterianism in America 
— Later Researches — The time Makemie came to America — The 
Separation of the opposing parts of the Synod — Rev. Wm. M. At- 
kinson — His Labors, Sickness, and Death — His Birth — Entrance on 
the Ministry — His Lovely Character 538-556 




Circumstances of his Last Days — Dr. Hendren's estimation of Dr. 
Baxter — Mr. Bocock's Address — Dr. Baxter's Writings — Mr. Mor- 
rison's Letter 556-564 



Dr. Leyburn's Recollections of Mr. Turner — Of Mr. Mitchel — Of Dr. 

Speece — Of Dr. Baxter — The Sacrament at Monmouth 565-573 




His Ancestry — Genealogy of Families — The Carrington Family — Mr. 
Read's Education — His Wife's Ancestry — His Entrance on the 
Ministry with the Republican Methodists — Mr. Lacy's Letters about 
the Union of Denominations — Mr. Read joins the Presbyterian 
Church — A Calvinist in Creed — His View of the Duties of the 
Church— His Habits 573-580 



The Labors of Mr. Logan in the Ministry — Judge Johnston's Letter 
concerning Col. Bowyer — Mrs. Bowyer — Col. Anderson — His Mili- 
tary Life — His Character 580-586 



Location of the City — Orphan Asylum — First place of worship for the 
Presbyterians — John Mark — First Presbyterian Minister — Recol- 
lections of Fredericksburg — The Worshippers at the Presbvterian 
Church — The Order at Church — The Meeting of Synod — The 
Preaching of John B. Hoge — Of Dr. Alexander — Sketch of John B. 
Hoge — Of James H. Fitzgerald 586-596 






The first habitations of white men, west of the Blue Ridge in 
Virginia, designed for a permanent residence, were erected upon 
the waters that flow into the Cohongorooton, and with it form the 
Potomac. The grant of the northern neck, to the ancestors of 
Lord Fairfax, claimed for its western boundary a line from the 
head-spring of the Rappahannoc, supposed to rise in the Blue 
Ridge, to the head-spring of the Potomac, supposed to rise in the 
same ridge, or not far to the west. The Shenandoah, or more prob- 
ably the Monoccacy, was reckoned the main branch of the Poto- 
mac. As the beauty and fertility of the country, west of the Blue 
Ridge, became known by hunters and explorers, Lord Fairfax na- 
turally searched for the longest stream that passed through the 
Blue Ridge at Harper's Ferry, gave the name of Potomac to the 
Cohongorooton of the aborigines and looked for its head-spring in 
the distant ridges of the Allegheny. The name Potomac, became 
by general use the appellation of the river, that is the dividing 
line between Maryland and Virginia, from its mouth to its head- 
spring. The western or south-western lines of the grant being ex- 
tended so far into the Alleghenies, Lord Fairfax claimed that ex- 
tensive and fertile country embraced in the counties of Jefferson, 
Berkeley, Morgan, Hampshire, Frederic, Clarke, Warren, Page, 
Shenandoah and Hardy. While the claims of Fairfax to this ex- 
tended grant were not admitted in Virginia, or established in En- 
land, warrants for surveying and appropriating extensive tracts, 
west of the Blue Ridge, were granted, by the governor of Virginia, 
to enterprizing men, on condition of permanent settlements being 
made, on portions of the territory covered by the warrants. John 
and Isaac Vanmeter obtained, from Gov. Gooch, a warrant for 
40,000 acres to be located among the beautiful prairies at the lower 



end of the valley. This warrant they sold to Joist Hite of Penn- 
sylvania, who proceeded to make locations of the land, and to in- 
duce emigrants from the European nations to take their residence 
on his grant. 

Of the streams that water the extensive western section of Fair- 
fax's grant, all of which seek their outlet by the Cohongorooton, at 
Harper's Ferry, the Opecquon, taking its rise at the base of the 
North Mountain a few miles west of Winchester, and winding its 
way through the middle of the valley to the main river Potomac, 
claims for her banks the honor of the first settlement. The Cedar 
creek, rising in the same mountain a little farther south, and wind- 
ing across the valley into the Shenandoah, divides the honor with 
the Opecquon, or claims indisputably the second place. The Shen- 
andoah claims the third for its banks above its first forks, in the 
counties of Page, Warren and Shenandoah. About the same time 
Linvel's creek in Rockingham, in Beverly's grant, was chosen for a 
settlement. And then in quick succession the adjoining head 
streams of the Shenandoah and the James, and the waters that 
run among the Allegheny ridges into the Potomac, and the Potomac 
itself, were adorned with habitations of white men associated for 
mutual defence and improvement. 

A dispute immediately arose between Fairfax and Hite, and other 
grantees. Fairfax obtained from the crown the establishment of his 
boundaries, on conditions, — one of which was that the grants already 
made by the king's officers should remain undisturbed by any claim 
of Fairfax. Hite was thus confirmed in his grant, and those that 
bought under him were secured in their possessions. Fairfax, how- 
ever, pretended that Hite had not fulfilled the conditions of his 
grants, for besides the grant obtained from the Messrs. Vanmeter, 
he had with M'Kay, Green and Duff, received warrants to locate 
100,000 acres in the bounds of the so called northern neck ; and he 
proceeded to grant away large quantities of the land covered by 
Hite's warrants. This proceeding led to a lawsuit, which was 
finally settled in 1786, in favour of Hite. While all that bought 
under Hite were secured by the compromise with the king, those 
who bought under Fairfax and settled on Hite's grants, were com- 
pelled by this decision to hold their titles from Hite. The lawsuit 
alarmed many emigrants, and the hopes of greater security allured 
them on to the head waters of the Shenandoah, and a large region of 
country, of which Staunton is near the centre, was occupied more 
rapidly than the lower end of the valley, unsurpassed as it was in 
beauty and fertility, and untroubled as a great part of it was by 
the opposing grants and the lawsuit. 

Those that first came into the valley for a residence, were Scotch- 
Irish, more or less direct from Ireland, through Pennsylvania ; 
Germans, also through Pennsylvania, more or less direct irom the 
parent land ; and the Quakers or Friends, of English origin, also 
Irom the state of Penn, their American founder. A large part of 
the valley, from the head springs of the Shenandoah to the 


Potomac, or Maryland line, a distance of about 150 miles, em- 
bracing ten counties, was covered with prairies abounding in tall 
grass, and these, with the scattered forests, were filled with pea vines. 
Much of the beautiful timber in the valley has grown since the 
emigrants chose their habitations. 

Joist Hite removed his family to Virginia in 1732, and took his 
residence on the Opecquon a few miles south of Winchester. The 
farm and dwelling of Mr. Hite have been for many years in posses- 
sion of the Barton family. His sons-in-law came with him : George 
Bowman was located on Cedar Creek, about eight miles south of 
Newtown ; Jacob Chrisman at a spring two miles south of New- 
town, still called by his name ; and Paul Froman on Cedar Creek, 
some nine miles above Bowman, towards the North Mountain. 
Other families came with them, making in all sixteen. Peter 
Stephens took his residence between Hite and Chrisman, and others 
settling with him, he called the place Stephensburg, now commonly 
called Newtown. Robert M'Kay made his residence on Crooked 
Run. Robert Green and Peter Duff came with the company — but 
preferred locating a part of their grant east of the Blue Ridge, in 
Rappahannoc County. 

Other grants were obtained from the Governor in the region 
claimed by Fairfax, and were sanctioned by the king ; one in 1733, 
to Jacob Stover, a German, for five thousand acres on the south fork 
of the Gerando (Shenandoah) and on Mesinetta Creek. In 1734, 
Benjamin Allen, Riley Moore and William White, removed from 
Monoccasy in Maryland, and settled on the north branch of the 
Shenandoah, about twelve miles south of Woodstock. 

Before any settlement had been made in the valley of the Shen- 
andoah, John Yanmeter, from the state of New York, accompanied 
the Delawares in an excursion to the Cataw r ba. 'Their path led 
along the south branch of the Potomac. Delighted with the ap- 
pearance of Hardy County, he, on his return, advised his sons if they 
turned their steps southward for a home to seek the south branch. 
His son Isaac visited the country about the year 1736, and made 
what is called a tomahawk right to Fort Pleasant. He revisited the 
country in 1740, and found a cabin built upon the tract. He 
bought out the inhabitant, and in 1744, removed his family. 
Between his first visit, and his removal, a number of persons had 
taken their abode along the branch — Howard, Coburn, Walker, 
Ptutledge, Miller, Hite, Casey, Pancake, Forman, and perhaps 
others, had found their way to that beautiful country. 

In 1734, Richard Morgan obtained a grant for a tract of land in 
the immediate vicinity of Shepherd's town, on the Cohongorooton. 
The first settlers were Robert Harper (at Harper's Ferry), Thomas 
and William Forrester, Israel Friend, Thomas Shepherd, Thomas 
Swearingen, Yan Swearingen, James Forman, Edward Lucas, 
Jacob Hite (son of Joist), John Lemon, Richard and Edward 
Mercer, Jacob Yanmeter and brothers, Robert Stockton, Robert 
Buckles, John Taylor, Richard Morgan, William Stroop and John 


Wright. Others were soon added : and settlements were made 
along the banks of the Cohongorooton, or Potomac, from Harper's 
Ferry to the North Mountain. 

An enterprizing man by the name of Ross obtained a warrant 
for forty thousand acres. His surveys were north of Winchester, 
along the Opecquon and Apple-pye Ridge. The settlers were 
Friends, and in 1738 had regular monthly meetings. 

In 1780, Colonel Robert Carter had obtained a grant for sixty 
three thousand acres along the Shenandoah, on the west side, from 
the forks down about twenty miles : some of the finest lands in 
Warren County were embraced. Another grant of thirteen thou- 
sand acres along the same river, next below Carter's tract, em- 
braced the finest lands in Clarke County. These tracts were not 
pressed into market, and were not occupied till the rest of the valley 
was taken up. 

Back Creek in Berkeley county, west of the North Mountain, was 
early settled, being chosen in preference to the lands in the valley 
between the North Mountain and the Blue Ridge. The settlers were 
Scotch-Irish Presbyterians. The date of their earliest settlement is 
not preserved. Harassed by the Indians in Braddock's war, the 
greater part went across the North Mountain and took their abode 
on Tuscarora and along to the Falling Waters, and founded con- 
gregations by those names, still known in the Presbyterian Church. 

In 1738, the County of Frederick was set off, including all Fair- 
fax grant west of the Blue Ridge, now embraced in ten counties. 
The preamble of the law says — " Whereas great numbers of people 
have settled themselves of late upon the rivers Shenandoah, Cohon- 
gorooton and Opecquon, and the branches thereof, on the north 
sicle of the Blue Ridge Mountains, whereby the strength of the 
colony, and its security upon the frontiers, and his majesty's revenues 
of quit-rents are like to be much increased and augmented," &c, 
&c. On Tuesday, November 14th, 1743, eight persons took the 
magistrates' oath, and composed the court. Morgan Morgan and 
David Vance administered the oath to Marquis Calmes, Thomas 
Rutherford, William M'Mahon, Meredith Helmes, George Hoge 
and. John White. These, in turn, administered the oath to Morgan 
Morgan and David Vance. James Wood was made Clerk of the 
County, and Thomas Rutherford, Sheriff. James Porteus, John 
Steerman, George Johnston, and John Newport, gentlemen, taking 
the oath of attornies, were admitted to the Bar. Winchester was 
the county seat. At the second meeting of the court, December 
9th, 1743, the will of Benjamin Burden, who had been named as 
magistrate, was proved : Barnet Lindsey received twenty lashes on 
his bare back, at the common whipping-post, for stealing' two pieces 
of venison from the milk house of Thomas Hart, adjudged to be 
worth two pence: Henry Howard, servant to James M'Crachan, 
'was adjudged guilty of a misdemeanor, on charge of stealing a mare 
from Samuel Glass, and received ten lashes on his bare back, 
December 10th. In another case of horse stealing — or rather horse 


riding — taking a man's horse without leave, and riding off on a 
visit for some days — the defendant had his choice of twenty lashes 
or fifteen shillings fine : the same Henry Howard was complained 
of by his master, James M'Crachan, that he had been absent eleven 
days, and that in finding him and bringing him back, the expenses 
had been twenty shillings, and one hundred and fifty pounds of 
tobacco ; and the court ordered that he serve six months and four 
days for his runaway time and expenses, after the expiration of his 
time of servitude according to law, unless he could otherwise satisfy 
his master. In March, 1744, ordered that James O'Neal keep the 
Court House clean, and attend on court days to take care of the 
Justices' horses during a twelvemonth, for which he is to receive 
from the county levy £23 15s. current money. 

These servants were persons from the old country, sold to service 
for a term of time to pay their passage across the ocean. Black 
slaves were not common in the valley of Virginia, till long after the 
revolution, except along the Shenandoah river, on the tracts of land 
owned by persons living east of the Ridge. The public officers were 
chosen with due respect to the various settlements in the extended 
county. The High Sheriff was from Jefferson — the County Clerk from 
Winchester — Morgan, one of the Magistrates, from Berkeley, Hoge, 
from south branch of Potomac, and the others from Frederick, and 
Clarke, and Warren. 

Augusta County was set off in 1738, at the same time with Frede- 
rick. The two counties were to embrace all western Virginia ; 
Frederick to contain that part of the northern neck west of the 
Ridge, and Augusta all the rest of the vast western possessions. 
The dividing line was to run from the head-spring of Hedgeman's 
river, a branch of the Rappahannoc, to the head-spring of the Poto- 
mac. Augusta contained an area now embraced by four states, and 
about forty counties in Virginia. The emigrants to this county were 
like those to Frederick, with the exceptions of the Friends. The 
Scotch-Irish took the lead. 

And now kind reader, you shall be introduced, if you please, to 
some of these early settlements, made by men of strong minds, ready 
hands, and brave hearts ; the elements of whose character, like the 
country they chose, have been developed in the prosperity of 





[Lines written by a young lady that now lies in the old burying-ground near Opecquon Church.") 

Hear you not the warning sigh 

On the breeze that passes by? 

Lingerers near this solemn ground, 

To our silent home ye're bound. 

Hast thou strength ? the strong were laid 

In these mansions of the dead. 

Youth and vigor slumber here ; 

And hast thou no cause to fear ? 

Hast thou kindred ? ties as strong 

Here have been forgotten long: 

As they laid each sleeper low, 

Sighs were heaved, and tears did flow. 

Hast thou beauty ? hast thou wealth ? 

Future hopes and present health ? 

Trust them not, — here perished lie, 

Loveliness and hopes as high. 

Yes, we hear thee ; — on the ear 

There has fallen a voice of fear. 

Deep, sepulchral, hollow tone, 

We would bid thy words begone. 

Must we perish? must we die? 

And beneath the cold earth lie? 

Yes, this fearful thing we know ; 

Monitor, thy tale is true. 

Speak again thou warning one ; 

Did you go with horror down ? 

Did the dread of that dark place 

Freeze thy blood, and blanch thy face ? 

there is a mingled sound 

From the regions under ground? 

Songs of joy, and anguished moans, 

From the lost and rescued ones ? 

Listen, and their truth's the same; 

We had hope in Jesus' name, 

And that hope shone in the gloom ; 

Seek his love to light thy tomb. 

But the groaning of the lost, 

Helpless, restless, tempest-tossed, 

Comes to break that happy strain ; 

We despised the Saviour's name, 

And we warn you from the grave, 

Ye cannot his anger brave. 

Lingerers ! idle not your day, 

Fly, and seek him while you may. 

About three miles from Winchester, on the paved road to Staun- 
ton, on the western side of the road, near a little village, is a stone 
building surrounded by a few venerable oaks. That is Opecquon 


meeting house ; and between it and the village is the grave-yard, in 
which lie the remains of some of the oldest settlers of the valley: 
in their midst the writer of these lines, going down to the rest of 
her ancestors in her worth and loveliness, a believer in Jesus. Her 
voice charmed many hearts, in the praises of God, in this house : 
silenced on earth, her spirit makes melody in heaven. 

Let us visit this church and yard. This house is the third built 
upon this site for the worshippers of the Opecquon Congregation. 
This old grove has witnessed the coming and going of generations ; 
and could these trees speak, they could tell of remarkable scenes 
of crowded assemblies, of tears, and groans, and outcries, and 
joyful songs of faith, and hope, and love, under the faithful 
preaching of the gospel. They have bent their boughs over many 
a funeral train, mourning for some, lest the buried, " restless, hope- 
less, tempest-tossed" were waiting a sorrowful resurrection ; and 
waving with joy over others whose dead " had hope in Jesus' name." 
Come, let us sit down here, in the shadow of the church and school- 
house, which always went hand in hand with the Scotch-Irish 
emigrants, and these old trees, the witnesses of the past and 
present, and let us gather up some of the memorials of the events 
and generations passing in a century of years. 

It was a condition of the grant by which Hite came in possession 
of this beautiful country, that he should persuade some of the 
emigrants from the European countries, and from Pennsylvania, to 
settle on his lands. In all his grants of frontier territory, the 
Governor secured an increase of population and wealth to his 
Majesty's Colony, while he made the grantees rich. Hite, Beverly, 
and Burden, grantees in the valley, sent out advertisements to meet 
the emigrants as they landed on the Delaware, and also as they 
were about to leave their native land, setting forth the fertility and 
beauty of the valley, and offering favorable terms to actual settlers. 
And soon after Hite had removed his family to the Opecquon, the 
Scotch-Irish, immediately from Ireland, began to rear habitations 
around him and his sons-in-law, Bowman and Chrisman, and Fro- 
man, and near to Stephens and M'Kay. Of those that came first, 
the greater part took their titles from Hite and were located to the 
south of Opecquon. As others came and joined the settlement, 
some purchased of Fairfax, and others settling near the line of the 
grant, purchased on both sides, and held their titles from both Hite 
and Fairfax. Tradition says that Hite made more favourable terms 
tor his purchasers than Fairfax was inclined to do ; but does not 
tell in what this advantage consisted, except Fairfax demanded 
payment in money, and Hite received part in traffic. Samuel Glass 
tooK ins residence at the head-spring of the Opecquon, having pur- 
chased from Hite sixteen hundred acres, lying along the southern 
bide of the stream. He afterwards made some small purchases of 
Fairfax — and as a grand-daughter said, might have had as much as 
he pleased of the land lying toward Winchester, for a few shillings 
the acre. James C. Baker now occupies his farm. A son-in-law, 


Becket, was seated between Mr. Glass and North Mountain ; his 
son David took his residence a little below his father, on the Opec- 
quon, at Cherry Mead, now owned by Madison Campbell; his son 
Robert was placed a little further down at Long Meadows, now in 
possession of his grand-son Robert. The stone dwelling is on the 
old site, and at the back of it is carefully preserved, as part of the 
residence, the stockade fort used as the place of refuge in alarms. 
Next down the creek was Joseph Colvin and family. None of the 
descendants remained long in possession of their purchase here, 
they chose to live on Cedar Creek. Then came John Wilson and 
the Marquis family, with whom he was connected ; the grave of his 
wife is marked, in this yard, by the oldest monumental stone in the 
valley. Next were the M'Auleys, within sight of the church here ; 
and then William Hoge had his residence on that little rising 
ground near by us to the west. He gave this parcel of land for a 
burying-ground, a site for a church and a school-house. Adjoining 
these to the south were the Allen family, a part of whom speedily 
removed to the Shenandoah, near Front Royal. The M'Gill family 
now occupy their positions here. A little beyond the village, on 
the other side of the paved road, lived Robert Wilson ; his residence, 
part stone, and part wood, remains to this day. There M'Aden, 
on his mission to North Carolina, met with the preacher of Opec- 
quon ; and there Washington, while stationed at Winchester, was 
often entertained. A little further down the stream lived James 
Vance, son-in-law of Samuel Glass, and ancestor of a numerous 
race, most of whom are to be found west of the Alleghenies. These 
were all here as early as 1736, or '37. Other families gathered 
around these, and on Cedar Creek, charmed with a country 
abounding with prairie and pea vines, and buffaloe and deer. 

By the time of Braddock's war, the congregation assembling at 
this place for worship was large, and composed of families of great 
moral worth, whose descendants have been thought worthy of any 
posts of trust, honor, or profit, in the gift of there fellow-citizens. 
They came from the gap in the North Mountain, from the neigh- 
borhood of the White Posts, from the neighborhoods east of Win- 
chester, from Cedar Creek, and from beyond Newtown. While 
Washington was encamped in Winchester this was the only place 
of religious worship in the vicinity of the fort. Congregations 
assembled here when Winchester could scarce show a cluster of 
houses. After Braddock's war many families were added to the 
congregation, as the Chipleys, the Gilkersons, the Simralls and 
the Newalls, and many others. But it is not necessary to add 
further to this list, as a large portion of the families that composed 
the congregation of Opecquon, about the close of the 18th century, 
removed to the inviting fields of Kentucky, and very few families 
now residing near this sacred spot, can trace their origin to the 
early settlers. 

The first minister of the Presbyterian order that visited this 
region is supposed to have been a Mr. Gelston, of whom the 


Records of Donegal Presbytery, in 1736, say — " Mr. Gelston 
is appointed to pay a visit to some new inhabitants near Opeckon, in 
Virginia, who have been writing to Mr. Gelston, and, when he was 
over the river, desired a visit of this kind ; and he is to spend some 
time in preaching to said new inhabitants according to discretion." 
In 1739, the same Presbytery took measures to send Mr. John 
Thompson, as an Evangelist, through the new settlements, on the 
frontiers of Virginia. 

The missionaries sent out by Donegal and New Castle Presby- 
teries to the frontiers, and those under the direction of the Synod, 
found Opecquon on their journeys going and returning. Mr. 
William Robinson, on his long to be remembered tour through 
Virginia and Carolina, repeatedly preached here. On the division 
of the Synod, which began in 1742, and continued till 1758, the 
people on Opeckon generally went with the new side, and had the 
visits of missionaries from the Presbytery of New Castle, and other 
parts of the Synod of New York. 

The first pastor of this church was John Hoge, a relative of him 
that gave this land for the place of worship, and the burial of the 
dead. He was graduated at Nassau Hall, in 1748, and prepared 
for the ministry under the care of New Castle Presbytery. As the 
records of that Presbytery for a series of years cannot be found, and 
no private memoranda have been discovered to throw any light on 
the subject, the time of his licensure, and of his ordination, are" not 
certainly known. He appears on the roll of Synod as a member 
in 1755. At that time he was preaching at this place. Hugh 
M'Aden, the pioneer in Carolina, in his journal, says, that on Tues- 
day, June 18th, 1755, he spent the day at Robert Wilson's, in 
company with Mr. Hoge, the minister. They appear to have been 
acquaintances. Under Mr. Hoge, the churches of Cedar Creek 
and Opecquon were regularly organized. There are no records of 
the congregations during the long period of his ministry. Tradition 
says he was an amiable and pious man. Becoming infirm the latter 
part of his life, he gave up his charge. After the Synods were 
united, Mr. Hoge became a member of the Presbytery of Donegal, 
and continued united with that body, until it was, in 1786, 
divided, in anticipation of forming a General Assembly, into the 
Presbytery of Baltimore and the Presbytery of Carlisle, to the 
latter of which he was annexed as without charge : in 1795, he was 
member of the Presbytery of Huntingdon, without charge, after 
which his name does not appear on the records, but the time of his 
death is not mentioned. 

The next minister was John Montgomery, from Augusta County, a 
graduate of Nassau Hall; ordained in 1780, and in 1781, accepted 
a call from Winchester, Opecquon, and Cedar Creek. A young 
gentleman of fine manners, and pleasant address, and esteemed as 
a preacher. He remained with the congregation till 1789, and 
thon removed to the Calf Pasture. 

The third minister was Nash Legrand, an extended notice of 


whom is found in the first series of these sketches. He came to visit 
the churches, and there being a mutual approbation, he accepted 
their call in 1790. His ministry was eminently successful ; under 
his care Opecquon saw her best days. This stone house was built. 
A continued revival filled the church with devoted worshippers. 

The neighborhoods were full of young people, active, intelligent, 
and enterprizing. The reports from the west painted Kentucky as 
more beautiful in its solitariness, than Opecquon had been to the 
eyes of the emigrants from Ireland. And the grand-children, like 
their ancestors, sought a new home among the prairies, beyond the 
Alleghenies. Not a moiety of the congregations remained with their 
preacher. Being bereaved of his wife, and suffering in health, Mr. 
Legrand left Opecquon, in 1809. Since that time the church has 
been served by a succession of ministers, and has been blessed with 

Now let us go within this stone enclosure, and among the re- 
mains of the ancient settlers, and meditate upon the past. Let us 
enter through the narrow gate-way on the southern side, through 
which the congregation sleeping here entered, never to return. Let 
us pause a few moments at this rough, low, time-worn stone, in the 
very centre of the graves ; the first, with an inscription, reared in 
the Valley of Virginia to mark the resting-place of an emigrant — 
you will scarcely read the inscription on one side, or decipher the 
letters and figures on the other. The stone crumbled under the 
unskilful hands of the husband, who brought it from that eminence 
yonder on the west, and, in the absence of a proper artist, inscribed 
the letters himself, to be a memorial to his young and lovely wife. 
Tradition says he was the school-master. 

[On one side.] 


THE 4 th 1742 
AI ged 22 year 

On the side on which Ireland is chiselled, the pebbles in the 
stone, or his unsteady hand, made large indentures, and rendered 
the inscription almost illegible. Here the stone has stood, a monu- 
ment of affection, and marked the grave of the early departed, 
while the days of more than a century have passed away. 

Out towards the eastern corner marked by these small head and 
foot stones without names, lie Hoge, and White, and Vance, and we 
know not how many others, with their families. We cannot dis- 
tinguish their graves, but we know they lie there. A little to the 
riglit of that limestone pyramid lies William Hoge, buried in the 


;he other.] 



J R 


Ju 1 

y vi lh 1737 



gH s 


land of his own gift — and many of his family and descendants are 
around him. A pious man, he sought in America a home, in cir- 
cumstances he could not find in Scotland. A native of Paisley, he 
embarked while a youth with a company of emigrants, leaving their 
native shores on account of political and religious difficulties. 
Among these was a family by the name of Hume. The father and 
mother died on the voyage and left an only child, a daughter. 
Young Hoge took charge of their effects, and on arriving at New 
York delivered them and the young lady to a connexion, a Dr. 
Johnston. Having chosen Amboy for his home, Mr. Hoge sought 
Miss Hume in marriage. In a few years he removed to the State 
of Delaware ; and again, in a few years, removed and found a 
home on the Swetara, in Pennsylvania ; and from that place in 
his old age removed, with his emigrating children, about the 
year 1735, to Opecquon. His oldest son, William, joined the 
Quakers, and took his residence with them in Loudon County ; his 
second son, James, lived near Middletown, is mentioned by Dr. 
Alexander in his Autobiography, and was eminent for his clear un- 
derstanding, devout fear of God, and love of the gospel of 
Christ ; he attached himself to the Seceder Church ; his son, Moses, 
was the professor of Theology, first regularly chosen as such by the 
Synod of Virginia. George, the third son of William Hoge, was 
one of the first bench of Magistrates in Frederick County, lived a 
short time on the south branch of Potomac, and removed to North 
Carolina. Robert Wilson had married the second daughter, and 
lived in that stone and wooden house. The bones of those who 
died on the Opecquon are in the south-eastern part of the yard, 
every foot of which is occupied as a tenement of the dead. Near 
that tree in the eastern corner lies Dr. Robert White, a graduate 
of Edinburgh, and many years a Surgeon in the British Navy. 
While in the service he visited his connexion, William Hoge, then 
living in Delaware, and in process of time became his son-in-law, 
taking for his wife the elder daughter Margaret. Having emi- 
grated with his kin people to Virginia, he took his residence near 
me North Mountain, on a creek which bears his name. He was 
laid in this yard in the year 1752, in the 64th year of his age. He 
left three sons, John, Robert, and Alexander. Robert inherited 
the residence of his father, and it descended to his grand-child. 
Alexander became a lawyer of eminence, lived near Winchester, 
was a member of the first Congress of the United States, and of the 
Virginia Convention that adopted the Federal Constitution ; and 
was a member of the Legislature at the time the Rev. J. B. Smith 
made his famous speecn on the rights of conscience, against 
a general assessment. John was a member of the first bench of 
Magistrates in Frederick County, and was father of Robert White, 
wiio, in his youth, signalized himself in the Revolutionary Army, 
and bore the marks of his courage in his slightly limping gait, 
while he adorned the bar, and then the bench oi his native State, as 
President of the General Court. 


This limestone pyramid tells you it was reared in memory of 
Samuel Glass and Mary Gamble, his wife, who came in their old 
age, from Ban Bridge, County Down, Ireland, and were among the 
early settlers, taking their abode on the Opecquon in 17 30. His 
wife often spoke of "her two fair brothers that perished in the 
siege of Derry." Mr. Glass lived like a patriarch with his descen- 
dants. Devout «in spirit, and of good report in religion, in the 
absence of a regular pastor, he visited the sick to counsel and 
instruct, and to pray. His grand-children used to relate in their 
old age, by way of contrast, circumstances showing the strict obser- 
vance of the Sabbath by families. Public worship was attended 
when practicable ; and reading the Bible, committing and reciting 
the Catechism, and reading .books of piety and devotion, filled up 
all the hours. Mr. Glass, in the midst of wild lands to be pur- 
chased at a low rate, thought sixteen hundred acres enough for him- 
self and his children. Around him here lie his children and many 
of his grand-children, having given evidence of reconciliation to 
God. Just at his right lies his son-in-law, James Vance, the father 
of numerous descendants, both in Virginia and the wide region 
west of the Alleghenies. Out here to the left are his children, 
grand-children and great-grand-children. There is his grand-son, 
Joseph Glass, a Presbyterian preacher, of strong frame and power- 
ful mind, going down to his grave in the very strength of his life, 
in 1821 ; and at his side was laid, in 1831, his wife, the flower of 
another Scotch-Irish family : and just by lies their eldest daughter, 
the wife of a Presbyterian preacher, who says on her tomb-stone, 
"It is easy for a Christian to die" — and near by lies the second 
daughter, left by the death of her parents the head of the family, 
herself in declining health. Among her papers were found a few 
lines written soon after her mother's death. Will you read them ? — 

Oh ! my mother, vainly now 

I seek thee, while my heart is aching; 

And seest, knowest, carest thou, 

While sorrow's cloud is o'er me breaking? 

Thou dost not hear me — far away, 

Where sorrows come not, thou art dwelling ; 

Thou heedest not the dark array 

Which heavily my heart is filling. 

My own kind mother ! 'tis not vain 

To think of thee, to love thee dearly ; 

That love is pure, it hath no stain ; 

Such love, such vision, cometh rarely. 

Oh, often when I sleep, I hear 

Thy soft voice, and I see thee smiling ; 

Thu' heavier load I wake to bear, 

I love that sweet and brief beguiling. 

My blessed mother I thou art where 

Thou canst not hear my sad complaining, 

But clothed in bliss and brightness there, 

With the redeemed thy spirit's reigning. 

And Father, wilt thou grant me grace 

To follow where her step was leading? 

With her in heaven grant me a place, 

This, this, shall be my latest pleading. 


Tins whole yard is strewed with the ancient dead. These new- 
looking monuments mark the beginning of a second century among 
the graves. Excellence and beauty lie here. How gladly would Ave 
stop at the very grave of William Hoge, from whom have descended 
so many honorable families, and so many ministers of the Gospel ! 
And "the beauty of Opecquon" — who shall tell us where she laid 
down, heart-broken, to rest ? To this yard hundreds and hundreds 
in Virginia, and the far West, will come to seek the sepulchres of 
their emigrating ancestors. At the Resurrection there will be 
joyous meetings. 

Could proper memoranda of Back Creek, Falling Waters, and 
Tuscarora, in Berkeley County, and Elk Branch and Bull Skin, in 
Jefferson, and of the south branch in Hardy, be brought to light, 
reflections, profitable and impressive, would cluster around the re- 
collections and memorials of the worthy emigrants. They were of 
the same race as those of Opecquon, and probably not a whit 
behind in excellence. In the absence of other testimony, these 
examples must guide our judgment respecting the congregations in 
the northern part of the great Valley of the Shenandoah. 




The traveller on the great paved road from Winchester to 
Staunton, after passing the eighty-third mile-stone, sees on his 
right, (about eight miles from Staunton), in a grove of ancient oaks, 
a stone building, of antique and singular appearance. The east end 
is towards the road, with a large doorway for folding doors, about 
midway from the corners of the house ; and on one side of this 
large entrance is a low, narrow door, according with no known archi- 
tecture or proportion. Near the ridge of the roof the gable slants 
a number of feet, as if the corner of the roof and gable had been 
cut off, and the vacancy covered with shingles. A little above the 
great door is a window of modern construction. On the north side 
of the house is an appendage, a small room with walls and chimney 
of stone. Diverging from the road, in the path long trod by the 
generations assembling here, the visitor will perceive, at a small 
distance from the house, traces of a ditch and the remains of an 
embankment, drawn quite round the house in a military style. This 
is the oldest house of worship in the Valley of Virginia. It has 
seen the revolution of years carrying away generations of men, and 
their habitations, and their churches. The light pine doors speak 
at once their modern origin, swinging in the place of the massy 


oaks that hung upon the solid posts, in unison with the walls that 
now, after the storms of a century have left their marks, give no 
signs of speedy decay. Reared before Braddock's war, this house 
was to the early emigrants a place for the worship of Almighty 
God, and a retreat from the inroads of the savages, the dwelling- 
place of mercy, and a refuge from the storm. That ditch was deep, 
and that bank had its palisade ; and that little door was the wicker- 
gate, and that room was the kitchen, when the alarm of approach- 
ing savages filled the house and closed the massy doors. Thus 
secured, the courageous women and children could defend them- 
selves from any savage attack while the strong men went to their 
fields, or to drive off the intruding foe. On the other side of the 
great road is the place where these adventurous emigrants were laid 
to repose till dust has returned to dust, in close assemblage, as in 
the house of God, or the palisaded fort. 

These first settlers of this beautiful country were like those of 
Opecquon, from the north of Ireland, the blended Scotch-Irish, and 
in search, as they said, of freedom of conscience with a competence 
in the wilderness ; and for these they cheerfully left their homes 
and kindred in Ireland. Unallured by the speedy steamers and 
comfortable packets, they crossed the great abyss of waters, and 
sought the mountains of Virginia. Benjamin Burden and William 
Beverly had each obtained a large grant of land from Governor 
Gooch, to be located west of the Blue Ridge, on the head-waters 
of the Shenandoah and the James. Each of these was interested 
to procure settlers by the terms of the grant, and for their own 
convenience and profit. Beverly was from the lower country of 
Virginia, a branch of the well-known family ; Burden was an enter- 
prizing trader from New Jersey, and had ingratiated himself with 
the Governor. John Lewis was from Ireland, by way of Portugal, 
to which he first fled after a bloody encounter with an oppressive 
land-holder, of whom Lewis was lessee. Lewis brought his wife, 
Mary Lynn, and four sons, Andrew, Thomas, William, and Charles, 
and one daughter, as we are told by Colonel Stuart, of Greenbrier, 
and made his locations on a creek running into the Middle Forks of 
Shenandoah. His residence was a few miles below Staunton, which 
stands on the same creek, called, after the first settler, Lewis. John 
Mackey at the same time took his residence at Buffalo Gap ; and 
John Sailing at the forks of James river, below the Natural 
Bridge. Lewis located land in different places, making judicious 
selections. Beverly's tract lay across the valley, the upper edge 
of which included Staunton. Burden's tract was in the upper part 
of Augusta, and in Rockbridge. 

Great efforts were made to call the attention of emigrants, who, 
landing on the Delaware, were finding their way to the lower end 
of the valley, and the pleasant country at the eastern base of the 
Blue Ridge, on the waters of the James and Roanoke. Advertise- 
ments were sent to meet the emigrants at landing, and also, it is 
said, across the water. It does not appear that either of these 


gentlemen went, or sent agents to Europe, to seek for emigrants : 
that was not necessary. The tide of emigration was rapid. The 
invitations offering the most favorable terms, were the most suc- 
cessful. Beverly and Burden could present more encouraging cir- 
cumstances in the upper end of the valley, than Hite and others 
could at the lower end, threatened as they were by Fairfax, with 
lawsuits, and all the vexations of litigation. And before the year 
1788, numerous settlements were made on the prairie hills and 
vales of the Triple Forks of Shenandoah. 

The old stone church, with the grave-yard near, was the centre 

of a cluster of neighborhoods. Emigrants in sufficient numbers to 

form a congregation able to support a minister, would scatter 

abroad in distant localities in this beautiful region, scarcely near 

enough for self-defence, or to assemble on the sabbath. Families 

chose their residence according as they fancied a spring of water, 

a running stream, a hill, a piece of woods, a prairie, or extensive 

range for cattle and horses, or abundance of game, that gathered 

in some valleys. The first consequence of this wide occupation of 

the country was ease of living. The range was sufficient for the 

cattle and horses, summer and winter. A few fields were tilled for 

bread. The next consequence was a long ride or walk to meet in 

congregations for public worship on the sabbath ; and by degrees 

the people became disused to the sanctuary, and began to lose a 

regard for religious ordinances. The third was exposure to savage 

inroads. For some twenty years the emigrants were unmolested. 

Some that had known war in Ireland, lived and died in that peace 

in this wilderness, for which their hearts longed in their native 

land. Others in the quietness and abundance of this isolated 

county, began to think wars and fightings were confined to the 

legends of past days. The use of fire-arms, in which they became 

expert, was to supply from the wild game their returning appetites. 

Missionaries speedily followed these emigrants. " A supplication 
from the people of Beverly Manor, in the back parts of Virginia," 
was laid before the Presbytery of Donegal, September 2d, 17o7 — 
" requesting supplies. The Presbytery judge it not expedient for 
several reasons to supply them this winter ; but order Mr. Ander- 
son (James) to write an encouraging letter to the people to signify 
that the Presbytery resolves, if it be in their power, to grant their 
request next spring." Mr. Anderson was the bearer of the petition 
of the Synod of Philadelphia, to Governor Gooch of Virginia, 
made at the request of John Caldwell and others, in 1738, to 
obtain protection in the exercise of their religious preferences. 
Having been kindly received, he visited the emigrants in the 
valley with assurances from the Governor, of protection in the 
exercise of their consciences in matters of religion, and encourage- 
ment to extend their settlements. 

Another supplication was presented in September, 1739. " The 
Presbytery having discoursed at some length upon it, and hearing 
Mr. Thompson express his willingness in some degree to be ser- 


viceable to that people, if the Lord shall please to call him thereto, 
and if other difficulties in the way be surmounted, the Presbytery 
look on him as a very fit person for the great undertaking. Mr. 
Thompson made a number of visits to the Valley of the Shenandoah, 
and to the Presbyterian Congregations east of the Ridge ; and 
finally took his residence for some years in Prince Edward, near 
or with his son-in-law, Mr. Sankey, minister of Buffalo. The same 
year, 1789, Mr. John Craig, a licentiate, was sent by the Presby- 
tery to visit " Opecquon, the High Tract, and other societies of our 
persuasion in Virginia, at his discretion." The next spring from 
different congregations there came up " supplications, wherein they 
request that Presbytery, by reason of great distance, please to form 
a call to Mr. Craig, and affix the names to the call of the subscri- 
bers to said supplications." The Presbytery called on Mr. Craig 
for information and his wishes in respect to these supplications. 
Mr. Craig expressed himself in favor of the " call from the in- 
habitants at Shenandoah and the South river ;" the Presbytery 
directed Mr. Sankey to prepare a call. On the 17th of June, Mr. 
Craig declared his acceptance ; and in September, 1740, passed his 
trials for ordination. " Robert Doag and Daniel Dennison from 
Virginia, declared in the name of the congregation of Shenandoah, 
their adherence to the call formerly presented to Mr. Craig" — the 
next day was appointed as"a day of solemn fasting and prayer, 
to be observed by all parties concerned, in order to implore the 
divine blessing and concurrence in the great undertaking." Mr. 
Sankey preached from Jeremiah 8. 15, "I will give you pastors 
after mine own heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and un- 
derstanding ;" and Mr. Craig was set apart for the work of the 
gospel ministry in the south part of Beverly's Manor." 

Mr. Craig was the first Presbyterian minister regularly settled 
in the Colony of Virginia. In his old age, he prepared for his de- 
scendants a manuscript volume containing the important facts of 
bis life, interspersed with reflections, prayers, and meditations. 
It is entitled — 

A preacher preaching to himself from a long text of no less than 

sixty years : On review of past life. 

" I was born August 17th, 1709, in the parish of Dunagor, 
County Antrim, Ireland, of pious parents, the child of their old 
age, tenderly loved, but in prudent government, and by early in- 
structions in the principles of religion as I was capable of receiving 
them, which had strong effects on my young and tender mind, (being 
then about five or six years of age,) and engaged me to fly to God 
with prayers and tears in secret, for pardon, peace, guidance and 
direction, while in the world, and to tit me for death ; and what 
appears strange to me now, the just thoughts and expressions that 
were given to me, and the strict care of my conduct, lest in my 


MR. craig's narrative. 29 

childish folly, I should sin against God ; and the correct desire I 
had to know more of God and my duty to him, made me diligent, 
and the task easy, to learn to read the word of God, which then 
and ever since gave me great delight and pleasure : and though I 
endeavored to conceal my little religious exercises and acts of de- 
votion, my affectionate and tender parents discovered my conduct, 
and turn of mind, and thirst after knowledge, which raised in them 
pleasing hopes, and engaged them contrary to their former designs, 
to bestow upon me a liberal education." About the age of fourteen 
or fifteen, he made profession of religion, being admitted, after ex- 
amination, to the Lord's table, by Rev. Alexander Brown, who bap- 
tized him. While at school he was careful to avoid those com- 
panions that might lead him into the imitation of their vicious ways. 
He was at first shocked by the depravity he saw around : — this he 
says — " made me pray more earnestly that God would keep me 
from falling in with those views. As for my conduct and diligence 

O «/ CD 

for the space of eight or nine years at school, I never received one 
stroke, or so much as a sharp rebuke from all the masters I was 
with: but still gained the favor of them all." He then spent some 
years in reading Algebra, and the Mathematics generally, Logic, 
Metaphysics, Pneumatics and Ethics — and also Geography and 
History, ecclesiastical and profane : and then he repaired to 
Scotland, and in the college at Edinburgh, attained to the degree 
of A. M. Anno Domini, 1732. His observations in college, and the 
opening prospects in worldly matters, embarrassed him greatly in 
his choice of a profession. After much perplexity he resolved to 
attend the physicians' hall. A long and dangerous illness that came 
upon him was accompanied with the sufferings of an accusing con- 
science. After a confinement of about six months, unexpectedly 
to himself and others he recovered. He had wept and prayed, and 
humbled himself before God. "Patrimony and estate had then 
little weight in my mind, being well convinced that God who saved 
my life from death would support it, while he had any service for 
it. So I cast myself upon his care, and earnestly prayed for his 
direction." He was now pretty much settled in his convictions 
that he ought to engage in the ministry of the gospel. 

"America was then much in my mind accompanied with the 
argument — that service would be most pleasing and acceptable, 
where most needful and wanting — which raised in me a strong 
desire to see that part of the world. I consulted my parents and 
friends, who did not much hinder my designs. I earnestly cried to 
God for his directions, that he would restrain or encourage me, as 
he saw it would be to his glory and my happiness. At that time I 
had a dream or vision, representing to me as it were in miniature, 
the whole that has happened to me of any importance these thirty- 
five years ; yea, the very place I have been settled in these thirty 
years. I knew it at first sight, and I have done here what was re- 
presented to me then. I thought little of it then, though often of it 

30 MR. craig's narrative. 

He embarked at Learn, June 10th, 1734, and was landed at New 
Castle upon Delaware, on the 17th of the succeeding August. 
" I escaped a very imminent danger, without any means but the kind 
hand of providence, being accidentally cast overboard in a dark and 
tempestuous night. I lay as on a bed of down on my back, on the 
raging wave which tossed me back on the ship's side, where I found 
hold and sprung aboard, and none aboard knew of it. 'When I 
came ashore I met with an old acquaintance, Rev. Benjamin Camp- 
bell, minister of New Castle. He was then aguish, and died about 
two months after, greatly to my grief." 

He attended the Synod of Philadelphia, in September 1734, and 
delivered his letters of introduction to the members. " It gave me 
both grief and joy, to see that Synod ; grief, to see the small 
number and mean appearance ; joy, to see their mutual love and 
good order, and men of solid sense among them, and steady to the 
Presbyterian principles, and against all innovations, which began to 
appear at this Synod, from an overture read publicly by the Rev. 
Gilbert Tennant, concerning the receiving of candidates into the 
ministry, and communicants to the Lord's table — which he imbibed 
from one Mr. Frelingheusen, a low Dutch minister, which notions 
were then openly rejected, but afterwards prevailed so far as to 
decide the Synod, and put the Church of God here into the utmost 
confusion." After looking around, with much discouragement, for 
a proper location, he at length found " a home, a maintenance, a 
faithful and able friend, a sincere Christian, the Rev. John Thomp- 
son of Chesnut Level, whose praise is deservedly in the church. 
I taught school one year, and read two years more. Being invited 
by the Presbytery, I entered on trials, and was licensed by the 
Presbytery of Donegal, 1737. I was sent to a new settlement in 
Virginia of our own country people, near 300 miles distant. From 
the dream I had before I left Ireland, I knew it to be the plot in 
Christ's vineyard, where I was to labor. I must say I thought very 
little of it, which perhaps was my sin." 

a From them I had a call, and durst not refuse it, although I well 
saw it would be attended with many great difficulties. I accepted 
the call — the place was a new settlement, without a place of 
worship, or any church order, a wilderness in the proper sense, and 
a few Christian settlers in it, with numbers of the heathen travelling 
among us, but generally civil, though some persons were murdered 
. by them about that time. They march about in small companies 
from fifteen to twenty, sometimes more or less. They must be 
supplied at any house they call at with victuals, or they become 
their own stewards and cooks, and spare nothing they choose to eat 
and drink." This was previous to Braddock's war. The Act of 
Assembly forming Augusta County, passed 1738. The first court 
was held in 1745. Kentucky, and all Virginia claimed in the west, 
belonged to it. Mr. Craig goes on — " When we were erected into 
a county and parish, and had ministers inducted, of which we had 
two, they both in their turns wrote to me, making high demands. 1 

mr. craig's narrative. 31 

o-ave no answer, but still observed our own rules when there were no 
particular laws against them." 

About the division of the Presbyterian Church he writes — 
" Having seen the conduct of ministers and people, when I was in 
Pennsylvania, that maintained these new doctrines, examined the 
controversy, had free conversations with both parties, applied to 
God for light and direction in the important concerns, which was 
done with time and deliberation, not instantly. I attained clearness 
of mind to join in the protest against these new and uncharitable 
opinions, and the ruin of Christ's Government. This gave offence 
to two or three families in my congregation, who then looked upon 
me as an opposer of the work of God, as they called it, an enemy 
to religion, and applied with all keenness to their holy and spiritual 
teachers, to come and preach, and convert the people of my charge, 
and free them from sin and Satan, and from me, a carnal wretch 
on whom they unhappily depended for instruction, to their souls' 
utter destruction. They flying speedily came and thundered their 
new gospel through every corner of my congregation ; and some of 
them had the assurance to come to my house, and demand a dismis- 
sion of some of my subscribers who had invited them, being tainted 
with these notions formerly. But Providence so ordered that affair, 
that they gained none of my people that I knew of; my moral 
character stood clear and good, even among them ; but they freely 
loaded me with these and such like, poor, blind, carnal, hypocritical, 
damned wretch ; and this given to my face by some of their minis- 
ters. And when I administered the Lord's Supper to my people, 
they mockingly said to their neighbors going to it, what, are you 
going to Craig's frolic ? I thought God had given me a difficult 
plot to labor in, but I ever called upon him in trouble, and he 
never failed to help." 

Of the congregation Mr. Craig says — u It was large by compu- 
tation, about thirty miles in length, and near twenty in breadth. 
The people agreed to have two meeting-houses, expecting they 
would become two congregations, which is now come to pass. That 
part now called Tinkling Spring was most in numbers, and richer 
than the other, and forward, and had the public management of the 
affairs of the whole settlement : their leaders close-handed about pro- 
viding necessary things for pious and religious uses, and could not 
agree for several years upon a plan or manner, where or how to build 
tiieir meeting-house, which gave me very great trouble to hold them 
together, their disputes ran so high. A difference happened between 
Colonel John Lewis and Colonel James Patton, both living in that 
congregation which was hurtful to the settlement, but especially to 
me. 1 could neither bring them to friendship with each other, or 
obtain both their friendships at once ever after. This continued for 
thirteen or fourteen years, till Colonel Patton was murdered by the 
Indians. At that time he was friendly with me. After his death, 
Colonel Lewis was friendly with me till he died. As to the other 


part of the congregation, now called Augusta, the people were 
fewer in numbers, and much lower as to their worldly circumstance?, 
but a good-natured, prudent, governable people, and liberally Jpe- 
stowed a part of what God gave them for religious and pious uses, 
and now enjoy the benefit ; always unanimous among themselves, 
loving and kind to me these thirty years, with whom I enjoyed the 
greatest satisfaction, and serve them with pleasure. I had no 
trouble with them about their meeting-house, but to moderate and 
direct them when they met. They readily fixed on the place, and 
agreed on the plan for building it, and contributed cheerfully money 
and labor to accomplish the work, all in the voluntary way, what 
every man pleased. 

"As to my private and domestic state of life when fixed in the con- 
gregation, I purchased a plantation and began to improve upon it : 
and June 11th, 1744, married a young gentlewoman of a good 
family and character, born and brought up in the same neighbor- 
hood where I was born, daughter of Mr. George Russel, by whom I 
had nine children. My first-born died October 4th, 1745, being 
four months and six days old : a great grief to us the parents, 
being left alone. God exercised me with trying dispensations in my 
family. He took my first child, and left my second ; he took the 
third and left the fourth ; took the fifth and left the sixth, and gave 
me then more without any further breach. The people of my charge 
were all new settlers and generally of low circumstances. There 
own necessities called for all their labors ; they could or did do little 
for my support, except a few, and consequently fell greatly in 
arrears." It appears to have been the habit of Mr. Craig to keep 
a regular account of all he received from his congregations, for 
whatever purpose paid into him : and in the final settlement was 
willing to count all receipts as part of his salary. 

" What made the times distressing and unhappy to all the frontiers, 
was the French and Indian war, which lay heavy on us, in which I 
suffered a part as well as others. When General Braddock was de- 
feated and killed, our country was laid open to the enemy, our 
people were in dreadful confusion and discouraged to the highest 
degree. Some of the richer sort that could take some money with 
them to live upon, were for flying to a safer place of the country. 
My advice was then called for, which I gave, opposing that scheme 
as a scandal to our nation, falling below our brave ancestors, 
making ourselves a reproach among Virginians, a dishonor to our 
friends at home, an evidence of cowardice, want of faith, and a 
noble Christian dependence on God, as able to save and deliver 
from the heathen; it would be a lasting blot to our posterity." Mr. 
Craig urged the building forts in convenient neighborhoods, suffi- 
cient to hold twenty or thirty families, secure against small arms, 
and on alarms to flee to these places of refuge. One of which was 
to be the church. The proposition was acted upon very generally — 
" They required me to go before them in the work which I did 


cheerfully, though it cost me one-third of my estate. The people 
very readily followed, and my congregation in less than two months 
was well fortified." 

Let us walk around this house, and enjoy the beauty of the pros- 
pect. These remains of the fortifications in the Indian wars wasting 
away by the constant tread of the assembling congregations, are 
eloquent memorials of the early age of Augusta County. This old 
house has seen generations pass ; it has heard the sermons of the 
Virginia Synod in its youthful days. Could its walls re-echo the 
sentences that have been uttered here, what a series of sermons ! 
Its three pastors, for about a hundred years, taught from the same 
pulpit. Here the famous Waddell was taken under care of Hanover 
Presbytery, as candidate for the ministry, in 1760 : here the venerated 
Hoge was licensed in 1781 : and here the Rev. Archibald Alex- 
ander passed some of his trials, in preparation for the ministry. In no 
other house in Virginia can such recollections be cherished as rise up 
around us here. Here were the teachings of the first settled minister 
in Virginia, and here have been heard the voices of the worthies of 
the Virginia Presbyterians for a century. Here has been treasured 
their testimony for God, to be heard again in the Judgment Day. 

Let us cross the turnpike, and, passing the parsonage, enter the 
" God's acre" — the old burying-ground where lie so many of the 
first settlers ; and, as at Opecquon, we mourn that so few of these 
mounds have inscriptions to tell us where those emigrants sleep. 
They are all around us, we call over their names, and no answer 
comes, even from a stone, to say, "we lie here." How short-lived 
is man and his unwritten, or his historic memory ! forming to-day a 
part of the life and activity of society, and to-morrow like a 
withered branch cast in the dust. We bless and praise the Lord 
for the gospel, and will hope that these withered branches shall, 
very many of them at least, be found grafted into the good olive 
tree, and partaking of its fatness on Mount Zion. But the congre- 
gation has not been forgetful of the graves of their three pastors, 
who, for nearly a century, were examples of patient labor of minis- 
ters, and the stability of the church. Look on this slab, with a 
head-stone, near the middle of the yard. On the stone is the short 
record, expressing volumes, " Erected by G. C, son to J. C." On 
the slab, " In memory of Rev. John Craig, D. D., commencer of 
the Presbyterial service in this place, Anno Domini, 1740 ; and 
faithfully discharging his duty in the same, to April the 21st, Anno 
Domini, 1774 : then departed this life with fifteen hours' affliction 
from the hand of the great Creator, aged sixty-three years and four 
months. The church of Augusta, in expression of their gratitude 
to the memory of their late beloved pastor, (having obtained liberty 
of G. C.) paid the expense of this monument, 1798." Now, let us 
turn towards the gate on the west end, and read on a white marble 
slab — " Sacred to the memory of Rev. Wm. Wilson, second pastor 
of Augusta church. Born Aug. 1st, 1751, died Dec. 1st, 1835." 
A sketch of his life will appear in a subsequent chapter. 


Let us go a little nearer the gate, and read upon the white 
marble slab, " Sacred to the memory of the Rev. Conrad Speece, 
D. D., for more than twenty-two years pastor of Augusta church, 
born November 7th, 1776, died February 15th, 1836. He conse- 
crated a mind rich in genius and learning, to the service of his 
Saviour, in the great work of the gospel ministry ; and here sleeps 
with his people, till they shall stand before the Judgment-seat of 
Christ. Reader — If in his life he tried in vain to save, hear him 
at last, ! hear him from the grave. This stone is erected in token 
of affection that can know no end." This man could write better 
than most of his contemporaries, and could preach better than he 
could write. Feasted by the poetic labors of others, he himself 
indited a hymn to be sung while the English language praises 
God. Of humble origin, he was raised by the smiles of the Lord to 
stand in the valley, with such men as Samuel Brown, G. A. Baxter, 
and Moses Hoge, and form one of the triad at Hampden Sidney, 
with Rice and Alexander. His prolific pen contributed abundantly 
to the three octavo periodicals in his native State, devoted to reli- 
gion and morals, and sent contributions to the Connecticut Evan- 
gelical Magazine. With Dr. Baxter, he laid down in the Assembly, 
in the case of Daniel Bourne, his neighbor, the platform of the 
southern churches on slavery. Beloved by his brethren in the 
ministry, in general, and feared by some in particular ; a systematic 
pastor and punctual presbyter ; he left productions of his pen, and 
incidents in his life, sufficient to form a volume worthy of preserva- 
tion. His merits and productions cannot be discussed in this place, 
they must have their appropriate positions among his brethren. 
When another century is passed, may it be found that this congre- 
gation has been served as constantly by ministers as few in number, 
and equal in ability and spiritual qualifications, to these that lie 
gathered with their people. And may the present pastor fill his 
full measure of excellence and service, in honor of his birth-place 
and his parents. 



Going down from the splendid prospect on Rockfish Gap, to the 
edge of the "lake country," as the Sage of Monticello termed it, 
you enter the bounds of the oldest congregation in Augusta County, 
one that contends with Opecquon for the honor of being the first in 
the great valley, and the first in the State after the days of Ma- 
kemie, — the congregation of the Triple Forks of the Shenandoah, 
which formerly stretched across the valley from this Gap to the 
Ridge, in the western horizon. You are, too, in the bounds of that 
division of the congregation named Tinkling Spring, which assem- 
bled to worship God in the southern part of the settlement, the old 


stone church being the place for that part that lay along the track 
of the paved road. Ministers then were few, and men went far to 
worship ; eight or ten miles were an ordinary ride or walk, to the 
house of God, on a Sabbath morning. Staunton, in its early days, 
belonged to Tinkling Spring congregation ; and Col. Lewis, the first 
settler on Lewis's Creek, and John Preston, "the shipmaster of 
Dublin," were among the regular worshippers. 

The road from the Gap to Staunton, at first passed near the 
church. The travelled road now leaves the church some two miles 
to the south. About three miles from Waynesborough, and six from 
the village of Asylums, diverging from the turnpike that winds its 
way among scenery that irresistibly invites your gaze, if you love 
mountains, you will find upon a hill-side, half concealed by forest 
trees, the house of worship. To this hill and sweetly flowing spring 
come in crowds on the Sabbath, the young men and maidens with 
the old men and matrons, the place where their great-grand-fathers 
emigrating from the Presbyterian country in the north of Ireland, 
with their families, their politics, and their religion, came regularly 
for the services of the sanctuary. There, in a log building finished 
off by the widow of John Preston, John Craig, the first settled Pres- 
byterian minister in Virginia, after the days of Makemie, preached 
the gospel for many years. The southern part of the congregation 
of the Triple Forks, had some difficulty in deciding on the place for 
their church building, and for a time worshipped in different parts 
at stands, or tents. Mr. Craig intimates that the rivalry of some 
individuals, Cols. Lewis and Patton, hindered the congregation in 
their choice. Tradition says that he himself was a partizan in 
selecting the site. The larger portion of the southern section of 
the congregation chose this hill on account of its central position, 
and the refreshing spring that gushed forth with a peculiar sound — 
and took the name of Tinkling Spring. Mr. Craig preferred a situ- 
ation more northwardly, near the residence of James Pilson, and 
appealing to the old gentleman one day in expectation that he would 
be favorable to the location nearest his dwelling, received for a re- 
ply — that the Tinkling Spring was best for the whole southern part 
of the congregation — that a more northern locality would give the 
northern part two places of worship, and the centre one, and the 
southern part none. "Well, well," said the disappointed pastor — 
" are you against me too, Jimmy ? Well, I am resolved that none 
of that water shall ever tinkle down my throat." He kept his word. 
Like the leading men of his charge, or more properly like all his 
charge, he was a persevering man ; and while his congregation 
quenched their thirst in full draughts, he only moistened his lips, and 
that but seldom. 

This congregation was generally with their first pastor, on the 
" old side," or with the protectors. The neighboring congregation, 
New Providence, was generally of the "new side." There might 
have been, and probably were for a few years, some heart-burnings 
confined to a few members. The two congregations have, from time 


that the present families know not when it was otherwise, been on 
terms of strictest friendship. Had memorials of the instances of 
personal piety in each congregation been preserved, the Christian 
public might have received edification equally affecting from among 
the children of the old side and of the new. The divisions could 
never be distinctly marked in the congregations, for any length of 
time, any farther than accidental circumstances made a perceptible 
difference in the habits of neighborhoods. All through the valley 
were families more strict in their attention to the education of their 
children in ways of piety than others, more careful to devote them 
to God in a way to produce a lasting impression. 

In the various Indian wars and in the revolutions this congrega- 
tion showed its patriotism, and sent forth fathers and sons to meet 
the enemy in battle. Some of the leading military men in the ex- 
pedition against the Indians were from this congregation. The 
Lewis family were famous. Charles A. Stuart, late of Greenbrier, 
son of John Stuart, who was in the battle of Point Pleasant, tells us 
that his mother was a Lewis, a grand-daughter of the emigrant John 
Lewis. On his authority we are informed that John Lewis and Mar- 
garet Linn came from Ireland — u but being Presbyterians, were 
probably of Scottish origin. John Lewis was advantageously a ten- 
ant under a Catholic landlord, and for his skill, industry, and fidelity, 
had the promise of continuance at pleasure. The promise was vio- 
lated on application for the same place by a Catholic. Upon Lewis's 
refusal to give immediate possession, his landlord unlawfully under- 
took by force to oust him. Resistance, of course, followed. In the 
affray, Charles, (or perhaps Samuel), a brother to John, an officer in 
the king's service, and then sick at John's house, was killed. This 
last act excited John to the utmost pitch of fury, in which he slew 
one or two of the assailants, and escaping, fled to Portugal. Hav- 
ing remained there two or three years, he privately made arrange- 
ments for the removal of his family to America, where he and they 
were soon reunited. He then came to this part of the country, and 
settled in what is called Beverly Manor. His first encampment (for 
so it may be called, although he built a cabin), was on the bank of 
Middle, then Carthrae's river, not four hundred yards from a house 
now occupied by Charles A. Stuart. Thence he removed to Lewis's 
Creek, settled on the tract of land now belonging to the heirs of 
Robert McCullough, and there built the old stone house, which is 
still standing, and is probably by far the oldest house in the country. 
He was the founder of the town of Staunton. This is also in Beverly 
Manor. He there bred up his family, consisting of four sons and 
one daughter. His sons were Thomas, William, Andrew, and Charles. 
John, of the Warm Springs, was the son of Thomas, the surveyor 
of Augusta, when Augusta extended to the Mississippi river." All 
the sons of Col. John Lewis were the parents of a numerous pro- 
geny. Andrew Lewis, who was a man of vast energies, both physi- 
cal and moral, was the commandant of the southern division of 
Lord Dunmore's army against tbe Shawanees, and repulsed the In- 


dians at Point Pleasant, in Oct., 1774. In the very front of this 
battle, his brother Col. Charles Lewis, sealed his destiny in blood, 
leaving a name consecrated amongst the dearest and sweetest remem- 
brance of thousands who survive him. Of the 100,000 acres of land 
said to have been granted to John Lewis, I have no knowledge ; but 
presume that the grant alluded to, is that which was made to the 
Greenbrier Company, of which he and his son Andrew were members, 
and the efficient agents." — William was active in the French and 
Indian wars — was an officer in the revolution, in which he lost one 
son in battle, and had one maimed for life. When the rumor came 
that Tarlton was approaching the valley, the father was confined by 
sickness — the mother, with the spirit that dwelt in the breasts of 
hundreds of mothers in the valley, sent her three sons of 17, 15, 13 
years — saying, go my children, I devote you all to my country. — 
The valley-woman knew the distresses of war ; in their childhood, 
they had known the miseries of savage depredations ; and loving 
their children they preferred an honorable death in the battle-field, 
to the disgraceful sufferings and death by marauding parties, and 
the tomahawk of the savage. 

When a call was made for militia to aid General Green against 
Cornwallis, Tinkling Spring sent her sons. Waddell, their minister, 
addressed to the soldiers at Midway, the parting sermon. In the 
battle at Guilford Courthouse, these men were found in the hottest 
of the fight. Some were among the slain. Some brought away 
deep wounds from sabre cuts ; and be re the scars through a long 
life, protracted in some cases to more than fourscore years. 

Col. James Patton came from Donegal, a man of property, the 
commander and owner of a merchant ship. He obtained from the 
Governor of Virginia, a grant for 120,000 acres of land in the val- 
ley for himself and his associates. His residence was on the south 
fork of Shenandoah. He took up land on the Alleghanies, in Mont- 
gomery county, and was killed by the Indians, in one of their plun- 
dering incursions, while he was on a visit to that beautiful country 
in 1753. The Indians came upon him suddenly at Smithfield. 

John Preston, a shipmaster in Dublin, married a sister of Col. 
James Patton ; was not successful in his business in Ireland, parti- 
cularly on account of his religious opinions ; came with Col. Patton 
and resided for a time at Spring Hill, afterwards occupied by Dr. 
Waddell ; and about the year 1743, purchased and occupied a tract 
near Staunton, lately occupied by General Baldwin. Here he soon 
died — leaving a widow and five children, all born in Ireland but one. 
His eldest daughter married Robert Breckenridge, of Botetourt — 
the grandfather of those ministers, Robert and John, whose acts 
have been inwoven with the history of the Presbyterian Church 
since about 1830. The second married Rev. John Brown, pastor of 
New Providence and Timber Ridge, whose descendants have been 
famous in Kentucky. The third child, William, was the father of a 
numerous family, male and female, that have not been unknown in 
Virginia. The fourth married Francis Smith, and the fifth John 


Howard, find their descendants are numerous in Kentucky and the 
south-western States. Devoutly attached to the Presbyterian Church 
famed for its vigorous contests for liberty in Scotland, and Ireland, 
and America ; a firm believer in the Calvinistic creed long and well 
tried as the creed to bear up men in great emergencies ; conscien- 
tious in his personal religion, estimating the gospel and its advan- 
tages to man, a mortal and immortal creature, as beyond all price ; 
devoutly thanking God, before his death, that an orthodox minister 
was connected with his family, the pastor of a congregation in the 
wilderness ; though cut off in a few years, he impressed a character 
that has been handed down from generation to generation, by his 
descendants, for a hundred years, that speaks beyond all argumen- 
tation or praise the value of the principles on which the early settlers 
of the valley built up their society. You may find his son-in-law 
the first minister of New Providence, the traces of whose labors 
remain till this day : among his descendants you may find persons 
in all the varied stations of honest and honorable society, the 
mountain farmer, the minister of the gospel, the lawyer, the Go- 
vernor ; you may find near Staunton the vale in which he lived and 
left his widow, you may see here the spot where he worshipped in 
the plainness and simplicity of the Presbyterian forms, you look to 
that yard where his ashes rest, and you find no monument inscribed 
John Preston. 

The Rev. John A. Vanlear that died pastor of Mossy Creek, a 
part of the ancient bounds of the Triple Forks of Shenandoah, 
preserved some memoranda of the Vanlear family. John Yanlear, 
a pious man and thorough Presbyterian, a merchant, emigrated 
from Holland and settled in Philadelphia. He was one of the 
company that built the first house of worship for Presbyterians in 
the city. Feeling the necessity of a house, he willingly exerted 
himself in the work of collecting funds. Those more nearly inter- 
ested not being able to raise sufficient money, he applied to a 
particular friend, a Quaker, for aid — "Well, friend John," said the 
Quaker—' 4 thee art engaged in a good cause. I wish thee success. 
I can't subscribe to thy paper. But if thee will send to my store, 
thee shall have nails to do the whole building." The house was 
built on the north-west corner of Chestnut and Second streets. 
This man died in Philadelphia, leaving one son, who removed to 
Lancaster. He left several sons, two of whom removed to Williams- 
port, in Maryland, and its vicinity, and one to Christian's Creek, 
in Augusta County, about the year 1752. This man left two sons 
and one daughter ; one of the sons, Jacob, lived and died on the 
place settled by his father. His widow survived him many years, 
and died at the age of nearly one hundred ; a woman of wonderful 
memory, the relator of many of the traditions respecting the pioneers 
of the valley. This man left a son on the same place, many years 
an elder in the Tinkling Spring church. The other son, John, born 
in Lancaster about 1745, and seven years old when his father 
removed to Christian's Creek, married a Miss Allison, in Augusta 


County, and removed to Montgomery about the time of the revo- 
lutionary war, and settled on the north fork of Roanoke, ten miles 
from Christiansburg, and four from Blacksburg. He served several 
campaigns during the war, and was present at the siege of York, 
and the capture of Cornwallis. At the first organization of a church 
in Montgomery County, he was chosen elder, and officiated till 
upwards of eighty years of age. Father of ten children, three sons 
and seven daughters ; he trained them up in the old fashioned way 
of keeping the Sabbath, and saw them all members of the church ; 
two of his sons elders, and one a minister of the gospel, (the collector 
of these memoranda), and died at the advanced age of eighty-eight, 
in the year 1833. " The Bible, and Shorter Catechism, and a 
sermon from Davies or Burder, on every Sabbath" — says his son, 
was the order of his house. Other genealogies of equal or greater 
interest may probably come to light respecting the pious men and 
women of Tinkling Spring. Let their descendants look for them. 

Now let us visit the grave-yard to the west of the church, sur- 
rounded by a stone wall, in shape of a section of a horse-shoe, 
divided at the toe. Let us enter by this gate on the south side 
nearest the church, and before we go towards the south-west end, 
we will pause a moment to read the white marble slab to the memory 
of the third pastor, John M'Cue. Craig, the first pastor, lies near 
Augusta church ; Waddell, in Louisa, under an apple-tree, in a place 
chosen by- himself, near where the Counties of Orange, Albemarle, 
and Louisa meet : M'Cue was suddenly removed Sept. 20th, 1818, 
in the 66th year of his age. His congregation assembled for 
worship on the Sabbath morning. Ilis family preceded him a little 
on their way to the house of God. After a time a messenger in- 
formed the gathered people that his lifeless corpse had been found 
near his own gate. Whether he had fallen from paralysis, or the 
restiveness of his horse, can never be known. There was no appear- 
ance of a struggle after his fall. His ministry extended over 27 

A little farther west, and we shall see the marble slab that covers 
the fourth pastor, James C. Willson, who having served this church 
21 years, was suddenly called away on the 10th of January, 1840. 
He had devoted that day to praying for and writing to an absent 
son, whom he had hoped to see engaged in the ministry of the 
gospel. Stepping into the post-office in apparently usual health, he 
sat down and gasped, and never moved again. No medical eifort 
could restore the lost pulse. The prayers and tears of the father 
were a memorial before God. His son followed the father in about 
two years, giving evidence of acceptance with God. The last 
prayers of the father were answered in the last hours of the child. 
These two slabs are a memorial to all pastors of Tinkling Spring — 
'•What thy hand findeth to do, do with all thy might" — ' k in such 
an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. 

Come down now to the south-west end. In this irregular piece 
of ground, surrounded on three sides by a stone wali, full of mounds, 


but not a single inscription, — here is the resting place of the ashes 
of the ancestors of many of the families in Virginia and Kentucky, 
men whose names are woven by their descendants in the web of 
political and religious courts, in colors too vivid to be unnoticed or 
mistaken. Here are the sepulchres of men that turned the wilder- 
ness into habitations, and after assembling on that hillside to worship 
the God of their fathers, are gathered here to wait the coming of 
the Son of God, when the graves shall give up their dead. It was a 
good thought in the conception, and will be patriotic in the execu- 
tion to raise here in the midst of these crowded mounds, a pillar as 
simple and unadorned as the manners of that age, and as beautiful 
and enduring in its simplicity, as the principles that peopled and 
have governed this valley, inscribed — 

Sacred to the Memory 


Emigrants to this Valley. 




The history of the Presbytery of Hanover, the mother of Pres- 
byteries in the South and West, embraces facts in church govern- 
ment, church extension, church discipline, missionary efforts and 
success, biography of ministers, and members of the church, male 
and female, in different departments of life, of thrilling interest 
and in abundance to fill more than one volume. The facts and the 
actors will be found in any fair record of the memorable things in 
the Presbyterian Church, in the States of Virginia, North Carolina, 
Tennessee, South Carolina, and Ohio, in all of which, Hanover 
Presbytery had an existence for a series of years. 

Samuel Davies may be called the father of Hanover Presbytery, 
though not by any means the founder of Presbyterianism in Vir- 
ginia. And in giving a notice of its members, he naturally stands 
first upon the list of worthies. A memoir of him extending over 
more than one hundred and fifty large octavo pages, more than fifty 
of which are in very small print, has been given in the 1st vol. of 
the Sketches of Virginia. In that memoir, many popular errors 
respecting that great and good man, widely circulated with some 
editions of his sermons, are' corrected from authentic and original 
sources of information. Many of his actions are recorded in the 
following pages. 


An effort to remove Rev. Jonathan Edwards to Virginia. 

Hanover, July 4th, 1751. 

Rev. and very Dear Brother — I never received any information 
of the kind in my life, that afforded me so many anxious thoughts, 
as yours concerning the great Mr. Edwards. It has employed my 
waking hours, and even mingled with my midnight dreams. The 
main cause of my anxiety, was, the delay of your letter, which I did 
not receive till about three weeks ago, when I was in Lunenburg, about 
one hundred and thirtv miles from home. This made me afraid lest 
Mr. Edwards had settled some where else, being weary of waiting 
for the invitation from Virginia. Should this be the unhappy case, 
and should the obligation to his new people be deemed undissolvable, 
I shall look upon it as a severe judgment of incensed heaven on 
this wretched colony. What shall I say ? I am lost in perplexities 
at the thought. 

I assure myself, dear sir, of your most zealous concurrence to 
persuade him to Virginia. Do not send him a cold, paper message, 
but go to him yourself in person. If he be not as yet engaged to 
any place, I depend upon your word, and "make no doubt but he 
will come." If he is engaged, I hope he may be regularly dismissed 
upon a case of so great importance. Of all the men I know in 
America, he appears to me the most fit for this place ; and if he 
could be obtained on no other condition, I would cheerfully resign 
him my place, and cast myself into the wide world once more. 
Fiery, superficial ministers, will never do in these parts : They 
might do good, but they would do much more harm. We need the 
deep judgment and calm temper of Mr. Edwards among us. Even 
the dissenters here, have the nicest taste of almost every congre- 
gation I know, and cannot put up with even the truths of the gospel 
in an injudicious form. The enemies are watchful, and some of 
them crafty, and raise a prodigious clamor about raving, injudicious 
preaching. Mr. Edwards would suit them both. Our liberties, too, 
are precarious, aud methods are used to restrain them. There is 
nobody here who is known in Great Britain, whose representation 
might have some weight to counter-balance that of the Council; 
and on this account we greatly need Mr. Edwards, whose character 
there, especially in Scotland, would have considerable influence. 
He might also, as you observe, do much good by keeping an 
academy; and which is of greater importance than all, might be 
the happy instrument of turning many to righteousness. 

As soon as I returned from Lunenburg, I wrote to the elders in 
the upper part of my congregation, (which I want to cast off when 
they have an opportunity of obtaining a minister), urging them to 
take pains with the people of their respective quarters, to obtain 
subscriptions for Mr. Edwards' maintenance ; and though they had 
no knowledge of him, but by my recommendation, they made up 
about <£80 of our currency, which is about <£60 or <£65 sterling ; 


and it is the general opinion of the people, that if Mr. Edwards 
does in any measure answer the character I have given him, (and I 
doubt not but he will), they can easily afford him .£100 per annum. 
Sundry of them did actually plead their want of acquaintance with 
him as the reason of their backwardness ; and I could not expect it 
would be otherwise ; and others might have had that as a secret 
reason, who did not publicly mention it. The people about the 
lower meeting-house, which is my more immediate charge, assure 
me they will contribute towards the expenses of his first year's 
settlement ; and the people in Lunenburg told me they would cheer- 
fully subscribe towards his maintenance the first year, should he 
settle anywhere in Virginia; and I doubt not but that all the 
dissenting congregations of Virginia will do the same, so that I 
believe Mr. Edwards may safely depend on £30 or £40 the first 
year, besides his annual salary. This, however, I am certain of, 
that he has the prospect of a comfortable livelihood ; and indeed, 
should I ensnare him into poverty designedly, I should censure 
myself as the basest of mankind. My salary at present is about 
£100, and notwithstanding £20 or £30 peculiar expenses, I find I 
can make a shift to live upon it. 

I could not content myself with following your advice, and only 
writing to Mr. Edwards ; and therefore the people have sent the 
bearer, a worthy youth who has been under my tuition for some time, 
to wait on him with their invitation. He has lived so long here, 
and is so perfectly acquainted with affairs, that he can inform you 
and Mr. Edwards of them as well as myself. 

And now, sir, I shall answer the other part of your letter. I 
send you herewith a narrative of religion here. As I have no 
correspondence with any of the Boston ministers, I have been 
obliged to impose upon you the trouble of sending it to the press, 
if you .think it worth while. I beseech you, dear sir, to make such 
corrections as you and Mr. Edwards shall think fit, and be not 
afraid of offending me by so doing, for I was designedly careless in 
writing it, as I knew it would pass through your hands. I would 
have you particularly consider the expediency of publishing the 
postscript and the poetical lines on Mr. Blair. 

I am impatient, sir, to see your books ; and wish you would inform 
me which way I shall send the price of them to the printer, and 
order them to be conveyed by water, to the care of Mr. John Holt, 
merchant in Williamsburg, or to Col. John Hunter, merchant in 
Hampton, as may be most convenient. 

I have dropped the thoughts of my intended treatise on the Morality 
of Gospel-holiness, till I have more leisure, and a larger acquaint- 
ance with divinity ; but am now and then collecting materials for it. 

I believe the weakest of the congregations in this colony, could 
afford a minister £60 or £70 yearly salary ; and as to itinerants, 
the usual rule is, twenty or thirty shillings a Sunday. As far as I 
know them, the (people) here are in general pretty generous. This 
colony is very healthy, except on rivers' sides, and "will suit very 


well with the constitution of New England men." Dear sir, if Mr. 
Edwards fail, shall I prevail with you to come yourself, at least to 
pay us a transient visit ? ! how would it rejoice my soul to see 
you ! 

Whenever I write to you, I am in such a hurry, that I am appre- 
hensive my letters afford you a very mean idea of my intellectual 
abilities ; but as you do not wrong me in it, I shall be quite easy 
unless you think I make you such wretched returns as that my 
correspondence is insufferable. Pray for me, and write to me as 
often as you can. 

I am, sir, yours in the tenderest bonds, 

Samuel Davies. 

Rev. Mr. Joseph Bellaney. 

P. S. You may insert or omit the marginal note in page 28 of 
the narrative, as your prudence directs. The contents are un- 
doubtedly true, but I am afraid will seem incredible. 

July 13th. — I did not receive the complete subscription for Mr. 
Edwards till yesterday, which happily exceeds my expectation. It 
amounts to about c£97, which is near <£80 sterling. This will 
undoubtedly be a sufficient maintenance. You will see by the sub- 
scription paper, how many dissenting families there are in the least 
half of my congregation, for the subscribers are chiefly heads of 
families. Oh, dear sir, let me renew my importunities with you 
to exert all your influence in our behalf with Mr. Edwards. Though 
the people seem eager for him above all men on earth, yet they 
request you by me, in case this attempt fails, to endeavor to send 
some other to settle among them : (for they have no prospect of 
relief these sundry years from Presbytery), but let him be a 
popular preacher, of ready utterance, good delivery, solid judgment, 
free from enthusiastical freaks, and of ardent zeal ; for I am afraid 
they will accept of none other, and I would not have any sent here 
that might be unacceptable. You or Mr. Edwards are the only 
men they could make an implicit venture upon. I am with the 
warmest emotions of heart, dear sir, 

Your most affectionate brother, 

S. D. 

In a letter to Mr. Erskine — July 7th, 1752 — Mr. Edwards, among 
many other things, says — " I was in the latter part of the last sum- 
mer applied to, with much earnestness and importunity, by some of 
the people of Virginia, to come and settle among them, in the work 
of the ministry ; who subscribed handsomely for my encouragement 
and support, and sent a messenger to me with their request and 
subscriptions ; but I was installed at Stockbridge before the mes- 

senger came. 

Jonathan Edwards. 

At a meeting of the Synod of New York, Sept. 3d, 1755, " a 
petition was brought into the Synod, setting forth the necessity of 


erecting a new Presbytery in Virginia : the Synod therefore appoint 
the Rev. Samuel Davies, John Todd, Alexander Craighead, Robert 
Henry, and John Wright, and John Brown, to be a Presbytery 
tinder the name of the Presbytery of Hanover : and that their first 
meeting shall be in Hanover, on the first Wednesday of December 
next ; and that Mr. Davies open the Presbytery by a sermon ; and 
that any of our members settling to the southward and westward of 
Mr. Hogg's congregation, shall have liberty to join the Presbytery 
of Hanover." 

The records of the first meeting of the Presbytery are short — 
" Hanover, December 3d. The Presbytery of Hanover met ac- 
cording to the above constitution and appointment. Mr. Davies, 
Moderator, and Mr. Todd, Clerk. Ubi post preces sederunt, Messrs. 
Samuel Davies, Robert Henry, John Brown, and John Todd, min- 
isters. Elders, Samuel Morris, Alexander Joice, John Molley. 
Messrs. Craighead and Wright, absent. Mr. Davies being sick, 
requested Mr. Todd to preach for him, . and accordingly the Pres- 
bytery was opened by him, with a sermon from Zachariah the 4th, 
7th, (Who art thou, great mountain ? before Zerubbabel thou shalt 
become a plain ; and he shall bring forth the head-stone thereof 
with shoutings, crying grace, grace unto it). The Synod of New 
York having appointed that a day of fasting and prayer be held in 
all the congregations within their bounds, on account of the present 
critical and alarming state of Great Britain, and the British plan- 
tations in America ; and having left it to the discretion of each 
Presbytery to determine the particular day, this Presbytery, there- 
fore, appoint next New Year's day to be set apart for that purpose ; 
because of the retrospect it may have to the important transactions 
of last year ; the prospect it may bear to the ensuing year which 
may be equally interesting and important ; and that we may have 
the encouragement of joining, in our united requests, to the throne 
of grace, with the Presbytery of New Castle, who have appointed 
the same day. The Presbytery appoint Mr. Brown to give timely 
notice hereof to Mr. Craighead, and Mr. Henry to do the same to 
Mr. Wright. The Synod having recommended to all the congre- 
gations within their bounds, to raise a collection for the college of 
New Jersey, the Presbytery having taken the affair under consi- 
deration judge, that considering the present impoverished state of 
the colony in general, and of our congregation in particular, such a 
proposal would be quite impracticable; and appoint that the mem- 
bers that attend the Synod next year report the same to the Synod. 
A petition directed to Mr. Davies and Mr. Todd, from people living 
near the mountain in Albemarle, near Wood's Gap, was referred by 
them to the Presbytery, representing their destitute circumstances, 
in the want of gospel ordinances, and requesting some supplies from 
us : — the Presbytery therefore appoint the Rev. Samuel Davies to 
preach there on the 2d Sabbath in March next ; and that Mr. 
Brown desire some of the people to appoint the place of meeting, to 
be out of the bounds of Mr. Black's congregation, at some conve- 


nient place. The Presbytery appoint Mr. John Todd to be their 
constant clerk. Adjourned till the Thursday of the second Sab- 
bath of March next, to meet at Providence, and appoint that Mr. 
Henry open the Presbytery by a sermon. 

Concluded with prayer. 

Members of Hanover Presbytery. 

John Todd, the first minister introduced by Mr. Davies to 
share his labors, was a graduate of the college at New Jersey, in 
1749, a member of the second class admitted to a degree. He was 
licensed by the Presbytery of New Brunswick, in 1750. On repre- 
sentation, by Mr. Davies, of the desolations and encouraging pros- 
pects in the southern colonies, made to the Synod of New York in 
the spring of 1750 — " the Synod do recommend to the Presbytery 
of New Brunswick to endeavor to prevail with Mr. John Todd, upon 
his being licensed to take a journey thither." Report was made to 
the Synod in the fall of the year : it appears — u that Mr. Todd is 
licensed, and is preparing speedily to go." On reaching Virginia, 
he preached in the houses licensed for Mr. Davies, and gave great 
satisfaction. The plan \o locate him in Prince Edward or Charlotte 
Counties, was abandoned principally on account of objections made 
by the General Court to licensing more houses in addition to the 
seven already licensed for Mr. Davies, and the dissenting people. 
By a change of plan, Mr. Todd was invited to occupy four of the 
places licensed for Mr. Davies ; and efforts were made to obtain 
other preachers for the vacancies south of James river, and thus 
avoid the charge of itinerancy, an offence in the view of the council. 
In the year 1751, Mr. Todd was ordained by the New Brunswick 
Presbytery ; and obtained from the General Court the license 
demanded by the law. The following is a copy. 

Wednesday, April 22d, 1752. 
Present — the Governor 

Wm. Fairfax, Thomas Nelson, 

John Blair, Philip Grymes, 

Wm. Nelson, Esqrs., Peyton Randolph. 

Wm. Dawson, D. D., Richard Corbin, 

John Lewis, Philip Ludwell, Esqrs. 

John Todd, a dissenting minister, this day in court took the oath 
appointed by the Act of Parliament, to be taken instead of the oath 
of allegiance, and supremacy, and the abrogation oath, and sub- 
scribed the last mentioned oath, and repeated and subscribed the 
test. And thereupon, on his motion, he is allowed to officiate as an 
assistant to Samuel Davies, a dissenting minister, in such places as 
are already licensed by this court for meeting of dissenters. 

The jealousy of the court led to an arrangement which proved 
very agreeable to the seven congregations, as it left them all in 


connection with Mr. Davies ; and equally pleasing to Mr. Davies, 
as it gave him more frequent opportunities for those missionary 
excursions in which he delighted, the influence of which is felt to 
this clay ; and no less acceptable to Mr. Todd, who enjoyed the 
experience and counsel of his friend, with the privilege of missionary 

The sermon preached by Mr. Davies at the installation of Mr. 
Todd, on the 12th of November, 1752, was, at the earnest request 
of the hearers, published, after being enlarged, with an appendix 
annexed. A dedication — " To the Rev. Clergy of the Established 
church of Virginia" — was prefixed, under the date of Jan. 9th, 
1753. The dissenters in England procured a republication of this 
pamphlet while Mr. Davies was on his mission to Great Britain in 
the year 1754, as an expression of their high approbation of the 
production and its author. 

Of the few documents that remain respecting Mr. Todd, the 
following show us his character and course of action. From a letter 
to Mr. Whitefield, June 26, 1755. " The impressions of the day 
you preached last here, at my meeting-house, can, I believe, never 
wear out of my mind ; never did I feel any thing of the kind more 
distressing than to part with you, and that not merely for my own 
sake, but that of the multitudes, that stood longing to hear more of 
the news of salvation from you. I still have the lively image of the 
people of God drowned in tears, multitudes of hardy gentlemen, 
that perhaps never wept for their poor souls before, standing 
aghast, — all with signs of eagerness to attend to what they heard, 
and their significant tears, expressive of the sorrow of their hearts, 
that they had so long neglected their souls. I returned home like 
one that had sustained some amazing; loss: and that I mi«;lit con- 
tribute more than ever to the salvation of perishing multitudes 
amongst us, I resolved I would labor to obtain and exert more of 
that sound fire which the God of all grace had so abundantly 
bestowed upon you for the good of mankind. To the praise of rich 
grace be it spoken, I have had the comfort of many solemn Sab- 
baths since I saw you, when I am persuaded, the power of God has 
attended his word, for sundry weeks together ; and in my auditory 
which was more crowded through your means than it had been 
before, I could scarce see an individual whose countenance did not 
indicate the concern of their souls about eternal things. And 
blessed be God, those appearances are not yet wholly fled from our 

I was by order of Presbytery to attend the installation of Mr. 
Henry, the 4th of the month, at Lunenburg, about a hundred 
miles south-west of this place ; and we administered the sacrament 
of the Lord's supper the Sabbath following. We preached Thurs- 
day, Friday, Saturday, Sabbath, and Monday. There was com- 
fortable evidence of the power of God with us every day ; believers 
were more quickened, and sinners were much alarmed. Many of 
them talked with Mr. Henry and me with great desire to know what 


they should do to be saved, One I remember came to me trembling 
and astonished, the nearest image I ever saw of the trembling jailor 
crying — " What shall I do to get an interest in Christ." In my 
return home, I made an excursion to preach to a number of people 
who had never before heard a "New Light" as they call me. I 
hope the word of God was attended with divine power to many of 
their hearts." 

Mr. Davies, in a letter bearing date Hanover, July 14th, 1756, 
says — " Last Sunday I had a sacrament, assisted by my good 
brother and next neighbor, Mr. Todd. It was a time of unusual 
anxiety to me. I hope it was a refreshing time to some hungry 
souls. I had the pleasure of seeing the table of the Lord adorned 
with about forty-four black faces." 

After the removal of Mr. Davies to Princeton, Mr. Todd was for 
many years the leading man in the Presbytery, east of the Blue 
Ridge. To him the vacancies looked for counsel and assistance in 
obtaining ministers. During the revolution he was a staunch whig. 
In the proceedings of Hanover Presbytery, on the subject of reli- 
gious liberty, he took an active part : his name is appended to some 
important papers. (See vol. 1st of Sketches.) 

Mr. Todd felt and expressed great interest in the early emigration 
to Kentucky. Some of his kindred were among the early adven- 
turers ; and his old friend and co-laborer, David Rice, had cast his 
lot among the inhabitants of that fertile region. He used all his 
influence in conjunction with others to obtain from the Virginia 
Legislature, a charter for a college. His nephew, Col. John Todd, 
a member of the Legislature from Fayette County, and the Honor- 
able Caleb Wallace, from Lincoln, took the lead in this matter. 
As early as 1780, escheated lands were given for this purpose. In 
1783, trustees were incorporated. The escheated lands granted 
amounted to 20,000 acres. The Board of Trustees met in Nov. 
1783, in Lincoln, and chose Rev. David Rice, chairman. The 
Seminary, called the Transylvania Seminary, was opened at the 
house of Mr. Rice, Feb. 1785. This seminary passed from the 
hands of the original trustees. Mr. Todd, to encourage the culti- 
vation of literature and theology in the growing West, was the 
means of sending a small, but valuable library and an apparatus 
across the Alleghany, for the advantage of this seminary — but not 
as a donation to it. 

Mr. Todd superintended a classical school for many years. Mr. 
Davies, while in Virginia, greatly encouraged the effort to educate 
youth with the hope of supplying the church with necessary min- 
isters. One of his assistants was James Waddell, who read divinity 
with Mr. Davies while thus engaged. By correspondence with Dr. 
Gordon, of London, he obtained as we are told by Mr. Davidson, 
in his history of Kentucky, for the use of the young men at his 
school, a library and apparatus to the amount of £80, 2s. 6d., 
including cost of transportation. Mr. Todd's school declined with 
his advancing years. He could find no fit successor. The semi- 


naries at Hampden Sidney, and Lexington, were under the care of 
the Presbytery of Hanover, and received general patronage ; and 
had procured each a small library. With the consent of Dr. Gordon, 
Mr. Todd placed the library in his possession in the hands of his 
friend, David Rice, for the use of students of theology in Kentucky, 
under the care of the Presbytery of Transylvania. These volumes 
and apparatus were by that Presbytery delivered to the trustees of 
the Kentucky Academy, incorporated in 1794. This academy was 
finally merged in the Transylvania University. The principal 
donor to the library for Mr. Todd, which became the nucleus of the 
library of Transylvania University, was the well known benevolent 
merchant of London, John Thorton. The others were Dr. Gordon, 
Rev. Mr. Fowle, Messrs. Fuller, Samuel and Thomas Stratton, 
Charles Jerdein, David Jennings, Jonathan Eade, Joseph Ainsley, 
and John Field, of Thames Street. The name of Todd is deservedly 
honored in Kentucky, both in church and State. 

In the latter part of his life, Mr. Todd was very imfirm, and for 
many years unable to perform fully the ministerial services of his 
own particular charge ; and his great labors in early life made him 
prematurely old. His missionary excursions were all laid aside. 
His attendance on the judicatories of the church became irregular. 
The young brethren south side of James river, uttered suspicions 
that Waddell and Todd had relaxed somewhat of their spiritual 
religion in its visible exercise, if not in its deep principle ; this 
created in the breasts of the brethren north of the river, a coldness 
towards the brethren they esteemed rash. The facts involved in 
this coldness and these suspicions, were talked over in Presbytery, 
repeatedly ; and some letters passed between the parties, not de- 
signed for the public eye. In the course of time it became generally 
understood that Mr. Waddell' s ideas of education, and his relaxing 
in his ministerial efforts, as also the causes of Mr. Todd's course, 
had been much misunderstood. Rev. J. B. Smith, on his return 
from Philadelphia, with a silk velvet vest and gold watch, called on 
Mr. Waddell, and passed the night ; receiving all the attentions of 
that hospitable gentleman. Before parting, Waddell, in his inimi- 
table manner, gently called the attention of Smith, who had been 
grieved at Waddell's worldliness in education, to the possibility that 
"the pride of life" might be found in a gold watch-chain, and 
elegant carriage, and velvet vest. Smith felt the rebuke, both in 
its justness and inimitable manner. The controversy died away. 
There was one report in circulation about Mr. Todd, which he 
thought called for his special attention, that he had so relaxed 
discipline, that he had admitted a gambler to the Lord's table. 
To wipe away this aspersion, in his estimation as base as false, he 
attended the Presbytery in the Cove congregation, Albemarle, July, 
1793. Having fully cleared himself from the stains of such a 
report, he set out for home on Saturday, the 27th. Whether, from 
the clumsiness consequent on his infirmities, or in a fit of apoplexy, 
is unknown; as he was alone, and was fond of riding a spirited 


horse, lie was found in the road lifeless. Rev. William Williamson, 
in his journal, after mentioning that he had dined with Rev. Messrs. 
Todd and Blair, at the house of Rev. Mr. Irvin, says — Saturday, 
Julv 27, "I proceeded onwards to my meeting, at Mountain Plains ; 
on the road was informed of the death of Mr. Todd, — that he was 
found on the road. Went on and saw him, with whom I had dined, 
well the day before, now in eternity. Alarming dispensation. May 
it be impressed on my mind, and speak to my heart louder than ten 
thousand thunders. Went to meeting, spoke from Amos 4th, 12th : 
' Prepare to meet thy God, Israel.' " 

Mr. Todd preached about forty-two years in Virginia. A son 
bearing his name, was licensed by Hanover Presbytery, at the Cove, 
Sept. 13th, 1800, preaching his first sermon where his father preached 
his last. For sometime he occupied the churches left vacant by his 
father. In the year 1809, he removed to Kentucky, leaving none 
of the name in Virginia. But the name of Todd can never be 
omitted in any history of the Presbyterian church in Virginia, or in 
the United States of America. It would be very agreeable to the 
church in coming time, to peruse a sermon from his pen or an 
essa y — but she must content herself with a record of his works. 

Alexander Craighead. Of this energetic man, a 
Memoir has been given in the Sketches of North Carolina. 

Robert Henry, the minister fourth named in the 
Presbytery, was a native of Scotland, a graduate of New Jersey 
College, in the year 1751, and a licentiate of the Presbytery of 
New York. " Upon representation of the destitute circumstances 
of Virginia, the Synod appoint — Sept. 29th, 1752, — Mr. Greenman, 
and Mr. Robert Henry, to go there sometime betwixt this and next 
Synod." He visited the vacancies of Virginia south of the James, 
and being acceptable to the congregation, and himself pleased with 
the prospects of usefulness and comfort, he was ordained by the 
Presbytery of New York, in 1753, to become the regular pastor. 
His installation did not take place till after Mr. Davies' return from 
Great Britain. In 1755, on the # 4th of June, the installation 
services were performed by Mr. Todd, and Mr. Henry was consti- 
tuted pastor of Cub creek in Charlotte, and Briery in Prince 
Edward, both then forming part of Lunenburg County. Mr. Todd 
considered the event and the circumstances of sufficient interest 
to be communicated to Mr. Whitefield. Mr. Davies, under date 
of July 14th, 1756, writes — " About a month ago, I took a journey 
to Mr. Henry's congregation in Lunenburg, about 120 miles hence, 
to assist him in administering the sacrament, and in thirteen days 
I preached 11 or 12 sermons, with encouraging appearance of 
success. I think Mr. Henry and Mr. Wright's labors continued to 
be blessed in those parts. At the sacrament in that wilderness, 
there were about 2000 hearers, and about 200 communicants, and a 
general seriousness and attention appeared among them ; a consi- 


derable number of thoughtless creatures are solicitiously enquiring 
after religion." 

The congregation of Briery had its origin in one of Mr. Davies' 

visits to the scattered Presbyterian families on the frontiers. In 

his missionary excursions he had as many appointments in advance 

as was convenient to make, and made others as he went along. 

Sending forward he would engage a place for lodging, and gather 

the family, and servants, and if possible, some of the neighbors for 

evening worship and exposition of Scripture. Passing through 

Charlotte, one of the company, James Morton, rode forward to the 

house of Littlejoe Morton, on the little Roanoke, the place since 

known as little Roanoke bridge, and enquired for lodging for Mr. 

Davies, the preacher. Mrs. Morton sent for her husband from the 

fields. They consulted upon the matter. They had heard of the 

New Lights and of Mr. Davies, but had never heard them, and 

were not favorably impressed by the report. Their hospitality 

that knew not how to turn from their door those that asked for 

accommodation, finally prevailed ; and Mr. Davies was made 

welcome. That night he expounded Scripture with much feeling 

and earnestness. In the morning he passed on ; but Mr. and Mrs. 

Morton were both awakened to a sense of their lost condition. 

Finding peace in believing, they both became devoted friends of 

Mr. Davies, and ardent Christians. That section of the country 

had been settled under the pastorage of the Randolph family, by a 

most worthy population. Mr. Morton was an enterprising man, 

proverbially honest and kind, and in the confidence and employ of 

the Randolphs, whose interest he greatly promoted, by making 

judicious selections of land in their behalf. Upon becoming a 

believer, he began to talk and pray with his neighbors and friends, 

and like Morris, of Hanover, to have worship on the Sabbath. 

His efforts were followed with great success. Mr. Davies visited 

the neighborhood ; and numbers became hopefully Christians, and 

were formed into a congregation on the little Roanoke and Briery. 

The traditions of Littlejoe Morton and others of that name, of the 

Womacs and Spencers and others, had they been committed to 

writing, would be perused with an interest as intense as the letters 

of Morris and Davies, about the'doings in Hanover, and more abiding 

as the congregation gathered has flourished to this day, and a great 

number of the descendants of these first Christians have been 

eminently pious. Their prayer-meetings, their long rides to church, 

their communion seasons, and their deep religious exercises, had 

something of romantic interest in them, as they displayed the 

mighty power of God's grace. Hanover lives mostly in history ; 

Briery is a living epistle known and read of all men. 

Cub Creek congregation was made up of a colony of Scotch- 
Irish, led to the frontiers of Virginia, by John Caldwell, about the 
year 1738. At his request the Synod of Philadelphia appointed a 
deputation to wait upon the Governor of Virginia, to solicit the 
favor of the Governor and Council for the proposed colony. Rev. 


James Anderson waited on the Governor, Mr. Gooch, a Scotch- 
man, educated a Presbyterian, and obtained from him a promise of 
protection and free enjoyment of their religion upon the condition 
of good citizenship, and compliance with the act of Toleration. It 
was less difficult to obtain toleration for a colony than for families 
that chose to leave the established church. Mr. Anderson visited 
the incipient congregations in the Shenandoah valley, and put them 
in the way of toleration by the Governor and Council. Part of the 
immediate descendants of the colony on Cub Creek went to Ken- 
tucky, some to South Carolina, and the progeny of the remainder 
is found in the bounds of the first Cub Creek, which has been the 
fruitful parent of numerous churches colonized on her borders. 

Somewhat eccentric in manners, Mr. Henry was ardently pious 
and devoted to his work as a gospel minister. His strong natural 
passions were controlled by divine grace, and made the instruments 
of good. "He required" — said the venerable Pattfllo, in conver- 
sation with a young minister — " grace enough for two common men, 
to keep him in order; and he had it." He had much success in 
his ministry. Mr. M'Aden, the early missionary to North Carolina, 
after describing the terror of the inhabitants west of the Blue 
Eiclge, upon the receipt of the news of Braddock's defeat, says, on 
visiting Mr. Henry on his way to Carolina, — " I was much refreshed 
by a relation of Mr. Henry's success among his people, who told 
me of several brought in by his ministry, and frequent appearance 
of new awakenings amongst them ; scarcely a Sabbath passing 
without some life, and appearance of the power of God." Having 
a great fund of cheerfulness and a fine flow of spirits, Mr. Henry's 
besetting sin was in exciting levity in others by his humor and 
eccentricity. His ardent piety, however, was known to all ; and 
very often the involuntary smile which he unintentionally excited, 
was followed by a tear from a wounded heart. In his preaching he 
was very animated, sometimes approaching vociferation. This 
vehement manner, and vein of humor often breaking out in his 
sermons, rendered him peculiarly acceptable to the African race, 
among whom he gathered many converts ; and from his time Cub 
Creek has been able to number many of that race among her pro- 

The Presbytery in session at Cub Creek, Thursday, Oct. 16th, 
1766, adopted the following minute — " Mr. Henry and his session 
have agreed before the Presbytery, that if the said session cannot 
settle their congregational affairs respecting Mr. Henry's salary to 
his satisfaction, in a month from this time, they are willing to 
acquit him of the pastoral relation, and to allow him to remove 
where he pleases, — in which Presbytery concur." The month 
passed without a settlement. Mr. Henry made a journey to North 
Carolina, and received an invitation to remove to the Catawba. 
The records of Presbytery, April 1st, 1767, say — "a call was 
presented to Mr. Henry irom the united congregations of Steel 
Creek and New Providence ; which he accepts upon condition that 


said congregation, and his former congregation continue in the same 
state in which he left them ; in which the Presbytery concur ; Mr. 
Henry having previously obtained a regular dismission from his 
former congregation on Cub Creek, in Virginia." In the Provi- 
dence of God he was permitted to remain where his heart evidently 
longed for its home. On the eighth of the succeeding May, he 
passed to his everlasting rest ; and his bones were laid among the 
people of his ministry. 

The place where the first stand was erected on Cub Creek, for 
preaching, can be pointed out ; and also the dwellings in Briery 
that were opened for the preaching the gospel in the time of the 
gathering the churehes. Since the clays of Mr. Henry the two 
congregations have been sometimes united in the services of a 
minister, and sometimes separated ; and in these two conditions have 
enjoyed the labors of Rev. Messrs. Lacy, Alexander, Lyle, Rice, 
Mahon, Reed, Douglass, Plumer, Osborne, Stewart, Hart, Brown, 
Scott, and Stuart. 

Mr. Henry was not in the habit of reading his sermons, or even 
of writing. Short notes of preparations were all he used, and not 
always those. It is said of him that on a certain occasion he 
thought he ought to prepare himself with greater care than usual, 
and having written a sermon, he commenced reading from a small 
manuscript in his Bible. Of course he appeared to go on tamely. 
A gust of wind suddenly swept the paper from the Bible. He 
watched its progress as it sailed along to an old elder's seat. The 
old gentleman had been listening seriously, and as the paper fell at 
his side he deliberately put his foot upon it. Mr. Henry waited for 
him to bring it back to him. The old gentleman looked up as if 
nothing had happened ; and Mr. Henry finished his sermon in the 
best way he could. It was the end of his written preparations to 
preach. There is nothing left as a production of his pen. Mr. 
Davies gives a testimony of the usefulness of Mr. Henry under 
date of June 3d, 1757 — "But my honest friend Mr. Henry has had 
remarkable success last winter among the young people of his 
congregation. No less than seventeen of them were struck to the 
heart by one occasional evening lecture." 

The first instance in which the attention of the Presbytery of 
Hanover was called to the subject of Psalmody, as embracing the 
question of propriety or impropriety of singing the version of Dr. 
Watts, occurred at Cub Creek, Oct. 6th, 1763. "In answer to 
the petition from Mr. Henry's congregation respecting Psalmody," 
Mr. Todd read the action of Synod — recommending consideration 
of the subject — and permission to those that desire to use the 
version of Watts till further action be had on the subject. 

John Wright, the fifth named in the order of Synod, was 
from Scotland. All that is known of his early life, is from a letter 
of the Rev. Jonathan Edwards to the Rev. John Erskine, of Scot- 
land, July 7th, 1752 — "Mr. John Wright, a member of New 


Jersey College, who is to take his degree of Bachelor of Arts the 
next September, is now at my house. He was born in Scotland ; 
has lived in Virginia, and is a friend and acquaintance of Mr. 
Davies ; has a great interest in the esteem of the religions people 
of Virginia, and is peculiarly esteemed by President Burr ; has 
been admitted to special intimacy with him ; and is a person of a 
very good character for his understanding, prudence, and piety. 
He has a desire to have a correspondence with some divine of his 
native country, and has chosen you for his correspondent, if he may 
be admitted to such a favor. He intends to send you a letter with 
this, of which I would ask a favorable reception, as he has laid me 
under some special obligations." 

Mr. Wright took his degree in 1752, was licensed by New Castle 
Presbytery, and ordained by the same in 1753. On the last Sab- 
bath of July, in the year 1755, he was installed pastor of the 
church in Cumberland, Virginia. The church-building stands about 
three miles east from Farmville ; the conorco-ation extended west- 
wardly and southwardly to Briery, embracing what is now the 
college church, and in other directions unlimited, or bounded only 
by the distance people could ride to the ordinances of the gospel. 
Wyllis, mountain, and river, belonged to this congregation, and for 
a time the neighborhood was a promising field of labor. The 
population was made up of English, Scotch-Irish, and Huguenots. 
The church as first gathered was the fruit of the labors of Mr. 
Robinson and Mr. Davies ; principally of the latter. When Mr. 
Davies obtained license for three houses in addition to the four 
originally licensed, he asked for a house in Cumberland. The 
request was not noticed. It is probable its distance from Davies' 
residence was considered a sufficient reason ; the General Court 
having recalled the license granted by the Court of New Kent 
County. Capt. John Morton, who accompanied Mr. Davies on his 
first visit to the house of Littlejoe Morton, was — says Dr. Alex- 
ander — " one of the persons who first associated together as a 
Presbyterian church in Cumberland County, Virginia, of which he 
soon became elder ; in which office he continued till the day of his 
death. He was a man of warm, generous heart, ardent in his 
piety, and public-spirited in a high degree ; so that his heart and 
his hands were ever ready to engage in any good work." 

Mr. Wright, in a letter bearing date August 18th, 1755, soon 
after Braddock's defeat, and amidst the long drought, says — u the 
situation of our colony is most doleful, as the Gazette will inform 
you ; we have not only the sword without, but famine within ; and 
also, our people, till the defeat of our army, quite unaiarmed and 
secure ! But now there seems to be a general concern among all 
ranks. People generally begin to believe the divine government, 
and that our judgments are inflicted for our sins ! they now hear 
sermons with solemnity and attention ; they acknowledge their wick- 
edness and ignorance, and believe that tiie Neiv Liyiit clergy and 
adherents are right. Thus you see, dear sir, that amidst all our 


troubles, God is gracious and brings real good out of our real evils, 
adored be bis great name. I had the sacrament of tbe Lord's 
supper administered, the last Sunday of July, in my infant congre- 
gation, which proved a solemn season. There was a vast concourse 
of people, above 2000, I dare say. I was installed at the same 
time, by Messrs. Davies, and Henry, of Lunenburg. I have had 
about 180 communicants, above 80 of them never partook before I 
came here. There were general awakenings for sundry Sabbaths 
before the sacrament, and new instances of deep and rational 
conviction, which I found by examining the communicants. I have 
seen last Lord's day above a hundred weeping and trembling under 
the word." 

" I now preach anywhere, being so distant from the metropolis, 
and the times being so dangerous and shocking ; and I would fain 
hope not without success." 

Here is stated the great cause of the liberty the dissenters 
enjoyed after Davies' return from England. It is found in the 
French and Indian war, and the necessity to use the aid of the 
dissenters, as they were called, then altogether Presbyterians, in 
defending the country. A license was refused to the people of 
Cumberland, asking for it in a respectful way and according to law ; 
in time of peace they should have no house for worship under pro- 
tection of law ; war comes, and in its troubles and confusion, Mr. 
Wright preaches in as many places in Cumberland as the people 
choose, and he is able to occupy. God shakes the earth that his 
beloved may have peace. We also learn the date of the first 
communion in Cumberland under the ministry of Mr. Wright, tho 
last Sabbath of July, 1755. From the circumstances of the case, 
it is probable this was the first held by any Presbyterian, in the 
bounds of Cumberland congregation. Previously to this time, the 
people rode to Briery and Cub Creek, to ordinances administered 
by Mr. Henry, on one side, and to Hanover, and Louisa, and 
Goochland, on the other, to enjoy the same privileges under Messrs. 
Davies and Todd. The number of professors increased, till, at the 
time of installation, about 180 were numbered. People were used 
to ride far on communion occasions ; and in the state of the church 
at that time, to have but 180 communicants assemble at a central 
place, when Davies, and Henry, and Wright were to officiate after 
harvest, is scarcely credible, it is therefore most probable that the 
180 were all living in the bounds of Mr. Wright's charge, or at 
least out of the bounds of the other pastoral charges. 

Mr. Davies writes under date of March 2d, 1756 — about some 
books sent from England to be distributed at his discretion, — u I 
sent a few of each sort to my friend and brother Mr. Wright, 
minister in Cumberland, about ninety miles hence, where there is a 
great number of negroes, and not a few of them thoughtful and 
inquisitive about Christianity, and sundry of them hopeful converts. 
He has been faithful in the distribution, and informs me they meet 
with a very agreeable and promising reception. He is very labo- 


rious in "his endeavors to instruct negroes, and has set up two or 
three schools among them, where they attend before' and after 
sermon, for they have no other leisure time." 

Mr. Wright, under date of January 20th, 1757, says — "Blessed 
be God, we have had more of the power of God last spring, 
summer, and autumn, than ever. This I told Mr. Adams. But 
since I wrote him there have been some remarkable revivings 
in Messrs. Davies and Henry's congregations, and mine. The 
former had it chiefly among the negroes ; and the other among the 
youth ; and in my congregation I may say it was general and 
eminently among the young people." Speaking of his communion 
seasons and members joining the church — he says — "last August 
about eighty or ninety ; and last July between thirty and forty new 
ones. At my first I had not quite six young people ; but at my 
last between fifty and sixty. There seems to be something of a stir 
among the negroes in my congregation, and among little children. 
I believe I have five or six of the former who have even now a title 
to heaven. They received lately a present of addresses done by Mr. 
Fawcett, of Kidderminster, Testaments, Bibles, &c, which animates 
them much to learn to read. A good number of ministers in this 
country entered into a concert of prayer on Saturday evening and 
Sabbath morning, not only for the church in general, but for one 
another in particular." Nov. 14th, 1757, he says — "I have been 
sickly all this spring and summer. I was obliged to quit preaching 
altogether, but could not keep silence ; at last I fled from my flock, 
to be out of temptation of preaching, but could not keep away long ; 
and upon my return must preach or sink into melancholy. I got 
some ease about the middle of May, and preached at Willis's Creek 
on Acts 17th, 30th. ' But now he commandeth all men every where 
to repent.'" On the 2d Sabbath in the succeeding June, Messrs. 
Henry and Martin assisted Mr. Wright at a communion in Cumber- 
land ; thirty-six new communicants were admitted to the ordinance. 

It is melancholy to record the fact that a man of the high 
expectations and esteem, and apparent usefulness of Mr. Wright, 
should fall under the censure of the Presbytery. In the weakness 
of body, and the melancholy of which he complains in one of his 
letters, he sought relief in stimulants, in the once common, but 
vain belief, that permanent relief might be had by their exciting 
influence. The things in which he sought renewed health, wrought 
his disgrace, and his departure from Virginia. In 1762, the Pres- 
bytery sustained some charges against him of immoderate use of 
spirituous liquors ; and some improprieties connected with that 
indulgence. His morning of expectation went down in clouds, 
never to be brighter till Christ the Lord shall come. Then we hope 
it may appear that wandering he was not finally lost. 

The Rev. John Brown, the sixth named in the order of the 
Synod, was pastor of Timber Bidge and Providence. A sketch 
of him is found under the head of Timber Bidge. 


The Rev. John Martin, the seventh on the list of members, 
was the first licensed and the first ordained by the Presbytery of 
Hanover. March 18th, 1756, at Providence, in Louisa, Mr. Todd's 
charge, — " Mr. John Martin offered himself upon trials for the 
gospel ministry, and delivered a discourse upon Ephesians 2d, 1st, 
which was sustained as a part of trial ; and he was also examined 
as to his religious experience, and the reasons of his desiring the 
ministry ; which was also sustained. He was likewise examined in 
the Latin and Greek languages, and briefly in Logic, Ontology, 
Ethics, Natural Philosophy, Rhetoric, Geography, and Astronomy ; 
in all which his answers in general were very satisfactory. And 
the Presbytery appoint him to prepare a sermon on 1 Cor. 1st, 
22d, 23d, and an exegesis on this question — Num revelatio super- 
naturalis sit necessaria ? — to be delivered at our next committee. 
And the Presbytery appoint Messrs. Todd, Wright, and Davies, a 
committee for that purpose ; to meet in the lower meeting-house in 
Hanover the last Wednesday in April." 

At the time appointed, the parts of trial received the approbation 
of the committee; and examination was held — "upon the Hebrew, 
and in sundry extempore questions upon the doctrines of religion, 
and some cases of conscience, his answers to which were generally 
sustained." He was requested by the committee to prepare a 
sermon on Galat. 2d, 20th. "The life which I now live in the 
flesh" — and an exposition on Isaiah 61st, 1, 2, 8, — The spirit of the 
Lord is upon me. At Goochland Court House, July 7th, 1756, the 
sermon and the exposition were delivered before some members in a 
private capacity, as the Presbytery failed to meet — "which the 
ministers and elders present do highly approve of and think worthy 
to be received as part of the trials," and they desire him to com- 
pose a sermon against the next Presbytery on 1 John 5th, 10th, 
first part — He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in 
himself. In the succeeding August, the 25th day — " The Pres- 
bytery met by appointment of the Moderator — and farther examined 
Mr. Martin, in sundry extempore questions upon various branches 
of learning and divinity, and reheard his religious experience ; and 
upon a review of the sundry trials he has passed through, they 
judge him qualified to preacn the gospel ; and he having declared 
nis assent to, and approbation of the Westminster Confession of 
i'aith, Catechism and Directory, as they have been adopted by the 
Synod of New York, the Presbytery do license and authorize him 
to preach as a candidate for the ministry of the gospel, and recom- 
mend him to the acceptance of the churcnes. And they order Mr. 
Davies and Todd to draw up for him a certificate according to the 
purport of this Minute ; and appoint the Moderator to give him 
some solemn instructions and admonitions with regard to the dis- 
charge of his oihce, which was done accordingly." Mr. Davies was 
the Moderator. 

The preaching of Mr. Martin was very acceptable to the vacan- 
cies. ± irst came invitations for a few Sabbaths ; then calls from 


Albemarle — Prince Edward and Lunenburg; petitions from Peters- 
burg and Amelia. In all these places he preached to acceptance. 
Pressing calls for ministerial services came from North Carolina. 
April 27th, 1757 — " Presbytery is appointed to meet in Hanover on 
the 2d Wednesday of June, which Mr. Martin is to open with a 
sermon from Romans 4th. 5th, preparatory to his ordination, which 
is to be the day following, at which Mr. Davies is to preside." At 
the appointed time, Mr. Martin preached, and on the next day was 
reorilarly ordained. The reasons for his ordination are not stated : 
they may be inferred. After his ordination he visited North 
Carolina, and had appointments at Rocky river, Hawfields, and 
Hico." He never met the Presbytery again. In October of the 
same year at a meeting of the committee at Mr. William Smith's, in 
Cumberland — "Mr. Martin, having entered into the Indian Mis- 
sion, has, by the hands of Mr. Davies, given up both the calls, 
which he had under consideration." January 25th, 1758, at Capt. 
Anderson's, Cumberland — " Applications having been made to the 
committee appointed by the Presbytery, to manage such incidental 
occurrences as might happen in the interspace between the meetings 
of the Presbytery, by the society for managing the Indian Mission 
and schools, that Mr. Martin should be sent among the Indians ; 
the committee complied : — on which account he is excused from 
complying with his other appointments." His name appears on the 
Minutes of Presbytery for the last time, April 25th, 1759. No 
reason is given for its omission. The Records of the Indian Mis- 
sion in England, if in existence, would give some interesting facts 
concerning the mission and this man. 

Some Acts of Presbytery, 

In the short period of two years and four months, from the time 
of its formation to its remodelling in 1758, the Presbytery of 
Hanover held nine meetings, — met four times by committee ap- 
pointed for Presbyterial business, — and appointed one committee 
of peculiar powers, viz — Aug. 25, 1756 — "As the members are 
scattered so that they cannot often meet in stated Presbytery, nor 
be called pro re nata, the Presbytery appoint Messrs. Todd, Wright, 
Brown, and Davies, or any two of them a committee for this year, 
to transact such affairs as may not admit of a delay till the meeting 
of the Presbytery, and they shall bring in an account of their pro- 
ceeding to Presbytery." The first act of Presbytery was to appoint 
a fast, in accordance with the Act of Synod ; — and their last act 
was to appoint the last Wednesday of June, to be observed by all 
the members in their congregations as a day of public fasting and 
prayer, on account of the situation of our public affairs ; and the 
want of divine influence on the means of grace. An address was 
presented to the Right Honorable John, Earl of Loudon, Supreme 
Governor of the Colony — in which — alter professing loyalty — they 
hope — "your Excellency will grant us all liberties and immunities of 


a full toleration, according to the laws of England, and particularly 
according to the Act of Parliament, commonly called the Act of 

An address with a like expression of hope and desire, was 
addressed to Governor Fauquier. Earl Loudon made no reply ; 
Fauquier assured the Presbytery of the protection of the Act of 



The Rev. Samuel Houston, in answer to some inquiries made by 
the Rev. James Morrison, the third pastor of New Providence, 
gave in writing the origin of the congregation. He begins with the 
grants to Beverly and Burden. " The dividing line between their 
grants crossed the valley near where New Providence church now 

" Those families that came first were nearly connected, or large 
families. For comfort and for safety they generally settled near 
each other, and with the understanding that as soon as practicable 
they might have schools for their children ; and form religious 
societies, and have places of public worship. Those first settlers in 
the valley were mostly Presbyterians ; but those in New Providence, 
I believe wholly so, at least in name. Near the South Mountain, there 
were several families of the name of Moore, — others of Steel, — near 
them M' Clung, — and Fulton, — Beard; and then a little further on, 
my grand-father, John Houston, and his brother-in-law, John Mont- 
gomery, and some by the name of Eaken. Near the middle (of 
the valley), on Kennedy's Creek and its branches were, the Ken- 
nedys, Wardlaws, Logans ; and another line of Steels, Edmundsons, 
Buchanans, Pattons, Millars, Stephensons. Towards the North 
Mountain, on Hays' and Walker's Creek, were two families of 
Hays, three or four Walkers of the same stock, and their brother- 
in-law, James Moore ; two families of Robinsons, one of Kelly, 
Hudson, Thompson, Smiley, and two of Rheas. In the midst were 
three of the Berry family, one of Tedford, one M' Campbell, two or 
three M'Croskys, and a Coalter family. In the course of a few 
years, other families came and settled amongst them; their names 
were, M'Nutt, Weir, Campbell, Wilson, Anderson, Culton, Henry, 
Lowry, and another stock of Edmundsons, and one family named 
Tocld, my grand-father on my mother's side ; two of the name of 
Stuart, one of Alexander, Cowder, Gray, Jamieson, and two Pat- 
tons. Of all these families, by intermarriages other families were 
soon formed; also others coming in. 


u The above settlers commenced, at least man} of them, in the 
woods, and in much fear from the savages and wild beasts. Hence 
at my grand-father's house, some distance from the South Mountain, 
but nearer it than the western side of the settlement, and a house 
most convenient for the whole settlement to collect their families 
together in case of an invasion, the settlers erected a stockade fort, 
the remainders of which, I saw around the yard when I was a boy. 
Near to the fort, at a place called then, and now, Old Providence, 
they erected a log meeting-house, and had worship occasionally by 
supplies from Pennsylvania. In those early days, the population 
of Timber Ridge united with Providence to get supplies, intending 
as soon as they could to have a settled pastor between them. The 
lower settlement on Hays' Creek and Walker's Creek, felt them- 
selves too distant from Old Providence, and urged a more central 
place between the mountains, and proposed the place, now near 
Witherow's Mansion. My grand-father prevailed upon his neigh- 
bors to meet them at the new site ; accordingly a log meeting-house 
was erected on the southern side of the creek. The united congre- 
gations of Timber Ridge and New Providence, called Mr. John Brown, 
and he was installed their pastor. The first elders were, — a Mr. 
Millar, Andrew Haj^s, John Logan, Samuel Buchannan, Alexander 
Walker, my grand-father John Houston, and Andrew Steel." 
After the congregation had agreed upon a site for a new church, 
having had much difficulty in becoming united in the choice, it was 
proposed to adopt a name — My aged ancestor said, 'neighbors we 
have hitherto had unpleasant and fruitless meetings, to-day we have 
bad an agreeable and successful one, and we are indebted to a kind 
providence: let us call it New Providence,' to which all agreed. 
Then, or soon afterwards they united in efforts ; some contributing, 
others laboring until they finished the stone walls, roof, doors, win- 
dows, and floor, and set in benches and a temporary pulpit, and 
then rested for some years until I was a boy capable of observation. 
For well do I remember sitting in my father's seat to see the swal- 
lows flying in and out during public worship, to feed their young 
ones, in nests upon the collar beams and wail-plates, or cavities in 
the stone work." When the people after some years finished the 
work by making a pulpit with a canopy, a gallery, and by glazing the 
windows, he says — " the elders were — Andrew Hays, John Logan, 
Alexander Walker, John Houston, my father, Saunders Walker, 
and soon after James Henry, Charles Campbell, and James 
M' Campbell. 

" About the year 1763 an unhappy difference took place between 
the pastor, Mr. Brown, and some leading men in Timber Ridge con- 
gregation, on account of which Mr. Brown talked of removing. This 
deeply affected many of the New Providence congregation. But at 
last tney agreed to retain his labors entirely, and on his accepting 
,£80 salary from them alone, his connexion and theirs with Timber 
Ridge was dissolved. Mr. Brown's labors were continued harmo- 
niously in New Providence, until his powers of body failed, especially 


his voice. Therefore mutually he and the congregation agreed for 
him to he relieved by the congregation becoming vacant, and another 
called, all which was in due order effected ; and in a short time his 
successor, Mr. Samuel Brown, was called and installed their pastor, 
which brings me down to the year 1796. 

" A few remarks and I have done. After Mr. J. B. left Timber 
Ridge many of said congregation retained much affection for him, 
and through much inconvenience attended almost steadily N. P. 
meetings and communions as formerly. Another remark is, that 
before the struggle for independence took place, N. P. kept the Sab- 
bath with great strictness, and family worship was almost univer- 
sal. Another remark is, that shortly before the war, some men, 
whose sons were growing up, felt a desire for having them, or part 
of them, educated liberally, chiefly with a view to the ministry of 
the gospel. Accordingly a small grammar school was formed, in the 
neighborhood of Old Providence, composed of Samuel Doak, John 
Montgomery, Archibald Alexander, James Houston, William Tate, 
Samuel Greenlee, William Wilson, and others, which greatly in- 
creased and drew youths from distant neighborhoods. This gram- 
mar school was moved to the place near Fairfield, called Mount 
Pleasant ; it was, in 1776. established at Timber Ridge meeting- 
house, and named Liberty Hall. 

" Sincerely yours, 

"S. Houston." 

Tradition says the first work after building log-cabins for them- 
selves, was to erect a capacious meeting-house. For permanency 
and dignity they determined it should be of stone. Limestone for 
mortar could be found in any abundance, but sand was brought on 
pack-horses six or seven miles from the stream called South Fork. 
Nails and glass were brought in the same way from Philadelphia. 
A sycamore, for a long time the only one in the neighborhood, 
sprung from the bank of refuse sand brought from a stream where 
the tree abounds. The succeeding generations knew the old syca- 
more, enjoying its shade on Sabbath noon. So intent were many 
of the people of New Providence that their house of worship should 
be properly finished, that they forbore not only luxuries, but what 
are now esteemed the necessaries of housewifery. One old lady 
apologized to some company that came to eat with her, for not ac- 
commodating more at a time at the table, and requiring them to eat 
by turns, that all might have the benefit of her few knives and forks, 
by saying, " We intended to have got a set of knives this year, but 
the meeting-house was to be finished, and we could not give our 
share and get the knives, so we put them off for another year." 
The only pair of wheels in the congregation for many years was 
made to draw timbers for the church. In their private concerns the 
drag and sled sufficed. 

Of those persons named by Mr. Houston, students of the first 
grammar school — Doak, Montgomery, Houston, and Wilson be- 


came ministers of the gospel. Dr. Doak, well known in Tennessee 
as the laborious patron of literature, and minister of the gospel ; 
Houston preached in Kentucky, and in the time of the great excite- 
ment, left the Presbyterian Church ; Montgomery preached in Vir- 
ginia, and died on Cowpasture ; Wilson lies buried near Augusta 
Church, of which he was long a pastor. Houston and Wilson used 
to tell of Doak, that as his parents lived in the bounds of Bethel, 
too far from the school to live at home, he erected a cabin near the 
school house for his convenience ; and that the boys in their fun 
would frequently, while Doak was engaged with his teacher, break 
into his cabin, and derange his apparatus for cooking, and make sad 
work with his housekeeping ; all which he bore with great good 
humor, and went on cheerfully with his studies, in preparation for 
that life of trial and usefulness as a pioneer of the gospel and sound 
education in Tennessee. The name of the first teacher has been pre- 
served, but not those of his successors, till William Graham, and 
John Montgomery ; these are preserved in the records of Presbytery. 
It does not appear that Mr. J. Brown ever himself engaged in teach- 
ing the school which for years was in operation about a mile from 
his dwelling, in which his elder children received their education, 
preparatory for those posts of honor conferred upon them by the 

The people of New Providence were visited by the missionaries 
sent out by the Presbyteries of the Synod of New York. And May 
18th, 1748, the Records of Synod say, "A call was brought into 
Synod from Falling Spring and New Providence, to be presented to 
Mr. Byram, the acceptance of which he declined." The congrega- 
tion being pleased with the labors of Mr. John Brown, a licentiate 
of New Castle Presbytery, who remained in the Valley for some 
time as a missionary, united, in 1753, with the people of Timber 
Ridge in making the call for his services. After Mr. Brown with- 
drew from Timber Bidge, he continued, many years, to preach to 
New Providence alone. His sketch is given under the head of Tim- 
ber Bidge. That the cono-reg-ation f New Providence did not over- 
value his usefulness, is seen in their prosperity. It went united 
into the hands of his successors, with a ciieering prospect of use- 
fulness, the standard of piety, an able eldership, a large number 
of professors of religion, having sent into the ministry some of her 
sons, and been the nursery of the Academy and the germ of the 

The second pastor was Mr. Samuel Brown, settled in 1796. We 
know nothing of the life of John Brown till he left college ; we 
know but comparatively little of his successor before he entered 
on his ministry. And that little we know is from the memoranda of a 
son, now a minister of the gospel. Samuel Brown, of English ori- 
gin, was born in the year 17 U6, of a family of moderate circum- 
stances, in Bedford County, Virginia, in the bounds of the congre- 
gation of Peaks and Pisgah, the fruitful mother of many ministers 
of the gospel prominent in the Virginia Church. 


Crab Bottom, October 25th, 1853. 

Dear Brother — In 1836 I was at the house of Jesse Wit, the 
brother-in-law of my venerated father, and took down, as directed 
by him, the following reminiscences. Mr. Wit was intimately ac- 
quainted with him from childhood, went to school with him, and sub- 
sequently my father boarded at his house, and went to school in 
his neighborhood. Mr. Wit lived and died near Liberty, Bedford 
County, Virginia. 

Mr. Wit says : — The first advantages he (my father) enjoyed in 
the way of mental culture were at schools where the first branches 
only of an English education were taught. He indulged in such 
sports as were common at schools, but was entirely free from pro- 
fanity, and of exemplary morals. He was the fondest boy of his 
books, and the best scholar of his age I ever knew. He often 
expressed a desire to obtain a liberal education, but the circum- 
stances of his father were not such as to enable him to give his chil- 
dren a better education than would barely fit them to transact their 
own business in the more ordinary walks of life. About the year 
1785 there was a school taught near the Peaks of Otter, by a Mr. 
Bromhead, in which the higher branches of an English education, 
such as English grammar, geography, surveying, &c, might be 
obtained. This was not the case in schools generally at that clay. 
To this school he earnestly requested his father to send him ; but 
his father did not think his circumstances would justify the expense 
of boarding his son from home, and declined granting the request. 
The son being very urgent, the father thought to end the matter by 
telling him that to enable him to do so, it would be necessary to sell 
his yoke of oxen. But such was the desire of the son to learn, that, 
to this measure he strongly urged his father. By some means, now 
unknown, he got to the school. Being possessed of more than the 
ordinary talents and fondness for the science of mathematics, and 
having obtained a magnetic needle, he fitted it to a compass of his 
own construction, and with this, for want of a better, he practised 
surveying, for his own improvement. 

After leaving the school of Mr. Bromhead, he went to Kentucky, 
and taught school himself, but at the end of twelve months he re- 
turned to the house of his father in Bedford County. This was in 
1788. Shortly after his return he commenced going to school to 
the Rev. James Mitchel, who resided in the neighborhood of his 
father. About this time the congregations of Peaks and Pisgah 
were blessed with an extensive revival of religion, principally under 
the instrumentality of the Bev. Drury Lacy. Mr. Brown became 
one of the subjects of renewing grace. At that time he was very 
fond of playing on the violin, and was considered a good player. 
The amusement of dancing also possessed in his estimation peculiar 
claims. He abandoned both, and returned to them no more. Indeed, 
such were his subsequent views of the great tendency of dancing to 
banish serious reflections, and promote licentiousness, that even the 
sound of the violin was ever afterwards unpleasant. Of the pecu- 


liar exercises of his mind under his awakening, I know but little. I 
remember to have heard, however, that like many others, he was for 
a time greatly perplexed about the distinctive doctrines of Calvin- 
ism ; and being unable to get the difficulties solved that were sug- 
gested to his mind, he undertook to read the Scriptures regularly 
through in reference to that single point, noting down as he pro- 
ceeded what he found to favor the Arminian or Calvinistic view. 
Havino- found so many passages which would admit of no other than 
a Calvinistic interpretation, and not one on the side of Arminian- 
ism but might be interpreted otherwise, he bowed to the doctrines 
of divine grace, and gave his heart to God before he had gone half 
throuo-h the Bible. Not long after he made his first public address. 
Being at a prayer meeting in Liberty, where there was considerable 
religious excitement, he arose, and with great earnestness repeated 
Heb. 12 : 14 : " Holiness — without which no man shall see the 
Lord;" and sat down. 

In 1790, he boarded in my family, in Liberty, and commenced 
the study of the Latin language, under a Mr. Andrew Lyle, from 
Rockbrklge County. Mr. L. subsequently removed to Kentucky, 
and entered the ministry. He was succeeded by a Mr. Houston, 
from the same county, who subsequently became. a minister of the 
gospel, and removed to Ohio, where he became a Shaking Quaker. 
In this school, Mr. Brown continued about two years. Thus far 
Mr. Wit. I am, Dear Sir, yours in the gospel, 

Henry Brown. 

Yv r hile preparing for the ministry as a candidate, he was a mem- 
ber of Liberty Hall Academy, under William Graham. At the 
meeting of Hanover Presbytery, at Concord, July 30th, 1791, 
Messrs. Turner and Calhoun read parts of their trial in preparation 
for licensure ; the call from Philadelphia for the removal of J. B. 
Smith, from Hampden Sidney College, was put in his hands with 
the non-concurrence of the Presbytery ; and three young men were 
taken as candidates ; " John Lyle, recommended to this Presby- 
tery as a young man of good moral character, prosecuting his 
studies, and desirous of putting himself under their care, not as a 
candidate at present, but for their patronage and direction, was 
introduced. And the Presbytery having heard an account of his 
religious exercises, thought proper to encourage him in his studies. 
Mr. Samuel Brown was also recommended as a young man in 
nearly the same circumstances, and wishing to be taken under the 
direction of Presbytery in the same manner. But the Presbytery 
having heard a detail of God's dealings with his soul, and of his 
motives to engage in the ministry of the gospel, and considering the 
progress that he has already made in acquiring an education, 
thought proper to admit him as a candidate upon trials. They 
therefore agreed to assign him some subjects as a specimen of his 
abilities, under this limitation, that he be at liberty to produce them 
to Presbytery at any of their sessions, when it shall be convenient 


to himself; and appointed him an essay upon the Extent of Christ's 
Satisfaction." Mr. Moses Waddel, a student at Hampden Sidney 
College, was also received as candidate, and parts of trial were 

At Bethel, July 27th, 1792, Mr. Brown read his essay upon the 
Extent of Christ's Satisfaction. This essay was on the 30th con- 
sidered and sustained, and an essay was appointed him upon the 
question — " How do men become depraved, and wherein does that 
depravity consist;" and also a Presbyterial exercise upon Romans 
1st, 18th. At Providence, in Louisa, Oct. 5th, 1792, " Mr. Brown 
was appointed a popular discourse on Bom. 5th, 1st, in addition to 
his other parts of trial to be produced at the next meeting." Briery, 
April 5th, 1793 — "The Presbytery was opened with a sermon by 
Samuel Brown, on the subject assigned him." At this meeting the 
Rev. Devereux Jarret took his seat as a corresponding member. 
On the next evening the Presbytery met at 7 o'clock, at the house 
"of old Mrs. Morton" — and after consideration, sustained Mr. 
Brown's popular sermon. The notice of his reading his Essay and 
Presbyterial Exercise is omitted in the records. " The Presbytery 
then proceeded to examine Mr. Brown with respect to his knowledge 
in the doctrines of Divinity, and his answers being satisfactory, it 
was agreed to license him to preach the gospel. And Mr. Brown 
having adopted the Confession of Faith as received in the Presby- 
terian Church in America, and promised subjection to his brethren 
in the Lord, was accordingly licensed to preach the everlasting 
gospel of Jesus Christ, and recommended to all the churches where 
God in his Providence may call him." At a meeting in July, at 
the Cove, on the 25th instant, Presbytery recommended Mr. Brown 
to the commission of Synod. Under the direction of this com- 
mission, he performed missionary service until April 21st, 1796, 
when at Hampden Sidney — " Mr. Samuel Brown, formerly a pro- 
bationer under the care of this Presbytery, but for some time past 
a missionary under the direction of the commission of Synod, pro- 
duced a dismission from that body, certifying his good character 
and conduct while he acted as a missionary, whereupon he was 
again received as a probationer under the care of this Presbytery." 
On the next day — "A supplication was laid before Presbytery from 
the congregations of Providence, (Louisa), North Fork, and the 
Bird, to obtain Mr. Samuel Brown to supply them for six months, 
in order to prepare the way for his final settlement among them. 
Mr. Brown being asked whether such an appointment would be 
agreeable to him, answered in the negative, as he had already 
determined to remove out of the bounds of Presbytery." He then 
requested and obtained a dismission to join the Presbytery of Lex- 
ington. The journals of Mr. Brown kept during his missionary 
travelling and preaching have not, with the exception of a few 
fragments, been preserved. The range was large ; the bounds 
of the commission extended over Virginia, West Pennsylvania, and 
Kentucky. With the general extent of their bounds, and a large 


proportion of the particulars, Mr. Brown became fully acquainted. 
And the selection of a place of living, which he was enabled to 
make by the good will and choice of the people, was characteristic 
of the man. For quietness, usefulness, comfort, present success in 
the ministry, and prospective in-gathering of harvests, New Provi- 
dence was unsurpassed by any of the numerous vacancies, and was 
equalled by few that had pastors. Honesty of purpose, simplicity 
of manners, diligence in business, and a liberal economy charac- 
terized the people of this retired but fertile region of country. 
The congregation had been famous for its attachment to its minister; 
and the condition in which the first minister left it, in his feeble age 
bore testimony to his fidelity. The activity of a young man was 
becoming visibly necessary, and Brown the first gave place cheerfully 
to Brown the second ; and the successor as cheerfully honored his 
predecessor while reaping the fruit of his labors. 

For years he pursued the round, monotonous, were it not of eter- 
nal consequence, of a country pastor, preaching twice on the Sab- 
bath to a large congregation of hearers in the old Stone Church, 
having an hour's interval between the sermons; visiting the sick 
and burying the dead as required, during the week ; preaching oc- 
casionally in retired neighborhoods; catechising the children by 
neighborhoods annually, giving account to Presbytery of his dili- 
gence, and the success of the parents and children therein ; and 
holding communion, or sacramental meeting at stated periods during 
the year. Add to these recurring duties, the responsibilities of a 
select classical school, bringing a number of the pupils to be mem- 
bers of his family, which he taught a greater part of the time he 
was pastor of New Providence. The excellence of his teaching 
and discipline drew pupils from the counties east of the Ridge, and 
kept his number complete. In teaching — he was, " mild with the 
mild — and with the froward fierce as fire." Rebellion against the 
laws of propriety, was in his eyes like the sin of witchcraft, and 
woe to the unhappy boy that ventured to find out by experience, 
the manner Samuel Brown could subdue a disobedient boy. One 
experiment was sufficient for his whole school life, and generally for 
a whole generation of boys. But with the cheerful and the studious 
and the law-abiding boy, he was like a spring morning, or the 
autumn evening. Tall, spare, broad-shouldered, and not particu- 
larly careful at all times whether he stood precisely straight, a thin 
visage with small deep-set eyes, of a grey color tinged with blue, 
not particularly expressive till the deep passions of the heart were 
aroused, "then," said Governor James M'Dowell, "they began to 
sparkle and glow, and apparently sink deeper in his head, and grow 
brighter and brighter till the sparkling black was lost in a vivid 
name of fire," then the volcano, giving no other sign in muscle or 
in limb, of its subterraneous workings, was ready to burst. Then, 
if the explosion was a volume of wrath, it was terrible ; if the 
kindling of a great subject, the burst of eloquence was resistless ; 
the bolt shot forth and shivered like the lightning. 


Mr. S. Brown read and thought closely, hut wrote little. Like 
his neighbor Baxter, he could arrange his thoughts into the purest 
English and "most classic sentence without the help of the pen. 
Some few manuscripts — one printed sermon — and a few pieces in 
the Virginia Magazine, are all we have from his pen. His style 
was simple and concise, with no approach to the florid or verbose, 
or highly figurative. It was, in his most deeply interesting ser- 
mons, that which the hearers could never describe — because they 
never observed — they were simply noticing the ideas as they came 
rushing forth like a band of warriors from the opened gates. They 
could not tell the plumes nor ensigns — but they could hear the 
heavy tread, and see the fiery eye, and feel the fierce expression of 
every limb. Many of his hearers could repeat in order the great 
truths of his sermons that most interested him. But only now and 
then would they venture to say — "he used these very words." In 
his less interesting discourses, they could venture to be more exact 
about his words. His people considered him a great reasoner. In 
their estimation he always reasoned well ; often better ; and some- 
times the best they could imagine. And that he could reason well 
is certain from the fact, that his congregation learned to reason 
admirably on the great truths of religion and morals ; and that his 
brethren in the ministry came to listen to his sermons with the same 
emotions as his own people. The greatest men in the Synod, said 
he was the greatest reasoner in the Synod, under the pressure of a 
great subject. Dr. Speece, who always listened to him with plea- 
sure, on one occasion appeared to be entirely absorbed in his dis- 
course ; and as Mr. Brown said — " but we must come to a conclu- 
sion" — he unconsciously raised his hand and said aloud, "goon, 
go on." 

The facts given by his son respecting the manner in which he be- 
came satisfied on the subject of predestination, are illustrative of 
his manner of reasoning from the pulpit on common occasions. He 
would produce a great array of undoubted facts, and so marshal 
them as a host prepared for battle, that no one would like to make 
an onset. Or he would begin to lay the foundation of his building 
on some corner-stone of the gospel, and go on tier by tier, and story 
by story, till when the top stone was laid, the hearer charmed with 
its beauty and symmetry, was ready to shout "grace, grace unto 
it." His hearers saw it all plain, just right ; but it required Samuel 
Brown to do it. His model was Paul's Epistle to the H'omans, fact 
after fact, consecutive and connected, with illustrations ; till some 
certain fact as a conclusion seemed inevitable. Sometimes he entered 
into the field of metaphysical discussion much in fashion in his day ; 
and among the many that failed making any impression, he was of 
the few that was resistless. He could weave a web his adversaries 
could not disentangle. He could produce a train the common peo- 
ple could understand, and follow closely and feel at the close a deep 
conviction of its truth ; and the wiser heads could retrace the vari- 
ous steps after they had reached their homes. They could admire, 


but it seemed to them it took a Samuel Brown to make it. Of his 
habits in the judicatories of the Church, there is neither a memo- 
randum nor a tradition of importance. One of his Elders describes 

him thus : — 

Jan. 4th, 1851. 

Reverend and Dear Sir, — I received your favor of Dec. 4th, 
only a few days ago, making some inquiries respecting the Reverend 
Samuel Brown. In compliance with your request, I will with plea- 
sure, send you such notices of him as my information on the subject 
will allow. 

He preached his first sermon in New Providence, after taking 
their call into his hands, June 5th, 1796. His text was in 4th of 
2d Corinthians, 1st and 2d verses. His second sermon on the same 
day was from 1st Peter, 2d and 3d verses. He was married 9th of 
October, 1798, to Polly Moore, whose story is known to you. He 
soon afterwards purchased a small farm near Brownsburg, and com- 
menced teaching a classical school. He continued the school seve- 
ral years. Amongst those who were his pupils, I may name Gov. 
James McDowell, Gov. McNutt, of Mississippi, Samuel McD. Moore, 
and Dr. Wilson, now of Union Seminary. He attended to the busi- 
ness of his farm himself, employing no overseer. His salary was 
only §400 per annum, until a year or two before his death, when it 
was raised to §500. He was judicious and economical in the man- 
agement of his affairs. At the time of his installation his means 
were nothing, his family became large, yet at his death his estate 
was quite considerable. He died suddenly, 13th October, 1818, 
having preached the day before. His text on that occasion was in 
the 40th chapter of Isaiah, 30 and 31. 

His talents, according to the common opinion, and that is my 
own, were of a very high order. His judgment in all matters was 
sound and practical. In cases where it seemed difficult to arrive at a 
correct decision, he seemed to seize with facility the true view ; and 
the clearness of his statements hardly failed to bring others to con- 
cur with him. His preaching was impressive and interesting. In 
his personal appearance he was tall and lean, his eyes sunk deeply 
in his head. His voice, though not sweet, was distinct ; his manner 
earnest, seeming to be inspired by a deep conviction of the truth and 
importance of his subject. His gestures, according to my recollec- 
tions, were few, but apppropriate. In his addresses from the pulpit, 
lie was eminent for strength, conciseness, and perspicuity. Argu- 
mentative more than declamatory, he convinced the judgment of his 
hearers. Plain, instructive, and practical in his discourses, he 
brought the principles of the Bible to bear upon the conduct of his 
people in all their relations. He also held forth very strongly the 
gieat Calvinistic doctrines of the Scriptures. He preached repent- 
ance toward God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. He dwelt 
prominently on the total depravity of human nature, and on the 
necessity of regeneration. He frequently became very much ani- 
mated when preaching, and sometimes the tears were seen to trickle 


down his cheeks. His sermons were short generally. I have heard 
people complain sometimes that they were too short, but never that 
they were too long. When he preached two sermons on the Sab- 
bath, as he did in the summer, his last sermon was generally con- 
sidered the ablest. I never saw but one sermon of his in print ; that 
one was preached at the installation or ordination of A. B. Davidson, 
in Harrisonburg. Mr. Brown told me that he had preached it with- 
out much preparation, that he had however felt liberty in the delivery 
of it. When the Presbytery applied for a copy, he had none, and 
wrote it out as nearly as he could ; but I think he was not satisfied 
with it, and people generally did not consider it as a fair specimen 
of his sermons. 

The longer he lived amongst his people, the more they became 
attached to him. He mingled amongst them on easy and familiar 
terms ; took an interest in their welfare both temporal and spiritual. 
His conversation was interesting, and to use a current phrase, he 
was the soul of the company in which he was. He took an active 
interest in the Brownsburg Circulating Library, and was desirous to 
promote the taste, and the habit of reading amongst his people. He 
uniformly attended to catechising once a year, at the different places 
in his congregation, and made pastoral visits to some extent. In 
his day it was not customary to preach at funerals. In admitting 
persons to the communion of the church, he generally conversed with 
them privately, and then reported to the Session. He was a man 
that never shrunk from any responsibility, that properly belonged to 
him, in any circumstances in which he was placed ; and his opinions 
probably carried more weight with them than those of any other 
man in this end of Rockbridge County. He was a very kind hus- 
band, and was always heard to speak of his wife in the most affec- 
tionate manner, and he reposed in her judgment and opinion great 
confidence. His piety was undoubted. He died universally lamented ; 
in the prime of life, in full intellectual vigor ; in the midst of his 
usefulness ; and when the love of his people towards him, so far from 
abating, was becoming deeper and stronger. 

I am yours, respectfully, 

Thomas H. Walker. 

As Mr. Samuel Brown "never shrunk from any responsibilities," 
so he never sought for notoriety. He held the post of his highest 
desires, the pastor of a flock of the Lord Jesus. This he sought 
when he entered upon the course of studies for the ministry; and 
for this he longed whether at the grammar school, or at Liberty 
Hall ; and this he preferred to a missionary life. And whether he 
directed the concerns of a small farm, or taught a select classical 
school, it was to aid him in the work of a gospel minister. And this 
honor and this desire he left as the inheritance of his children. As 
a teacher he stimulated youth to seek excellence ; and through life 
he encouraged the young to strive for mental as well as moral cul- 
ture. Dr. Speece attributes to him his excitement for an education. 


" In 1792, Mr. Samuel Brown, one of my former teachers, wrote to 
my father, to persuade him to send me to the grammar school, near 
New London. I was anxious to go ;" and through life he spoke of 
Samuel Brown as conferring a great favor on him in his early life, 
by encouraging him to seek a liberal education. 

When the bodily exercises referred to in the sketch of Baxter, 
and so fully described by Davidson in his History of the Presbyterian 
Church in Kentucky, made their appearance in Virginia, Mr. Brown 
made a decided and open opposition. He said they were a profane 
mixture with the work of God. He had meditated upon the sub- 
ject as a peculiarity of Kentucky and Tennessee ; and when they 
became matters of daily fact in the neighboring congregations, he 
spoke out clearly and convincingly. His decision and his reasons for 
it, quickened the action of Baxter's mind, who was travelling more 
slowly, yet surely to the correct decision. These two men differed 
in some particulars, and by that very difference mutually affected 
the operations of each other's mind. Baxter was always ready to 
hear what Brown would say, and Brown was always glad to have 
Baxter fully agree with him. Baxter would listen to new things in 
argument, or report, or read them as history with entire simplicity. 
Like a child in a botanic garden, with the carelessness of innocence 
he would walk around wounding his hands with the thorns here, and 
offending his smell there, with the odor of the flowers, seeming to 
admire the pernicious and the deadly, and stopping to look a mo- 
ment at the pure and good ; and going into the museum to look at 
machinery, they should lead him to the apartments of the garrotte, 
the maiden and the guillotine, at all of which he would look with 
awakened curiosity as something recommended for their peculiar ex- 
cellence : — by and by his face would begin to assume a sober cast, 
the lines would deepen, and the tones of voice would tremble per- 
haps with emotion — Gentlemen, these are all deadly, every one — 
and disgraceful as deadly ; — those flowers are all poisonous, every 
one, except that little group that stands in the unobserved corner. 
Brown would come in, his reasoning powers as sensitive to error as 
the eye to the floating mote, or the smell to the fumes of sulphur ; 
on he would go, shaking his head at this, passing by that, and paus- 
ing nowhere till he met the little group of innocent sweet flowers ; 
and in the museum he would have felt a cold shuddering as he looked 
to see what these evil things were. And in recounting the whole 
affair, Baxter would have laughed outright as he described this 
poisonous thing with so pretty a covering of beauteous colors, and 
the queerness of those death-machines praised for their ingenuity : 
and Brown would have laughed at Baxter as about to put on the gar- 
rotte as a necklace, and hug the maiden and bite the nightshade to 
find out what they were. In the final conclusion they would entirely 
agree. It would have distressed them for either to have found the 
other coming to an opposite conclusion. Both would have paused 
and re-considered his course, and weighed his arguments, and 


balanced them with his brother's reasons. Each looked upon tV.^ 
other as the greater man. 

The people of New Providence considered their pastor as com- 
pletely suited to them ; they desired no other ; they could not well 
conceive a better. And Mr. Brown rejoiced in an eldership of men 
of simplicity of manners and purposes ; of sterling integrity and 
unfeigned piety ; and a congregation of sensible people, numerous 
enough for all his capabilities as a pastor, and worthy of the best 
exercise of those endowments of body and mind that might be fitted 
for any service the Lord might call. Both were contented. Under 
his ministry, the Old Stone Meeting House, endeared by a thousand 
recollections, gave place to a new brick building. And as his own 
log dwelling was about to be exchanged for a convenient brick resi- 
dence, nearly completed, he came suddenly to the end of life. He 
had performed the services of a sacramental occasion at New Provi- 
dence on Saturday, Sabbath and Monday, the 10th, 11th and 12th 
of October, as his people thought with more than usual ability. On 
Tuesday, the 13th, making preparations to attend the Synod in 
Staunton, and giving directions to finish some parts of his house, 
he ate heartily at dinner, and in less than two hours was lifeless. 
Rev. John H. Bice, in the Evangelical and Literary Magazine for 
December, 1818, thus writes :— " The record of the incidents of 
this day (14th of October) presents something like a map of human 
life. In the morning we were gay and cheerful, amusing ourselves 
with remarks on the country, on the comparative genius and habits 
of our countrymen, and a thousand things, just as the thoughts of 
them occurred, anticipating a joyful meeting in the evening with 
some well-tried, faithful and beloved friends ; when suddenly, as the 
flash of lightning breaks from the cloud, we were informed of the 
almost instantaneous death of one of the choicest of these friends, 
and one of the most valuable of men — the Bev. Samuel Brown. 
The road which we should travel led by the house in which he was 
accustomed to preach ; and on inquiring for it, we were asked if 
we were going to the funeral ! Thus, as in a moment, was hope turned 
into deep despondency, and gladness of heart exchanged for the 
bitterness of sorrow. 

" We journeyed on in mournful silence interrupted by occasional 
remarks, which showed our unwillingness to believe the truth of what 
had been announced, and how reluctantly hope takes her departure 
from the human bosom. It might have been a fainting fit, an apo- 
plectic stroke mistaken for the invasion of death ; and still he might 
be alive. The roads trampled by multitudes of horses, all directed 
to the dwelling of our friend, dissipated these illusions of the 
deceiver, and convinced us of the sad reality. Still, however, when 
we arrived at the church, and saw the people assembling, and the 
pile of red clay, the sure indication of a newly opened grave, thrown 
up in the church yard, it seemed as though we were thus, for the 
first time, assured that Samuel Brown was dead. Only a few of the 
people had come together on our arrival. Some, in small groups, 


were conversing in a low tone of voice interrupted by frequent and 
bitter sighs, and showing in strong terms, how deeply they felt 
their loss. Others, whose emotions were too powerful for conversa- 
tion, stood apart, and leaning on the tombstones, looked like pictures 
of woe. Presently the sound of the multitude was heard. Thev 
came on in great crowds. The elders of the church assisted in com- 
mitting the body to the grave. After which, solemn silence inter- 
rupted only by smothered sobs, ensued for several minutes. The 
widow stood at the head of the grave, surrounded by her children, 
exhibiting signs of unutterable anguish, yet seeming to say, ' It is 
the Lord, let him do with us what seemeth unto him good.' After 
a little time, on a signal being given, some young men began to fill 
the grave. The first clods that fell on the coffin, gave forth the 
most mournful sound I ever heard. At that moment of agony the 
chorister of the congregation was asked to sing a specified hymn, to 
a tune known to be a favorite one of the deceased minister. The 
voice of the chorister faltered so that it required several efforts to 
raise the tune ; the whole congregation attempted to join him, but 
at first the sound was rather a scream of anguish than music. As 
they advanced, however, the precious truths expressed in the w r ords 
of the hymn seemed to enter into their souls. Their voices became 
more firm, and while their eyes streamed with tears, their countenances 
were radiant with Christian hope, and the singing of the last stanza 
w r as like a shout of triumph. The words of the hymn are well 
known. — 

" ' When I can read my title clear.' 

By the time that these words were finished, the grave was closed, 
and the congregation in solemn silence retired to their homes. We 
lodged all night with one of the members of the church. The family 
seemed bereaved, as though the head of the household had just been 
buried. Every allusion to the event too, brought forth a flood of 
tears. I could not help exclaiming, 'behold how they loved him.' 
And I thought the lamentation of fathers and mothers, of young men 
and maidens, over their departed pastor, a more eloquent and affect- 
ing eulogium, than oratory with all its pomp and pretensions could 
pronounce. After this I shall not attempt panegyric. Let those 
who w T ish to know the character of Samuel Brown go and see the 
sod that covers his body, wet with the tears of his congregation." 

Mr. Brown left a widow and ten children, seven sons and three 
daughters. A sketch of his widow has appeared in the preceding 
volume. In about six years she followed her husband to the tomb, 
and lies by his side. 

The successor of Samuel Brown, and third preacher of New Provi- 
dence is James Morrison, now filling the pulpit. He became thb 
son-in-law of the widow, and a true brother of the children. 




In the reconstruction of Presbvteries that followed the union of 
the Synods of New York and Philadelphia, in 1758, the Hanover 
Presbytery included, with the exception of Mr. John Hoge of Fred- 
erick County, all the Presbyterian ministers south of the Potomac, 
in connection with the two Synods, Alexander Craighead, Samuel 
Black, John Craig, Samuel Davies, Alexander Miller, John Todd, 
Robert Henry, John Brown, John Wright, and John Martin. The 
first meeting was held July 12th, 1758, in Mr. Wright's congrega- 
tion in Cumberland County. "Agreed that all the appointments of 
the former Presbytery of Hanover, that are not yet complied with, 
shall continue in force, as far as they are consistent with the union 
of the Synods." Under this order the ordination of Messrs. Rich- 
ardson and Pattillo took place, the necessary steps having been taken 
by the former Presbytery. 

Members of Hanover Presbytery. 

Rev. Henry Pattillo, the eighth in order, was an alumnus 
of Mr. Davies. A sketch of him appears in the Sketches of North 

Rev. William Richardson, the ninth in order, was an 
Englishman by birth, and became a member of the family of Mr. 
Davies. Respecting some religious books sent him, Mr. Davies 
writes, June 3d, 1757 — " In their names and my own, I heartily 
thank the Society in Glasgow for their liberal and well chosen bene- 
faction. Mr. Richardson (now a resident in my family) and myself 
will divide them according to direction, and endeavor to distribute 
them to the best advantage." At Providence, Louisa County, the 
Committee, Messrs. Todd, Wright, and Davies, met according to 
appointment to hear Mr. Pattillo's trials — "Mr. William Richardson 
attending upon the Committee to offer himself upon trials for the 
ministry of the gospel, was taken sick, and unable to pass an exami- 
nation. But the members of the Committee having had consider- 
able acquaintance with his progress in learning by their private 
conversation with him, conclude they have sufficient reason to dis- 
pense with his trials at this time, in so extraordinary a case ; and 
appoint him to prepare a sermon on John iii. 2, ' We know thou art 
a teacher come from God ;' and an Exegesis on the question — Unde 
apparet necessitas Christi Mortis ut Peccatores servati sint ? — as a 
second part of trial to be determined at the next Presbytery." At 
Cab Creek, in the September following, after the licensure of Mr. 


Pattillo, the examination of Mr. Richardson in Latin, Greek and 
Hebrew, Logic, Ontology, Natural and Moral Philosophy, Geography 
and Astronomy, was held and approved ; his religious experience, 
and exegesis, and sermon were heard and also approved — and they 
"appoint him a sermon on 2 Cor. v. 17, to be delivered at our next 
Committee at Wm. Smith's in Cumberland, the last Wednesday of 
October; and they appoint Messrs. Davies, Henry, Wright, and 
Todd, a Committee for that purpose." On the 25th of October, the 
Committee sustained the sermon, and appointed another on John vi. 
44, first clause — and a Lecture on 2 Cor. 4:1 — 7. At Captain 
Anderson's, in Cumberland, Jan. 25th, 1758, Mr. Richardson de- 
livered the sermon and lecture. After examination — " on various 
subjects of Divinity, the Presbytery received his assent to, and 
approbation of, the Westminster Confession of Faith, as the confes- 
sion of his faith, also the Catechism and Directory, and proceeded 
to license him ; and appointed the Moderator, Mr. Davies, to give 
him some admonitions with regard to the discharge of his office.' , 
April 26th, 1758, at Providence, Louisa, Mr. Richardson opened 
Presbytery with a sermon according to appointment, which was 
accepted as preparatory for ordination. On the next day he was 
ordered to take a missionary tour through the upper part of North 
Carolina ; and also to attend a meeting of Presbytery at Captain 
Anderson's, in Cumberland, on July 12th, with an exegesis on — 
" Num Sabbatum Judaicum post Christi resurrectionem, in primum 
diem hebdomadis mutatum?" On the appointed day the Presbytery 
met, and on the next day proceeded to the ordination of Henry 
Pattillo and William Richardson. Mr. Davies delivered on the 
occasion, number seventy-one of his printed sermons, — u The love 
of souls a necessary qualification for the ministerial office." To the 
end of the sermon, is appended the ordination service of the occa- 
sion. At the meeting of Presbytery to consider the application for 
the removal of Mr. Davies to Princeton, Mr. Richardson was not 
present. Mr. Davies, "in the name of the society for promoting 
Christianity among the Indians, petitioned the Presbytery that Mr. 
Richardson should be permitted to go as a missionary among the 
Indians, as soon as his health will permit ; to which the Presbytery 
heartily agreed." Sept. 27th, 1758, at Hanover, he was "appointed 
to preside at Mr. Craighead's installation, at Rocky River in North 
Carolina, on his way out to the Cherokee nation." In 1760, he 
joined the Presbytery of South Carolina, not in connexion with the 
Synod. There are further notices of his labors in North and South 
Carolina, in the Sketches of North Carolina. His foster child and 
heir, William Richardson Davie, was noted in the war of the Re- 
volution and the Civil History of North Carolina, as a soldier of 
bravery, and a politician of influence. 

Rev. Andrew Millar, the tenth member, came from the 
parish of Ardstraw, in Ireland ; and in 1753 applied to the Phila- 
delphia Synod for admission — "He acknowledged he was degraded 


by the Presbytery of Letterkenny, and sub-Synod of Londonderry, 
and General Synod of Ireland, but complained, that they had treated 
him hardly and unjustly." The Synod after considering his case — 
" think they would act wrong to encourage a man which is cast out 
of their churches, till we hear for what reasons, and we would warn 
all the Societies under our care, to give him no encouragement as a 
minister till his character is cleared." In 1755, he appeared before 
Synod and handed in "a penitential acknowledgement to transmit" 

— to Ireland to procure reconciliation between him and the Presby- 
tery of Letterkenny, or the Synod of Dungannon. The next year, 
he came again with " a supplication from Cook's Creek and Peeked 
Mountain, requesting us to receive Mr. Alexander Millar as a full 
member, and to appoint his instalment as a regular pastor." These 
congregations were composed of emigrants from Ireland; Cook's 
Creek on the south-west, and Peeked Mountain north-eastward of 
Harrisonburg, the present county seat of Rockingham county. 
Some steps were taken by the Synod to comply with this request, 
and some discretionary power was granted Messrs. Black and Craig, 
" to receive him as a member and instal him, provided they find his 
conduct in that part of Christ's vineyard, such as becomes a gospel 
minister," in prospect of some letters being received from Ireland, 
favorable to Mr. Millar's standing, " in the fall when the ships are 
arrived from Ireland." Messrs. Black and Craig did not proceed in 
the affair. The request from the congregation was renewed in May, 
1757 — " and the Synod unanimously agree to receive him as a 
member, and order, that Mr. Craig instal him accordingly, at some 
convenient time, before the first of next August ; and that he give 
him to understand, that it is the judgment of the Synod, that he 
ought to be content with the bounds fixed by the committee for that 
purpose." He was installed and registered as a member of Done- 
gal Presbytery; but was not content with his bounds. He wished 
the line between his congregation and Mr. Craig's, should be more 
central, and approach nearer the Stone Church and Mossy Creek, 
and carried the matter before Hanover Presbytery in 17G0. The 
matter was decided against him, " as Mr. Craig's bounds on that 
side are very moderate, and as the people on the limits contended 
for, earnestly petition that they may be continued under their own 
pastor." In 1764, w T e find him in difficulties with his congregations. 
Preparations were also made by Presbytery to investigate some 
charges, unfavorable to his morals, against his conduct while on a. 
missionary tour in North Carolina. On these charges he was de- 
posed June 5th, 1766, by the Presbytery of Hanover. The matter 
was carried to Synod, 1769. Steps were taken for a hearing, "in 
the mean time on account of Mr. Millar's unjustifiable delay for 
some years to enter his complaint — the irregularity of his proceed- 
ings — the atrocious nature of the crimes laid to his charge — we 
do hereby declare him suspended from the exercise of the minis- 
terial office, till his complaint can be fully heard." 

- Mr. Millar then gave in a paper renouncing the authority of the 


Synod. " The Synod therefore declare he is not a member of this 
body, and forbid all their Presbyteries and congregations to employ 

Rev. Samuel Black, the eleventh in order, a probationer 
from Ireland, was received by New Castle Presbytery. His ordi- 
nation took place at the Forks of Brandywine, in 1737. He soon 
after removed to Virginia, and took his residence among the Scotch- 
Irish population that had seated themselves on Rockfish river, at 
the eastern base of the Blue Ridge, in Nelson County, as the State 
is now divided, and not far from Rockfish Gap. In every respect, 
his situation was well chosen ; the people were enterprising, the 
soil good, the climate favorable, the position for trade showing its 
superiority every year as improvements advance, and the community 
a church-going people by habit. In the division of the Synod, he 
went with the Synod of Philadelphia, and was a member of the Pres- 
bytery of Donegal. On the reconstruction of Presbyteries, he was 
assigned to Hanover ; but never met with them in session. An 
amiable man, of a retiring disposition, as infirmities came upon him 
he secluded himself more and more from public labors of the min- 
istry. Some difficulties arose, and some charges were brought 
against him by a portion of the congregations, as reasons why 
Presbytery should grant them another minister. The Presbytery 
proceeded with great caution and tenderness, and the difficulties 
were in part adjusted. Mr. Black retired from public services 
altogether, owing to these difficulties and his own sensitive feelings, 
sooner than he would have done in other circumstances. His 
family, as kind and retired as himself, never urged him to a more 
prominent stand, or more vigorous efforts in his old age. He was 
orthodox in doctrine, and correct in his views of religious action 
and Christian principles, as has been evidenced by the fact that a 
goodly number of pious people were found on Rockfish ; and his 
successors in the ministry saw evidence that God had blessed the 
ministry of his word by him. No production of his pen remains; 
and no great act marked the even tenor of his way. His influence, 
like that of multitudes, will be known in its wider or narrower 
diffusion, at the great day. He died about the year 1771. 

Rev. Hugh M'Aden, the 12th in order, was received from 
New Castle Presbytery, July 18th, 1759. His memoir is found in 
the Sketches of North Carolina. 

Rev. Richard Sankey, (sometimes spelled Zankey), the 
13th member, was ordained by Donegal Presbytery, in 1738. 
His admission to the sacred office was delayed by a circumstance 
recorded in the Minutes of Synod the year he took his seat. The 
Synod upon considering a remonstrance sent up for the purpose, 
gay — " That though they cannot but greatly condemn and censure 


Mr. Sankey's conduct, in acting the plagiary in transcribing notes 
out of printed authors, thereby to impose upon the Presbytery, 
giving them a false view of his ministerial powers ; and in sending 
the same notes to another candidate to enable him to impose upon 
his Presbytery in the same manner, as well as for his greatest 
imprudence in sending such heretical notes abroad, whereby most 
dangerous errors came to be vended ; yet considering that Mr. 
Sankey was sharply admonished by his Presbytery, that his trials 
were sometime stopt, and his ordination a considerable time de- 
layed on account of this, his conduct, we shall now lay no further 
censure upon him, but judge the Presbytery was defective in not 
taking notice in their Minutes of his being such a plagiary, or cen- 
suring him on that account." In his after life he seems never to 
have expressed any inclination towards the sin of his youth ; and 
probably justified the Prebytery and Synod in their treatment of 
his thoughtlessness, not to say his crime, in which they mingled 
leniency with the severity of their rebuke. 

He was settled in the ministry near Carlisle. His congregation, 
like himself, were of Scotch-Irish extract. He signed the protest 
of 1741 ; and his people adhered to the old side, and belonged to 
the Synod of Philadelphia. The troubles of the Indian wars suc- 
ceeding the defeat of Braddock, particularly those connected with 
the Paxton boys, induced the congregation to seek a residence in 
the more peaceful frontiers of southern Virginia. They took their 
abode in the fertile regions on Buffalo Creek, in Prince Edward, 
and around the place now known as Walker's church, lying between 
Cumberland congregation and Cub Creek, and on one side closely 
adjoining Briery congregation. And considering the distances 
people would then ride to church, the congregations of Cub Creek, 
Briery, Buffalo, Walker's church and Cumberland, occupied a large 
region of country. The Bev. William Calhoon in a letter to F. N. 
Watkins, says — "He was a very old man when I first knew him. 
From the time I knew him he was a small man, very bowlegged ; 
when his feet would be together, his knees would be six inches 
apart. His face was rather square, with high cheek bones. He 
wore a wig and bands. His manner in preaching was to lean on 
the pulpit, perhaps on account of his age, with his Bible open before 
him. After announcing his text and dividing his subject, he made 
remarks on each head, and occupied much of the time in fortifying 
the doctrine by other passages of Scripture to which he would turn 
and read, giving book, chapter, and verse. He was considered a 
superior Hebrew scholar ; often carried his Hebrew Bible into the 
pulpit, and used it in his criticisms and quotations, using in the 
general the language of the common English Bible. 

In the war of the revolution, thougn advanced in years, Mr. 
Sanky was decided for the liberties of his country. His name 
appears honorably on some of the papers prepared by his Presbytery 
of lasting interest in political and religious liberty. While able to 
ride he attended the meetings of the judicatories of the church; and 


in his old age there were instances of the Presbytery holding their 
meeting in his church to accommodate his infirmities, as in the case 
of the ordination of Mr. Mitchel. He held the office of a minister 
of the gospel more than half a century, some thirty of which he 
spent in Virginia, with an unblemished reputation. He closed his 
career in the year 1790. His congregations have flourished. Buf- 
falo enjoyed the labors of Matthew Lyle, and now is served by 
Mr. Cochran. Walker's Church has had a variety of ministers and 
of success. Among others, Mr. Roberts labored there for years, not 
without success. 

Rev. James Waddell, D.D., together with his congregation, 
in the Northern Neck of Virginia, have their place in the first 
volume of Sketches of Virginia. 

Rev. James Hunt, the fifteenth member, was the son of the 
James Hunt, conspicuous in the scenes of a religious nature in Han- 
over County, previous to the visit of Mr. Robinson, and during the 
times of Davies. His preparation for College was made at the school 
under the direction of Mr. Todd, and patronized by Mr. Davies : his 
degree was conferred at the College of New Jersey, in 1759, the 
summer Mr. Davies removed from Virginia to become President of 
the College. His theological education was completed under the 
direction of New Brunswick Presbytery, by whom he was licensed 
and ordained. It is probable that he pursued the study of theology 
under the instruction of his beloved pastor, the President of the Col- 
lege, Mr. Davies. At Tinkling Spring, Oct. 7th, 1761, he produced 
his credentials, and was admitted member of Hanover Presbytery. He 
made a tour through North Carolina, preaching to great acceptance, 
and in April, 1762, at Goochland, the Presbytery put in his hands " A 
call from Roan and Anson Counties, North Carolina, to which he is to 
give an answer by our fall Presbytery, or sooner, if he sees fit ; and 
if he docs accept it, and declare his acceptance to the moderator," 
(Mr. Craighead), "he is empowered to install him. The two con- 
gregations engage to pay him <£80 each per annum." These calls 
he declined. Visiting the counties of Lancaster and Northumber- 
land, in Virginia, where Messrs. Davies and Todd had been gather- 
ing members of the church, with the aid of Whitefield and others, he 
was encouraged by the prospects of usefulness to remain some time. 
Pleased with the people, who excelled in social manners, and they 
being interested in him as a gospel minister, preparations were 
making to have him settled as pastor. In the mean time, James 
"Waddell, licensed by Hanover Presbytery, April, 1761, at the time 
Mr. Hunt joined Presbytery, and preaching with great favor in dif- 
ferent parts of the country, made, after repeated invitations, a visit 
to the Northern Neck. Col. Gordon and others preferring him to 
any candidate they were likely to obtain, and there being a prospect 
of securing his services with a larger field of usefulness, Mr. Hunt 
thought proper to withdraw from a people to whom he felt greatly 


attached, and seek another location. Mr. Waddell was eventually 
settled as pastor. 

At a meeting, Oct., 1762, at Providence, Louisa County, "Mr. 
Waddell accepts of a call from Lancaster and Northumberland Coun- 
ties, in which the Presbytery heartily concur;" Mr. Wright's trial 
was completed, and he "is hereby suspended until we shall see suf- 
ficient reason to restore him ;" and "Mr. Hunt having requested a 
dismission from this Presbytery, as he expects to settle in Pennsylva- 
nia, Mr. Todd is directed to give him credentials when he shall apply." 
Mr. Hunt passed the great part of his ministerial life in Montgo- 
mery County, Maryland, in the neighborhood of Rockville. For 
many years he was at the head of a flourishing classical and mathema- 
tical school, extensively known, and deservingly held in high esteem. 
Among the numerous pupils may be named William Wirt, Esq., 
who attended his school about four years ; and laid the foundation 
for his. literary excellence under the instruction, and in the library 
of Mr. Hunt. For two years young Wirt was a member of Mr. 
Hunt's family. This gentleman took special pains to encourage his 
pupil to efforts in composition, and for improvement in declamation ; 
and having high ideas of the importance of both of these exercises, 
he stimulated young Wirt to efforts in public speaking that gained 
him the prize at the annual examination and exhibition. His son, 
William Pitt Hunt, opened his office, at Montgomery Court House, 
to young Wirt to commence the study of law ; and after some years 
he removed to Virginia, the place of his father's birth. His widow, 
a Miss Watkins, became the second wife of Moses Hoge, D.D., and 
has left a memory in the churches which is blessed. 

The sixteenth member, David Rice, was born in Hanover 
County, December 20th, 1733. His parents were plain farmers, in 
moderate circumstances, of Welch extraction. His mind was deeply 
impressed with religious things early in life. He witnessed the 
excitement produced by the readings of Morris and his companions, 
and the preaching of Robinson. Under the preaching of Mr. Davies 
he was hopefully converted. When about twenty years of age he 
became a pupil of the school conducted by Mr. Todd with the assist- 
ance of James Waddell. So anxious was he to procure an education, 
that, to meet the expenses, he raised a hogshead of tobacco with his 
own hands and commenced his studies. Afterwards he taught an 
English school ; and sometimes both taught and studied, till his 
health began to give way. Then for a time a connexion gave him 
his board. His classical course was completed at Nassau Hall. 
President Davies made him the beneficiary of some funds sent annu- 
ally, from London, for the purpose of assisting in the education of 
young men of promise, in narrow circumstances. This supply 
ceasing on the death of Mr. Davies, Mr. Richard Stockton became 
his almoner, saying, " I have, in a literal sense, ventured my bread 
on the waters, having a ship at sea. If it founders, you must repay 
the sum I advance ; if it returns safe, I will venture in the figurativ { 


sense." The vessel returned safe, and Mr. Stockton declined the 
repayment offered some two years after. Mr. Rice was graduated 
the year Mr. Davies died, 1761. He pursued the study of Theology, 
in preparation for the ministry, under the direction of Mr. Todd, 
and was received as a candidate for the ministry at the Bird Meet- 
ing-House in Goochland, April 8th, 1762. He passed part of his 
trials in the June following, in Prince Edward, and part in the fol- 
lowing October at Providence, in Louisa ; and on the 9th of the 
following November, at Deep Creek, opened the Presbytery with a 
sermon on 2 Tim. 2 : 19, " Let every one that nameth the name of 
Christ depart from iniquity." In the afternoon of the same day, at 
the house of Mr. Hollands, he was licensed to preach the gospel. 
In October, 1763, at Cub Creek — "Mr. Rice accepts a call from 
Mr. Davies' former congregation, in which the Presbytery cheerfully 
concur." On the 28th of December of the same year, he opened 
the Presbytery at Hanover lower meeting-house, with his trial sermon 
for ordination, on 2 Tim. 2:3, " Thou therefore endure hardness, 
as a good soldier of Jesus Christ:" and on the next day was 
ordained to the full work of the gospel ministry, and set as pastor 
of the church in and about Hanover ; Mr. Pattillo presiding. In 
less than three years circumstances, unfriendly to the welfare of the 
congregation, led to the following record of Presbytery, April 18th, 
1766. Mr. Rice — "petitions the Presbytery for a dismission 
from his congregation in and about Hanover, on condition that the 
differences now subsisting in said congregation are not made up in 
the space of three or four months ; which the Presbytery grants." 
In October of the same year, at Cub Creek, Mr. Rice received 
a call — "from the congregations of Bedford, which he accepts, and 
in which the Presbytery concur." The difficulties in Hanover 
were not between Mr. Rice and the people, but between the peo- 
ple themselves, particularly some of the leading men. These not 
being settled, Mr. Rice thought it better to remove. In April, 1767, 
the records of Presbytery say — "that the parties had amicably 
composed themselves, and are restored to peace." Emigrations 
from Hanover to the frontiers were now frequent. Many of the 
most pious and active persons were in a little time in other congre- 
gations ; and this people so signally blessed of God for a series of 
years became weak as other men. The emigrants, black and white, 
wherever they went carried the spirit of the gospel, as manifested 
by Davies, to the frontiers of Virginia and North Carolina. The 
cnurches of Christ were multiplied, while Hanover dwindled. 
"Whether the leading men were jealous of each other, or simply 
missed the guiding power of Davies ; or whether Davies himself 
under the iniiuence of the spirit of emigration that pervaded his 
flock, could have kept up its relative importance, are matters for sober 
reflection, but no certain decision. The church of Davies stiil exists 
in feebleness among the churches of Christ, having seen days of 
depression and some days of reviving. 

in October, 1768, Mr. Rice stated to Presbytery — "that he was 


entangled in a suit brought against him by Mr. Millar, in Augusta 
Court, for pretended slander in transmitting a minute of Presbytery 
which respected said Millar's trial and deposition ; which he, the said 
Rice did, as Clerk of Presbytery ; which suit considerably affected 
the Presbyterian interest in this colony. The Presbytery think it 
necessary that some of our members attend said Court, when this 
suit is to be determined, and represent the affair in a proper light : 
and do, therefore, appoint Messrs. Todd and Brown to attend said 
Court for that purpose." Mr. Millar did not prosecute the suit. 

In October, 1771, he was directed by Presbytery to supply Cub 
Creek one-fourth of his time. To this he assented — "unless the 
sale of land at that Creek, where he resided, and the purchase in 
Bedford prevented." On the 30th of October, 1777, he took advice 
of Presbytery whether he should continue in the relation which 
existed between him and Concord, and the Peaks, or give up one ; 
and if one, which ? Presbytery advised him to hold to the Peaks. 
He confined his labors to this large congregation for about five or 
six years. This period embraced the early childhood of his nephew 
John Holt Rice, a name dear to the Virginia church. 

In 1782, Mr. Rice visited Kentucky. Allured by the reports of 
the fertility of the soil, he wished to have the advantage of his own 
observation, on the important question of making it the home of 
his young and increasing family, either as a family or as emigrants 
when they came to years of maturity. The contending claims of 
speculators and the unsettled state of the country, made no favor- 
able impression upon his mind. He preached frequently while in 
the country, to the great acceptance of the scattered settlements. 
His first sermon was at Harrod's Station; Matt. 4th, 16 — "The 
people which sat in darkness saw great light ; and to them which 
sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up." The 
people were more pleased with his ministry, than he was with the 
situation of affairs in respect to land-titles, and the safety of the 
homesteads sought in the midst of so much danger. May 20th. 
1783, at Hall's meeting house, now New Monmouth, in Augusta 
county — -"a call from the united congregations of Cane Run, Con- 
cord, and the Forks, in Lincoln county, was given in to be presented 
to Mr. Rice. On the next day Mr. Rice made a motion to be dis- 
missed from his congregation in Bedford — "Resolved, that he be 
dismissed accordingly" — Ordered, " That the call from Kentucky 
be presented to Mr. Rice." The call was presented and accepted. 
He speedily removed to the "dark and bloody ground." In Vir- 
ginia he had been forward in every good work. He was a trustee 
of Hampden Sidney College ; was active in the measures to carry 
on the work of the Revolution ; diligent in his calling as a minister 
of the gospel ; and acceptable to the congregations in Virginia. 
Under his care the Peaks flourished and required his entire labor. 
He is called "Father Rice" in Kentucky, being the first Presbyte- 
rirn minister that settled in that State. The active part he took in 
every thing relating to the prosperity of the infant settlements of 


Western "Virginia — and the faithfulness and labors by which he 
merited the name of " Patriarch of the Kentucky Presbyterian 
Church," are recorded in Davidson $ History of the Presbyterian 
Church in Kentucky. No history of Kentucky, whether of Church 
or State, can be complete without extended notice of the labors of 
David Rice. In fact, a Biography of this man would necessarily 
embrace the most interesting events in the literary, political, and 
religious movements of Kentucky, in its early days ; and with some 
of his published writings, would form a volume of permanent use- 

Mr. Rice was married to Mary, daughter of Rev. Samuel Blair, 
the preceptor of Davies ; he reared a family of eleven children. 
Many of his descendants are in Virginia ; and some in the ministry. 
He lived to an advanced age. For the last three years of his life, 
he was prevented from preaching and writing, by the gradual decay 
of nature. His religious exercises were of a heavenly character. 
He died June 18th, 1816, in his 83d year. His last words were — 
" Oh, when shall I be free from sin and sorrow." The following 
sketch is from the pen of the mother of Mrs. Rice, and will find its 
way to the hearts of the numerous descendants of Mr. Blair and 
Mr. Rice, and many others that fear God and know a mother's de- 
sires for the salvation of her children. 

October 8th, 1763. 

My Dear Children — It is my concern for your souls' welfare, 
as well after my decease as whilst I am present with you, that I 
seem to be irresistibly urged to leave you a few sentences to peruse ; 
and if it should please a gracious God to bless them to you — as 
the reading of any thing of the like kind, that appeared to be honest 
and without show of ostentation, has been to me — my design, as far 
as I am judge of myself, will be fully answered. And now, 
searcher of the hearts and trier of the intents and actions of thy 
creatures, if my design be any other than I here profess, discover 
to me the fraud before I proceed any farther. 

My design at this time shall not be to give you a narrative 
or diary of what I have experienced, of as I trust, the Lord's gra- 
cious dealings towards me, for that would be too great ; and as 
I did not prosecute that begun work in my young days, I could 
not now recollect without adding or diminishing. What discour- 
ages me now, was that same reason when I first attempted, is, 
that I believe the Lord did not give me such enlargement of judg- 
ment that I should be useful to any but such as I am nearly con- 
nected with, who, I hope, will make no bad use of any thing 
that may not appear with such embellishments as the public would 
require. However, that now is for my design in these few lines. 

When I was about the age of fifteen, or soon after, it pleased a 
gracious God to stop me in my career of youthful follies, and to 
make sweet religion to appear the most noble course a rational crea- 
ture cuuld pursue. And what first brought me to reflect was : 


that summer I was visited with one affliction after another ; first, the 
measles, and then the intermitting fever, and then the whooping 
cough — all to no great purpose, until by my being brought so low 
I apprehended myself in a decay, which put me to think I should 
set about reformation, a work which I thought only consisted in 
growing serious, and praying often, with other duties. When having 
an opportunity of hearing Messrs. Gilbert and John Tennent, they 
engaged me more, and strengthened me in my resolution to devote 
myself to religion. But the bed was too strait for me. I was 
often allured into my former vain company to the wounding of con- 
science and the breach of resolutions ; was like a hell upon earth, 
and put often to think that the day of grace was over, and I might 
as well give up with all. However, it pleased a gracious God again 
to strengthen and encourage me to wrestle and cry for free mercy, 
and that in myself I could do nothing, nor keep the least resolution 
I could make. But soon after the way of salvation in and through 
Christ, was clearly and sweetly opened to me in such a point of 
light that it appeared to me I had not lived or breathed or known 
what pleasure was before then. I then got victory over sin and the 
devil. But oh ! how soon Satan came with another hideous tempta- 
tion, which was blasphemy. This, as I had never felt or heard of be- 
fore, filled me with such horror, that I was near being overcome with 
an unnatural sin. But as the distress was great, the deliverance was 
greater, which made me loathe myself, and almost life, and say with 
Job: " I would not live always." I was then persuaded by my dear 
minister, John Tennent, to join in communion with the people of 
God in the precious ordinance of the Lord's Supper. Which, 
though I could scarcely be prevailed on to venture, and though with 
trembling, lest I should meet with a salutation of " Friend, how 
earnest thou hither ?" I know not whether ever I had a greater dis- 
covery of the dying love of a dear Redeemer. It appeared so clear 
to the eyes of my understanding that for a little while I saw nothing 
of the world besides. Then I went on my way rejoicing, singing 
in the Psalmist : " Return unto thy rest, ! my soul, for the Lord 
hath dealt bountifully with thee." I thought then I should never 
sin more ; never indulge sloth or inactivity, or wandering thoughts, 
for sin had got such a dash it would no more have any access to my 
spirit : but sad experience soon made me wiser, and I was left, not 
many days after, to go mourning without the sun. So my chariot 
wheels moved slowly for many days. Though, blessed be God, a 
sense of religion, and my deep obligations still remained with me, 
and I was assiduous for the good of poor sinners ; taking such 
opportunities as fell in my way, and such of my acquaintance as I 
had access to. And in the way of my duty I suffered much re- 
viling, but was not suffered to be moved thereby, though young, and 
religion at that time an uncustomary thing, and not much of morality 
only among the aged. 

And now, my dear children, let me enjoin this duty on you, 
to make conscience of your conversation and words. You may 


be apt to excuse yourselves with, that you are young, and it does 
not become you to talk of religion, and that is the minister's 
part. But if you have received the grace of God, have you re- 
ceived it in vain, or only for yourselves ? Has not the Lord 
deposed a trust in your hands — his glory and honor — and should 
you not every way strive to advance it ? At that time I was 
much perplexed with my own heart : spiritual pride seemed as if it 
would undo me, for I concluded at some times as if it was the spring 
of all my actions. This I groaned under ; but sometimes was 
tempted to cast away all for my ignorance of divine life. And 
the depth of Satan made me conclude that there never was a child 
of God that had ever the least rising of such a horrid feeling, and 
so much akin to the devil. But conversing with a humble, honest 
woman, I found that she was wrestling under the same, and so I got 
new courage to fight this Apollyon, and so from time to time I was 
helped. As I let down my watch, and grew cold and formal, and 
to backsliding from him, the Lord left me to such exercises as cost 
me broken bones before I was restored to a sense of his favor. As 
I informed you, I cannot recollect the particular exercises at such a 
distance ; if I can but say : 

" Here, on my heart, the impress lies, 
The joys, the sorrows of the mind." 

What reason have I this day to praise my heavenly father, who is a 
father to the fatherless, in providing for me such a companion in 
life, when my fond fancy would sometimes have led me to choose one 
that had little or no religion ! Oh ! the goodness of God in pre- 
venting me then, and at other times, when I had formed schemes to 
ruining myself. This, my dear children, I would have you care- 
fully to ponder and beg for direction in before proceeding in such 
an affair in which your happiness for this world, if not the next, 
depends. Let the words of the inspired apostle be the moving 
spring of all your actions : " the glory of God." But, although 1 
was blest with the best of husbands, (and you the best of fathers,) 
yet how unbecomingly did I act in that particular ! How often 
have I dishonored religion by my pride, self-will and self-love ! And 
here, with sorrow, occurs an instance of it. When I was called to 
a self-denying duty, for the sake of my friends and native place, to 
come to Pennsylvania, how many excuses did I make to get my 
shoulders from under the yoke ! and to prevail with my venerable 
husband not to go ! And although he did not consult flesh and 
blood in the way of duty, yet when the Lord so remarkably smiled 
upon his labors, I hope I saw my error. This is, and shall be matter 
of grief to me while I live. Oh ! may it never be a witness against 
me that I was so unwilling to come to the help of the Lord. Free 
mercy I plead, and I trust I was made to see and feel that if any 
man sin, there is an advocate with the Father — Jesus Christ. 

My care for your immortal part never left me in the midst of all 
my own perplexities and fears ; and when I had freedom for myself, 
your happiness was next to my own. Before your entrance into 


the world, (or before you drew the vital breath of life) my concern 
for you came next, which prompted me at one time to spend some 
time more than common to implore heaven in your behalf. It 
pleased God by his gracious influence to smile upon me and 
encourage my faith and trust for you. Now let this be an excite- 
ment to you, to be earnest for the salvation of your own souls, and, 
as it were, to storm heaven — offer violence to your carnal selves. 
For though none can win heaven by all they can do, yet the com- 
mand is, " Give all diligence :" he that sows sparingly, shall reap 
so. Otherwise it shall avail nothing that you have so many petitions 
put up for you. No doubt Darid often prayed for his wicked son 
Absalom, but we do not read of his saving change. It pleased the 
Lord farther at that time to strengthen my hope in this instance, 
in that your oldest brother was more than ordinarily solicitous to 
know what he should do to be saved, and took all opportunities to 
converse with such as could direct him the way to heaven. More 
than ordinarily, I say, because there are too lamentably few that at 
eight or nine years, are much concerned about the matter. But his 
sudden and admonishing death, at less than twelve years, may con- 
vince others that no age nor state is exempted — here I must stop, 
and mourn now, because I unreasonably grieved for his removal as 
if the Lord had not a sovereign right to do with all his creatures as 
he pleased ; which gave birth for every discontented thought, and 
liberty for Satan with all his artillery of hideous injections to destroy 
my peace and that submission that became a creature, and much 
more one that had been the subject of such favors as I trust I was. 
And though I was at times helped and could sweetly acquiesce in 
the divine will, yet it was never cured till a greater stroke was felt. 
And now "distress," as Young observes in the like case, "distress 
became distraction." And though, as the case was distressing for 
a father to be removed from being the head of a young family, the 
eldest not fourteen years, the Lord was pleased, to me a poor sinful 
creature, to strengthen me in such a way four days before the 
removal of my dearest friend upon earth ; yet how soon did I lose 
eight of the promises and grow discontented ; and although my 
temptations were different from the first in the death of my clear 
son, yet they were as aggravating and as pernicious to religion as 
the other. Life became a burden: nothing seemed to me more 
desirable than death, Jonah like, because I had not my desire, 
insensible of what or how I should die, or of the blessing of life 
and of the mercy of being with you. Oh ! 'how little do we know 
what spirits we are of ! And how weak is our strength when we are 
not able to go with the footmen when left ! how should we, if called, 
be able to resist even unto blood, when left to ourselves 2 

It pleased God in about a twelvemonth after, to remove my 
youngest son Isaac, which brought my sin to remembrance in caring 
so unsuitably in the last dispensation. My grief for his removal, as 
to myself, was not probably as much as it should be, for, at that time, 
I thought nothing could make another wound, but as I concluded it 


was for my sin that he was removed from all hopes of usefulness ; 
every affliction throughout that time appeared but small compara- 
tively — in comparison to the other two. But my God strengthened 
and upheld me through all my difficulties, and made me taste the 
sweetness of his promises and rely upon them with a firm confidence 
that my Maker was my husband, and that he had betrothed me to 
himself in judgment and in righteousness, and that I was still and 
should be the care of a kind Providence in all respects, as glory to 
his great name, we have been. This has been my refuge in all my 
difficulties that unavoidably will arise in a world of sin and temp- 
tation, and from contracted circumstances, as being the alone head 
of a family as to your support which has been always redressed 
better than I could ever think it would. And now, my dear chil- 
dren, I have given you some brief sketches of my life, and I wish 
it had been with less imperfections. I may with more justness call 
it out-breakings, but that the riches of free grace might be mani- 
fested to the greatest of sinners. As to my comforts or sweet 
manifestations of God's love in Jesus Christ and out-goings of soul, 
I have shunned to make much mention of, though my consolations 
have been neither few nor small ; blessed, forever blessed be his 
holy name. And farther, as my eternal state is not decided and I 
am yet in a world of sin and temptation, I thank my God I enjoy, 
at times, peace and serenity of mind and a good degree, and that I 
trust I am not deceived as to the state of my soul. And now, my 
dear children, may we be so happy through the riches of free grace 
in Christ Jesus, to meet at last at the right hand of God when He 
makes up his jewels, and be able to say, here am I and the children 
that God has graciously given me. Amen. 

If I should be judged by any of you so hard, as that I wanted 
to set myself off in your esteem, I think there is nothing in this 
relation that can give birth to such a surmise, as I told you in the 
beginning that I could not somehow get peace or satisfaction, as I 
looked upon it as a duty undone not to speak a few words to you 
after I could not speak after the manner 1 now do, and as I had 
often sifted the impulse, so when I was sick, March, 1763, when it 
pleased a gracious God to restore me again to you, I promised "in 
my mind, as I think I wanted my life should not be altogether use- 
less to you every way that I could, to attempt your good and com- 
fort ; and oh ! that I may be enabled as long as life lasts, to do some 
little for God's glory, as I have done to dishonor that religion I have 
professed. And now r , my dear children, I can't conclude with more 
striking words than the w^ords of your dying father; and may they 
ever be as a monitor to you, to see to it, that none of you be want- 
ing, which I would now reinforce'; and that you may be kept from 
evils that youth are exposed to, especially vain, light company, and 
even those that may be possessors too, for all have not grace that 
may make a large possession, and of such you may be in greater 
danger than of others. Therefore, live near God, and every day 
seek direction how to conduct your life, and grace to live the life 


of faith and mortification of sin. And now that you may be directed 
and conducted through this ensnaring world and be made meet for 
the inheritance of the saints in glory, is the desire of your mother 
that has always desired your eternal happiness. F. B. 

P. S. This covenant was made, or to the same effect, in the year 
1731, (it was lost, and this is now the reason of my renewing it in 
writing), in the same month, if I remember right, that I now renew it. 

happy day, when for some few days after, I was often, at my worldly 
employment, made to say, in the language of the blessed apostle, 
that I knew no man after the flesh. A heaven upon earth I then 
enjoyed, sin, I thought, had got a greater blow than I found soon 
after, to my cost, it wholly had. But I trust this day it had its 
beginning which will be perfected in glory at last. 

Aug. 14th, 1763. — thou eternal and ever blessed God, Father, 
Son, and Holy Ghost, who is the searcher of all hearts, thou knowest 
my sincerity, and what I am now about to do, and what thou hast 
commanded me to do ; thou art a present witness to this solemn 
transaction of my soul, which I am now about to renew — even a cove- 
nant dedication of myself, my soul, my body, and all I have or pos- 
sess, to be at thy disposal. It was thy free grace, through thy dear 
son, that first inclined my heart to fall in with this only method of 
escape from deserved wrath, through the alone merits of Jesus Christ, 
my only Saviour, and I do now here ratify the sacred obligation that 
was made for me in baptism, and that 1 trust I have solemnly and 
sincerely and voluntarily entered under, and sworn with the symbols 
of Christ's blood in my heart. I desire to present myself, with the 
deepest abasement, sensible how unworthy I am to come before 
the holy majesty of heaven and earth in any act of service ; and 
were it not that I am invited by the name of thy dear Son to trust 
in his perfect righteousness, I might indeed tremble to take hold of 
thy covenant. I do this day, with the full consent of will, surrender 
myself to thy disposal, to be ruled and governed in such manner as 
shall answer the purposes of thy glory. I leave future events to thy 
management. Command or require of me what thou wilt, only give 
me strength to perform, and I shall cheerfully obey. And although 

1 have, in a thousand instances, broken my solemn engagements in 
times past, and my treacherous heart has turned aside from thee, 
yet I do now earnestly implore thy Holy Spirit to assist me for the 
time to come, with more steadfastness to perform my vows. May I 
be safely conducted through life. As by thy power alone I shall 
be able to stand, let no temptation to sin, no allurement to the world, 
no attachment to flesh and blood, nor death nor hell force me to vio- 
late my sacred engagements to be> thine. Oh, let me never live to 
apostatize from thee. my dear glorious Creator, why didst thou em- 
ploy thy thoughts from all eternity for me ? Why was I not with 
some of my species, left to all the vice my nature was inclined to ? 
Why did thy Spirit strive with me so long, and even after, I trust, 
I had tasted ol thy love in pardoning so guilty a wretch as I am, 


who so often has crucified the Lord of Glory afresh, that even then 
that prayer was for me if upright : " Father forgive them." And now, 
may I, with humble trust and confidence, say, my Beloved is mine, 
and his desire is towards me, and therefore it is that my desire is 
towards him. Heaven and earth, and woods and vales, and all sur- 
rounding angels witness for me, that I am devoted to Thee, and when 
I will falsely or presumptuously deviate from this solemn engage- 
ment, let my own words testify against me. And now, thou Al- 
mighty God, may this covenant made on earth, (though by a sinful 
creature) be ratified in Heaven, through the merits of Jesus Christ. And 
when the solemn hour of death comes, strengthen me to rely on Jesus, 
who, I trust, has strengthened me to renew and make this covenant ; 
and let me remember this day's transaction to the last moment of my 
life. Bless the Lord, my soul, and all that is in me, who has 
crowned thee with loving kindness and tender mercies. With humble 
trust do I now subscribe my name to it. Frances Blair. 

James Creswell, the 17th member, pursued his studies for 
the ministry, while teaching school in Lancaster County, for Col. 
Gordon and a few neighboring gentlemen. Being highly esteemed, 
he was presented to Presbytery at Cub Creek, Oct. 6th, 1763, and 
was licensed at Tinkling Spring, May 2d, 1764. In October, 1765, 
at Lower Hico, in North Carolina, he opened with his trial sermon, 
the Presbytery met to ordain him ; and on Thursday, the 6th, was 
ordained by Messrs. Todd, Henry, and Pattillo, a committee ap- 
pointed for the purpose. He commenced his ministry with high 
expectations. But in a little time fell into improprieties, like Mr. 
Wright ; and like him passed from usefulness and honor through 
obloquy to forgetfulness. 

Rev. Charles Cummings, the 18th, finds his place with 
the history of the settlement of Holston, in this volume. 

Rev. Samuel Leake, the 19th member, has left no memo- 
rials of his early life. He met the Presbytery convened at Hico, 
North Carolina, Oct. 3d, 1765, for the ordination of Mr. Creswell, 
and was taken under their care. Mr. Todd having previously given 
him some parts of trial, they were, by consent of Presbytery, ex- 
hibited, and approved. Other parts were assigned him. He passed 
his final examination, and was licensed at the same time with Mr. 
Cummings, April 18th, 1766, at Tinkling Spring. The examination 
of these young men was full and particular. Mr. Leake was popu- 
lar as a preacher. In October, 1768, he accepted a call from 
Sandy River, Han, and Mayo, and preparations were made for his 
ordination, at Sandy River Meeting House, on the first Wednesday 
of the succeeding April. At Tinkling Spring, April 12th, 176^, the 
records say, that the order for a Presbytery at Sandy River to 
ordain Mr. Leake having failed, and he Laving become convinced 
that he could not "perlurm his duty without intolerable fatigue," 


the Presbytery " did not think it expedient to oblige Mr. Leake to 
settle there against his will. Upon this Mr. Leake returns their 
call." He accepted a call from the Rich Cove and North Garden, 
Albemarle County. Mr. Thomas Jackson having accepted a call 
from Cook's Creek and Peeked Mountain, in Rockingham, Mr. 
Leake was called on for his trial sermon for ordination, and he and 
Mr. Jackson both delivered the lectures assigned, these trials being 
approved, a Presbytery was appointed to be held at Cook's Creek 
for the ordination of both, May 3d, 1770, Mr. Craig to preside, and 
Mr. Brown to preach the ordination sermon. His pastorate was 
short, being brought to its end by his death, Dec. 2d, 1775. His 
children grew up in the congregation, and were agreeably married 
and settled, possessing the amiable disposition of their father. He 
was succeeded in his office by William Irvin, and he in turn by 
James Robinson. Mr. Robinson married a daughter of Mr. Leake, 
Mr. Andrew Hart another. A large proportion of the very nume- 
rous descendants have been pious possessors of religion. The bless- 
ing of God has rested on his house ; the Lord has chosen from it 
ministers of his sanctuary. 

Rev. David Caldwell, the twentieth minister, was received 
from New Brunswick Presbytery, Oct. 11th, 1767. A biography 
of much interest was published by his successor in office, Mr. Caru- 
thers. A chapter embracing his life may be found in the Sketches 
of North Carolina. 

Rev. Joseph Alexander, the twenty-first member, pro- 
duced to Presbytery, at the Byrd in Goochland, Oct. 11th, 1767, 
credentials from the Presbytery of New Castle, of his licensure, and 
of his having received and accepted a call from Sugar Creek, North 
Carolina, together with a recommendation for ordination. He was 
ordained at Buffalo, Guilford County, North Carolina, by the Pres- 
bytery met to instal Mr. Caldwell. His useful life was given partly 
to North Carolina, and principally to South Carolina. 

Rev. Thomas Jackson, the twenty-second member, was re- 
ceived a licentiate from New York Presbytery, Oct. 6th, 1768, at 
Mr. Sankey's meeting-house, in Prince Edward. Being recom- 
mended by Presbytery and the Synod, to the Presbytery of Donegal 
or Hanover, he chose to be under the care of Hanover ; and Synod 
having recommended that he be ordained as soon as possible, a 
lecture and a sermon were appointed him to be delivered at the 
Spring meeting. At Tinkling Spring, April 12th, 1769, he opened 
the Presbytery with his trial sermon. He delivered his lecture in 
company with Mr. Leake, and having accepted the call from Peeked 
Mountain and Cook's Creek, he was ordained in company with Mr. 
Leake at Cook's Creek, on the first Wednesday of the succeeding 
May. He was a successful minister, and much beloved by his 
charge. The people had much difficulty in fixing the places of his 


preaching. Cook's Creek, Linvel's Creek, Peeked Mountain, and 
Mossy Creek, all wanted a Sabbath in the month ; and some com- 
plained that Cook's Creek got more than her share from her loca- 
tion. His race was shorter than that of his companion in ordina- 
tion, Mr. Leake. He died May 10th, 1773. 

Rev. William Irwin, the twenty-third member, was taken 
on trials at Tinkling Spring, April loth, 1769; and licensed at the 
house of George Douglass, in the Cove congregation. Having 
accepted a call from Rockfish and Mountain Plains, he was ordained 
at Rockfish, April 9th, 1772. After Mr. Leake's death, in 1775, 
he preached for a length of time at the Cove. He was for some 
years Stated Clerk of Presbytery. In the intercourse of life his 
manners were pleasant; in the pulpit solemd. He made careful 
preparation for the exercises of the sanctuary. Amiable in disposi- 
tion, delicate in health, he never put himself forward or affected to 
take the lead, in matters of Church or State. The latter part of his 
life was much perplexed by a difficulty brought upon him, for some 
trivial matters, by members of his congregation. How great a fire 
a little matter may kindle, may be seen by perusing the numerous 
pages of the record of the protracted trial before the Presbytery, 
written out in the beautiful penmanship of Lacy. There is proof 
that an amiable man may be driven frantic by the pertinacity of 
well-meaning indiscreet members of his church. In his defence, Dr. 
"Waddell delivered a speech which, for argument, pathos, sarcasm, 
point, and flowing eloquence, surpassed, in the opinion of his young 
friends, all his other efforts in public. For a number of years before 
his death, Mr. Irwin had his residence in the Cove congregation, 
but through infirmity declined the pastoral office, and ceased to 
preach some years before his death. 

Rev. Hezekiah Balch, the twenty-fourth member, a 
licentiate of New Castle Presbytery, after preaching with accept- 
ance for some time in the wide bounds of Hanover, was received by 
the Presbytery, and ordained in March, 1770. He emigrated to 
Tennessee, and holds a place in the political and civil history of 
that State. 

Orange Preshytery formed. 

The Presbyterian ministers in North Carolina having increased to 
six in number, proposed the erection of a new Presbytery, by the 
name of Orange, having the Virginia line on the north, and indefi- 
nite boundaries south and west. To this the brethren in Virginia 
did not object. A petition sent to the Synod in May, 1770, signed 
by David Caldwell, Hugh M'Aden, Joseph Alexander, Henry Pat- 
tillo, Hezekiah Balch, and James Creswell, asking for a Presbytery 
to be constituted, was granted ; and the signers were erected into a 


Presbytery, the first meeting to be at Hawfield's, the first Wednes- 
day of September. The Synod added to the list the name of 
Hezekiah James Balch, from Donegal, a man famous for the part 
he took in the Mecklenburg Declaration, in 1775. 



Rockbridge County, Virginia, received her first white inhabitants 
in the year 1737. In the fall of that year, Ephraim M'Dowell and 
his wife, both advanced in years, with their sons James and John 
and daughter Mary, and her husband James Greenlee, were on their 
way from Pennsylvania, the landing-place of emigrants from the 
British dominions, to Beverly's Manor. Whether the parents were 
born in Scotland, and in early life emigrated to Ulster County, 
Ireland, or whether Ireland was their birth-place, is left in doubt. 
The advantageous offers made by Beverly to obtain settlers for his 
grant, in the frontier wilderness, were circulated in Pennsylvania, 
and not unknown in Europe. Allured by these, James M'Dowell 
the son, had in the preceding summer, visited the Valley of the 
Shenandoah, and raised a crop of corn on the South River. The 
family of emigrants winding their way to the provision thus made 
ready for their winter's support, had crossed the Blue Ridge at 
Wood's Gap, and were encamped on Linvel's Creek for the night. 
A man calling himself Benjamin Burden, presented himself at their 
encampment, and asking permission to pass the night in their com- 
pany, was cheerfully made partaker of their food and fire. As the 
evening passed on in cheerful conversation, he informed the family 
that his residence was in Frederick County, where he had obtained 
a grant of land from the Governor, in the bounds claimed by Lord 
Fairfax, the Governor contending that the Blue Ridge was the 
western boundary, and Fairfax claiming the Alleghenies ; that the 
Governor had promised him another grant of 100,000 acres, on the 
head waters of the James River, as soon as he would locate a hun- 
dred settlers ; and that to induce settlers to locate on his expected 
grant, he would give to each of them one hundred acres of land, 
upon their building a cabin, with the privilege of buying as much 
more as he pleased up to a thousand acres, at the rate of fifty shil- 
lings the hundred acres. In the course of the conversation, he 
learned that John M'Dowell had surveying instruments with him and 
could use them. After examining them carefully, he made propo- 
sitions to M'Dowell to go with him and assist in laying off his tract, 
offering him, for his services a thousand acres, at his choice, for 


himself, and two hundred acres, each, for his father and brother and 
brother-in-law ; for which he would make them a title as soon as the 
Governor gave him his patent ; which would be when a hundred 
cabins were erected. The next day John M'Dowell went with Mr. 
Burden to the house of Col. John Lewis, on Lewis Creek, near 
where Staunton now stands ; and there the bargain was properly 
ratified. From Mr. Lewis's they went up the valley till they came 
to North River, a tributary of the James, which they mistook for 
the main river, and at the forks commenced running a line to lay 
off the proposed tract. M'Dowell chose for his residence the place 
now called the Red House ; the members of the family were located 
around, and cabins were built. The neighborhood was called Tim- 
ber Ridge, from a circumstance which guided the location. This 
part of the valley, like that near the Potomac, was mostly destitute 
of trees, and covered with tall grass and pea-vines. The forest 
trees on this Ridge guided these pioneers in their choice and in the 
name. Burden succeeded in procuring the erection of ninety-two 
cabins in two years, and received his patent from the Governor 
bearing date, November 8th, 1739. This speculation, not being 
profitable, soon passed from the hands of the company, which was 
composed of Burden, Governor Gooch, William Robertson and others, 
and became the sole property of Mr. Burden. 

This Benjamin Burden was an enterprising man from New Jersey. 
The records of the court, in the famous land case, arising from the 
grant, speak of him as a trader visiting extensively the frontiers. 
His activity, and enterprise, and success, enlisted the favor of the 
Governor, who was desirous of securing a line of settlements in 
towns or neighborhoods, west of the Blue Ridge, both to extend his 
province, increase the revenues, and render more secure the counties 
east of that Ridge ; and he obtained a patent bearing date Oct. 3d, 
1734, for a tract of land on Spout Run in Frederick County, called 
Burden's Manor. Tradition says, that a young buffalo, caught by 
him in Augusta in the Gap that still bears that name, and taken to 
Williamsburg as a present to the Governor, had some influence by 
its novel appearance, in calling the attention of Governor and Coun- 
cil to that part of the frontiers. The speculations entered into by 
the Governor, Burden, Robertson and others contemplated grants 
to the amount of 500,000 acres. Benjamin Burden died in 1742. 
His will bears date the 3d of April of that year, and was admitted 
to record in Frederick County. His widow gave her son Benjamin, 
power of attorney dated March 6th, 1744, to adjust all matters con- 
cerning the grant in Rockbridge. At first from his youth and want 
of experience and the business habits of his father, the heir and 
agent was met with coldness and suspicion. But showing himself 
favorable to the inhabitants in not hastily demanding payments of 
debts ; and granting some patents promised by his father, but for 
some reasons held back, he soon became very popular ; married the 
widow of John M'Dowell, and lived on Timber Ridge till some time 


in 1753, when he fell victim to the small-pox, then infesting the 
country. His will bears date March 30th, 1753. He left two 
daughters ; one died unmarried, the other, named Martha, married 
Robert Hervey. His widow married John Boyer and lived to a 
great age. Joseph Burden, a son of Benjamin the grantee, claimed, 
as heir under his father's will, part of the unsold lands in the Rock- 
bridge grant, and commenced suit against Robert and Martha Her- 
vey ; and dying in 1803, in Iredell County, North Carolina (his will 
bearing date April 29th,) left the suit to be carried on by his heirs. 
This suit was in court many years ; and ultimately involved all the 
titles for land held under Burden's grant. The testimony and pro- 
ceedings in the case, occupy two large thick folios preserved in the 
clerk's office at Staunton. The preceding history is taken princi- 
pally from the testimony of Col. James M'Dowell, the grandson, 
and Mary Greenlee the sister of John M'Dowell, the surveyor of 
Burden's grant. 

John M'Dowell made choice of a pleasant and fertile possession ; 
and in a few years left it to his heirs. In the latter part of Decem- 
ber, 1743, the inhabitants of Timber Ridge were assembled at his 
dwelling, in mourning and alarm. To resist one of the murderous 
incursions of the Indians from Ohio, who could not yield the valley 
of the Shenandoah to the whites but with bloodshed, M'Dowell had 
rallied his neighbors. Not well skilled in savage warfare, the com- 
pany fell into an ambush, at the junction of the North river and the 
James, on the place long in possession of the Paxton family, and at 
one fire, M'Dowell and eight of his companions fell dead. The 
Indians fled precipitately, in consequence probably of the unusual 
extent of their murderous success. The alarmed population gathered 
to the field of slaughter, thought more of the dead than of pursuing 
the savages, whom they supposed far on their way to the West, took 
the nine bloody corpses on horseback and laid them side by side near 
M'Dowell's dwelling, while they prepared their graves in over- 
whelming distress. Though mourning the loss of their leading man, 
and unacquainted with military manoeuvres on the frontiers, no one 
talked of abandoning possessions for which so high a price of blood 
was given in times of profound peace. In their sadness, the women 
were brave. Burying their dead with the solemnity of Christian rites, 
while the murderers escaped beyond the mountains ; men and women 
resolved to sow their fields, build their church, and lay their bodies 
on Timber Ridge. Strange inheritance of our race ! Every advance 
in civil and religious liberty is bought with human life ; every step 
has been tracked with human blood. 

The burial-place of these men, the first perhaps of the Saxon race 
ever committed to the dust in Rockbridge County, you may find in 
a brick enclosure, on the west side of the road from Staunton to 
Lexington, near the Red-house, or Maryland tavern, the residence 
of M'Dowell. Entering the iron gate, and inclining to the left, 
about fifteen paces you will find a low unhewn limestone, about two 


feet in height, on which in rude letters by an unknown and unprac- 
tised hand, is the following inscription, next in age to the school- 
master's memorial to his wife, in the grave-yard at Opecquon. 





Mary Greenlee lived to a great age, and retained her memory, 
and spirit, and vivacity to the last, unharmed by the hardships and 
changes in life, from the time of an early disappointment in love, 
which gave a peculiar turn to the action of her mind, through the 
fatigues of emigration when twenty-six years of age, the labors of 
a new settlement, and some peculiar difficulties arising from her 
native shrewdness and many peculiarities. Endowed with powers 
of mind beyond the ordinary measure, and possessing great inde- 
pendence of character, she excited suspicious apprehensions among 
her more simple-minded neighbors, who believed, as was the fashion 
of the times, most devoutly in the existence of witches, and the 
power of witchcraft, to which many events were, by common con- 
sent, attributed. Happening one day, during a quilting at her 
house, to say, in a jocular manner, to a lady who had been very 
industrious, and whom she was pressing to eat more freely — " the 
mare that does double work should be best fed;" it was construed 
according to the mysterious jargon of the craft to mean — that she 
herself was a witch, and this woman the mare she rode in her nightly 
incursions. Some losses of stock occurred about the same time, as 
in the case of Mr. Craig, of the Triple Forks, and the slander was 
spread abroad with many additions. The indignation of the super- 
stitious was aroused, and Mrs. Greenlee scarcely escaped a trial for 
witchcraft, according to the ancient laws of Virginia. In the 
famous trial between Burden's heirs, she underwent a long examina- 
tion, testing her temper and her memory, in the April of 1806. In 
the midst of the examination, the question was put to her — "How 
old are you ?" She smartly replied — "Ninety-five the 17th of this 
instant; — and why do you ask me my age? — do you think I 
am in my dotage?" Among other things in the course of the 
voluminous testimony taken in Burden's case, it is stated that an 
Irish girl, Peggy Milhollen, built a number of cabins, and entered 
them upon the list for cabin rights ; and managed the matter with 
adroitness above suspicion till long after the registry was made ; 
thus accomplishing a double purpose, helping Mr. Burden to the 
requisite number of cabins for his grant, and herself to abundant 
landed possessions. 

Ephraim M'Dowell and his wife were advanced in life when they 
came to America. Their son John emigrated a widower, and mar- 


ried a Miss Magdaline Woods. At his death he left her with three 
children, Samuel, James, and Martha. Samuel was Colonel of 
militia in the battle of Guilford, North Carolina. He married a Miss 
Mary McClung ; his daughter Magdaline married Andrew Eeid, 
son of Andrew and Mary Reid, of Rockfish, and father of Samuel 
M'Dowell Reid, the present Clerk of Rockbridge County. James 
married a Miss Cloyd, and died about 1770, aged thirty-five years, 
leaving three children, James, Sarah, and Betsy ; James, the great- 
grand-child of Ephraim, married Sarah Preston, grand-daughter 
of John Preston, the emigrant, was the father of the late Governor, 
James M'Dowell, and is the Colonel M'Dowell whose evidence in 
the case of Burden afforded in part the information respecting the 
early history of Rockbridge. Martha was married to Colonel George 
Moffitt, of Augusta, a gentleman much engaged in the Revolutionary 

The first church-building on Timber Ridge was of wood, and stood 
about three miles north of the present stone building, and less than 
a mile south of the Red house, on the west side of the road, near 
an old burying-ground in the woods, where there are now seen many 
graves, and a few monuments. In the division which took place in 
the Presbyterian church, in the years 1741-5, this congregation 
sympathised with the new side, and were supplied with missionaries 
from the Presbyteries of New Castle, New Brunswick, and New 
York. In the year 1748, they, in conjunction with the people of 
Forks of James, made out a call for the ministerial services of Wil- 
liam Dean, of New Castle Presbytery, which was presented to 
Synod of New York, whose records say — Maidenhead, May 18th, 
1748 — u A call was brought into the Synod to be presented to the 
Rev. Mr. Dean, from Timber Ridge and Forks .of James river ; 
the Synod refer the consideration thereof to the Presbytery of 
New Castle, to which Mr. Dean doth belong, and do recommend it 
to said Presbytery to meet in Mr. Dean's meeting-house, on Wed- 
nesday next upon said affair ; and that Mr. Dean and his people be 
speedily apprized of it." Mr. Dean was one of those referred to 
by Mr. Craig, that troubled parts of his congregation on some 
missionary visits to the valley. The race of this warm and ardent 
preacher was soon brought to a close. His death occurred soon 
after this call. In 1753, this congregation united with New Provi- 
dence in presenting a call to Mr. John Brown, a graduate of Nassau 
Hall, Princeton, in 1749, and a licentiate of New Castle Pres- 
bytery. He had visited the frontiers and was willing to cast his lot 
among them. The paper presented to Presbytery has been pre- 
served by the descendants of Mr. Brown in Kentucky. 

Worthy and Dear Sir : — We being for these many years past 
in very destitute circumstances, in want of the ordinances of the 
gospel among us, many of us under distressing spiritual languish- 
ments, and multitudes perishing in our sins for the want of the bread 
of life broken amongst us, our Sabbaths wasted in melancholy 
silence at home, or sadly broken and profaned by the more thought- 



less amongst us, our hearts and hands discouraged, and our spirits 
broken with our mournful condition and repeated disappointments 
of our expectations of relief in this particular ; in these afflicting 
circumstances that human language cannot sufficiently paint, we 
have had the happiness by the good providence of God of enjoying 
a share of your labors to our abundant satisfaction ; and being 
universally satisfied with your ministerial abilities in general, and 
the peculiar agreeableness of your qualification to us in particular, 
as a gospel minister ; we do, worthy and dear sir, from our hearts 
and with the most cordial affection and unanimity, agree to call, 
invite, and request you to take the ministerial care of us — and we 
do promise that we will receive the word of God from your mouth, 
attend on your ministry, instructions and reproofs, in public and 
private, and to submit to the discipline which Christ has appointed 
in his church administered by you, while regulated by the word of 
God, and agreeable to our Confession of Faith and Directory. 
And that you may give yourself wholly up to the important work 
of the ministry, we do promise that we will pay unto you annually, 
the sum which our Commissioners, Andrew Steel and Archibald 
Alexander, shall give in to the Reverend Presbytery from the time 
of your acceptance of this our call ; and that we shall behave our- 
selves towards you with all that dutiful respect and affection that 
becomes a people towards their minister, using all means within our 
power to render your life comfortable and happy. We entreat 
you, worthy and dear sir, to have compassion upon us, and accept 
this our call and invitation to the pastoral charge of our immortal 
souls, and we shall ever hold ourselves bound to pray. We request 
the Reverend Presbytery to present this our call to the said Mr. 
Brown, and to concur in his acceptance of it — and we shall always 
count ourselves happy in being your obliged humble servants. 

John Houston, 
Andrew Steel, 
Samuel Buchanan, 
Alexander Walker, 
Walter Eakin, 
William Lockbridge 
Alexander Miller, 
Francis Beaty, 
John Hawely, 
John Stuart, 
William Wardlaw, 
Alexander Walker, 
John Houston, Jr., 
John Moore, 
Samuel Houston, 
Samuel Steel, 
John Sprowl, 
James Coulter, 
Robert Reagh, 
John Robinson, 
Matthew Robinson, 


John Kerr, 
John Loggan, 
James Eakin, 
John Montgomery, 
James Lusk, 
Robert Gamble, 
John Ross man, 
William Berry, 
James Trimble, 
Robert Robertson, 
John Shields, 
Charles Berry, 
John M'Crosky, Jr., 
John Patton, 
Robert Henry, 
John Winiston, 
James Walker, 
David Sayer, 
James Robinson, 
Samuel Hay, 
Joseph Kennedy, 

Samuel M'Cutchon, 
William Smith, 
Thomas Hill, 
George Henderson, 
John M'Crosky, Sen., 
Alexander M'Crosky, 
Robert Kirkpatrick, 
John Douglass, 
John Walker, 
William Reah, 
John Wardlaw, 
Robert Weir, 
Alexander Moor, 
Matthew Houston, 
William Whiteside, 
Thomas Berry, 
William Robinson, 
Samuel Dunlap, 
Halbert M'Cleur, 
John M'Nabb, 
William Caruthers, 



William Gray, 
James M'Clung, 
David Dryden, 
George Stevenson, 
William Hamilton, 
Thomas M'Speden, 
Joseph Hay, 
Francis Allison, 
John Smily, 
James Greenlee, 
Thomas M'Murry, 
James M'Dowel, 
Rodger Keys, 
Thomas Paxton, 
Nath. Peoples, 
xVlexander M'Cleur, 
Robert Allison, 
Moses Whiteside, 

James M'Clung, Jr 
Snmuel Lyle, 
John M'Cleur, 
Matthew Lyle, 
James Thomson, 
John Davison, 
James Edmiston, 
Robert Houston, 
John Keys, 
John Stevenson, 
Jacob Gray, 
Nath. M'Cleur, 
Edmund Hearken, 
Samuel Paxton, 
William Lusk, 
Thomas Dryden, 
Edward Gaor, 
Samuel Davis, 

William Davis, 
Charles M'Anelly, 
Neal M'Glister, 
John Lowry, 
Andrew Fitzpatrick, 
Samuel Gray, 
John Lyle, 

Archibald Alexander, 
John Macky, 
Baptist M'Nabb, 
Moses Trimble, 
Magdalen Burden, 
Samuel M'Dowel, 
Widow M'Clung, 
John Mitchel, 
Daniel Lyle. 
Agnes Martin. 

Mr. Brown became their pastor. He was united in marriage to 
the second daughter of John Preston, Margaret, born in Ireland, 
1730, a lady of strong intellect, a cultivated mind, and much energy 
of character. The high esteem in which he was held by her parents, 
is chronicled in the saying of Mr. Preston, that "he devoutly thanked 
God that he had a Presbyterian minister connected with his family." 
For a succession of years he served the two congregations which 
were adjoining, each very extensive. Mr. Brown was of the new 
side in the division which then existed in the Synod. We have but 
few memoranda of his proceedings for a few years. His residence 
was about a quarter of a mile from the north end of the village of 
Fairfield, in the direction of New Providence, a very convenient 
position for his extensive charge. Of the course he pursued during 
the distresses of the Indian incursions in the Valley in Braddock's 
war, we have but one single notice, and that is in the journal of 
Hugh McAden, given in the Sketches of North Carolina, pp. 162, 
163. Mr. Brown continued his ministrations throughout the whole 
Indian war. Mr. Craighead with his family and a large part of his 
congregation removed from their exposed position in the Cowpasture, 
and sought a residence in North Carolina. We have no historical 
data for an opinion as to his courage, but from his associations with 
Davies, cannot believe him less courageous than Craig. 

The elders in Timber Ridge, in Mr. Brown's time, were, Wm. 
McClung, Archibald Alexander, Daniel Lyle, John Lyle, John 
McKay, Alexander McCleur, and John Davidson. In New Provi- 
dence, John Houston, Samuel Houston, James Wilson, Andrew Steel, 
and John Robinson. 

Before the time of Mr. Brown, there was a classical school at New 
Providence ; and Mr. Robert Alexander taught in the bounds of 
Timber Ridge the first classical school in the Valley. Mr. Brown 
kept up a nourishing "grammar school" near his residence. His 
dwelling was about three-fourths of a mile from the south end of the 
present village of Fairfield, in a westward direction ; and the Academy 
.stood about a mile from his house, and about the same distance from 



the north end of the village. In 1774 the Presbytery of Hanover 
adopted the school, and appointed William Graham teacher, under 
the care of Mr. Brown. In 1777 the school was removed to Timber 
Ridge. From thence it was removed to the neighborhood of Lex- 
ington. For a series of years its history is inwoven with the life of 
"William Graham. It is now Washington College. (See the first 
series of Sketches of Virginia, Chapter 21st.) 

The records of Hanover Presbytery, for October 11th, 1767, at 
Bird Meeting House, say, " Mr. Brown laid before Presbytery the 
extent of his charge, and the difficulties of performing the duties of 
his functions, and also declared to the Presbytery that he verily be- 
lieves that his usefulness is at an end in Timber Ridge Congrega- 
tion ; and as he apprehends it would be for the good of said Con- 
gregation that the pastoral relation he sustains to them should be 
dissolved (the people of Timber Ridge in the mean time petitioning 
against his dismission, and sending commissioners to oppose it), the 
Presbytery having maturely considered the affair, do not pretend to 
oblige Mr. Brown to continue with that people contrary to his incli- 
nation, but leave it to himself to continue with them, or confine him- 
self to Providence, at his own discretion ; but do earnestly recommend 
it to Mr. Brown not to give up his pastoral relation to Timber Ridge, 
and leave that people destitute, since there appears to be a mutual 
regard between them and him. But if he should leave Timber Ridge, 
the commissioners from Providence having represented to the Pres- 
bytery the earnest desire of that Congregation to have the whole of 
his labors, and the ease with which they can give him a comfortable 
support." What the difficulty between Mr. Brown and Timber Ridge 
Congregation was does not appear, but he withdrew from the minis- 
terial care of that people, and confined his labors to New Providence 
the remainder of his active life. 

The amount of salary promised by the commissioners to the Pres- 
tery in 1753 is not known. The Congregation at New Providence 
in 1767 promised to give him §80 per annum. There is a paper in 
Mr. Brown's handwriting purporting to be an account of money 
received from the congregations under his care, the only paper of 
its kind, relating to the salaries of ministers, of the last century, 
that is made public, except that giving the subscription in part for 
Mr. Waddell by Tinkling Spring. 

New Providence, 1754. 

s. d. 


Joseph Kenedy 1 

John Koseman , 1 

Andrew Steel 2 

Jonn Montgomery 1 

James Trimble 1 

William Smith 15 

Patrick Purter 5 \ 

William Wardlow 1 

Matt. Houston 1 

Alexander Miller « 1 


3 4 

1 8 


2 6 

£> s. d. 

Robert Weir 15 

Win. and Thos. Berry 1 12 

John Stewart 15 

George Henderson 12 6 

Alexander Walker (E.) 15 

Alexander Moore 13 

Samuel Buchanan 1 

John Houston 13 9 

James Cuulter 15 

James "Walker 140 

1 H 



£ .?. d. 
John Handly 15 

James Eaken 

James Robinson 1 

17 6 

£ s. d. 

Wm. Edmiston ..,1 

Andrew Steel 1 5 

Robert Gamble, by John Logan 10 

John Logan 15 

Edward McColgan 10 

Robert Reagh 1 10 

James Lusk 10 

In 1755 the same names, marked with *, with the addition of: — John Edmis 
ton, £14 4; Samuel Houston, £1 1 4J ; Thomas Hill, £0 15 ; James Moore 
£0 17 0: John McCroskey, £1 10 : Robert Culton, £0 8 ; Ann Wilson 
£10 0; Wm. Reagh, £1 17 8 ; Widow Smith, £0 15 ; John Logan, £0 12 
Samuel McCutchan, £1 3 10 ; John Walker, £0 15 0. 

Matthew Robinson 10 

John Robinson. 5 

John Walker 15 

Walker Eaken 1 50 

Timber Ridge, 1754. 


Alexander McClure* 1 

Nathaniel McClure* 1 

Halbert McClure 

Wm. Caruthers* 

Moses Trimble 

John Lowry* 

David Dryden* 
Robert Alison* 

-.... 1 


Wm. Lusk 1 

Robert Houston* 1 

Mr. Boyer* 2 

Daniel Lyle* 1 

John Lyle* 1 

John Stevenson* 1 

John Patton*. 

James Thompson* 1 

Archibald Alexander* 1 

John Macky* 1 

Baptist McNab* 

James McClung, Jr.* 

Wm. Gray* 

s. d. 

5 9 

11 6 








15 0; 


Samuel Gray* 

John McClure* 

Moses McClure* 1 

James McClung* 1 

James Greenlee 1 

Joseph Hays 

Wm. McClung* 1 

John Keys 

Samuel Lyle* ) 1 

John Davison* j 

John Davison 

Nathan People* 

Thomas Paxton* 1 

George Stevenson* 1 

John Smiley* 

Thomas McSpeden 

Moses Whiteside* 

Andrew Fitzpatrick 

Neal McCleaster* 

Wm. Davis* 

Samuel Davis* 

s. d. 



1 6 



1 7* 






15 3 






10 0; 

10 0; 

The names marked* for 1755, with additions, viz: — John Alison, £0 
John Mitchell. £060; Samuel McDowel, £060; James McKee, £0 
Wm. Young, £0 15 0. 

These subscriptions were undoubtedly liberal for the circumstances 
of emigrants. The country was new, and their distance from mar- 
ket great ; and few at the time wealthy, and none in possession of 
much money. Were the prices of grain and different kinds of stock 
preserved, the relative value of salaries at that and the present time 
could be estimated, and would show well for both periods. At the 
earnest entreaty of New Providence, Mr. Brown confined his labors 
to that congregation the latter years of his residence in Virginia. 

After the Academy became established at Lexington, and that 
village grew in importance, and was supplied with regular preach- 
ing, Timber Ridge was greatly curtailed on that side, and by a simi- 
lar increase of Fairfield it was lessened on the other side. But 
there has ever been, under the variety of pastors and supplies, since 
the time of Mr. Graham, a congregation of great worth assembling 


in the Stone Church now giving evident signs of age. The associa- 
tions with the house, and the very rocks around, remain vividly in 
the hearts of those accustomed in youth to assemble here on the 
Lord's Day. Governor McDowell passed this meeting house always 
with reverence, often in tears, and when he came in sight of the 
great rock, the landing place of his father and mother, and himself 
when a child, on the Sabbath day, he was known often to have 
raised his hat. with a burst of emotion. What had God wrought 
from the time his ancestor was murdered by the savages, till he 
himself became Governor of Virginia ! In 1796, Mr. Brown, 
weighed down with the infirmities of age, resigned his charge of 
New Providence, and welcomed Mr. Samuel Brown as successor in 
influence and usefulness. He soon followed his children to Ken- 
tucky, and in a few years closed his life. The inscription over his 
grave in Frankfort, is : — " The tomb of the Rev. John Brown, who, 
after graduating at Nassau Hall, devoted himself to the ministry, 
and settled at New Providence, Rockbridge County, Virginia. At 
that place he was stated pastor forty-four years. In the decline of 
life he removed to this country, to spend the feeble remainder of his 
days with his children. He died in the 75th year of his age, A. D. 
1803." His wife preceded him to the grave, dying in 1802, in her 
73d year. This worthy couple reared seven children : — 1st. Eliza- 
beth, who married Rev. Thomas B. Craighead, of Tennessee ; 2d. 
John — a student at Princeton when that institution was broken up 
by the British — represented the district of Kentucky in the Virginia 
Legislature — and was in the old Congress of '87 and '88, and in the 
new of '89 and '91 ; married Margaretta Mason, sister of Rev. John 
M. Mason, of New York. 3d. William — educated at Princeton — a 
physician — died early, in South Carolina. 4th. Mary — married 
Dr. Alexander Humphreys. 5th. James — a lawyer ; first Secre- 
tary of State in Kentucky, member of the United States Senate 
from Louisiana, six years American Minister in France ; married 
Ann Hart, sister of Mrs. Henry Clay. 6th. Samuel— an eminent 
physician and professor in the Medical School of Transylvania. 
7th. Preston — a physician. 

The Alexander family formed a part of the Timber Ridge settle- 
ment and congregation. In giving farther specimens of the gene- 
alogies of the Scotch-Irish emigrants, of which numbers may be 
found, there are reasons why that of this family should be chosen 
for the public eye. The sons of a certain Archibald Alexander 
removed from Scotland to Ireland, in the great immigration in the 
early part of the 17th century. Their names were, Strong, Wil- 
liam, and Thomas. One of these had a son William, remarkable 
for his corpulency. This William had four sons, Archibald, William, 
Robert and Peter. Peter died in Londonderry ; the other three 
removed to America about the year 1736. Archibald, the eldest, 
born in the Manor of Cunningham, Ireland, Feb. 4th, 1708, married 
his cousin Margaret Parks, Dec. 31st, 1734, — " a pious woman, of 
a spare frame, light hair, and florid countenance." Their eldest 


child Eliza, was born in Ireland, Oct. 1735. They took their resi- 
dence in America in 1737, near Nottingham. Here their children, 
William, Ann, Joseph, and Hannah were born. Mr. Alexander 
being persuaded by his wife to hear Mr. Whitefield, became a con- 
vert. In the division of the Presbyterian Church which followed 
the great revival, the family was numbered with the new side — or 
new lights. Their place of worship was called Providence. 

About the year 1747, this Mr. Archibald Alexander joined the 
settlement and congregation of Timber Ridge, Virginia, and took 
his residence on the South River, a tributary of the James, opposite 
the mouth of Irish Creek. The country is rough but well watered. 
It abounded in timber and was desirable for grazing. Here his 
children Phoebe and Margaret were born. Mr. Alexander formed a 
part of the first session of the Church of Timber Ridge. Rev. 
Samuel Davies visiting the congregation, lodged at his house; his 
daughter Hannah, that married James Lyle, used to tell of his gold- 
headed cane given him in England, and his gold ring presented by 
an English lady. Mr. Alexander went as the Elder from Timber 
Ridge, with Mr. Steel of Providence, to present the call for Rev. 
John Brown, in August 1753. Before his return his wife suddenly 
died of dysentery. In 1757, he was married to his second wife, 
Jane M'Clure. Their children were Isabella, Mary, Margaret, John, 
James, Samuel, Archibald and James. Of his fifteen children, 
three girls died young. Six sons and six daughters became heads 
of numerous families. His grandson Archibald Alexander D. D., 
says of his grandfather — " He was rather below the common height, 
thick-set, broad-breasted and strongly built. His face was broad, 
his eyes large, black and prominent. The expression of his coun- 
tenance, calm and benignant his manner of speaking; was very kind 
and affectionate." Such a man, fearing God, could not fail to impress 
the community with a conviction of his personal bravery. Of course 
when the young men wanted a captain of Rangers, they naturally 
looked to tk old Ersbell" Alexander; and he as naturally went along 
to tell the boys what to do, — when to march, — where to camp, — 
what was right, and what was wrong. As to the fighting, every 
man expected to do that, when it was wanted, without much order 
or direction. The • authority of the father, the grandfather, the 
elder, the captain, and above all, the irreproachable man, was un- 
limited. Mr. Burden employed Mr. Alexander very extensively in 
his affairs ; and at his death, left him to fill up the deeds for lands. 
This delicate business he performed to the entire satisfaction of the 
purchasers and the heirs. He entered into no speculations while 
settling the intricate affairs of Mr. Burden's estate. His stern hon- 
esty and calm uprightness, Archibald Alexander bequeathed to his 
children, baptized into the everlasting covenant of God the Re- 
deemer. No one expected a descendant of "old Ersbell" to be 
greedy, or avaricious, or pinching, or unkind, or indolent, or igno- 
rant, or very rich. But the public did expect them to know their 
catechism, to be familiar with their Bible, to keep the Sabbath, to 


fear God, keep a good conscience, with industry and economy to be 
independent, and at last to die christianly. Mr. Alexander taught 
his children for a time himself ; and to accommodate his neighbors 
and encourage his own children, he opened a night school in the 
winter — and thus supplied the deficiency of proper teachers. His 
brother Robert Alexander, was a fine classical scholar. He also 
removed to Virginia, and made his residence near the present village 
of Greenville, in Augusta. He taught the first classical school in 
the Valley. 

William, the eldest son of this Archibald Alexander, born in 
Pennsylvania, near Nottingham, March 22d 1T38, came to Virginia 
with his parents when about nine years of age, and grew up in the 
retirement and hardships of a frontier life. He was familiar with 
the Larger Catechism from his childhood, and could repeat the 
greater part of the Psalms and Hymns in Watts' version, and was 
well acquainted with Christian doctrine. He was married to Agnes 
Ann Reid, a young lady reared like himself in the simplicity of 
frontier life, and in the Presbyterian faith, retiring in her manners, 
and affectionate in her disposition. Her grandfather Andrew Reid, 
came from Ireland with two brothers, and settled in Octorara, Penn- 
sylvania, having the Shawanese as their neighbors. Her father, An- 
drew, was born in Ireland and emigrated at the age of 14. He 
married his cousin Sarah, daughter of John Reid, and removed to 
Virginia. The children of William Alexander were Andrew, Mar- 
garet, Archibald, and Sarah, born on Irish Creek ; Phoebe, Eliza- 
beth, John, Nancy, Ann, and Martha, born on North River, near 
the present town of Lexington. His mercantile arrangements being 
broken up by the Revolutionary war, Mr. Alexander became deputy 
Sheriff of the county, his father being the High Sheriff. As an 
elder of the Church he was highly respected, though his children 
say he was not as impressive in religion as their grandfather. When 
the Academy, now Washington College, was removed to the vicinity 
of Lexington, the buildings were ejected on his lands ; and in the 
charter obtained in 1782, he was named one of the Trustees. In 
fostering that institution, he secured to his sons the best education 
the Valley of Virginia could afford. 

Archibald Alexander, dear to the Presbyterian Church as the 
first Professor of Theology in the Assembly's Seminary, at Prince- 
ton, New Jersey, was the third child and second son of William 
Alexander and Agnes Ann Reid, born April 17th, 1772, on South 
River, Rockbridge County, Virginia. He grew to early manhood 
on the banks of North River, near Washington College, as it now 
stands. The early instruction of Mr. Alexander was at an "old 
field" school, and under very indifferent teachers. With these he 
saw or heard nothing to awaken desires for literary excellence. In 
his youth, he came under the instruction of his pastor, William 
Graham, whose teachings were not calculated to foster self-conceit; 
and in the estimation he formed of himself fell vastly below the 
grade of excellence assigned him by his venerable teacher. At 


Liberty Hall, he also had the instruction of that surpassing teacher 
James Priestley. This man loved the classics passionately. Grow- 
ing up on Timber Ridge, he attracted the attention of his minister, 
and by his aid and devotion acquired an education at Liberty Hall. 
His Greek and Latin approached the vernacular. The finest pas- 
sages of the classics were lodged in his memory. He would declaim 
before the boys, in Greek, with the greatest vehemence. In various 
ways he inspired them with the most enthusiastic ardor in their 
pursuit of knowledge and literary eminence. He became to his 
pupils the standard of excellence in classic attainments ; and mea- 
suring themselves and others by him, they cultivated a refined taste 
and a correctness altogether beyond the common standard. His 
influence on young Alexander remained through life, exciting to 
greater and greater acquirements in the languages. The memory 
of this man stimulated him in Spottsylvania and in Prince Edward. 
The standard of classical acquirements raised by that man has been 
as influential in Virginia and the Western States, as Graham's 
Philosophy. And how he became such a linguist no one can tell 
any more than how Graham became master of such a philosophy. 
The power of such men is never lost. 

At the age of seventeen, young Alexander was employed as tutor 
in the family of General Posey, of Spottsylvania, about twelve miles 
from Fredericksburg. Here he became acquainted with the manners 
of the more refined of low Virginia, whose beauty was in part in 
that simplicity that ever characterized him in all his stations of 
life. Here, to preserve his character as tutor, he made great ad- 
vance in his acquaintance with classic authors. Here, he began to 
feel his personal responsibility to God, and to act for himself. Here, 
by the instrumentality of a pious member of the family, he felt his 
own need of conversion ; and here, as he fully believed in after life, 
he was born again. The examples and instructions of former years 
became, under the Spirit's influence, a quickening power. The 
human hand that applied the match to the train was a Baptist lady, 
of whom there remains on earth no other memorial ; and Flavel was 
the instrument she used. Hid that woman live in vain ? The place 
in which the Spirit opened his eyes, might be found on the banks of 
the little creek near General Posey's dwelling. Soamme Jenynscame 
to his aid — " When I ceased to read, the room had the appearance 
of being illuminated," and the same blessedness, perhaps in a higher 
degree, came to his heart as he prayed in the arbor on the little 
creek. Having fulfilled his engagements with General Posey, he 
returned to Rockbridge, and was sensible, for the first time in his 
life, of the beautiful scenery around the place of his childhood. How 
should he know the excellence to which his childish mind had been 
accustomed, and assimilated, till he had looked on other things, and 
lost, in a manner, the vision of his earliest days ? The place of his 
childhood, the purity of his father's house, the excellence of his 
academical instructors, the refinement of his first field of effort, the 
gentle influence of a pious lady — all prepared him, under the guid- 


ance of the Holy Spirit, for that visit to Prince Edward and Char- 
lotte, memorable in the history of many. 

Rev. J. B. Smith, of Hampden Sidney, invited Rev. William 
Graham, of Liberty Hall, to visit him, and be a co-laborer at a 
communion, while the extensive revival was in progress. Mr. Gra- 
ham had been the means of putting Liberty Hall far ahead of all the 
literary institutions in Virginia, except Hampden Sidney ; and Mr. 
Smith had put Hampden Sidney above all except Liberty Hall. 
Some small collisions had taken place. Each with the other stood 
upon his dignity. When this invitation came, Mr. Graham resolved 
to go. God had revived his brother Smith, and in that blessing had 
exalted him above his head ; and he meant to bow to the favored 
one of the Lord. Archibald Alexander, and some other young men, 
accompanied him. The journey was on horseback, and full of 
interest. It afforded the pupil a full and free conversation with his 
teacher, on the subject of justification by faith, and the work of the 
Spirit. The exercises of the communion season had commenced 
when they reached Briery. The excitement on religion was high, 
and its influence over the young people generally controlling. Le- 
grand rejoicing in the success of his mission to North Carolina, was 
there with a company of professed converts from Granville County. 
The woods rang with the songs of praise as the companies of young 
people rode to and from public worship. The meeting of the two 
Presidents was touching. Smith rejoicing in the work of God, 
heartily welcomed, with Christian dignity, his brother Graham. 
Graham returned the salutation with urbanity, but evidently as 
depressed in mind as he was wearied in body from the ride through 
a long hot day. They lodged at the house of widow Morton, a con- 
vert of Davies. Mr. Smith called on William Calhoon to pray, and 
William Hill to exhort ; both young converts. Young Alexander 
was greatly moved by Hill's address. Mr. Smith gave a warm 
address. Mr. Graham with great oppression of heart led in prayer. 
The young people thought Mr. Graham cold, and urged Mr. Smith 
to preach the action sermon on Sabbath morning, because Mr. Gra- 
ham was not prepared, as they thought, for ttie occasion. Smith 
suffered himself to be persuaded, through fear that ill might come 
to the cause. Graham gladly listened to his brother as he preached 
from the words — " The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a 
broken and contrite heart, God, thou wilt not despise !" The 
crowd was great. Preparation had been made to hold all the ser- 
vices in the open air. The coming of rain changed the purpose 
alter sermon, and the sacrament was administered in the house. 
Whiie the change of airaugement was going on, Mr. Legrand 
preached from the horse-biocK, and Mr. Samuel Houston did the 
same while the services were progressing in the house. After the 
sacrament, Mr. Graham preached in the house, from the words — 
" Comfort ye, comfort ye, my peopie, saith your God.'* Smith had 
set forth the acceptable sacrifice ; Graham held forth the comfort 
God gives when iniquity is pardoned and the warfare over, the 


wonderful mercies God bestows on his church in revivals and gifts 
of grace. The cloud had gone from his mind, and the weight from 
his heart. The crystal fountain poured forth its living waters. 
Smith was amazed ; the crowd enwrapt ; and Graham scarce knew 
himself as be was borne along by the tide of feeling, and the vast 
truths of grace. The rain came on, and the house was crowded to 
its utmost capacity. Graham turned his address to the impenitent. 
Silent, motionless, almost breathless, all heard the sermon to the 
close. Was that the man, " too cold to preach the action sermon ? 
"Was that Mr. Graham, or an angel from heaven ? Smith wept with 
thanksgiving. The sweet harmony of that hour was unbroken 
through life. After a half century, the survivors of that crowded, 
assembly would talk of that sermon. The "Womacs, the Aliens, the 
Mortons, the Venables, the Spencers, the Watkinses, sinking with 
age would rouse upon mention of that text — Comfort ye, comfort 
ye, my people — " that was Mr. Graham's text." Mr. Smith repaid 
Mr. Graham's visit. His sermons in the Valley were remembered 
as Mr. Graham's were east of the Ridge, particularly the one on — 
" Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish." 

Mr. Alexander was not prepared to commune. To see his cool, 
reasoning pastor all on fire amazed him. " Ye comfortless ones" 
met his ear as he entered the house. " Ye comfortless ones" pre- 
faced many sentences, and rung for days and nights in the ears of 
sinners without hope, and of saints without joy. More distressed 
than ever, Mr. Alexander wondered he could not feel like his pastor. 
Mr. Smith told him his exercises as yet had been vain. He tried to 
give up all hope, but could not be exercised as those around him 
were. , On his return home, he laid his case before Mr. Mitchel, of 
Bedford, who gave him counsel that led him to hope in Christ as 
his Saviour. The company tarried a few days in Bedford in the 
congregation of Mesrss. Mitchel and Turner. A revival was in 
progress there, and many young people from the valley were assem- 
bled to partake, if possible, of its blessings. They all returned 
together, about thirty in number, and as they slowly crossed the 
mountains, the woods and valleys echoed with the songs of praise. 
The little village of Lexington was moved at their coming, and at 
night heard for the first time the voice of a youth in prayer, and 
that youth, Archy Alexander. There was no house for public wor- 
ship in Lexington. The congregation had hitherto assembled at 
New Monmouth. The young converts were full of hope that a 
revival would be felt in Rockbridge. Legrand, with his sweet, earnest 
voice and pathetic exhortations, and Graham, with his entreaties, 
and tears, and clear sermons, were, with the news from abroad and 
the sight of the converts at home, the means of awakening multi- 
tudes. In the experience of a religious nature as related by the 
converts, were found distinct views of truth, deep conviction of sin 
and ill-desert, much distress in view of sinfulness and wrath, and a 
clear view of mercy by the cross of Christ in laying sin on Christ 
and reckoning righteousness to the sinner. Mr. Alexander had 


many days of deep distress ; and the coming of hope was like the 
shining lio-ht. Every one but himself believed that he was chosen 
of God for a minister of the gospel ; and nobody but himself 
doubted of his conversion. 




Mr. James Campbell was presented to Presbytery, April 26th, 
1770, by Mr. Thomas Jackson, as an — " acquaintance of all the 
members and of worthy character ; and was licensed at the D. S. 
Oct. 10th, 1771, and sent to visit the vacancies, particularly the 
pastures, Timber Ridge, Forks of James, Sinking Spring, Hat 
Creek, and Cub Creek. Oct. 15th, 177-2, at the same place, the 
Presbytery was informed of his death ; and recommended that any 
dues for his services as a minister be sent to his parents. 

Mr. Samuel Edmundson was received on trials for licensure Oct. 
15th, 1772 ; and was licensed Oct. 14th, 1773, at Rockfish meet- 
ing-house ; and sent to supply Cook's Creek, Linvel's Creek, Peeked 
Mountain, and Mossy Creek, made vacant by the death of Mr. 
Jackson. He soon removed to South Carolina, where he spent a 
useful life. 

25th. Caleb Wallace, the twenty-fifth member, born in Char- 
lotte County, and graduated at Princeton, 1770, was received at 
Tinkling Spring, April 13th, 1774, as licentiate of New Castle 
Presbytery. On the 3d of October ensuing, he was ordained at 
Cub Creek, pastor of Cub Creek and Little Falling river, Mr. 
David Rice presiding, and Mr. Leake giving the charge. In 7779, 
he removed to Botetourt ; and in 1783 emigrated to Kentucky. 
Abandoning the ministry, he entered upon the profession of Law, 
was successful, and became Judge of the Supreme Court. 

26th. William Graham, the twenty-sixth member, has a place 
m the first series of Sketches of Virginia. His name is inseparable 
from Washington College, Lexington, Virginia. 

James Templeton was received as candidate at Timber Ridge, 
April 13th, 1775, a graduate of Nassau Hall — "bringing recom- 
mendation from I)r. Witherspoon." He was licensed at the house 
of John Morrison, on Rockfish, Oct. 26th, 1775 ; and soon removed 
to South Carolina. 

Samuel M'Corkle was, Oct. 26th, 1775, received as probationer 
from the Presbytery of New York. He was very acceptable to the 


churches, and received calls from Oxford, High Bridge, and Falling 
Spring, but declined settling in Virginia. A sketch of his life may 
be found in " Sketches of North Carolina. 

27"th. Samuel Stanhope Smith, the twenty-seventh member of 
Presbytery, was received as probationer from New Castle Presby- 
tery, Oct. 27th, 1775, at Rockfish, without the usual testimonials. 
The Presbytery recommended him — " to procure a dismission, and 
produce it to Presbytery as soon as he conveniently can." The 
Presbytery proceeded to ordain him — " and Mr. Smith now takes 
his seat as a member of Presbytery together with his elder, Mr. 
James Venable." The reasons given for this unusual course is — 
" seeing a call from the united congregations of Cumberland and 
Prince Edward has been presented to him, and he being encouraged 
to receive it by said Presbytery," (New Castle) — "which amounts 
to a dismission and recommendation, we judge it safe to receive 
him." He was installed Nov. 9th, 1775 ; and in May, 1776, he 
tells Presbytery he has his dismission, and will produce it at next 
meeting. Oct. 28th, 1779, he was released from his pastoral charge, 
and his duties as President of Hampden Sidney College, and im- 
mediately removed to Princeton to take the chair of Professor of 
Moral Philosophy, at Nassau Hall. He was the father of Hampden 
Sidney, in Virginia; and in his old age referred to it with deep 
emotion. He was the means of introducing his brother John Blair 
Smith, and also William Graham to the Presbytery and the institu- 
tions in Prince Edward and Rockbridge. He was President of 
Nassau Hall for many years. A sketch of his life belongs to the 
history of that College. 

28th. John B. Smith, the twenty-eighth member, was received a 
candidate June 18th, 1777, and was licensed at the house of Dr. 
Waddell in Tinkling Spring Congregation, June 9th, 1778. An 
extended account of his services is given in the first series of these 

29th. Edward Crawford a graduate of Princeton, 1775, was 
received a candidate in the fall of 1776. On the 31st of October, 
1777, at Buffalo it was ordered — "that Messrs. Crawford, Scott 
and Doak be introduced to complete their literary trials, and after 
long and particular examination of each of them, in Science, Moral 
Philosophy, and Theology, and Mr. Crawford in the languages, — 
Resolved, that they (the examinations) be accepted as the conclusion 
of their trials previous to their being licensed. And the license of 
the Presbytery to them to preach the gospel in the churches was 
intimated to them accordingly, accompanied with a solemn charge 
from the Moderator." A call from Sinking Spring, and Spreading 
Spring was presented Mr. Crawford at Mountain Plains, October 
27th, 1778, and by him accepted. At the division of the Presby- 
tery 1786, he was one of the constituents of Lexington Presbytery. 


He afterwards removed to Tennessee and became a member of Ab- 
ingdon Presbytery. 

30th. Mr. Archibald Scott, the thirtieth member, was licensed 
with Messrs. Crawford and Doak. A notice of him appears with 
the history of Bethel, in this volume. 

31st. Samuel Doak was licensed with Messrs. Scott and Craw- 
ford. His history belongs to Tennessee, the scene of his labor, and 
object of his love. Some notices of him may be found in the 
Sketches of North Carolina, under the head of Emigrations to 
Tennessee. ' 

32d. John Montgomery, the thirty-second minister, was received 
as candidate October 31st, 1777, Mr. Graham representing him — 
" a young gentleman of the County of Augusta, who had finished 
his education in the College of New Jersey, 1775." He was licensed 
at Mountain Plains, with Mr Erwin, October 28th, 1778 ; and on 
April 26th, 1780, at Tinkling Spring — " Presbytery agree to or- 
dain Mr. John Montgomery to the sacred work of the gospel min- 
istry, that he may be more extensively useful." Next day he was 
ordained. Three calls were put in for him, October 23d, 1781, at 
Concord ; — one from Bethel, Washington County, — one from Con- 
cord and Providence, and one from Winchester, Cedar Creek and 
Opecquon. He accepted the last. After spending a few years with 
these congregations, he, to their great regret, removed in 1789, and 
made his residence in the Pastures, Augusta, where he inherited 
property. Here he passed the remainder of his life. Previous to 
his ordination he was associated with Mr. Graham in the instruc- 
tion of Liberty Hall. He was a very popular preacher, a good 
scholar, an esteemed relative, and an amiable man. In the division 
of the Presbytery he was assigned to Lexington. In the latter part 
of his life, his ministry was interrupted by bodily infirmities. 

33d. James M'Connel, a graduate of Princeton, 1773, was re- 
ceived at Tinkling Spring April 29th, 1778, as probationer from 
Donegal. Having accepted a call from Oxford, High Bridge and 
Falling Spring, he was ordained at High Bridge June 18th, 1778. 
By indiscretion and want of family economy, he became involved in 
difficulties and ceased to serve the congregation. In the year 1787 
he removed beyond the Alleghenies. 

34th. Benjamin Erwin, the thirty-fourth member, was a gradu- 
ate at Prfticeton 1776, was received as candidate April 30th, 1778, 
and exhibited pieces of trial given him by Mr. Graham on account 
of his inability, by sickness, to attend a previous meeting of Pres- 
bytery; was ordained at Mossy Creek June 20th, 1780, pastor of 
Mossy Creek and Cook's Creek. On the formation of the Virginia 
Synod, he became a member of Lexington Presbytery. He died 


pastor of his first charge. George A. Baxter, D. D. grew up under 

his ministry. 

85th. William Wilson, the thirty-fifth member of the Presby- 
tery, grew up in New Providence, under the ministy of John Brown ; 
but was born August 1st, 1751, in Pennsylvania. His father, an 
emigrant from Ireland, in his youth was a hearer of Mr. Whitefield 
in Philadelphia, and became, in consequence, a hopeful convert to 
Christ. When about forty years of age he removed to Virginia, 
and settled about twelve miles east of Lexington, and became a 
member of New Providence Church. His connexion was continued 
about fifty years. His devoted piety in his family, and his inter- 
course with his fellow-men, were remarked by people among whom 
professors of religion were common. " How I did delight," said the 
Bev. Samuel Houston, " when a young man, to hear the old man 
pray and read Flavel's Sermons. He numbered ninety-four years ; 
his wife, religious like himself, survived him two years, and died at 
the same age. His eldest son William they brought with them from 
Pennsylvania ; and away on these frontiers sought for him a classi- 
cal education, that he might be, what he became, a minister of the 
gospel of Christ, and numbered him among the students at Mount 
Pleasant, that germ of Washington College. At that school he be- 
came a proficient in geography, mathematics and the classics. In 
his advanced years he exhibited a curious phenomenon of mental and 
physical organization. Under a severe attack of erysipelas he in a 
great measure, for a time, lost the memory of his mother tongue. 
He could not give the name of anything he wanted in English ; but 
could readily give it in Greek or Latin. At times, almost uncon- 
sciously, he was running over his school exercises in Greek with 
great fluency and correctness. In his old age he often employed 
himself in solving algebraic questions to preserve the tone of his 
mind from the effects of age. An examination by him in Presby- 
tery was considered by candidates an ordeal. For a time after he 
completed his course at the academy, he taught the Washington 
Henry Academy in Hanover County with great approbation. But 
finding the climate not favorable to his health, he returned to his 
native valley. When ordained to the ministry, he made the thirty- 
fifth member of Hanover Presbytery. He was received as candidate 
April, 1779, and in the fall of the same year, October 28th, was 
licensed in Prince Edward in company with James Campbell. On 
the last Wednesday of November, 1780, was ordained at the Stone 
Church, upon the hill, and installed pastor of the llock of Christ 
worshipping there, succeeding Mr. Craig after a vacancy o£ about six 
years. He prepared his sermons with care, writing snort notes in 
his early ministry, not writing out in full any sermon. In later life 
he trusted his memory entirely. He was orthodox, instructive, in- 
teresting and evangelical. And with reluctance the people of 
Augusta listened to his proposition for a dissolution of the pastoral 
relation on account of infirmities, principally the effects of erysipelas 


in the head. While he lived, and his life was protracted nearly a 
quarter of a century after he resigned his charge, the congregation 
listened with pleasure to his preaching. Dr. Speece said the last 
sermon the venerable man preached a little before his death, " was 
not inferior in vigor of thought, methodical arrangement, or anima- 
tion of manner to any that he had ever heard him deliver." He 
believed in revivals of religion, and was blessed with them in his 
charge in common with his brethren in the Valley. In the awaken- 
ing of 1801 and onwards, he was an actor. He visited the Little 
Levels where the revival was first felt in Virginia ; and some of his 
young people that accompanied him, became, with himself, not only 
deeply interested in the religious, mental and heart excitements, 
but also felt something of the bodily exercise. Not knowing how 
to account for the exercises, and having felt them in his most devout 
approaches to God in worship, he was inclined to defend them as 
innocent, and for some unexplained reason a necessary appendage 
of the work of grace ; after a time he joined with his brethren in dis- 
couraging their appearance, not by direct opposition, but by refusing 
to encourage them, while he cherished carefully every appearance 
of a gracious work. On principle he was an attendant upon the 
judicatories of the church, and a promoter of education. He en- 
couraged and assisted two* of his brothers in obtaining a liberal 
education ; and in his old age adverted to this fact with great satis- 
faction. Thomas became a lawyer, and served in the Legislature 
and in Congress ; Robert became a minister of the gospel, and 
removed to Kentucky ; his piety was above the usual order — " he 
was great in the sight of the Lord." Each of these brothers gave 
a daughter to the cause of foreign missions. Mrs. Louisa Lowrie, 
daughter of Thomas, went to India ; and Mrs. Andrews, daughter 
of Kobert, to the Sandwich Islands. He excelled in pastoral visi- 
tations, having a great facility in accommodating himself to the 
mind and condition of people. " I have had a dream," said one of his 
liock — " an old man appeared to me, and gave me a rusty guinea, 
and told me to sprinkle water on it. I did so, and it remained 
rusty. He told me to pour water on it. I did so, and it remained 
rusty. Drop it in the stream, said he ; I did so, and immediately 
it became bright. Now, what do you think of it ?" " Why," said 
he very gravely, " if it had been a young man that appeared it 
might have been something — but it was an old man — and the Scrip- 
tures says 'put off the old man and his deeds.' " The perplexity 
of the poor man was gone in a moment : a causeless anxiety was 
removed by a play upon words. His successor, Dr. Speece, found 
him a warm and steady friend, and cherished for him the kindest 
feeling and most respectful regard. 

Mr. James Crawford was received candidate at the same time 
with William Wilson, April, 1779, and licensed with him Oct. 28th, 
1779. Mr. Davidson, in his History of Kentucky, pp. 79 and 80, 
gives all the memoranda concerning him that have been preserved. 


Mr. Terah Templin was licensed by Hanover Presbytery, at Tinkling 
Spring, April 28th, 1780. He grew up near the Peaks of Otter, and 
received his preparatory education under his pastor, David Rice. 
He was ordained in Kentucky, in 1785, and died Oct. 6th, 1818. 
Davidson's Kentucky gives a short sketch of him. 

36th. Samuel Shannon was received as candidate, Oct. 26th, 1779, 
from Donegal Presbytery, a graduate of Princeton 1776, introduced 
to Presbytery by Mr. Waddell. After passing examinations in Greek 
and Latin, reading a Homily, and preaching a sermon, he was ad- 
vised by Presbytery, at Falling Spring, Oct. 24th, 1780, to abandon 
preparation for the ministry, on account of the time he had been in 
study, and the manner he had acquitted himself in divinity and 
moral philosophy. The next year he appeared before Presbytery, 
Oct. 25th, 1781, passed his examinations with James Mitchel, and 
was licensed with him. Receiving a call from Windy Cove and 
Blue Spring, he was ordained on Cowpasture, Nov. 24th, 1784, at 
the house of Mrs. Lewis. In April, 1787, he was relieved from his 
charge, and removed to Kentucky. He died in Indiana, in 1822. 
For further notices of him, see Davidson's History, p. 83, et alibi. 

37th. James Mitchel, the 37th member, has an appropriate 
sketch in this series. 

38th. Of Moses Hoge, the 38th member, there is a short me- 
moir in Sketches of Virginia, and some further particulars in the 
chapter of this series, containing the history of Hampden Sidney, 
after the removal of Rev. Archibald Alexander from the Presidency 
of the College, to Philadelphia. 

39th. John McCue was received candidate in the spring of 1781, 
and was licensed at Timber Ridge, May 23d, 1782. He was ordained 
the first Wednesday of August, 1783, having accepted a call from 
Camp Union near Lewisburg, and Good Hope, in Green Brier. In 
1791 he was relieved from this charge to take the pastoral care of 
Tinkling Spring and Staunton. Further notices of him will be 
found under the Chapter, Tinkling Spring. 

40. Adam Rankin, a native of Western Pennsylvania, was re- 
ceived candidate, November, 1781, at the Stone Meeting House, 
Augusta, and at New Providence was licensed, Oct. 25th, 1782, in 
company with Samuel Houston, Samuel Carrick, and Andrew 
McOlure. October 29th, 1783, steps were taken preparatory for his 
ordination, and he was enrolled at Bethel, May 18th, 1784. He 
emigrated to Kentucky, and is the hero of many pages of David- 
son's History of the Presbyterian Church in Kentucky. A man of 
fiery zeal, he believed himself called of God to reform the church, 
particularly in Psalmody. 


41st. Samuel Carrick, the forty-first member, native of Adams 
County, Pennsylvania, was born July 17th, 1760. At an early 
period of his life he went to the Valley of Virginia ; and prepared 
for the ministry under the instruction of William Graham. He was 
received as a candidate the last Wednesday of November, 1781, at 
the Stone meeting-house, Augusta ; was licensed at New Providence, 
October 25th, 1782, with Rankin, Houston, and McClure ; and was 
ordained and installed pastor of Rocky Spring and Wahab meeting- 
house, on the Cowpasture, at the house of Mr. James Hodges, on 
the fourth Wednesday of November, 1783. He made frequent 
visits to the south-western frontiers as a missionary ; and in the 
year 1789, removed to Tennessee, and took his abode on the Hol- 
ston, about four miles from Knoxville, in sight of Boyd's Ferry. 
In 1794, at the opening of the Territorial Legislature, in February, 
he preached before that body at their invitation, on the second day 
of their session. He was chosen by the Legislature President of 
Blount College, named in honor of the Governor, now known as the 
East Tennessee University. He organized the first regular Presby- 
terian church in Tennessee, at the junction of the French Broad and 
the Holston, called Lebanon ; and soon after the church in Knox- 
ville. He held the Pastorate of these two churches, and the Presi- 
dency of the College, till 1803, when he resigned the charge of 
Lebanon. The office of President of the College, and pastor of the 
church in Knoxville, he held till his sudden death. From the his- 
torical sermon delivered by the Rev. R. B. McMullen, pastor of the 
first Presbyterian church in Knoxville, March 25th, 1855, the 
authority for some of the preceding facts, we also learn that among 
the elders of those two churches were numbered James White, 
George McNutt, John Adair, Archibald Rhea, Dr. James Cosby, 
and Thomas Gillespie. White, McNutt and Adair were members 
of the Convention for forming the Constitution of the State. McNutt 
was from Virginia ; White and Adair from North Carolina. The 
death of Mr. Carrick was ordered in very peculiar circumstances, in 
his 50th year. The usual summer sacramental meeting had come. 
He spent much of the night of the 5th of August, 1809, in prepa- 
ratory study for the duties of the occasion. Very early on the 
morning of the 6th, he was struck with apoplexy, and in a few mo- 
ments his spirit was with his Redeemer. 

42d. Samuel Houston, the forty-second member, has an appro- 
priate sketch in this series. 

43. Andrew McClure, born in Augusta County, 1755, was 
received as candidate, November, 1781, at the Stone meeting-house, 
Augusta County ; licensed, October 25th, 1782, at New Providence, 
with Messrs. Houston, Rankin, and Carrick. Accepting a call from 
the North Fork of Roanoke, he was ordained May 9th, 1784. He 
removed to Kentucky in 1786, and occupies a place in Mr. David- 
son's History. He died in 1793. 


44th. The forty-fourth member, and the last ordained by the 
Presbytery before the formation of Virginia Synod, was John D. 
Blair, son of John Blair, Professor of Theology in Princeton Col- 
lege, and nephew of Samuel Blair, the instructor of Davies and 
Rodgers. He was born 15th of October, 1759, and was graduated 
when quite young, in the year 1775, at Princeton. He made pro- 
fession of religion at an early age. Before he left his minority he 
was elected tutor of his alma mater under Dr. Witherspoon. On 
the application of Edmund Randolph, Esq., to Dr. Witherspoon for 
a qualified teacher for Washington Henry Academy, in Hanover, 
Mr. Blair came to Virginia in the year 1780. He presided over 
the Academy with much usefulness and credit, for a number of 
years. Oppressed with the view of the spiritual desolations around 
him, his mind and heart were drawn to the subject of his early 
meditations and desires, the ministry of the gospel. He was .re- 
ceived as candidate by the Hanover Presbytery, May 20th, 1784, 
at Bethel; and was licensed at Timber Ridge, October 28th, of the 
same year. He became pastor of the church in Hanover County, 
gathered by Davies on the ground where Morris had his reading- 
room, and his own father had preached with success. The record 
of his ordination is lost ; but it necessarily took place previously to 
May, 1786, as he that year was enrolled a member of the Synod. 
About the year 1792, he was induced to remove to the city of 
Richmond, and open a classical school, and divide his ministerial 
services with Pole Green church in Hanover, and the city. Having 
no church building in the city, he held public worship at the capitol, 
alternating his Sabbaths with Rev. John Buchanan at the Episcopal 
church. These two ministers maintained the kindest relations 
through life. They were both remarkable for amiability of manners 
and purity of morals. Mr. Buchanan, being a bachelor, took fre- 
quent opportunities of manifesting his sympathy and respect for his 
brother Blair and his family, by kiud and complimentary acts, such 
as sending marriage fees to Mrs. Blair, and encouraging the atten- 
tions of others. Mr. Buchanan manifested the same generous spirit 
to Mr. and Mrs. Rice. When the monumental church was built 
upon the ruins of the burned theatre, the tradition is — that Messrs. 
Buchanan and Blair were of the opinion, the building should be 
occupied as the capitol had been, and be a memorial and a place of 
worship for the two denominations most interested in the sad event 
of the night of the 26th of December, 1811, and the subsequent 
transactions. When by extraneous influence the discussion was 
going on, whether the church building should have a denominational 
character, and to which it should be given, Mr. Blair from motives 
of delicacy kept back from the discussion. It was believed that 
had he exerted the influence of which he was capable, and entered 
the arena of debate, his opinion would have prevailed, whether he 
had advocated the use of the building as open and free as the deso- 
lation of the event it commenorated had been wide and general, or 
wnether he had contended that if any denomination should have the 


preference it should be his own. He chose to keep silence, and 
after a long discussion, under various influences, on February 7th, 
1814, one hesitating vote decided the character of the monumental 
church. That part of the congregation, worshipping in the capitol, 
that adhered to Mr. Blair, made preparations for the erection of a 
house of worship for their own special occupancy; and as church 
building in those days was a work of slow progress, in the most 
favorable circumstances, the design was not fully completed till the 
autumn of 1821. To this new house, called the Presbyterian 
church on Shockoe Hill, Mr. Blair transferred his services. But in 
a few months increasing infirmities brought his ministerial labors 
to a close. He united with the church in obtaining the services of 
Rev. John B. Hoge, who continued their pastor about four years. Mr. 
Blair lingered till the 10th of January, 1823, and departed in his 
64th year, with these words upon his lips — "Lord Jesus, into thy 
hands I commit my spirit." During his active life, his modesty put 
a seal upon his lips in reference to his religious experience. On 
his dying-bed he felt called upon to speak out his hopes. He 
declared that Christ was the only rock on which a sinner could 
build for eternity; and that trust in him was the best evidence of 
fitness for heaven ; that his early convictions and experience retained 
their hold upon his heart. He was confined to his bed for several 
months previous to his death, and bore his pains with patience, 
waiting — "all the days of his appointed time." According to his 
request his body was taken to the church before interment, and an 
address made by his co-pastor, announcing his firm adherence in 
death to the doctrines he had preached through life, and the com- 
fort these had given him in his near approach to the grave. 

The. estimation in which Mr. Blair was held as a teacher, by his 
brethren, may be known from the fact, that the Board of Trustees 
of Hampden Sidney College, in the year 1796, invited him to the 
Presidency. Upon his declining to leave Richmond, Mr. Alexander 
was prevailed upon to accept the oifice. 

Rev. John Buchanan, the friend and fellow-laborer of Mr. Blair, 
died on the 19th of December, 1822, about three weeks before his 
friend. Of these two men Dr. Bice says — " They lived together 
in Richmond, in habits of closest intimacy, and most devoted iriend- 
ship, for five and thirty years. No jealousy, no unfriendly collision 
of sentiment was ever known between them. They lived and loved 
as brethren ; and interchanged in the pulpit and out of it, offices of 
unstinted, unreserved kindness." It is also related that when Mr. 
Buchanan, at the approach of death, requested that the prayers of 
the church should be offered up in his behalf, his friend was not 
forgotten; for in the most affecting accents he added — "Pray also 
for Blair." 





The enterprise and bravery of the pioneers of Washington 
County, Virginia, gave birth to events of romantic interest in poli- 
tics, religion and war. Ex-Governor Campbell, near Abingdon, thus 
writes : 

Montcalm, Nov. 12th, 1851. 

Dear Sir — I failed to take my intended journey to Tennessee, 
and will now endeavor to answer some of your inquiries, in your 
letter of the 7th of October. The first emigration to the Holston 
Valley, was about the year 1765 — In that year John Campbell ex- 
plored the country, and purchased land for his father David Camp- 
bell and himself. The first settlers were from Augusta, Frederick, 
and the other counties along the Valley of Virginia — from the 
upper counties of Maryland and from Pennsylvania, were mostly 
descendants from Irish stock, and were generally Presbyterians, 
where they had any religious opinions — a very large proportion 
were religious and many were members of the Church. There were 
however some families, and among the most wealthy, that were 
wild and dissipated in their habits. I send you enclosed by the 
same mail that carries this letter, a copy of the call to the Rev. 
Charles Cummings, signed by one hundred and thirty-eight heads 
of families. In my early life I knew personally, many of those 
whose names are signed to it — and I knew nearly all of them from 
character. They were a most respectable body of men ; were all 
whigs in the revolution, and nearly all — probably every one of 
them, performed military service against the Indians — and a large 
portion of them against the British, in the battles of King's Moun- 
tain, Guilford court-house, and otber actions in North and South 
Carolina. The Campbell family, from which I am descended, were 
originally from the Highlands of Scotland, and emigrated to Ire- 
land about the latter end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth. John 
Campbell, my great-grandfather, with a family of ten or twelve 
children, came to America in 1726, and settled in Lancaster County, 
Pennsylvania. He had six sons — three of whom, Patrick, Robert 
and David, emigrated with him from Pennsylvania, to what was then 
Orange, but afterwards Augusta County, about the year 1730. 
Patrick was the oldest child and grandfather of General William 
Campbell of the Revolution. David was the youngest, and was my 
grandfather. He married in Augusta County, Mary Hamilton, and 
had seven sons — John, Arthur, James, William, David, Robert and 
Patrick. All except William, who died when a young man, emi- 
grated to Holston ; John, Robert and Arthur before their father, 
the other three with him. The other sons of John Campbell had 


families, and their descendants are scattered over many of the 
States of the West. William B. Campbell, a young man and lately 
elected Governor of Tennessee, is my nephew, and is the grandson 
of Margaret Campbell, one of the daughters of my grandfather, 
David Campbell. The Edmiston, or Edmondson family, that came 
to Holston, was a very large and respectable one, numbering some 
ten or fifteen families. They were zealous whigs, and William the 
oldest brother was Major in the regiment from this county, that 
behaved so gallantly in the battle of King's Mountain. Two of 
his brothers, Captain Andrew Edmiston and Lieut. Robert Edmis- 
ton, and a cousin Captain William Edmiston, were killed in that 
battle. The Vance, Newell and Blackburn connection was very 
large and respectable. The Rev. Gideon Blackburn once of Ten- 
nessee, and one of the most distinguished pulpit orators of his time, 
was of the same Blackburn stock. Col. Samuel Newell, son of 
Samuel Newell who signs the call, was a distinguished officer in the 
battle of King's Mountain and a man of fine talents. He died in 
Kentucky. The Buchanan family was a numerous one, all worthy 
people. There were four brothers of the Davises and three of the 
Craigs, all very worthy men — also several brothers of the Low- 
reys and Montgomerys, equally worthy. William Christian was 
from near where Fincastle now stands — was a man of fine intellect, 
and distinguished in western warfare. Benjamin Logan was the 
same man who went to Kentucky, and became a distinguished man 
there. There are on the list many others whose families have done 
well in the western countiy. I will omit at present going into more 
detail, and indeed I do not know that I can give you any informa- 
tion further that would deserve your notice. I have not given you 
any particular account of my immediate ancestors, supposing it 
would not be suitable from me. 

Most respectfully, your obedient servant, 

David Campbell. 

A call from the united congregations of Ebbing and Sinking 
Spring, on Holston's rive Fincastle Connty, to be presented to the 
Rev. Charles Cummings, minister of the gospel, at the Rev. Pres- 
bytery of Hanover, when sitting at the Tinkling Spring : 

Worthy and dear Sir — We being in very destitute circumstances 
for want of the ordinances of Christ's house statedly administered 
amongst us ; many of us under very distressing spiritual languish- 
ments ; and multitudes perishing in our sins for want of the bread of 
life broken among us ; our Sabbaths too much profaned, or at least 
wasted in melancholy silence at home, our hearts and hands dis- 
couraged, and our spirits broken with our mournful condition, so that 
human language cannot sufficiently paint. Having had the happiness, 
by the good Providence of God, of enjoying part of your labors to 
our abundant satisfaction, and being universally well satisfied by our 
experience of your ministerial abilities, piety, literature, prudence 



and peculiar agreeableness of your qualifications to us in particular 
as a gospel minister — we do, worthy and dear sir, from our very 
hearts, and with the most cordial -affection and unanimity agree to 
call, invite and entreat you to undertake the office of a pastor among 
us, and the care and charge of our precious souls — and upon your 
accepting of this our call, we do promise that we will receive the 
word of God from your mouth, attend on your ministry, instruction 
and reproofs, in public and private, and submit to the discipline 
which Christ has appointed in his church, administered by you while 
regulated by the word of God and agreeable to our confession of 
faith and directory. And that you may give yourself wholly up to 
the important work of the ministry, we hereby promise to pay unto 
you annually the sum of ninety pounds from the time of your ac- 
cepting this our call ; and that we shall behave ourselves towards 
you with all that dutiful respect and affection that becomes a people 
■ towards their minister, using all means within our power to render 
your life comfortable and happy. We entreat you, worthy and dear 
sir, to have compassion upon us in this remote part of the world, 
and accept this our call and invitation to the pastoral charge of 
our precious and immortal souls, and we shall hold ourselves bound 
to pray. 

George Blackburn, 
William Blackburn, 
John Vance, 
John Casey, 
Benjamin Logan, 
Robert Edmondson, 
Thomas Berry, 
Robert Trimble, 
Wm. McGaughey, 
David Dryden, 
Wm. McNabb, 
John Davis, 
Halbert McClure, 
Arthur Blackburn, 
Nathl. Davis, 
Saml. Evans, 
Wm. Kennedy, 
Andrew McFerran, 
Saml. Hendry, 
John Patterson, 
James Giimore, 
John Lowrey, 
Wm. Christian, 
Andrew Colvill, 
Robert Craig, 
Joseph Black 
Jonathan Douglass, 
William Berry, 
John Cusick, 
James Piper, 
James Harrold, 
Samuel Newell, 
David Wilson, 
David Craig, 

Robert Gamble, 
Andrew Martin, 
Augustus Webb, 
Samuel Brigg, 
Wesley White, 
James Dorchester, 
James Fulkerson, 
Stephen Jordan, 
Alex. Laughlin, 
James Ingiish, 
Richard Moore, 
Thomas Ramsey, 
Saml. Wilson, 
Joseph Vance, 
William Young, 
William Davidson, 
James Young, 
John Sharp, 
John Long, 
Robert Topp, 
John Hunt, 
Thomas Bailey, 
David Gattgood, 
Alexr. Breckenridge, 
George Clark, 
James Molden, 
William Blanton, 
Chrisr. Acklin, 
James Craig, 
Joseph Gamble, 
John McNabb, 
Chrisr. Funkhouser, 
John Funkhouser, 
John Funkhouser, Jr., 

John Sharp, 
John Berry, 
James Montgomery, 
Samuel Huston, 
Henry Cresswell, 
George Adams, 
George Buchanan, 
James Dysart, 
William Miller, 
Andrew Leeper, 
David Siiodgrass, 
Danl. McCormick, 
Francis Kincannon, 
Joseph Snodgrass, 
James Thompson, 
Robert; Denniston, 
AVilliam Edmiston, 
Saml. Edmiston, 
Andrew Kincannon, 
John Kelley, 
John Robinson, 
James Kincannon, 
Margaret Edmiston, 
John Edmiston 
John Boyd, 
Robert Kirkham, 
Martin Pruitt, 
Nicholas Brobston, 
Andrew Miller, 
Alexander McNutt, 
William Pruitt, 
John McCutchen 
James Berry, 
James Trimble, 



William Berry, 
Moses Buchanan, 
David Carson, 
Samuel Buchanan, 
"William Bates, 
William McMillin, 
John Kennedy, 
Robert Lamb, 
Thos. Rafferty, 
Thomas Baker, 
John Groce, 
Robert Buchanan, 

Thomas Evans, 
William Marlor, 
Wm. Edmiston, 
Thos. Edmiston, 
John Beaty, 
David Beaty, 
George Feator, 
Michl. Halyacre, 
Stephen Cawood, 
James Garvill, 
Rob. Buchanan, Jr., 
Edward Jamison, 

Richard Heggons, 
John Lester, 
Hugh Johnson, 
Edward Pharis, 
Joseph Lester, 
Saml. White, 
William Lester, 
William Page, 
Saml. Buchanan, Jr., 
Thomas Montgomery, 
Samuel Bell, 
John Campbell. 

Montcalm, Nov. 29, 1851. 

Dear Sir — I had the pleasure of receiving by the last mail your 
letter of the 18th inst. — and on further consideration have concluded 
to comply with your views. I do not know that what I have written 
will be worthy of notice, and I am not in sufficient health to revise. 
You must make what you can of it. 

Yours most respectfully, David Campbell. 

The Campbells of Ilohton. 

John Campbell, the great ancestor of the Campbells of Holston, 
came from 'Ireland to America, with a family of five grown sons 
and several daughters in the year 1726, and first settled in Lan- 
caster County, Pennsylvania. About the year 1730, he removed 
to what was then Orange, afterwards Augusta County, where he 
resided until his death ; and where his numerous descendants lived 
for many years. The Campbells above named were the descendants 
of his oldest son Patrick, and his yonngest son David — Patrick had 
a son Charles, and he a son "William, who was the General William 
Campbell, of the Revolution, and the grand-father of Mrs. Gov. 
M'Dowell. David, the youngest son of John, married Mary Ham- 
ilton, and had a family oi thirteen children, seven sons and six 
daughters, the youngest of whom was eleven years old when the 
family removed to Holston — John Campbell, the elder, and all his 
descendants, were raised and educated after the strictest manner in 
the Presbyterian church, and a large portion of them became mem- 
bers in that church. In 1765, John, the oldest son of David Camp- 
bell and Mary Hamilton, in company with Dr. Thomas Walker, 
explored the western wilderness, and purchased for his father and 
himself an ancient survey near the head-waters of the Holston, 
called the Royal Oak — and a few years afterwards the family 
removed to it. John and Arthur, the two oldest sons, preceded 
their father, and accompanied by one sister, Margaret, and making 
improvements. The father and mother then followed, accompanied 
by their sons James, David, Robert, and Patrick — and daughters 
Mary who was then married to William Lochart, and Martha, Sarah 
and Ann, single. In a few years after this removal Margaret, who 
had been a pioneer with her two oldest brothers, married David 
Campbell, the pioneer who erected Campbell's station fifteen miles 


below Knoxville, Tennessee. James lost his eye-sight with the 
small-pox, and died at 50 years of age — John, Arthur, David, 
Robert and Patrick, were active men and rendered some service to 
their country. John Campbell, the oldest son of David, was born 
in 1741, and received a good English and mathematical education. 
He was raised a farmer, inured to hard labor from boyhood, and 
accustomed to Indian warfare. He came to Holston when twenty- 
five or six years of age — and shared in nearly all the campaigns 
against the Indians until the close of the revolution. He was a 
Lieutenant in Wm. Campbell's company in Col. Christian's regi- 
ment against the Shawnees in 1774. He commanded a company, 
and was second in command in the battle of the Long Island flats, 
of Holston, in July 1776, where his company sustained the centre 
charge of the Indian chief Dragon-canoe, made with such boldness 
that the Indians for a few minutes, were actually intermixed with 
his men — and where the victory over the Indians was most decisive. 
He also commanded a company in October of that year, under Col. 
Wm. Christian against the Cherokee towns, and up to the year 
1781, he was in almost constant service. In 1778, he was appointed 
clerk of Washington County, which office he held until 1824, being 
forty-six years. His great fondness for farming and a rural life 
induced him many years before his death to place his office under 
the charge of a deputy and to remove to a farm. Here for more 
than thirty years he enjoyed himself in tranquillity, surrounded by 
his wife and children, and receiving and entertaining educated 
strangers, or old acquaintances who often called upon him. Such 
visits were most frequent from young Presbyterian preachers who 
were then often passing through the country. I recollect two, John 
and James Bowman, from North Carolina, of whom he was very 
fond as worthy good men and agreeable companions. They often 
called on him. He died in December, 1825, in the 85th year of his 
age. Arthur, the next brother, was a talented and distinguished 
man ; and a very good sketch of him may be found in How's His- 
tory and Antiquities of Virginia, under the head of Washington 
County. In the sketch there are one or two small errors. He died 
in his 69th year — and he came first to Holston with his brother 

David, the fourth brother of those who came to Holston, was 
educated for the bar, and practised law a few years in Washington 
County after it was established. He then married, and removed to 
what afterwards became the State of Tennessee — was first Federal 
Judge in the Territory, and when the State was formed he was 
made one of the Judges of their Supreme Court, and held the office 
for many years. A year or two before his death, which took place 
in 1812, he was appointed Federal Judge in the Territory, which 
afterwards formed the State of Alabama, but died of fever, before 
he removed his family to the country, in the 62d year of his age. 

Robert, the next brother, came to Holston in 1771 — when nine- 
teen years of age, he made his first military campaign, as a volun- 


teer against the Shawanee Indians in 1774, as is supposed, in the 
company of Capt. Wm. Campbell. In the summer of 1776, he 
again volunteered, joined Capt. John Campbell's company, and 
acted with distinguished bravery and presence of mind in the battle 
of the Island Flats. He was also in Christian's campaign in October, 
1776 — and in 1780, he was an ensign under Col. Campbell at the 
battle of King's Mountain, and distinguished himself in that battle. 
In December of the same year, he performed another campaign 
against the Cherokee Indians, under Col. Arthur Campbell. His 
education was not equal to that of his older brothers, nor was his 
capacity — but he was a brave, active, and patriotic whig, and a man 
of much energy through life. He acted as a magistrate in Wash- 
ington County for upwards of thirty years, and until he removed 
to the vicinity of Knoxville, Tennessee, where he died in 1831, in 
the 77th year of his age. ' 

Patrick, the youngest brother, performed less military service 
than the others, and had less capacity. He was a volunteer in the 
battle of King's Mountain, and performed his duty well. He 
remained with his father on the farm and inherited it after his 
death — married — had a large family of children — and in his old 
age removed to Williamson County, Tennessee, where he died in 
about the 80th year of his age. He was a good man through life, 
with indolent habits and very little energy of character. 

Such is a brief sketch of the five brothers, sons of David Camp- 
bell, and grand-sons of John Campbell, who emigrated from Ireland. 

I have named General Wm. Campbell. His father, Charles 
Campbell, died in Augusta County — and he removed to Holston 
with his mother and sisters. The oldest, Elizabeth, married John 
Taylor, from whom Judge / lien Taylor, of Botetourt, and the 
Taylors of Montgomery County, descended. The second daughter, 
Jane, married Thomas Tate. The third daughter, Margaret, mar- 
ried Colonel Arthur Campbell — and the youngest, Ann, married 
Richard Poston. All had families — and are very respectable. 

I intended, before closing the sketch of David Campbell's family, 
to have spoken more particularly of his two daughters, Margaret 
and Ann — as they were both remarkable women, and were both 
most exemplary Christians and members of the Presbyterian church 
through life. 

Margaret, when a girl of eighteen, accompanied, as I have before 
stated, her brothers John and Arthur to Holston, and managed 
their household affairs for two or three years without a murmur, 
and without, in that time, seeing a single female friend. In two or 
three years after the removal of her father and mother, she married 
David Campbell, and in 1781, removed to the country, afterwards 
forming the State of Tennessee, and in 1784, to the place where 
her enterprising husband erected first a block-house, and afterwards 
Campbell's Station. She was a most intelligent, mild, and placid 
woman ; always thoughtful, and always calm and prepared for 
every emergency. So conspicuous were these traits in her cha- 


racter, whenever any difficulty occurred, or any alarm took place, 
she was first looked to and consulted, not only by the women in the 
block-house and Station, hut even by the men. 

To show this trait, I will relate one instance. On one occasion, 
when the frontier was quiet and the men had left the block-house, 
her husband and a hired man were in the field ploughing among the 
corn, the Indians fired upon them, but doing no damage, they unloosed 
their horses and made their way to the house. She heard the guns, 
and suspecting it was from the Indians, collected her little flock of 
children around her in the house — chained the door — took down a 
rifle well loaded, and taking her seat calmly awaited the event, 
expecting every moment to hear the Indians approaching, or the 
men from the field, if not killed or wounded. In this situation she 
remained until they arrived. As soon as night came on, they 
saddled horses, took up the family, and quietly retreated to White's 
Fort, fifteen miles into the settlements. 

This excellent lady died, with cancer in the breast, in 1799, at 
the age of fifty-one, universally beloved and regretted, and lies 
buried in the Presbyterian Church burying ground near Campbell's 
Station. What I have written is communicated by Mrs. Campbell, 
her youngest daughter, and who was one of the children in the 

Ann the youngest daughter married Archibald Roane, a young 
lawyer who came from Pennsylvania, and commenced the practice 
of his profession in the territory afterwards Tennessee. He was, I 
always understood, a descendant of the Rev. Mr. Roane of Lan- 
caster County, who taught in the Neshaminy Academy after Ten- 
nant left it. He first came to Liberty Hall in Rockbridge, I think, 
and then went to Tennessee. He was a man of fine talents and 
most exemplary in every respect, and was one of the first Judges 
elected to the Supreme Court, after the State was formed. In 1801 
he was elected Governor of the State — served one term of two 
years, and was again made a judge, which office he held until his 
death in 1814. His widow soon after followed to the grave four as 
promising children as were ever raised in any country, two sons and 
two daughters — all grown and carried off with consumption — all 
this she bore with humble Christian fortitude, and ended her own 
life in the house of her eldest son Dr. James Roane at Nashville, in 
1831, in the 71st year of her age. 

The other branches of the family of John Campbell the ancestor, 
removed from Augusta County, very early in the settlement of the 
western country — some to Kentucky and some to West Tennessee. 
Patrick, a younger brother of Charles, and uncle of Gen. William 
Campbell, went to the south of Kentucky, and has left numerous 
and most respectable descendants. 

I will enclose you, in a few days, an account of the battle of 
King's Mountain, prepared from the official report of Cols. Camp- 
bell, Shelby and Cleveland, and from the testimony of eye-witnesses. 
A silly jeaiousy on the part of some of the officers who partook in 


that victory and of their friends, has induced a perversion of some 
of the facts, so that the public has never yet seen an entirely correct 
account. You must accept the foregoing, my health not permitting 
me to labor very much. 

Yours most respectfully, David Campbell. 

Rev. Charles Cummin gs. 

Until his residence in Lancaster County, Virginia, little is known 
of the early life of the Rev. Charles Cummings, the first minister 
of the gospel on the Holston. An Irishman by birth, he in early 
manhood emigrated to America. "Whether his classical education 
was completed before, or after, he left Ireland is uncertain ; the 
time of his emigration is equally unknown. He resided for a length 
of time in the congregation of the noted James Waddell, D. D., in 
Lancaster County, Virginia. The Carters, Gordons and others in 
that congregation were in the habit of employing, as teachers, young 
gentlemen, of classical education, from the mother country. A 
number of these became ministers in the Presbyterian Church. 
Mr. Cummings appeared before Hanover Presbytery at the Stone 
Meeting House in Augusta, May 3d, 1765. The records say, " the 
Presbytery intend to encourage Mr. Cummings and appoint him a 
discourse on the words — Be not desirous of vain glory — to be de- 
livered at discretion ; and that he stand extempore trials." This 
"discretion" was granted probably on account of the distance he 
must travel to meet the Presbytery. In November 1765, he met 
the Presbytery at Providence, Louisa County. On the 7th, the re- 
cords say, at the house of Mr. Todd, Mr. Charles Cummings de- 
livered a discourse from Galatians 5. 26, according to appointment, 
and an exegesis on this question — Num justificamus sola fide — 
which the Presbytery sustains as part of trials : And having ex- 
amined him on his religious experience, in the Latin and Greek lan- 
guages, Rhetoric, Logic, Geography, Philosophy, and Astronomy, 
they sustain his answers to the several questions proposed on these 
subjects, and appoint him a sermon on Rom. 7th, 9th, and a Lec- 
ture on the 23d Psalm, 1st — 4th, to be delivered at our next, as 
popular trials." Mr. Samuel Leak at the same time underwent 
similar examinations and had similar popular trials assigned him. 

At Tinkling Spring meeting house, April 17th, 1766, Mr. Cum- 
mings delivered a sermon on Rom. 7. 9, and Mr. Leak one on Acts 
13. 26, according to appointment, which were sustained as parts of 
trial. Mr. Leak also delivered a lecture on John 3. 1 — 8, and 
Mr. Cummings one on Psa. 23. 1 — 5, which were also sustained. 
These two candidates were examined on some points in divinity ; 
and gave satisfactory answers to the questions proposed therein. 
On the next day the candidates were licensed, and directed, u to 
spend their time till our next, in the vacancies in Augusta, Albe- 
marle and Amherst." At Cub Creek Oct. 15th, 1766, three calls 
were put in for Mr. Cummings. One from Forks of James, now 


Lexington and Monmouth, one from D. S. in Albemarle, and one 
from Major Brown's meeting house in Augusta. This last he ac- 
cepted ; " and Messrs. Black, Craig, Brown and Rice, with as many 
other members as can attend, are appointed a Presbytery to meet 
at Major Brown's meeting house, the first Wednesday of March 
next, to receive the trials of Mr. Cummings — viz. a sermon "on 
Rom. 10. 4, and a lecture on the 3d Epistle of John throughout, as 
preparatory to ordination ; and if they see fit, to ordain and instal 
him; at which Mr. Craig is appointed to preside." The ordination 
did not take place, only one of the committee named, Mr. Black, 
attending at the appointed time and place. By order of Pres- 
bytery, the ordination took place on May 14th, 1767, the Rev. 
Messrs. Sankey, Craig, Brown and Rice, with Elders George Mof- 
fat, Alexander Walker and John M'Farland being present, Mr. 
Craig presiding. In April 1772, he applied for a dismission from 
that Church, on account of its inability to support him. " Both 
parties avowing that as the only reason for dissolution of the rela- 
tions." The Presbytery granted the request, and then recom- 
mended to Mr. Cummings to take a tour through the vacancies, and 
commended him to the brethren of Orange Presbytery, should he 
travel in their bounds. He also was recommended by the Presby- 
tery at its fall session, Oct. 1772, at D. S., to supply eight Sabbaths 
on Green Briar and in Tygart's Valley. At Brown's meeting house 
June 2d 1773, a call was presented to Presbytery by Samuel Ed- 
monson, a candidate, from the congregations of Ebbing Spring and 
Sinking Spring on Holston, for the services of Mr. Cummings, which 
he accepted. There is no word made of any installation services 
being appointed or performed. The call was prepared to be presented 
at the sessions of Presbytery held at Tinkling Spring, in the pre- 
ceding April, but the presentation was delayed until the intermedi- 
ate meeting in June. 

While residing in the Northern Neck, he was united in marriage 
with Miss Milly Carter, daughter of John Carter of Lancaster 
County. Being in the congregation of Dr. Waddell, it is probable 
that he pursued his theological studies under his care. In his early 
ministry he became possessed of a valuable library ; and appears to 
have been devoted to his work as a minister of the gospel. His 
call from the Holston, was signed by one hundred and twenty heads 
of families, all respectable men, many of whom afterwards became 
distinguished ; a fact as remarkable as true. 

The following sketch is from the pen of the ex-Governor of Vir- 
ginia, David Campbell. Having accepted the call, he removed with 
his family, purchased land in the neighborhood of where Abingdon 
now stands, and settled upon it. His first meeting house at Sink- 
ing Spring, was a very large cabin of unhewn logs, from eighty to 
a hundred feet long, by about forty wide ; and it stood about the 
middle of the present grave yard. It was there for some years 
after the second meeting house was built, and had a very remark- 
able appearance. Mr. Cummings was of middle stature, about five 


feet ten inches nigh, well set and formed, possessing great personal 
lirmness and dignity of character. His voice was strong and had 
great compass ; his articulation was clear and distinct. Without 
apparent effort he could speak to be heard by ten thousand people. 
His mind was good without any brilliancy. He understood his own 
system well ; spoke always with great gravity, and required it from 
all who sat under the sound of his voice. He could not tolerate 
any movement among the congregation after preaching commenced. 
He uniformly spoke like one having authority, and laid down the 
law and the gospel with great distinctness as he understood them. 
When he came to Holston, he was about forty years of age. 

At this time the Indians were very troublesome, and continued to 
be so for several years ; and generally during the summer months, 
the families for safety were obliged to collect together in forts. The 
one to which he always carried his family was on the land of Capt. 
Joseph Black, and stood on the first knoll on the Knob road, south 
of Abington, and on the spot where David Campbell's gate stands. 
In the month of July, 1776, when his family were in the fort, and 
he with a servant and wagon and three neighbors were going to his 
farm, the party were attacked by Indians, a few hundred yards from 
the meeting-house. Creswell, who was driving the wagon, was 
killed at the first fire of the Indians, and during the skirmish the 
two other neighbors were wounded. Mr. Cummings and his ser- 
vant-man Job, both of whom were well armed, drove the Indians 
from their ambush, and with the aid of some men from the fort, who 
hearing the fire, came to their relief, brought in the dead and 
wounded. A statement has been published in a respectable histori- 
cal work, that on this occasion Mr. Cummings lost his wig. I speak 
from the information of an eye-witness when Mr. Cummings came 
into the fort, in saying that the story has no truth in it. 

From the time Mr. Cummings commenced preaching at Sinking 
Spring, up to about the year 1776, the men never went to church 
without being armed, and taking their families with them. On Sab- 
bath morning, during this period, it was Mr. Cummings' custom, for 
he was always a very neat man in his dress, to dress himself, then 
put on his shot-pouch, shoulder his rifle, mount his dun stallion, and 
ride off to church. There he met his gallant and intelligent con- 
gregation, each man with his rifle in his hand. When seated in the 
meeting-house, they presented altogether a most solemn and singular 
spectacle. Mr. Cummings' uniform habit, before entering the house, 
was to take a short walk alone whilst the congregation were seating 
themselves ; he would then return, at the door hold a few words of 
conversation with some one of the elders of the church, then would 
walk gravely through this crowd, mount the steps of the pulpit, 
deposit his rifle in a corner near him, lay off his shot-pouch, and 
commence the solemn worship of the day. He would preach two 
sermons, having a short interval between them, and go home. The 
congregation was very large, and preaching was always well attended. 
On sacramental occasions, which were generally about twice a year, 


the table was spread in the grove near the church. He preached 
for many years, and until far advanced in life, to one of the largest. 
most respectable, and most intelligent congregations ever assembled 
in Western Virginia. His congregation at Ebbing Spring was 
equally respectable and intelligent, but not so large. It included 
the families at the Koyal Oak, and for twenty miles in that direc- 
tion. The meeting-house was built in the same manner as that at 
Sinking Spring, but not so large. 

Mr. Cummings was a zealous whig, and contributed much to 
kindle the patriotic fire which blazed forth so brilliantly among the 
people of Holston in the war of the Revolution. He was the first 
named on the list of the Committee of Safety for Fincastle County. 
And after the formation of Washington County, 1776, he was chair- 
man of the Committee of Safety for that County, and took an active 
part in all its measures. Mr. Cummings died in March, 1812, in 
about the eightieth year of his age, leaving many and most respect- 
able descendants. He was a sincere and exemplary Christian, and 
a John Knox in his energy and zeal in support of his own church. 
He never lost sight of his object, and always marched directly up 
to it with a full front. He performed a great deal of missionary 
labor through an extensive district of country, beyond his own large 
field. The fruits still remain. He was a Presbyterian of the old 
stamp, rigid in his Calvinistic and Presbyterian faith, strict in the 
observance of the Sabbath, and faithful in teaching his children and 
servants the Catechism. In the expedition against the Cherokees, 
in 1776, Mr. Cummings accompanied the forces from the Holston, 
and preached at the different stations now included in the State of 
Tennessee ; and in this way he was the first minister of the gospel 
in that State. 

Mr. Cummings had some trouble on the subject of Psalmody. 
That fruitful subject of debate, which should be sung in public 
worship, the version of Rouse or of Watts, interested his people ; 
and caused the first and only disturbance in his large charge. He 
was in favor of using Watts. At a meeting of the Presbytery of 
Hanover, in Bedford County, October, 1781, a complaint from some 
members of both congregations of his charge, Sinking Spring and 
Ebbing Spring, came under consideration. It was resolved that 
the malcontents on that subject be dismissed from his pastoral care, 
when all arrearages were paid up. And as different congregations 
"were in trouble on this subject, Presbytery — " Recommend to all 
their members that much care be taken to preserve the peace and 
harmony of particular churches, in their attempts of this nature 
(introducing Watts' version) ; and especially that they take particu- 
lar pain's to inform the minds of the people as fully as possible upon 
the subject, and that they gain the approbation of the elders, and 
of the people of the particular church where such Psalmody is de- 
sirable, before it be prosecuted to a decided practice. Still, how- 
ever, reserving to each member the right of conscience in particular 
cases as prudence shall direct." The uneasiness in his charge not 


being settled by this act of Presbytery, Mr. Curamings asked the 
next year, at Timber Ridge, May 23d, to be released from the 
pastoral charge of the two congregations. As a peace measure, it 
was granted. Mr. Adam Rankin, licensed in the fall of 1782, visited 
the Holston, and became the earnest defender of the exclusive use 
of Rouse's version in the worship of the sanctuary. In a few years 
he became the leader of a schism of the church on the subject of 
Psalmody. The history of that schism occupies many pages in 
Davidson's History of the Presbyterian Church in Kentucky. In a 
little time the controversy died away on the Holston ; and Mr. 
Cummings continued to preach the gospel with spirit while his 
strength lasted. In the congregation on the Holston, both versions 
were used by compromise. In May, 1784, in reply to the petition 
from some members of the Sinking Spring and the Knobs congrega- 
tion — Presbytery "give it as their opinion, that there will be no 
danger in attending upon the word preached by Mr. Cummings, or 
any other regular member of our Presbytery ; and reeommend it to 
them to lay aside prejudice and party spirit, so that they may hear 
him, and other supplies that may be sent them to their spiritual 
advantage." In many congregations in Virginia, the singing was 
performed on the Sabbath, and other public occasions, from both 
versions, by agreement ; the Psalms and Hymns for a certain part 
of the day were from Rouse, and the other part from Watts. 

At Falls Meeting House, May 22d, 1783, this minute was made : 
" The western members of this Presbytery requested our concur- 
rence in soliciting Synod to constitute them into a distinct Presby- 
tery, it being so exceedingly inconvenient for them to attend Pres- 
bvtery at such a distance. Presbytery concur accordingly, provided 
they can procure another member. At the same meeting of Pres- 
bytery, on May 21st, Mr. David Rice was dismissed from his con- 
gregation in Bedford County, and accepted a call from Kentucky. 
In May, 1785, a request was made to Synod by Messrs. Hezekiah 
Balch, Charles Cummings and Samuel Doak, that a Presbytery to be 
called Abingdon, be formed, embracing the territories of the present 
States of Tennessee and Kentucky. By act of Synod this was 
formed. In the arrangement of Synods and Presbyteries to consti- 
tute a General Assembly, the Presbytery of Abingdon was divided 
to form two Presbyteries — Messrs. Cummings, Balch, Casson, Doak 
and Houston to be the Presbytery of Abingdon, and be a constituent 
part of Synod of the Carolinas ; and Messrs. Rice, Craighead, Ran- 
kin, McClure and Crawford to be the Presbytery of Transylvania, 
and form part of the Synod of Virginia. By this arrangement Mr. 
Cummings ceased to be connected with a Virginia Presbytery, and 
continued a member of Synod of Carolinas until the year 1802, 
when the Presbytery was transferred to the Synod of Virginia, hav- 
ing parted with the greater portion of her original area to form other 


Montcalm, Dec. 1, 1851. 
Dear Sir — Iconcluded this morning to copy for you an account of 
the battle of King's Mountain, but before commencing took down your 
volume of Sketches of North Carolina, and read over Gen. Graham's 
account of it — and I confess I have read it with a good deal of sur- 
prise. There are one or two small errors in the general account, but 
it is substantially correct. But when the troops are about to go into 
action, the Washington regiment from Virginia is lost sight of, and 
although it is admitted in the account that Col. "William Campbell 
was selected to command in chief, he is lost si^ht of too, and Col. 
Shelby is made the conspicuous commanding officer. Even he and 
Sevier are made to receive the surrender. Now, as to this last 
point, I can state to you that Col. David Campbell, of Campbell's 
Station, Tennessee, a man whose character for truth and integrity 
stands as high as any man who was in the battle, furnished a state- 
ment in his life-time of what he was an eye-witness — and in that 
statement he declares that he was within a few steps of the British 
officer, Capt. De Poisture, when he surrendered, and that the sur- 
render was made to Col. Campbell. This would not be a very mate- 
rial matter, in the confusion of a surrender, were it not that there 
has been an effort on the part of Governor Shelby and his friends 
to depreciate the conduct of Col. Campbell in that battle, and to 
enhance his own. 

This is a piece of history with which I have made myself long 
since well acquainted, but I am not willing to engage in any parti- 
cular investigation about it. I will, however, send you a copy of the 
official report of the action, made and signed by William Campbell, 
Isaac Shelby and Benjamin Cleveland, in which you will see it 
stated that Campbell's regiment, as well as Shelby's, began the 
attack — and the truth is, these two regiments began it, because, 
from their positions, they were nearest the enemy. 

A statement of the proceedings of the western army, from the 25th 
day of September, 1780, to the reduction of Major Ferguson and 
the army under his command. On receiving intelligence that Major 
Ferguson had advanced up as high as Gilbertown, in Rutherford 
County, and threatened to cross the mountains to the western waters, 
Col. Campbell, with 400 men from Washington County of Virginia, 
Col. Isaac Shelby, with 240 men from Sullivan County, North Caro- 
lina, and Lieut. Col. John Sevier, with 240 men from Washington 
County, North Carolinia, assembled at Watauga, on the 25th of 
September, where they were joined by Col. Charles McDowell, with 
160 men from the counties of Burke and Rutherford, who had fled 
before the enemy to the western waters. We began our march on 
the 26th, and on the 30th we were joined by Col. Cleveland on the 
Catawba river, with 350 men from the counties of Wilkes and Surry. 
No one officer having properly a right to command in chief, on the 
first day of October we despatched an express to Major General 
Gates, informing him of our situation, and requested him to send a 
general officer to take the command of the whole. In the meantime 


Col. Campbell was chosen to act as commandant till such general offi- 
cer should arrive. We marched to the Cowpens, on Broad river, in 
South Carolina, where we were joined by Col. James Williams, with 
400 men, on the evening of the 6th of October, who informed us that 
the enemy lay encamped somewhere near the Cherokee ford of Broad 
river, about 30 miles distant from us. By a council of the princi- 
pal officers, it was then thought advisable to pursue the enemy that 
ni^ht with 900 of the best horsemen, and leave the weak horse and 
foot-men to follow as fast as possible. We began our march with 
900 of the best horsemen about 8 o'clock the same evening, and 
marching all night, came up with the enemy about 3 o'clock, P. M., 
of the 7th, who lay encamped on the top of King's Mountain, twelve 
miles north of the Cherokee ford, in the confidence that they would 
not be forced from so advantageous a post. Previous to the attack, 
on the march, the following disposition was made : Col. Shelby's 
regiment formed a column in the centre on the left ; Col. Campbell's 
regiment another on the right ; part of Col. Cleveland's regiment, 
headed in front by Major Winston, and Col. Sevier's regiment formed 
a large column on the right wing ; the other part of Col. Cleveland's 
regiment, headed by Col. Cleveland himself, and Col. Williams' regi- 
ment, composed the left wing. In this order we advanced, and got 
within a quarter of a mile of the enemy before we were discovered. 
Col. Shelby's and Col. Campbell's regiments began the attack, and 
kept up a fire while the right and left ivings were advancing to sur- 
round them, which was done in about five minutes ; the greatest part 
of which time a heavy and incessant fire was kept up on both sides ; 
our men in some parts, where the regulars fought, were obliged to 
give way a small distance, two or three times, but rallied, and re- 
turned with additional ardor to the attack. The troops upon the 
right having gained the summit of the eminence, obliged the enemy 
to retreat along the top of the ridge to where Col. Cleveland com- 
manded, and were there stopped by his brave men. A flag was im- 
mediately hoisted by Captain De Poisture, their commanding officer, 
(Major Perguson having been killed a little before,) for a surrender. 
Our fire immediately ceased, and the enemy laid down their arms, 
the greatest part of them charged, and surrendered themselves to 
us prisoners at discretion. 

It appeared from their own provision returns for that day, found 
in their camp, that their whole force consisted of 1125 men, out of 
whicti they sustained the following loss : Of the regulars, one major, 
one captain, two sergeants, and fifteen privates killed ; thirt-five 
privates wounded, left on the ground not able to march. Two cap- 
tains, four lieutenants, three ensigns, one surgeon, five sergeants, 
three corporals, one drummer and 49 privates taken prisoners. Loss 
of the Tories : two colonels, three capiains and 201 privates killed ; 
one major and 127 privates wounded, and left on the ground, not 
able to march ; one colonel, 12 captains, 11 lieutenants, two ensigns, 
one quartermaster, one adjutant, two commissaries, 18 sergeants and 


600 privates taken prisoners. Total loss of the enemy, 1105 men, 
at King's Mountain. Given under our hands at Camp. 

Signed Wm. Campbell, 

Isaac Shelby, 
Benj. Cleveland. 

The despatch, a copy of which I here send you, can be found in 
the Virginia Gazette of the 18th of Nov., 1780. The copy I send 
was taken from an original, sent to Col. Arthur Campbell, as county 
Lieutenant of Washington County. — See 1st vol. Marshall's Life of 
Washington, p. 397. 

If I can think of any other facts worth communicating to you, 
and which relate to the first settlement of this part of Virginia, you 
shall have them — and I shall be greatly obliged by hearing from 
you as you progress with your work. Your Sketches of North Caro- 
lina have greatly interested me — and all you may say about Parson 
Graham and Liberty Hall must be interesting. When a boy, I 
often saw at my father's, John Campbell's, such young preachers 
as Allen, who died in Kentucky — Freeman, Blythe and others — 
all very interesting men. But they have all gone, I believe. I was 
married by the second husband of Allen's widow — and knew her 
intimately. She was a most interesting woman — and Mr. Ramsey 
was the pastor of the congregation around Campbell's station, and 
the intimate friend of Col. Campbell's and Judge Roane's families. 
He preached the funeral service at the burial of Mrs. Margaret 
Campbell. I believe he died before Judge Roane. 
Most respectfully your obt. servt., 

David Campbell. 

I will omit the account of the battle of King's Mountain which 
I had intended sending you. The official account is sufficient. 
There is, however, one fact which I ought to state in justice to the 
Virginia regiment, and which shows the part they took in the bat- 
tle. Col. Newell, in a letter in 1823, informs me that of our men 
in that battle 30 w T ere killed and 60 wounded. He was badly 
wounded himself — but fought through the action by procuring a 
horse, although a lieutenant, and commanding and encouraging his 
men until the surrender. Of those killed, 13 were from the Wash- 
ington Virginia regiment, and here are their names: — Captains 
Andrew Edmondson and William Edmondson ; Lieutenants Reece 
Brown, William Blackburn, Thomas McCulloch and Robert Edmond- 
son — and Ensigns John Beatie, James Corry, James Laird, Natha- 
niel Lryden, James Phillips and Nathaniel Guist — and private 
Henry Henigar. The names of the wounded are not known, but 
Col. Newell says there were twenty, so that Col. Campbell's regi- 
ment lost in killed nearly one half, and in wounded one-third of the 


Colonel Patrick Ferguson 


British Army. 

One of the heroes of King's Mountain, and a victim of the battle 
upon its summit, was Col. Ferguson, of the British army. Fighting 
bravely and coolly, though wounded, he fell by a gunshot from the 
American militia, pressing on with unexcelled courage to ascend the 
mountains and surround the British and tory foes on the top. It 
is hardly possible, that, unharmed by powder and ball, he could 
have escaped a surrender in a few minutes, as flight was impracti- 
cable, and victory scarcely in the bounds of possibility, even for the 
brave, and enterprising, and skilful Colonel. In the immediate 
relief felt, in the upper counties of the Carolinas, by his fall, and 
in the important consequences connected with his defeat, the re- 
joicing was so great and universal, that history has seemed to forget, 
or at least overlook his real worth, in filling up its pages. He fell 
fighting as bravely for his king as Wolfe on the plains of Abraham. 
The events following in both cases were immeasurable ; and from 
first to last equally beyond human skill, or the events of chance or 
weakness. The fall of Montcalm and Wolfe was the beginning of 
the loss of America to France; and the death of Ferguson, with 
Williams and Chronicle, the beginning of the loss of the Southern 
States to the Royal army, and of the whole United States to Great 
Britain. King's Mountain, the field of the militia of the Carolinas 
and Virginia, followed in succession by the Covvpens, the theatre of 
the gallant Morgan with his regulars and militia, and Guilford, the 
chosen battle-field of Greene with Cornwallis, accumulated an 
amount of loss upon the Royal army, and infused a power of en- 
thusiasm into the breasts of the hitherto discouraged patriots ; the 
tide of war was changed, and the current of events rushed on to 
the surrender of the British army at Yorktown. He must have 
been no ordinary man, whose loss on an expedition through the 
western counties could, as the British writers say, change the whole 
course of Lord Cornwallis in his proceedings against the Carolinas. 
The following facts collected by the " Senior Member of the Abing- 
don Literary Club," present Col. Ferguson in a more favorable 
light as a man and an officer, than the traditions of border war, 
and tory and patriotic encounters have hitherto thrown around 
him. He was something more noble than the maraudings connected 
with his expeditions have portrayed him to the southern people. 

Patrick Ferguson was a Scotchman. His father, James Ferguson 
of Pitfane, was a Judge of eminence. His uncle, Patrick Murray, a 
nobleman, held a high rank for his literary accomplishments. The 
nephew was esteemed of — "equally vigorous and brilliant powers." 
He sought distinction in the army, and at eighteen was a subaltern 
in the German wars, distinguished for his cool and deliberate 
courage. When the troubles with America assumed a warlike 


aspect, young Ferguson turned his attention to the construction of 
a rifle that might, by its use in the British army, remove somewhat 
of the dread the reports of the skill of the American riflemen cast 
upon the spirits of the soldiery. He produced a rifle that might be 
loaded six times in a minute, by an ingenious contrivance to thrust 
in the charges of powder and ball, at the breech of the barrel, 
without changing the position of the rifle or the marksman. Lord 
Townsend, Master of Ordinance, expressed his approbation of this 
improved instrument of war. The regiment to which Ferguson be- 
longed not being called to active service in the colonies, he sought an 
introduction to the Commander-in-chief, and from him received an 
appointment to discipline a corps, drafted from different regiments, 
to the use of his rifle. This corps was first engaged in action at 
the battle of Brandywine in Sept. 1777 ; and the service, rendered by 
it to the forces under General Knyphausen, received the commen- 
dation of the Commander-in-chief, and by his order was publicly 
attested, and acknowledged by the whole army — " having scoured 
the ground so effectually, that not a shot was fired by the Americans 
to annoy that column in its march." Secured by this corps, 
Knyphausen advanced and obliged the Americans to cross the river 
— "and opened the way to the rest of the army." 

" Ferguson " — says a British writer — "in a private letter of which 
Dr. Adam Ferguson transmitted me a copy, mentions a very curious 
incident, from which, it appears that the life of the American 
General was in imminent danger." While Ferguson lay with a part 
of his riflemen on a skirt of wood in front of General Knyphausen's 
division, the circumstance happened of which the letter in question 
gives the following account : — 

" We had not lain long, when a rebel officer, remarkable by a 
hussar dress, passed towards our army, within a hundred yards of 
my right flank, not perceiving us. He was followed by another, 
dressed in dark green and blue, mounted on a good bay horse, with 
a remarkable high cocked hat. I ordered three good shots to steal 
near to them, and fire at them ; but the idea disgusted me. I 
recalled the order. The hussar, in returning, made a circuit, but 
the other passed within a hundred yards of us ; upon which I 
advanced from the woods towards him. Upon my calling he 
stopped, but after looking at me, proceeded. I again drew his 
attention, and made sign to him to stop, levelling my piece at him ; 
but he slowly continued his way. As 1 was within that distance, at 
which in the quickest firing, I could have lodged half a dozen balls 
in or about him before he was out of my reach, I had only to de- 
termine ; but it was not pleasant to fire at the back of an unoffending 
individual, who was acquitting himself very coolly of his duty. So 
I let him alone. The day after, I had been telling this story to 
some wounded officers, who lay in the same room with me, when one 
of our surgeons, who had been dressing the wounded rebel officers, 
came in and told us that they had been informing him that General 
Washington was all the morning with the light troops, and only 


attended by a French officer in a hussar dress, he himself dressed 
and mounted in every point as above described. I am not sorry 
that I did not know at the time who it was." 

In the year 1779, Colonel Ferguson was employed in several 
expeditions which called forth a great degree of British valor and 
ability, but were unimportant in their results. He was engaged in 
the incursions upon the North, or Hudson's River. He was in the 
expedition to Charleston, South Carolina, and is mentioned with 
great praise by Sir Henry Clinton, the commander-in-chief of the 
British army. After the reduction of Charleston, in 1780, the 
writer, quoted by the senior member, goes on to say — "When Lord 
Cornwallis was attempting by justice and mildness to restore. har- 
mony between the provinces and the mother country, he called for 
the assistance of Ferguson. To the valor, enterprise, and inven- 
tions, which are so important in war, Ferguson was known to add 
the benignant disposition and conciliatory manner which generate 
good-will and cement friendship in situations of peace. Among the 
propositions of Cornwallis for the security of the recovered colony, 
one scheme was to arm the well affected for their own defence. 
Ferguson, now a Lieutenant-Colonel in America, was entrusted 
with the charge of marshalling the militia throughout a wide extent 
of country. Under his direction and conduct, a militia at once 
numerous and select, was enrolled and disciplined. One of the 
great tests of clearness and vigor of understanding is ready classifi- 
cation, either of things or men, according to the qualities which 
they possess, and the purposes they are fitted or intended to answer. 
Ferguson exercised his genius in devising a summary of the ordinary 
tactics and manual exercises for the use of the militia. He had 
them divided in every district into two classes — one of the young 
men, single and unmarried, who should be ready to join the king's 
troops to repel any enemy that infested the province ; another, of the 
aged and heads of families, who should be ready to unite in defend- 
ing their own townships, habitations, and farms. In his progress 
amongst them, he soon gained their confidence by the attentions he 
paid to the interests of the well affected, and even by his humanity 
to the families of those who were in arms against him. We come 
not, said he, to make war upon women and children ; and gave them 
money to relieve their distresses. The movements of the Americans 
having compelled Lord Cornwallis to proceed with great caution in 
his Northern expedition, the genius and efforts of Ferguson were 
required for protecting and facilitating the march of the army, and 
a plan of collateral operations was devised for the purpose. In the 
execution of these schemes he had advanced as far as Ninety-Six, 
about two hundred miles from Charleston ; and with his usual vigor 
and success, was acting against different bodies of the Colonists that 
still disputed the possession, when intelligence arrived from the 
British officer, Colonel Brown, commander of his Majesty's forces 
in upper Georgia, that a corps of rebels, under Colonel Clarke, 
had made an attempt upon Augusta, and being repulsed was retreat- 


ing by the "back settlements of Carolina. Colonel Brown added, 
that he meant to hang on the rear of the enemy, and that if Fergu- 
son would cut across his route, he might be intercepted, and his 
party dispersed. This service seemed to be perfectly consistent 
with the purposes of his expedition, and did not give time to wait 
for fresh orders from Lord Cornwallis. Ferguson yielded to his 
usual ardor, and pushed with his detachment, composed of a few 
regulars and militia, into Tyson County. 

" In the meantime numerous bodies of back settlers, west of the 
Allegheny Mountains, were in arms, some of them intending to 
seize upon the presents intended for the Creek and Cherokee Indians, 
which they understood were slightly guarded at Augusta, Georgia. 
Others had assembled upon the alarm of enemies likely to visit them 
from South Carolina. These meeting with Colonel Clarke secured 
his retreat, and made it expedient for Brown to desist from the 
pursuit, and return to his station at Augusta; while Ferguson, 
having no intelligence of Brown's retreat, still continued the 
march which was undertaken at his request. As he was continuing 
his route, a numerous, fierce, and unexpected enemy suddenly sprang 
up in the woods and wilds. The inhabitants of the Allegheny as- 
sembled without noise or warning, under the conduct of six or seven 
of their militia colonels, to the number of 1600 daring, well-mounted 
and excellent horsemen. Discovering these enemies, as he crossed 
King's Mountain, Ferguson took the best position for receiving them 
the ground would permit. But his men, neither covered by horse 
nor artillery, and likewise being dismayed and astonished at finding 
themselves so unexpectedly surrounded and attacked on every side 
by the cavalry of the mountains, were not capable of withstanding 
the impetuosity of their charge. Already 150 of his soldiers were 
killed upon the spot, and a greater number was wounded ; still how- 
ever the unconquerable spirit of this gallant officer refused to sur- 
render. He repulsed a succession of attacks from every quarter, 
until he received a mortal wound. By the fall of Colonel Ferguson, 
his men were entirely disheartened. Animated by his brave exam- 
ple, they had hitherto preserved their courage under all disadvan- 
tages. The second in command judging all further resistance to be 
vain, offered to surrender, and sued for quarter. From the ability 
and exertions of Colonel Ferguson, very great advantages had been 
expected. By his unfortunate fall, and the slaughter, captivity, or 
dispersion of his whole corps, the plan of the expedition into North 
Carolina was entirely deranged, the western frontiers of South 
Carolina were now exposed to the incursions of the mountaineers, 
and it become necessary for Lord Cornwallis to fall back for their 
protection, and wait for a reinforcement before he could proceed 
lurther on his expedition. On the 14th of October, he began his 
march to South Carolina. His Lordship was taken ill, but never- 
theless preserved his vigor of mind, and arrived on the 29th of Octo- 
ber, 1780, at Winnsborough, to wait for fresh reinforcements from 
Sir Henry Clinton." Such is the British account of this daring 


and accomplished officer, whose army was entirely destroyed on the 
summit of King's Mountain, on the 7th of October, 1780. 

Colonel Ferguson was apprised of the gathering of the militia to 
oppose his progress, and had dispatched a messenger to Cornwallis 
for reinforcements. But the messenger, fearing the patriots living 
on his route, travelled only at night, lying by through the day, and 
compelled to take a circuitous route, reached the camp of his lord- 
ship only the night before the attack on Ferguson. The news of 
the defeat reached the royal camp before any reinforcement could 
be sent off to aid the Col. His fall was a loss his lordship could not 
repair. Rawdon and Tarlton were brave and enterprising, and ad- 
mirable for a daring expedition or a bold stroke. Webster was a 
gentleman and an honorable soldier of great courage, unequalled in 
the camp or in action. O'Harra was brave and capable of the post 
next his lordship. But Ferguson for managing the affairs of the 
country in the unsettled state of things in the Carolinas, had no 
equal in the army of Cornwallis. Charleston was taken by the 
British forces, on the 12th of May, 1780 ; Buford was defeated on 
the Waxhaw, on the 29th of the same month ; Gates was defeated at 
Camden, August 16th ; Sumpter surprised on the 18th ; and South 
Carolina appeared to be a conquered State. On the 7th of October, 
Ferguson was defeated on King's Mountain ; January 17th, 1781, 
Morgan gained over Tarlton the battle at the Cowpens ; on March 
15th, was the battle at Guilford C. H., followed by the retreat of 
Cornwallis to Wilmington ; and the Carolinas were in the course of 
the summer rescued from the power of the British army. 



At the meetings of the Virginia Synod, for about the first forty 
years of the nineteenth century, might have been seen a wrinkled, 
white-haired man of low stature, with head and shoulders large 
enough for a taller frame ; his manners simple, his dress approach- 
ing the antique, always neat and becoming ; whom all called father 
Mitchel ; and no one could tell when he was not so called. To him 
the members of Synod were especially kind and attentive and re- 
spectful, beyond what age from its own gravity might demand. A 
stranger might inquire — Is he the accredited head of the Semi- 
nary '( — a leading Theologian ? — a debater ? — a principal man in 
some of the great enterprises of benevolence ? — a pleader of the 
cause of humanity in some interesting department V — no none of 
these. He pleads a cause, and has pleaded but one all his active life; 


pleads it in simplicity and earnestness and with success ; pleads it 
in his daily life, and from the pulpit. That cause is the cause of 
the Lord Jesus Christ, the message of mercy to sinful man ; that 
he pleads always, and every where, with a warm heart and trumpet 
voice. Boasting no great stores of learning of any sort, he preached 
the gospel from the year 1781 in his 84th year, till the year 1841 
in his 95th year. All the men that grew old with Rev. Archibald 
Alexander knew Mr. Mitchel as a man of God, whose congregations 
had been visited many a time from on high, and to many of them 
he had been a chosen physician of their souls. He loved his God, 
and loved his fellow-men, and loved to preach the gospel ; and in 
his " quietness and confidence was his strength." A laborious old 
man, he accomplished all through life more than his youth, or his 
abilities, or his acquirements, or physical strength, ever promised. 
John B. Smith, President of Hampden Sidney, said that Mr. Gra- 
ham, on his visit, preached the greatest sermon he had ever heard, 
except one, and that was preached by this powerful and weak, gentle 
and strong old man, James Mitchel. As pastor of the Church in 
Bedford he saw rise, within the shadow of the Peaks of Otter, great 
and good men, before whose intellect and acquirements he bowed in 
sincerity and respect. Simple-hearted as a child, God chose him to 
cherish the childhood of gigantic men. A pastor, God chose him 
to be one of those laborious missionaries that sowed, over south-west 
Virginia, seed now springing up under other laborers, into churches 
of the living God. Few men have been more useful, and yet no 
one act of his life attracted the attention of the Church and the 
world. A succession of every-day duties of a minister of the gos- 
pel filled up his life. 

If ever he kept a diary, or a journal, the manuscript has perished, 
or gone into seclusion beyond the keenness of present research. 
Long before his death, no one could be found that knew his child- 
hood, and but few recollected his early manhood. His narratives 
of former days are remembered by many. He trusted his memory 
as a faithful servant, and she gave forth her treasures at his com- 
mand. No written memorial from his hand, testifies to those that 
come after him the faithfulness of God to his soul. His acts remain 
in their influence, and here and there a tradition, and some sen- 
tences in the record of ecclesiastical courts ; all else is passed from 
earth, and remains written in the book of God for the high purposes 
of another day. The Rev. Jacob D. Mitchell says, under date — 
" Lynchburg, Nov. 1st 1854: Brother Foote — 1 am now able to 
reply to your enquiries concerning the Rev. James Mitchel (he pre- 
ferred this orthography) and I believe the statements may be relied 
on as authentic. James Mitchel was born at Pequa, Pennsylvania, 
Jan. 29th 1747. His father Robert Mitchel, was born in the north 
of Ireland, but emigrated to America while yet a youth. He is 
reputed to have been a man of vigorous intellect and devoted piety, 
well instructed in religion, and a devoted and thorough Presbyte- 
rian. His wife, whose maiden name was Mary Enos, was, it seems, 


of Welsh extraction. She, like her husband, was an eminently 
pious Presbyterian. This excellent pair resided in Bedford County, 
for many years, and were members, the husband being ruling elder, 
of the Church, of which their son was pastor. They both lived to 
a good old age. He lived to be 85 ; of her age I am not informed. 
They had 13 children, of whom not one died less than 70 years old. 
The Mitchel family seems to have been remarkable in former times 
for piety and longevity. Robert Mitchel it seems was converted 
while yet a boy. The immediate means of his awakening was the 
fact of overhearing his great-grandmother, at her secret devotions, 
praying for him. She was then more than 100 years old; she lived 
to the age of 112." We may add — that this Robert Mitchel, tra- 
dition says, was very fond of music, and did much to promote sing- 
ing in the congregation. He talked much of Derry and the affairs 
of that noted town, and the sufferings of the Mitchel family in that 
famous siege. The peculiar dialect of his countrymen was marked 
in his speech. As an elder he was worthy of double honor. 

"The Rev. James Mitchel," the letter resumes, "made a public 
profession of religion and became a communicant in the Church, in 
his 17th year, though his mind underwent a saving change consider- 
ably earlier. He was licensed to preach the gospel in 1781, (October) 
for I have often heard him say, that while the Presbytery was in 
session taking measures for his licensure, a courier came by the 
Church and made proclamation of the surrender of Cornwallis." 
His preparations for the ministry were commenced after his youth 
had passed. About his Christian exercises and desires for the min- 
istry, little is known ; one circumstance is remembered. At a sacra- 
mental meeting at Cub Creek old meeting house, he was in attend- 
ance as a preacher. After a prayer-meeting in the Church, first one 
and then another was attracted by the voice of earnest prayer, in 
the woods. The loud tones precluded the idea of secrecy. Father 
Mitchel was found on his knees, with his arms around the body of a 
small decaying old persimmon tree dead at the top, the tears rolling 
down his cheeks. When he arose, a little surprised to find any one 
near, he remarked, " there, under that tree I found peace in believ- 
ing in the Lord Jesus ; and I can't visit this Church without coming 
to that tree." It is probable that his experience of the love of 
Christ, was under the preaching of Mr. Henry, who was at that 
■' time the pastor. Of the circumstances of his classical education, 
5 little is known ; and as little of his studies in preparation for the 
. ministry, except for a time he was tutor in Hampden Sidney Col- 
lege. During the war he made a short tour of military duty. 
'Though a man of courage, the two months' service satisfied him of 
the undesirableness of camp life, unless under the greatest neces- 
sity. At a meeting of the Presbytery at Tinkling Spring, April 
27th, 1780, immediately after Mr. John Montgomery had been or- 
dained evangelist to meet the exigencies of the vacancies, Mr. 
Mitchel was proposed as candidate ; and after the usual enquiries, 
'•and having had a specimen of his ability in composition," ne was 


received for further trials for licensure. An infantes illorum qui 
negligunt institutiones Christi vulgo baptizantur — was given him 
for an exegesis ; and 1st John 4. 13, for a sermon "to be delivered 
at our next." At Falling Spring, in October, the sermon met the 
approbation of the Presbytery ; and the exegesis was put over ; and 
a lecture on Heb. 6. 1 — 9, appointed for the next meeting. The 
records of "that next meeting" in the spring of 1781, are lost. 
At Concord, in October 1781, his trial sermons from Colossians 1. 
14, delivered at the opening of Presbytery, gave entire satisfaction. 
His examinations were all sustained, and he together with Samuel 
Shannon was licensed to preach the gospel. Messrs. Moses Hoge, 
Adam Rankin, and John M'Cue exhibited parts of trial at the same 
meeting ; all of whom finally entered the ministry ; also a day of 
thanksgiving for the surrender of Cornwallis was appointed. 

Mr. Mitchel was advised by Presbytery to take a tour to the 
Western territories. At New Providence, October 23d, 1782, a 
supplication, from the united congregations of Concord and Little 
Fallings, for Mr. Mitchel's services, was considered ; and Messrs. 
J. B. Smith and David Rice were appointed to inquire into the pro- 
vision made for Mr. Mitchel's support ; and an appointment for a 
year was made dependent upon its being satisfactory. " This year," 
continues the letter from Rev. J. D. Mitchel, " he was married to 
Francis, daughter of Rev. David Rice, her mother Mary Rice, origi- 
nally Mary Blair, was daughter of that distinguished scholar and 
man of God, the Rev. Samuel Blair, of Fogg's Manor, the theologi- 
cal teacher of Samuel Davies and John Rodgers. After marriage, 
Mr. Mitchel removed to Kentucky, where he preached the gospel 
and supported his family by teaching school." His stay in Ken- 
tucky was short, for in October, 1783, supplications coming up to 
Presbytery for supplies from the Peaks, in Bedford, from which Mr. 
Rice had been dismissed, in the spring, to remove to Kentucky, and 
from Hat Creek and Cub Creek, the Presbytery agreed to send Mr. 
Mitchel to the latter churches, and appointed a day in the succeed- 
ing February for his ordination at Cub Creek. On account of 
inclement weather, this appointment failed. The Presbytery then 
fixed upon the 1st Tuesday of August, 1784, and Hampden Sidney 
as the place for the ordination. On the day appointed, only two 
members of Presbytery assembled, Messrs. Smith and Irvin ; tnese 
adjourned to meet the next day at Buffalo, to accommodate Mr. 
Sankey, who, on account of infirmities, could not go far from home. 
The services were performed on the 4th of August. Mr. Mjichel 
continued to preach to the congregations of Cub Creek and Hat 
Creek about these years. By appointment of Presbytery, he met 
Messrs. David Rice and Adam Rankin at Cane River, in Kentucky, 
November, 1785. The object of their meeting was not accomplished. 
However, a conference of churches was held which led to the forma- 
tion of Transylvania Presbytery. In March, 1786, the congrega- 
tion of the Peaks put in a call for Mr. Mitchel ; and the Presbytery 
gave him leave to supply the congregation for the summer, and keep 


the call under consideration. In the May succeeding, the Synod 
of New York and Philadelphia, in preparation for forming a General 
Assembly of the Church, divided the Presbytery of Hanover, con- 
stituting the Blue Ridge the dividing line. That portion east of the 
Ridrre, retained the name of Hanover ; that on the western side was 
named Lexington. At the first meeting of Hanover as thus consti- 
tuted, Mr. Mitchel is set down as pastor of the Peaks. By mistake 
his acceptance of the call is not recorded till April 27th, 1787. 
There is no record of installation services. In the spring of 1787, 
Hampden Sidney College conferred on him the degree of A. B. 
Why so long out of course, is not known. With the congregation 
covering an indefinite space of country around the Peaks, he passed 
his long ministerial life. Sometimes he had a colleague, and some- 
times he labored alone. Old age, with its weaknesses, at last com- 
pelled him to resign the oversight of the people, with whom he yet 
lemained, and labored on according to his strength, till he had 
passed fifty-five years in their midst. A length of time unparalleled 
in the history of Virginia churches. 

Soon after the removal of Mr. Mitchel to Bedford, that great 
awakening to the realities of gospel truth commenced in Charlotte, 
making its first appearance among the Baptists, and in a few years 
by the agency of Smith, Pattillo, Lacy, and Mitchel, spreading over 
a large portion of Hanover Presbytery, and a part of Orange in 
North Carolina. Then, by the aid of additional laborers, that came 
into the field, fruits of the revival, and Graham from the Liberty 
Hall Academy, the blessed influences were extended over the greater 
part of the Valley of the Shenandoah and the mountains ; around 
and beyond the head waters of the James. The young men gathered 
in from this revival, Alexander, Calhoon, Hill, Grigsby, Marshall, 
Stewart, Houston, Baxter, and Turner, the Lyles and others fixed 
the standard of orthodoxy, and the tone of piety in the Synod of 
Virginia, and throughout much of the West, for generations. The 
usual sacramental meeting was held at the Peaks, embracing the 
Friday and Saturday previous to the communion Sabbath, and the 
Monday preceding — and when necessary the following days — all 
occupied in acts of worship in connection with the Lord's Supper. 
Mr. Lacy attended one of those meetings. James Turner, the 
leader of the Beefsteak Club, came out openly on the Lord's side ; 
and many others followed the example. It was in the congregation 
of Mr. Mitchel, the protracted meeting was held by Mr. Graham, 
on his return from Prince Edward, assisted by J. B. Smith and 
young Legrand, of which Dr. Alexander speaks — when he says he 
had some private conversation with the pastor, which was of great 
importance to him. And from that meeting the young company 
went home rejoicing in the Lord, and singing praises in the moun- 
tains, carrying along with them, in the mercy of God, a happy influ- 
ence to Rockbridge. It was in this congregation, the meeting was 
held by the minibters of different denominations, as related by h<acy, 
to find out the common bond of Christians, and the common ground 


of fellowship. To this congregation Baxter came to be refreshed, 
when the reviving influences were felt in the beginning of the 19th 
century. Mr. Mitchel was connected, in the minds of all the active 
clergymen and laymen of the last quarter of the 18th, and first 
quarter of the 19th century, with revivals of religion ; and considered 
as skilful in cases of conscience and of Christian experience. In 
Bedford was held the first meeting of the Commission of the Vir- 
ginia Synod, April 2d, 1790 ; an organization blessed with great 
success in sending effective missionaries to new settlements, and to 
the Indians on the frontiers. Mr. Mitchell was a member. 

As the Baptists were the first agents in the revival in Charlotte, 
in 1787, and onwards, and were co-laborers there and every where 
else east of the Ridge, during its whole influence, the manner and 
subjects of Baptism were, sooner or later, everywhere, discussed. 
Mr. Mitchel gave many hours of reflection to these subjects, and 
wrote out his thoughts, and prepared a treatise for the press. The 
ministers acquainted with its contents pronounced it admirably well 
fitted for the times. This treatise never saw the light. The author's 
means were narrow, and Boards of Publication unknown. It can- 
not now be found. Mr. Mitchel was heard to say about it, that he 
had revised it and put it into the hands of a friend to read, and to 
dispose of as he thought best, believing him fully competent to de- 
cide, and of pecuniary ability to publish. The name of this friend 
he did not give. As the workings of the mind of a simple-hearted 
man, on a subject involving matters of conscience and his commu- 
nion with God, the production would be interesting at least as a 
part of his mental and spiritual history. 

When past his fiftieth year he suffered from nervous derangement 
and mental spiritual depression. He was not confined to his house, 
for he said on his death-bed he had been sick but half a day in his 
life ; but his depression rendered him unhappy. He began to think 
himself unfit to preach the gospel of Christ. He somewhat reluc- 
tantly set out with some young friends to attend the Synod at Win- 
chester. Stopping to spend the night in New Market, Shenandoah 
County, he was with much urgency prevailed on to preach in the 
evening, at short notice. He took for his text the words addressed 
to our sinning father — "Adam, where art thou?" His heads of 
discourse were — 1st. All men had a place like Adam in which they 
ought to be ; 2nd. All men like Adam were found out of their place 
and where they ought not to be ; 3d. All men, unless they took 
warning, would soon find themselves in a place they would not want 
to be. As he proceeded he became greatly excited in feeling, and 
vehement in delivery. The effect was great. He went on his way 
the next day rejoicing. Many years afterwards, at an ecclesiastical 
meeting, a gentleman approached Mr. Mitchel with expressions of 
gladness — u Do you remember preaching in New Market of a night, 
years ago, on the words — Adam, where art thou ? — I do very well 
leplied the old gentleman. Well sir, that sermon found me a poor 
ungodly sinner, and by the blessing of God effectually aroused me ; 


I had no peace till I found it in Christ the Lord." The speaker 
was an elder in the Church and a member of the judicatory. Tra- 
dition also says, an old man whose christian name was Adam, an 
unbeliever, had gone into the meeting. His attention was aroused, 
and as Mr. Mitchel often cried out, "Adam, where art thou now?" 
the old man felt as if the strange preacher was after him, hunting 
him up in all his hiding-places. He was out of his place he knew ; 
and, alas, would soon be in that dreadful fire from which he could 
not escape. He could not rest till he bowed to the Lord Christ. 

Mr. Mitchel was fond of missionary excursions, of weeks and 
months at a time, in the south-western counties of Virginia. For 
these he was admirably prepared. Active, cheerful, vehement in 
his public addresses, and perfectly fearless, he commanded the at- 
tention and impressed the hearts of the somewhat scattered popula- 
tion of those mountains. His rides to Presbytery and Synod, and 
to assist his brethren in communion seasons, were made by him op- 
portunities of preaching the gospel in families and neighborhoods, 
often greatly blessed to the hearers. He was a preacher always, 
and every where, endeavoring to do his Master's will to the best of 
his abilities. His sermons were rich in experience, and often over- 
flowing from the treasury of God. Never dull, in his pulpit services, 
often lifting up his voice like a trumpet, with most energetic gestures ; 
never assuming, he maintained his self-respect and the respect of 
others. Strictly orthodox, and equally kind, he was jealous of all 
innovations in the practices, as well as the doctrines, of the Church ; 
fur he believed that modes and forms had much to do with the purity 
of doctrine. When the members of Hanover Presbytery began to 
omit the use of tokens at the Lord's table, he was alarmed. He 
thought the practice of giving to each communicant, a day or two, 
or the morning, before the Lord's Supper, a printed card, or a small 
medal, to be delivered to the elders at the table, had a happy effect, 
as it prevented persons coming to communion without the approba- 
tion of the officers of the Church ; and also gave the opportunity of 
speaking to each communicant particularly ; and should there be 
any kind of necessity, of making enquiries or administering counsel, 
and warning, which, in scattered congregations, is of importance. 
When he discovered that the leading members of Presbytery were 
laying them aside as unnecessary and cumbersome, and that the 
omission was likely to become general, he appeared before his 
brethren in Synod and administered a grave rebuke with the author- 
ity of a father. The Rices, Speece, Baxter, Calhoon, Hill and 
others, listened with the reverence becoming the place and the old 
man. To avoid every thing that might wound his feelings in a de- 
bate, the subject was put over for consideration, and in the progress 
of business was not called up in time for discussion before adjourn- 
ment. ISo other man could have administered a reproof of equal 
severity to the Virginia Synod, and have escaped a suitable reply, 
from the readiness of Calhoon, the humor of Speece, the gravity of 
liice and Baxter, and the spirit of Hill. 


Mr. Mitch el was the father of thirteen children, two sons and 
eleven daughters. Of these, one son and four daughters died be- 
fore him, all giving decided evidence of preparation for the king- 
dom of heaven. His widow, twenty years his junior, confined by 
bodily weakness, to her bed — "the most devoted and happiest of 
Christians," still lives possessing mental vigor and a retentive 

The Rev. J. G. Shepperson, who was with him the last days of his 
life, thus wrote: — "Few men ever understood more thoroughly 
than he, the system of doctrine contained in our excellent Confes- 
sion of Faith and Catechisms, or loved it more cordially, or knew 
better the evidence by which its varied parts are sustained. While 
firm and decided in his own views, he was no bigot. The writer has 
never known a man who gave stronger evidence of love to the Re- 
deemer's image wherever found. His deep sense of his own 
depravity, helplessness and guilt as a sinner, his adoring views of 
the grace, power, faithfulness, and suitableness of the Lord Jesus as a 
Saviour from sin and condemnation, his simple obedience to whatever 
he believed God had commanded, his unwavering confidence in his 
heavenly father, and joyful submission to his will, when prospects 
seemed darkest, and when his affections were most severe, could 
escape the attention of none who knew him ; and proved beyond all 
doubt that he was a man who walked with God ; and had made 
extraordinary attainments in meetness to dwell with him in his upper 
sanctuary. He was dead to the world; for things seen and tem- 
poral, it was manifest he cared little or nothing except as connected 
with things unseen and eternal. It was impossible to be with him 
five minutes, without being convinced that his affections were set on 
things above, and his speech eminently fit to minister grace to the 
hearers. The writer enjoyed the high privilege of being with this 
eminent servant of God almost the whole of the last three weeks 
of his earthly pilgrimage. And what he witnessed, it is alike im- 
possible for him ever to forget, or adequately to describe. Though 
the aged Christian was now in his first sickness, as well as his last, 
not a word, not a look betrayed any emotion incompatible with entire 
patience, full contentment, and joyful submission to his heavenly 
father's will. When a hope was expressed that he should recover, 
his reply was, " I am in the hands of God, that is just where i 
want to be." Frequently he would speak of his friends who had 
gone before, especially his children, who had died in the Lord, and 
express his joyful hope of meeting them in heaven ; and his early asso- 
ciates in the ministry, especially Drury Lacy, and Dr. Moses Hoge. 
One morning a little more than a week before his death, at the close 
of a conversation on some of the topics already mentioned, he 
remained silent for some minutes. Then looking around on the 
members of his family, who were present, he spoke as nearly as can 
now be remembered — "I do now affectionately commit to my cove- 
nant God, my wife, my children, my grand-children, and all con- 
nected with me, and all my descendants to the latest generation;" 


after which he appeared to resume the exercise of silent prayer in 
which he was previously engaged. To the last moment of his life, 
the placid expression of his countenance, and the few words he was 
able occasionally to utter evinced that his joy was uninterrupted 
and increasing. One of the last sentences he was heard to speak 
was — "I want to live just so long, as my living will be for the 
glory of God, but no longer." On waking from a gentle slumber, 
on the afternoon of his dying day, his breath grew shorter, his 
countenance was lighted up with a more joyful expression. In a 
few moments he calmly folded his arms, closed his eyes and resigned 
his spirit into the hands of his beloved Lord. Thus went to his rest 
James Mitchel, on Saturday, Feb. 27th, 1841, aged ninety-four 
years and one month. 

His last sermon was preached at the house of his sister-in-law, 
Mrs. Margaret Mitchel, on the last Sabbath of December, 1840, 
from the same text taken by his venerable colleague for his last 
sermon nearly thirteen years before, Luke's Gospel 2d : 13, 14, And 
suddenly there was with the angel a multitute of the heavenly host 
praising God, and saying, glory to God in the highest, and on earth 
peace, good will toward men. Three of his sons-in-law, and one 
grand-son are Presbyterian ministers. 

Rev. Samuel Houston. 

Mr. Houston was born on Hay's Creek, in the congregation of 
New Providence. In his letter to Mr. Morrison, he gives a few 
pleasant facts respecting his ancestry. His parents' names were 
John Houston and Sally Todd. His father was for many years an 
elder in New Providence. In his old age he removed to Tennessee, 
and died at about fourscore years. While an infant, Mr. Samuel 
Houston was exceedingly feeble ; on more than one occasion he was 
laid down supposed to be dying. As he increased in years he 
became vigorous ; and through a long life enjoyed almost uninter- 
rupted health. In his manhood he was tall, erect, square shouldered, 
spare and active ; particular in his dress, and dignified in his de- 
portment. After he became a minister, he seemed never to forget 
that he was a minister of the Lord Jesus, and that all parts of hi3 
office were honorable. All duties devolving on him by custom, or by 
the voice of his brethren, he cheerfully performed to the utmost of 
his ability. From his deference to those of greater acquirements, 
or more ample endowments of mind, or more maturity of age, and 
his unobtrusiveness upon the public, strangers might have concluded 
that he was a timid man. And when called to act, and his line of 
duty led him to face opposition, in whatever form it might come, 
his imperturbability might, by a casual observer, have been consi- 
dered want of feeling. But his kindness and benevolence in the 
relations of life demonstrated the depth of feeling in his heart ; 
and his acquaintances knew him to be pure in his principles, warm 
in his affections, and unflinching in his bravery. A man was sure 


of a firm friend, if he could convince Samuel Houston it was his 
duty to stand by him. His whole appearance and bearing were 
those of an honest man. 

His classical education was completed during the troubles and 
confusions of the American Revolution, and about the time of the 
removal of Liberty Hall Academy to the neighborhood of Lexing- 
ton. In 1781 a call came for militia to assist Greene against Corn- 
wallis. The memorable battle of the Cowpens had been fought, and 
Morgan, under protection of Greene's retreating army, had escaped 
with the prisoners to Virginia. Cornwallis had encamped at Hills- 
borough, and Greene was waiting near the Virginia line for reinforce- 
ments to drive his pursuer, Cornwallis, back to South Carolina, or 
overcome him in battle. Samuel Houston was called to go as a pri- 
vate from the congregation of New Providence, in his 28d year. 
Arrested in his studies preparatory to the ministry, he went cheer- 
fully, with others, to try the labors and exposures of the camp. 
After his death there was found among his papers a manuscript of 
foolscap, folded down to sixteen leaves a sheet, on which were 
memoranda of his campaign, covering about the one half of a sheet 
of the large size, then in use. He notices all that appeared to him 
worthy of special mention, and as remembrancers of all that occur- 
red. No better description of a militia force in its weakness and 
efficiency has been left us from the experience of the Revolution. 
The beginning is abrupt ; no mention being made of the draft, or 
the officers in command, or the object of the expedition. 

February 26th, '81. 

Monday, Feb. 26th. — We marched from Lexington to Grigsby's, 
and encamped. 

Tuesday, 27th. — Marched fifteen miles, and encamped at Pur- 
gatory. I saw the cave. 

Wednesday, 28th. — Marched from Purgatory to Lunies' Creek, 
twelve miles. 

Thursday, March 1st. — Marched from Lunies' Creek to a mile 
beyond Howard's ; total seventeen miles. Drew liquor in the 
morning. I paid fifteen dollars for beer to Mrs. Brackinridge. 

Friday, 2d. — Marched from near Howard's past Rag Hall, 
governed by President Slovenly ; three or four of our men got 
• drunk in the evening. Our march continued fifteen miles ; en- 
camped at Little Otter, Bedford. 

Saturday, 2>d. — Marched from Little Otter to within two miles 
of New London ; nineteen miles. 

Sabbath, 4:th. — Marched two miles beyond New London to Mr. 
Ward's ; in which march we pressed a hog, which was served with- 
out scraping. On this day I kept guard No. 16. The day's march 
was twenty miles. 

Monday, 5th. — Marched from Major Ward's ; crossed Staunton 
river into Pittsylvania. I was on the fatigue to drive steers, but 


happly they had broken out of the pasture. Our march was eight 
miles, and encamped. 

Tuesday ', 5th. — Marched from Ward's about fourteen miles. We 
were searched, and Mr. Ward's goods found with James Berry and 
John Harris, who were whipped. The same were condemned to ten 
lashes for disobeying the officer of the day on Monday. 

Wednesday, 1th. — Marched from near Shelton's to Col. Wil- 
liams' mill, about twelve miles ; crossed Bannister, into which 
James McEiroy fell ; John Harris deserted, and James Berry was 
taken and sent to prison. 

Thursday, 8th. — Marched from Col. Williams' to near three 
miles from Dan river. Some of the boys set the woods on fire, 
which the Major put out. Our day's journey nineteen miles. 

Friday, 9th. — Marched from beyond Dan to the borders of N. 
C., six miles ; we crossed Dan, where Gilmore's wagon had nearly 
sunk by the chain of the flat breaking. At this river some mean 
cowards threatened to return. This morning, Lyle, Hays and Lusk 
went to Gen. Green and returned. The same day deserted at Dan, 
Geo. Culwell. 

Saturday, 10th. — Marched from near three miles of Dan to head 
quarters, which we entered at twelve o'clock at night. In the even- 
ing we encamped six miles from H. Q. Soon after we decamped. 
Thirty miles. 

Sabbath, 11th. — Lay in camp. In the evening we were ordered 
to prepare for a march ; after we were ordered to stay ; after our 
orders for the future were read out, we cooked two days' pro- 

Monday, 12th. — Marched first S. W. to the end of camp, then 
turned directly back, and stood some hours ; at last we left camp 
at the High Rock, and marched near six miles. Again we turn 
back about a mile, and encamp near Haw river. 

Tuesday, 13th. — We paraded several times, and at last fired in 
platoons and battalions ; in doing which one of the North Carolina 
militia was shot through the head ; a bullet glancing from a tree, 
struck Geo. Moore on the head — of our battalion. In the evening 
we marched from Haw river about three miles, and encamped. 

Wednesday, l^th. — Decamped at Reedy Creek, and marched to 
Guilford Court House, ten miles. 

Thursday, lbth. — Was rainy in the morning. We often paraded, 
and about ten o'clock, lying about our fires, we heard our light in- 
fantry and cavalry, who were down near the English lines, begin 
firing with the enemy. Then we immediately fell into our ranks, 
and our brigades marched out, at which time the firing was ceased. 
Col. McDowell's battalion of Gen. Stephens' brigade was ordered 
on the left wing. When we marched near the ground we charged 
our guns. Presently our brigade major came, ordering to take trees 
as we pleased. The men run to choose their trees, but with diffi- 
culty, many crowding to one, and some far behind others. But we 
moved by order of our officers, and stood in suspense. Presently 

144 Houston's journal. 

the Augusta men, and some of Col. Campbell's fell in at right 
angles to us. Our whole line was composed of Stephens' brigade 
on the left, Lawson's in the centre, and Butler's, of N. C, on the 
right. Some distance behind were formed the regulars. Col. Wash- 
ington's light horse were to flank on the right, and Lee on the left. 
Standing in readiness, we heard the pickets fire ; shortly the Eng- 
lish fired a cannon, which was answered ; and so on alternately, till 
the small armed troops came nigh ; and then close firing began near 
the centre, but rather towards the right, and soon spread along the 
line. Our brigade major, Mr. Williams, fled. Presently came two 
men to us and informed us the British fled. Soon the enemy ap- 
peared to us ; we fired on their flank, and that brought down many 
of them ; at which time Capt. Tedford was killed. We pursued 
them about forty poles, to the top of a hill, where they stood, and 
we retreated from them back to where we formed. Here we re- 
pulsed them again ; and they a second time made us retreat back to 
our first ground, where we were deceived by a reinforcement of Hes- 
sians, whom we took for our own, and cried to them to see if they 
were our friends, and shouted Liberty ! Liberty ! and advanced up 
till they let off some guns ; then we fired sharply on them, and 
made them retreat a little. But presently the light horse came on 
us, and not being defended by our own light horse, nor reinforced, 
— though firing was long ceased in all other parts, we were obliged 
to run, and many were sore chased, and some cut down. We lost 
our major and one captain then, the battle lasting two hours and 
twenty-five minutes. We all scattered, and some of our party and 
Campbell's and Moflitt's collected together, and with Capt. Moffitt 
and Major Pope, we marched for headquarters, and marched across 
till we, about dark, came to the road we marched up from Reedy 
Creek to Guilford the day before, and crossing the creek we marched 
near four miles, and our wounded, Lusk, Allison, and in particular 
J as. Mather, who was bad cut, were so sick we stopped, and all 
being almost wearied out, we marched half a mile, and encamped, 
where, through darkness and rain, and want of provisions we were 
in distress. Some parched a little corn. We stretched blankets to 
shelter some of us from the rain. Our retreat was fourteen miles. 

Friday, 16th. — As soon as day appeared, (being wet) we de- 
camped, and marched through the rain till we arrived at Speedwell 
furnace, where Green had retreated from Guilfordtown, where the 
battle was fought, sixteen miles distant ; there we met many of our 
company with great joy, in particular Colonel M'Dowell ; where we 
heard that we lost four pieces of cannon after having retaken them, 
also the 71st regiment we had captured. After visiting the tents, 
we eat and hung about in the tents and rain, when frequently we 
were rejoiced by men coming in we had given out for lost. In the 
evening we struck tents and encamped on the left, when the orders 
were read to draw provisions and ammunition, to be in readiness, 
which order struck a panic on the minds of many. Our march five 

Houston's journal. 145 

Saturday, 17 tli. — On account of the want of some of our blankets, 
and some other clothing, many proposed returning home, which was 
talked of in general in M'Dowell's battalion, till at last they agreed, 
and many went off; a few were remaining when General Lawson 
came and raged very much ; and about ten o'clock all but M'Dowell 
came off. We marched twelve miles to the old Surry towns on Dan 
where we encamped. 

Sabbath, 18th. — Crossed Dan, in our march touched on Smith's 
River on our left, at which place we received a little bacon and a 
bushel of meal. A little afterward, many went to a tavern where 
some got drunk and quarrelled. We marched through the lower end 
of Henry County, and encamped on the borders of Pittsylvania, 
which evening I opened the clothes in possession of Jo Weir. 
That same night Robert Wardlaw burned the butt of his gun. Our 
march was fifteen miles. 

Monday, 19th. — Marched into Pittsylvania, and encamped with 
a Dutchman, where we got some meat. Our mess bought ten quarts 
of flour and some hoe-cake. The day's journey twenty-two miles. 
Our sick were lodged in the house, and Dr. Brown took care of them. 

Tuesday, 20th. — In the morning Dr. Brown and Captain Alex- 
ander disputed about the wagons. Near the middle of the day we 
left the wagons, and took off the great road under the direction of a 
pilot, whom some fearing he was leading us into a snare, they 
charged their guns. We crossed Stanton River, and dined, fifteen 
of us, at Captain Chiles, from which we marched two miles and 
encamped. In all fifteen miles. 

Wednesday, 21st. — We paid Murphy one dollar a man, for 
horses to carry us over Goose Creek. Had breakfast with Mr. 
Butler, and three pints of brandy. In the evening I was sick ; came 
to Mr. Rountrees, where we lodged. I got a little milk and peach- 
dumpling, the rest a dinner of meat and so on. I lay in a bed with 
Jas. Blair, and the rest on the floor. Our day's march was twenty- 
one miles. 

Thursday, 22d. — My brother and I hired Mr. Rountrees' horses, 
and his son came with us to Mr. Lambert's, where, after he received 
forty-three dollars, he returned. We eat with Mr. Lambert, and paid 
him ten dollars each. I bought five books from him, and paid him four 
hundred and twelve dollars and a half. We crossed the mountain, 
and in the valley saw the wonderful mill without wheels, doors, or 
floors. In that same valley Jos. Boagle met us with brother's horses, 
and he with one of them went back for Robert McCormic. We 
proceeded to Greenlee's, got dinner, and when they came up crossed 
the river and came to Boagle's, where we lodged. Our day's march 
was thirty-two miles. 

Fnday, 2%d. — Left Boagle's and came to brother William's. Here 
I conclude my journal of the expedition under Colonel M'Dowell 
against Cornwallis, the British General in North Carolina. Rock-, 
bridge County, Virginia, in the year 1781, March 23d. 

Samuel Houston, 

146 Houston's journal. 

Occasionally in speaking of this battle among his friends lie 
related two circumstances respecting himself; one was that on the 
morning of the battle, he got an opportunity for private prayer in 
an old tree top, and with unusual freedom committed himself to the 
wise and protecting providence of God ; the other was that in that 
battle of two hours and twenty minutes, he discharged his rifle four- 
teen times, that is once in about ten minutes from the time he heard 
the first fire of the approaching enemy, till his company joined the 
retreat of Greene. Others in the battle said — that Mr. Houston 
was the first in his line to answer the command "fire," and that he 
was quite in advance when he discharged his rifle. It is easy to 
find the position of the Rockbridge militia in the battle from the 
diagrams and statements in the life of General Greene. Greene with 
the regulars were at the Court House ; some distance in front, cross- 
ing at right angles the great Salisbury road, on which the British 
forces were advancing, were stationed the Virginia militia; some dis- 
tance in front, and across the same road lay the North Carolina 
militia. The Virginia line was in the forest ; the Carolina partly 
in the forest and partly on the skirts of the forest, and partly behind 
a fence inclosing the open space across which the British force was 
advancing with extended front. According to orders the Carolina 
line, when the enemy were very near, gave their fire, which on the 
left of the British line was deadly, and having repeated it retreated ; 
some remained to give a third fire, and some made such haste in retreat 
as to bring reproach upon themselves as deficient in bravery, while 
their neighbors behaved like heroes. The right wing of the Vir- 
ginia line was soon turned by the British regulars pressing on to the 
position of Greene, and like the Carolina line gave vivid examples 
both of timidity and heroic courage ; the left wing, in which Hous- 
ton was, maintained its position till Greene retreated, almost con- 
stantly engaged, but not pressed so hard as they might have been 
by the regulars occupied with the main body of the American army. 

The greatest loss of the Rockbridge and Augusta forces, was ex- 
perienced after they commenced their retreat. Lee's light-horse 
were not ready to cover them, and their retreat became a flight, 
exposed to the sabres of the British light-horse. Mr. Samuel Steele, 
that died an old man, near Waynesborough, in that retreat shot one 
horseman that followed him. Two others came upon him before he 
reloaded, and he surrendered himself a prisoner — "Give us your 
gun." "Oh, no," said he, "I can't think of that." "I say, give 
us your gun!" "Oh, no, I can't think of that." Bursting into a 
laugh at his simplicity — "Well, Garry it along, then," motioning 
him to follow in the rear. He went along some distance, when sud- 
denly springing into the thick top of a fallen tree he commenced 
loading his gun. The horsemen unable to get at him with their 
swords, put spurs and rode out of reach of his shot. He took ad- 
vantage of their disappearance, and was soon out of danger. David 
Steele, of Medway, wnere VV addell addressed the militia before their 
march, was cut clown in the retreat, and left for dead. The scar of 

Houston's journal. 147 

a deep wound over one of his eyes, was frightful to strangers, 
through his long life. Judge Stuart, of Staunton, was in the battle, 
a messmate of Houston, and retained a friendship for him till his 
death ; excelling in talents, he could not, in the opinion of the 
soldiers, surpass him in the cool facing of danger. Captain James 
Tate, of Bethel, was killed in the early part of the battle. Captain 
Andrew Wallace, from near Lexington, was in the regnlar service, 
and had always shown himself a brave man. That morning he 
expressed a mournful presage that he would fall that day. In the 
course of the action, he sheltered himself behind a tree with some 
indications of alarm. Being reproached, he immediately left the 
shelter, and in a moment received his death wound. A brother of 
his, Captain Adam Wallace, was with Buford at the terrible massa- 
cre on the Waxhaw ; after killing many of the enemy with his 
espontoon, he died bravely fighting. A third brother, Captain 
Hugh Wallace, in the regular army, died in Philadelphia, of small- 
pox. Major Alexander Stuart, of whom Mr. Houston says — "We 
lost our Major," — was mounted on a beautiful mare. A shot was 
fatal to her, on the hasty retreat. As she fell, the Major was 
seized, and surrendered. His captors plundered him, and left him 
standing in his cocked-hat, shirt, and shoes. He was unwounded. 
Cornwailis took him and other prisoners with him in his retreat to 
Wilmington. For a time Greene greatly harassed Cornwailis in his 
daily marches. Mr. Stuart said, the prisoners suffered severely, 
particularly from thirst. So great was the haste of flight, and the 
unkindness of the guard, that the prisoners were not suffered to 
intermit their speed even to drink in crossing the runs ; those that 
attempted to drink were warned by the bayonet point to go on. He 
dipped water with his cocked-hat; and others with their shoes. 
Archibald Stuart was commissary, but at Guilford he took his 
musket and entered the ranks as a common soldier. Major Stuart 
said, that Greene afterwards told him, that there was a tnrn in the 
battle in which, if he could have reckoned upon the firm stand of the 
left wing of Virginia militia, he could have annihilated the army of 
Cornwailis. He knew they were good for a short fight, but was not 
prepared to see them stand it out as regulars. The defect of the 
militia system, was apparent. The second day after the battle — 
when they must either march further from home in pursuit of Corn- 
wailis — * 4 to offer the British force more cannon and another regi- 
ment of recaptured prisoners, on the same terms as on the 15th" — 
or return home ; they all, the very men who called those that flinched 
at the Dan, "cowards;" all, in face of their Colonel, and the dis- 
pleasure, "the fury" of the General of Brigade, all marched off 
home. Some, both of the Carolina and the Virginia militia, fled 
from the battle-ground on the 15th, and never rested till they 
reached their homes. Some of the Virginia men that fled thus, in 
the fear lest they should be called to account for their flight re- 
treated into the western ridges of the Allegheny — and even to old 
age dreaded the approach of a stranger, as perhaps an officer for 


their arrest for desertion. The American Generals soon learned to 
object to short terms of service, and at the same time had full 
confidence in the courage of their countrymen. 

At a meeting of Hanover Presbytery at the Stone meeting house 
Augusta County, November 1781, Messrs. Samuel Houston, Andrew 
M'Clure, Samuel Carrick and Adam Rankin, were on examination 
received as candidates for the ministry. In May 1782, at Timber 
Ridge, on the 22nd, Mr. Houston read a lecture on Colossians 3d, 
from the 1st to the 8th verse ; and also a presbyterial discourse on 
1 Tim. 1. 5, which were sustained as parts of trial. Messrs. Ran- 
kin, Carrick and M'Clure, exhibited parts of their trials for licen- 
sure. At this Presbytery Mr. John M'Cue was licensed, and on 
parts of his examination Messrs. Houston and Rankin were associ- 
ated. October 22d, 1782 at New Providence, the Presbytery was 
opened with a sermon by Adam Rankin, from 2 Cor. 5. 14, and 
Samuel Houston John 17. 3 ; both candidates for licensure. These 
were sustained. Messrs. Andrew M'Clure and Samuel Carrick, also 
produced their pieces of trial. And the four candidates having 
passed acceptably all their trials, were licensed to preach the gospel. 
At Hall's meeting house May 20th, 1783, Mr. Houston accepted a 
call from the Providence congregation in Washington County. The 
third Wednesday of August was fixed for the ordination ; Mr. Hous- 
ton to preach from Col. 3. 4 ; the ordination services to be performed 
by Messrs. Cummings, Balch and Doak, the second to preach the 
ordination sermon, the third to preside, the first to give the charge. 
In August 1785, the Presbytery of Abingdon was formed, and Mr. 
Houston made a constituent part. In May 1786, he took his seat 
in the Synod as the first in attendance from the Presbytery. In 
the events of a few succeeding years Mr. Houston in common with 
his fellow citizens, took an active part. He advocated the forma- 
tion of a new State to be called Franklin. After some years of 
commotion, the State of Tennessee was formed and made one of the 
Union. Unfortunately the Presbyterian ministers were divided in 
their opinions in the course of the procedure, and suffered, many of 
them, much uneasiness on a subject the particulars of which it is not 
necessary to record, except in a history of Tennessee in its settle- 
ment and progress. For various reasons Mr. Houston determined 
to return to Virginia, and on the 24th of October, 1789, he was 
admitted a member of Lexington Presbytery. 

In September 1791, at Augusta Church on the 20th, when A. 
Alexander opened Presbytery with his trial sermon, he accepted a 
call from Falling Spring for two-thirds of his time. At this place 
and High Bridge he performed the duties of a minister of the gos- 
pel, faithfully and diligently, till the infirmities of age made it 
necessary for him to throw the labor on younger men. For many 
years he taught a classical school with success, mingling firmness 
and kindness in his discipline. He took great delight in meeting 
his brethren in the judicatories of the Churdi. His last attendance 
on the Virginia Synod was at Lexington, October 1837. Bent with 


age, almost blind, his long gray locks falling upon his shoulders, he 
sedulously attended the sessions and listened to the debates, and 
finally gave his vote to sustain the action of the Assembly of '37. 
None that saw him could forget his appearance. Cheerful through 
life, he was glad when his end came. His works remain. He was 
one that cherished Washington College in the days of its greatest 
weakness and depression. When his infirmities came upon him, he 
resigned his pastoral charges, and employed himself in going out 
into the highways and hedges. 

About two miles from the Natural Bridge, and sixteen from Lex- 
ington on the road to Fincastle, is a brick church on a hill, sur- 
rounded by a grave-yard. At the western end of the church, is a 
marble slab inscribed 


to the memory 

of the 


who in early life was a soldier of the 


and for 55 years a faithful minister of the 


He died on the 20th day of January 1839, 

aged 81 years, 

in the mature and blessed hope of a 

glorious resurrection 

and of immortal life, in the kingdom of 

his Father and his God. 



Captivity by the Shawanees, or their confederates in Ohio, was 
not a singular event in the progress of civilization in the Valley and 
mountains of West Virginia. Commencing in murder, plunder, and 
the burning of habitations, it was a continued series of exposures, 
privations and dangers, ending in adoption, ransom, or escape. 
Sometimes the captive remained cheerfully, to share the joys and 
sorrows of the barbarians. In all these particulars there is a same- 
ness in the histories of Indian captivities, while each narrative is 
diversified with some personal display of courage, activity and en- 
durance of suffering. The circumstances of some are so full of 
thrilling interest and exciting events that the narrative may be a 


fair specimen of the almost innumerable instances of loss of free- 
dom, of property, and of friends by savage hands. One of these 
types is the captivity of the Draper family, embracing the surprise, 
bloodshed, plunder, house-burning, exposure, kindness, escape, ran- 
som, and naturalization to Indian life, the prolonged bondage and 
the caprice of the savages in their cruelty and kindness to their 

Mr. George Draper removed from Pennsylvania about the year 

1750, and took his residence, in advance of the wave of population 

moving south-westwardly, on the top of the great Allegheny Ridge, 

in the present bounds of Montgomery County. The place he chose 

for a residence was, for a length of time, called Draper's Meadows. 

Passing into other hands it took the name of its owner and was 

called Smithfield ; and is now in the possession of the Preston 

family. Draper's residence or fort, stood between the residence of 

ex-Governor Preston and his son. On top of the main Ridge of 

Virginia mountains, the meadows presented a beautiful extent of 

rolling country, very fertile, and healthy, and containing within its 

bounds abundant springs of pure water, some of which find their 

way to the Atlantic through the James, and the Chesapeake Bay ; 

and others that mingle their streams with the Ohio and Mississippi 

and the Gulf of Mexico. In the space of a few moments one can 

drink of waters that flow eastward through the " ancient dominion," 

and turn and wash himself in those that wander by the numerous 

Western States, to make a part of the mysterious Gulf-stream. 

To this beautiful spot his son John with his wife, and his daughter 
Mary with her husband, William Inglis, accompanied him. The 
'* meadows " were glades with few trees or marshes, and fed herds 
of buffalo and deer. For seclusion, abundance of the means of 
living, and the pleasure and excitement of hunting, Draper's mea- 
dows might have been an enviable spot. And some few years passed 
away in quietness and enjoyment. At a distance, other families, 
drawn by the same inducements, took their abode, following each 
other at intervals. Proximity of residence encroached upon the 
freedom and abundance of the chase ; and the families that chose 
the Allegheny top for a home, like Moore in his valley, preferred 
solitude to the sight of human habitations. In this situation of the 
iamily, Mr. George Draper died. 

The Shawanees in their expeditions against the Catawbas frequently 
passed the Draper settlement, which was in the direct line of one 
of their great war paths, without molestation or signs of displeasure, 
till the year 1756. Excited by the French, and jealous of the 
rapid encroachment upon their hunting grounds, the Alleghenies 
being already scaled, the Shawanees made a sudden descent upon 
Draper's meadows in the midst of harvest, while the men were 
all in the field securing their crop unarmed and unsuspicious of 
danger. The savages surrounded the dwellings in which were the 
women and children, and the arms of the families, and of the men 
who had come to aid in the harvest ; and murdered the widow of 


George Draper, and also Colonel James Patton from Tinkling 
Spring, in Augusta, who was on an exploring expedition, and spend- 
ing a few days at the meadows to refresh himself from his journey 
and some illness that had come upon him. The wife of John Dra- 
per, and Mrs. Inglis and her two sons, Thomas of four years of 
age, and George of two years, were made prisoners to be taken to 
the Indian towns. Mr. Inglis hearing the noise at the house hast- 
ened home in alarm. He approached very near the dwelling before 
he discovered the Indians ; hoping to aid his family he drew still 
nearer. Two stout Indians discovered him and rushed at him with 
their tomahawks. He fled to the woods ; they pursued, at a little 
distance from each other, one on each side of Mr. Inglis to prevent his 
secreting himself by turning aside. He perceived that the Indians 
were gaining upon him, and attempting to jump over a fallen tree 
he fell, and gave himself up for lost. Owing to the underbrush, 
the pursuers did not see him fall, and passed by on each side of him 
as he lay in the bushes. In a few moments he was upon his feet 
and escaped in another direction. The harvest hands deprived of 
their arms, believing resistance ineffectual, left the Indians unmo- 
lested and secreted themselves in the woods around the meadows. 

The savages taking what plunder they pleased and the four pri- 
soners, moved off towards New River, advancing slowly on account 
of the thick underbrush, and not apprehending any pursuit from 
the circumstances of the families in and around the meadows ; and 
striking that river they leisurely proceeded down the stream. The 
captors were partial to Mrs. Inglis, and having several horses 
permitted her to ride most of the way and carry her two children. 
Mrs. Draper, who was wounded in the back and had her arm broken 
in the attack upon the settlement, was less kindly cared for. As 
usual all the prisoners suffered from exposure, and privations, and 
confinement on their march. Mrs. Inglis had more liberty granted 
her than Mrs. Draper. The Indians permitted her to go into the 
woods to search for the herbs and roots necessary to bind up the 
broken arm and the wounded back of her fellow captive, trusting 
probably to her love for her children for her speedy return. They 
kept the little boy of four years, and his little brother of two, as 
her hostages ; and were not mistaken. She stated afterwards that 
she had frequent opportunities of escaping while gathering roots 
and herbs, but could never get her own consent to leave her cnildren 
in the hands of the savages, and was always cheered by the hope 
of recapture or ransom. When the party had descended the 
Kenawiia to the salt region, the Indians, as was usual, halted a few 
days at a small spring to make salt. After about a month from the 
time of their captivity the party arrived at the Indian village at 
the mouth of the big Scioto. The partiality for Mrs. Inglis exhi- 
bited by the captors, during the march, was more evident upon 
reaching the village. She was spared the painful and dangerous 
trial, oi running the gauntlet ; while Mrs. Draper with her wounds 
yet unhealed was compelled to endure the blows barbarity might 


inflict. When the division of the captives took place, Mrs. Inglis 
was subjected to the great trial of being parted from her children, 
and prohibited the pleasure of intercourse with them, or even of 
rendering them any assistance. 

Some French traders from Detroit visiting the village with their 
goods, Mrs. Inglis at her leisure moments made some shirts for the 
Indians out of the checked fabrics. These were highly prized by 
savages as ornaments, and by the traders as a means of a more 
rapid sale of their articles, at a high price ; and both waited on the 
captive to exercise her skill as a seamstress. When a garment was 
made for an Indian, the Frenchmen would take it and run through the 
village, swinging it on a staff, praising it as an ornament, and Mrs. 
Inglis as a very fine squaw ; and then make the Indians pay her 
from their store at least twice the value of the article. This pro- 
fitable employment continued about three weeks ; and the seamstress 
besides the pecuniary advantage secured the admiration of her 
captors. Mrs. Draper's wounds preventing her from sharing in the 
employment or advantage, she was held in less estimation, and 
employed in more servile offices. 

Mrs. Inglis was soon separated entirely from Mrs. Draper and 
the children. A party setting off for the Big Bone Licks, on the 
south side of the Ohio River, about 100 miles below, for the purpose 
of making salt, took her along, together with an elderly Dutch 
woman captured on the frontiers, and retained in servitude. This 
entire, and in her view, needless separation from her children, 
prompted by a desire in the savages to wean them from the mother, 
brought her to the determination of attempting an escape. The 
alternative was sad, to endure lonely captivity among barbarians, 
or the dangers and sufferings of a flight through a wilderness, with 
exposure to enraged Indians, hunger, and wild beasts. After ma- 
ture consideration, she resolved to make the attempt to reach home, 
preferring death in the wilderness to such captivity. She prevailed 
upon the old woman to accompany her in the flight. The plan was 
to get leave to be absent a short time ; and proceed immediately to 
the Ohio River, which was but a short distance from the Licks, and 
follow that river up to the Kenawha, and that river to New River, 
and so to the meadows, or some nearer frontier. They must travel 
about one hundred miles along the Ohio before they passed the 
village at the mouth of the Scioto, and consequently be in danger 
hourly of the severities that might follow a recapture. Their reso- 
lution was equal to the danger and trial. They obtained leave to 
gather grapes. Providing themselves each with a blanket, toma- 
hawk, and knife, they left the Licks in the afternoon, and to prevent 
suspicion took neither additional clothing nor provisions. When 
about to depart, Mrs. Inglis exchanged her tomahawk with one of 
the three J? renchnien, tnat accompanied the Indians to the lucks, 
as he was sitting on one of the Big Bones, cracking walnuts. Tuey 
hastened to the Ohio, and proceeded unmolested up tne stream, and 
in about five days came opposite the village at tne mouth of the 


Scioto. Here they found a ca.bin and a cornfield, and remained for 
the night. In the morning they loaded a horse, found in an 
enclosure near by, with as much corn as they could contrive to pack 
on him, and proceeded up the river. In sight of the Indian village, 
and during the day within view of Indian hunters, they escaped 
observation, and passed on unmolested. It is not improbable their 
calm behavior, and open unrestrained action, prevented suspicion in 
any keen-sighted savage that might have seen them from the village, 
as th'ey were plucking the corn and loading the horse. This route 
being on the south side of the Ohio, was unexposed to savage inter- 
ference, except an occasional hunting-party, and none of these 
crossed their track after they left the mouth of the Scioto. 

After the Indian depreciations connected with Braddock's war 
had ceased, and friendly intercourse was again established, the 
Shawanees could scarcely be made to believe that Mrs. Inglis was 
alive. They said the party at the Licks became alarmed at the pro- 
longed absence of the grape-gatherers, and hunted for them in all 
directions, and discovering no trail or marks of them whatever, had 
come to the conclusion that they had become lost, and wandering 
away, had been destroyed by the wild beasts. There had been no 
suspicion of any escape, the difficulties in the way had appeared so 
insurmountable ; on the north side of the Ohio were the Indian 
tribes and villages, and on the southern side, obstructions too great, 
above Kentucky, to encourage hunting-parties, or permit war paths. 
It seemed to them impossible, that two lone women, unprovided with 
any necessaries for a march, or arms for defence or to obtain pro- 
visions, could possibly have accomplished so uninviting a journey. 

The fugitives travelled with all the expedition their circumstances 
would permit, using the corn and wild fruits for food. Although 
the season was dry, and the rivers low, the Big Sandy was too deep 
for them to cross at its entrance into the Ohio. Turning their 
course up the river for two or three days, they found a safe crossing 
for themselves on the drift-wood. The horse fell among the logs 
and became inextricable. Taking what corn they could carry, they 
returned to the Ohio, and proceeded up the stream. Wherever the 
water courses that enter that river, were too deep for their crossing 
at the junction, they went up their banks to a ford, and returned 
again to the Ohio, their only guide home. Sometimes, in their 
winding and prolonged journey, they ventured, and sometimes were 
compelled to cross the crags and points of ridges that turned the 
course of the rivers with their steep ledges ; but as speedily as possi- 
ble they returned to the banks of the Ohio. The corn was exhausted 
long before they reached the Kenawha ; and their hunger was ap- 
peased by grapes, black walnuts, pawpaws, and sometimes by roots, 
of whose name or nature they were entirely ignorant. Before they 
reached the Big Kenawha, the old Dutch woman, frantic with hunger, 
and the exposure of the journey, threatened the life of Mrs. Inglis, 
in revenge for her sufferings and to appease her appetite. On reach- 
ing the Kenawha, their spirits revived, while their sufferings and 


exposures continued, and their strength decreased. Day after day 
they urged on their course, as fast as practicable, through the 
tedious sameness of hunger, weariness, and exposure by day and by 
night ; yet unmolested by wild beasts at night, or the savages 
by day. 

When they had gotten within about fifty miles of Draper's mea- 
dows, the old woman in her despondency and suffering, made an 
attack upon Mrs. Inglis to take her life. It was in the twilight of 
evening. Escaping from the grasp of the desperate woman, Mrs. 
Inglis outran her pursuer, and concealed herself under the river- 
bank. After a time she left her hiding-place, and proceeding along 
the river by the light of the moon, found the canoe in which the 
Indians had taken her across, filled with dirt and leaves, without a 
paddle or a pole near. Using a broad splinter of a fallen tree, she 
cleared the canoe, and unused to paddling contrived to cross the 
river. She passed the remainder of the night at a hunter's lodge, 
near which was a field planted with corn, but unworked and un- 
tended, and destroyed by the buffaloes and other beasts, the place 
having been unvisited during the summer on account of the savage 
inroads. In the morning she found a few turnips in the yard which 
had escaped the wild animals. The old woman, on the opposite side 
of the river, discovered her, and entreated her to recross and join 
company, promising good behavior and kind treatment. Mrs. Inglis 
thought it more prudent to be parted by the river. Though approach- 
ing her former home, her condition seemed almost hopeless. Her 
clothing had been worn and torn by the bushes until few fragments 
remained. The weather was growing cold ; and to add to her dis- 
tress a light snow fell. She knew the roughness of the country she 
must yet pass ; and her strength was almost entirely wasted away. 
Her limbs had begun to swell from wading cold streams, frost, and 
fatigue. Travelling as far as possible during the day, her resource 
at night was a hollow log filled with leaves.. She had now been out 
forty days and a half, and had not travelled less than twenty miles 
a day, often much more. In this extremity she reached the clear- 
ing made in the spring by Adam Harman, on New River. On 
reaching this clearing, seeing no house or any person, she began to 
hallo. Harman and his two sons, engaged in gathering their corn 
and hunting, were not far off. On hearing the hallo, Harman was 
alarmed. But after listening a time, he exclaimed, " Surely, that is 
Mary Inglis !" He had been her neighbor, and knew her call, and 
the circumstances of her captivity. Seizing their guns, as defence 
if the Indians should be near, they ran and met ner, and carried 
her to their cabin; and treated her in a kind and judicious manner. 
Having bathed her feet, and prepared some venison and bear's meat, 
they ted her in small portions ; and the next day they killed a young 
beef, and made soup for her. By this kind treatment, she found 
herself in a few days able to proceed. Mr. Harman took her on 
horseback to the Dunkards' Bottom, where was a fort in which ail 
the families of the neighborhood were gathered. On the morning 


after her arrival at the fort, her husband and her brother John 
Draper came unexpectedly. They had made a journey to the 
Cherokees, who were on friendly terms with the Shawanees, to pro- 
cure by their agency the release of the captives. On their return 
they lodged about seven miles from the Dunkards' Bottom, in the 
woods, the night Mrs. Inglis reached the fort. The surprise at the 
meeting was mutual and happy. Thus ended the captivity and 
escape, embracing about five months. Of this time, about forty-two 
and a half days were passed on her return. 

Mrs. Draper was released after about six or seven years, when 
friendlv relations had been restored ; and the frontiers were relieved 
from the inroads of barbarians. 

While Mrs. Inglis was at Harman's lodge, she entreated her host 
to go, or send for the old woman. He positively refused, both on 
account of her bad treatment of his guest, and also that he knew 
she would come to a cabin on her side of the river. To this cabin 
she came, and found in it a kettle nearly full of venison and bear's 
meat, the hunters had prepared and just left. She feasted and 
rested herself a day or two ; and then dressing herself in some 
clothing left by the hunters, and making a bark bridle for an old 
horse left there, she mounted him, and proceeded on her way. 
When within about fifteen or twenty miles of the Dunkards' Bottom, 
she met some men going in search of her. They found her riding, 
carrying the bell she took from the horse left in the river, and had 
brought along through all her journey, and halloing at short inter- 
vals, to attract the attention of hunters. Nothing is known of her 
after her arrival at the fort ; the only remarkable event in her life 
was her escape with Mrs. Inglis. 

Having remained at the Dunkards' Bottom till spring, Mr. Inglis, 
on account of the unwillingness of his wife to remain on the fron- 
tiers, removed to a stronger post on the head of Roanoke, called 
Vause's fort, where a number of families were collected. For the 
same cause he afterwards removed east of the Blue Ridge, and took 
his residence in Botetourt County. This was a very providential 
movement, as in the fall of the year a large force of French and 
Indians surprised and took the fort, and murdered or made prison- 
ers of all the families. John and Matthew Inglis, connexions of 
William, had their families in the fort at the time it was taken. 
When the attack was made, John was out. Hearing the noise, he 
rushed to the fort, and notwithstanding it was surrounded by the 
enemy, he attempted to get in. The savages closed upon him. He 
fired his gun, and used it as a club, and beat off the assailants. The 
stock breaking, he used the barrel with great force, and approached 
very near the fort ; but before he could enter, he was overpowered 
and killed. Matthew was taken prisoner. The Indians having 
secured what plunder they desired, encamped near the fort. Mat- 
thew was unbound, and being offended by some of the Indians, 
seized a frying-pan, twisted oft' the handle, and began laying about 
him with great effect. The savages were so pleased with his bold- 


ncss, that they treated him afterwards more kindly than the other 
prisoner?. After remaining some years in Bedford. William Inglis 
and family returned to New River. Some families having ventured 
to settle further west, the meadows and New river were considered 
comparatively safe. Mr. Inglis' house became a fort, to which, in 
times of alarm the neighbors gathered ; and from the brave men 
there assembled the savages received an effectual check. A party 
of eiffht or ten passed the fort, and went to Smith's river, east of 
the Blue Ridge, and returned with a woman and three children 
prisoners, and a number of horses loaded with plunder, encamped 
about six miles from Insdis' fort. Beinor discovered bv a person 
hunting horses, some eighteen men were rallied, and, with Mr. Inglis, 
set off to attack the savages. On reaching the encampment in the 
morning they found it deserted ; pursuing the trail, they came upon 
the party cooking their breakfast ; approaching unobserved, they 
fired, and rushed in upon the enemy. But two or three escaped. 
The prisoners and plunder were all recovered, but with the loss how- 
ever of one of the assailants. The New River settlements were 
never again disturbed. 

William and Mary Inglis had six children. Before the captivity, 
Thomas and George were born; after the captivity, Susan, Rhoda, 
Polly and John. George died in captivity while a young child. 
The other five became heads of families. Of these children, Thomas 
was left in captivity when his mother escaped — the separation of 
himself and brother from her being the immediate cause of her 
flight. He remained thirteen years among the Indians. Frequent 
efforts were made for his recovery, but in vain. After peace was 
concluded, a Mr. Thomas Baker, who had been a prisoner among 
the Indians, visited the tribe at the solicitation of the father, and 
purchased the lad for about $150. The squaws greatly opposed the 
return of the boy, and used every exertion to persuade him to re- 
main. Mr. Baker kept him in partial confinement till he had passed 
the villages some forty or fifty miles, and then set him entirely free. 
At night he lay down to sleep with the boy in his arms. In the 
morning he found himself alone. He returned in search of him, 
but the squaws refused to give him up, or disclose the place of his 
concealment. Some two years after, Mr. Inglis, accompanied by 
Mr. Baker, went by Winchester to Pittsburg, on their way to visit 
the Shawanees, in quest of his son. There the journey was ended on 
account of fresh hostilities all along the frontiers. When peace 
was restored, the father, accompanied by Mr. Baker, made another 
journey in quest of his son, and to propitiate the Indians, took with 
him a number of small kegs of rum. The first village he entered 
was greatly excited upon hearing of the rum, and persuaded the 
anxious father to gratify their appetites. In the intoxication which 
followed, his life was in danger, and his preservation was owing to 
the kindness of the squaws. On reaching the Scioto, where his 
son had been living, he learned, to his sorrow, that the old Indian 
father had taken the boy to Detroit. While waiting about a fort- 


night for his return, Mr. Baker renewed his acquaintance with the 
Shawanees, and Mr. Inglis became very popular, and matters we^e 
in a favorable train before the old man and boy came back. When 
the boy heard his father was come, his feelings were greatly moved ; 
and finding which was he, expressed a fondness for him, and a 
willingness to return home with him. The old Indian gave him up 
upon receiving a second ransom for him ; and the son set off with 
his father very cheerfully. On'the journey he gave evidence of an 
increasing fondness for his father, without the least desire to return 
to the Scioto. The mother's joy was great on recovering her long 
lost eldest son, who was now seventeen years of age, small in stature, 
unable to speak English, and an entire savage in his manners and 
appearance. The habits of civilized life were not pleasing to him, 
and with difficulty he was persuaded to remain with his parents. 
He would sometimes go to the woods, and remain for days, his 
parents fearing he would never return. By continued kindness he 
was persuaded to leave off his Indian dress, the use of the bow and 
arrow, and to learn the English language. His father placed him at 
school in Albemarle County, in the family of Dr. Walker. In the 
course of three or four years of study he acquired what was esteemed 
a good English education, and was greatly improved in manners. He 
never did, perhaps never could, entirely put off his Indian habits. 
In the campaign against the Shawanees, he belonged to the regi- 
ment of Col. Christian which reached Point Pleasant the night after 
the battle. Remaining at the Point till the treaty of peace was 
signed, he found among the Indians many of his old acquaintances, 
and went with them on a visit to their towns. After his return he 
married Miss Ellen Grills, and settled on Wolfe Creek, a branch of 
New River. Erom this place he removed to a valuable tract of 
land on the head of Bluestone ; but being annoyed by the Indians 
passing and repassing, during the war of the revolution, on their 
plundering expeditions, he removed to Burke's garden, with settle- 
ments around him at the distance of ten or twelve miles,, and but 
one white person in the garden, an old bachelor about two miles 
off, by the name of Hix, with whom lived a black boy. Here he 
was unmolested till the spring of the year 1782. While with his 
black boy in a field ploughing, his house was surrounded by Indians. 
Perceiving he could render no assistance, he mounted a horse and 
went with speed across to the head of Holston for help. Here 
meeting a militia muster, some fifteen men immediately volunteered 
and went with him. Old Mr. Hix had come on a visit to the family, 
and was in sight when the attack was made ; he hastened m another 
direction and gave the alarm, and returned with volunteers, about 
the same time Mr. Inglis came. From the smoking ruins of the 
house they pursued the marauders, who had gone through a part of 
the Clinch settlements to go down the Big Sandy. When clear of 
the settlements the Indians moved carelessly and left marks of their 
trail. At this time their puisuers were about twenty, under the 
command of Capt. Maxwell of the militia. On the seventh day in 


the evening the spies discovered the Indians. Before they were 
completely surrounded the Indians saw their pursuers. Mr. Inglis 
with a part of the men had approached very near and was waiting for 
Capt. Maxwell coming up on the other side. According to custom 
the Indians began tomahawking the prisoners. Mr. Inglis was very 
near and rushed to save his wife and children ; but the efforts were 
vain. All were tomahawked. The boy about three years of age 
soon died, the girl about five lived a few days. Mrs. Inglis had 
many wounds which were not fatal. The Indians in flying came 
suddenly upon Capt. Maxwell's company ; and in rushing past, one 
of them discharged his gun at the Captain, conspicuous by his white 
hunting-shirt, and gave him a mortal wound. They all escaped. 
The Captain soon died, and was buried with the little boy. His 
name was given to the Gap where he was slain. At the head of 
Clinch, Mr. Wm. Inglis met his son, and wife, and infant, having a 
Doctor in company. The little girl died soon. Mrs. Inglis was 
able to return to New River. Before she recovered thirteen pieces 
of skull bone were taken from her head. 

In about a year, Thomas Inglis removed to Tennessee, and settled 
on the Watauga, a tributary of the South Fork of Holston ; in a 
position exposed to the incursions of the Cherokees. But in a few 
years, though comfortably situated, dissatisfied that the country was 
filling up so fast, he removed further down the river to Mossy 
Creek, in the midst of grass-fields and cane-brakes. The coming 
of settlers caused him once more to remove, and he took his resi- 
dence near where Knoxville now stands. Here he seemed to be 
fixed for life, owning several tracts of land, and having a daughter 
married. But in pursuit of a debtor he visited Natchez, and 
although meeting with losses by the upsetting of his boat at the 
Muscle Shoals, every thing being left in the river but his saddle- 
bags, and failing to get any satisfaction from his debtor, he was so 
pleased with that country, that he speedily sold his possessions and 
removed to Mississippi. There he ended his days, an inveterate 
lover of frontier life, and never under any circumstances losing the 
tastes and habits he acquired in his thirteen years of captivity when 
a boy. The Shawanees loved him when a captive for his bravery 
and endurance ; and in after life the Cherokees admired and feared 
him for the same cool adventurous bearing, and never disturbed him 
in Tennessee, though exposed in his lonely habitations. 

Susan, the eldest daughter of William and Mary Inglis, married 
General Trigg, a man well known in public life ; her two daughters, 
Mrs. Charles Taylor, and Mrs. Judge Allen Taylor, died at an ad- 
vanced age, eminently pious members of the Presbyterian Church, 
and noted for their amiable qualities. Polly married a brother of 
John's wife. The youngest son, John, had eight children, was a 
member of the Presbyterian Church, of which lie was long an elder 
in Montgomery County ; and part of his children were members. 
Mr. William Inglis died in 1782, aged 53; Mrs. Mary Inglis en- 
joyed good health till far advanced in years, and died in 1813, aged 


84. Her descendants are numerous, and they contemplate, with 
wonder and admiration, the energy, boldness, and endurance mani- 
fested by the subject of this chapter in her eventful captivity. And 
it will ever be a matter of surprise that murders, captivities, and 
plunderings multiplied to an extent almost incredible, did not stop 
the tide of emigration in Western Virginia. The boldness and 
rapidity of its extension before the Independence of the United 
States was acknowledged, was but a precursor of that unresisted 
tide that has already broken the barrier of the Rocky Mountains. 



The name of Cornstalk, the Shawanee Chief, once thrilled the 
heart of every white man in Virginia, and terrified every family in 
the mountains. He was, to the Indians of Western Virginia, like 
Pocahontas to the tribes on the sea coast, the greatest and last chief. 
In the days of his power, the Shawaness built their cabins on the 
Scioto. They had once dwelt on the Shenandoah, and covered the 
whole valley of Virginia. At the approach of the whites to the 
mountains they had retreated beyond the Alleghenies. The names 
of the various smaller tribes that once were scattered over the 
country west of the Blue Ridge, and east of the Ohio, have not 
been preserved. No historical fact of importance depends upon 
their preservation. There was a name applied to all the tribes, 
whether it was generic, or from conquest, or a confederacy, or from 
all combined none can tell. The eastern Indians called the western 
tribes Massawomacs, their natural enemies. Under whatever name 
they existed, or from whatever parts composed, these savages were 
represented by chiefs that owned the authority of Cornstalk, and 
were at the time the Valley was settled by the whites called Shawa- 
nees. The last battles fought along the Shenandoah or Potomac, 
were between the Catawabas from the South, and the Delawares 
from the North, on fields abandoned by their savage owners. 

Cornstalk, like other savages, has no youth in history. The first 
we know of him is in plundering and massacre in 1763. In that 
year he exterminated the infant settlements on Muddy Creek and 
the Levels, in Greenbrier. The Indians were received as friends, 
and provisions given them in profound security. Unprovoked they 
suddenly massacred the males and took the women and children cap- 
tives. Cornstalk passed on to Jackson's River, and finding the 
families on their guard, hastened on to Carr's Creek, and doomed 
s^me unsuspecting families to the tomahawk and captivity. In the 
same year depredations were made near Staunton, with the same 


secrecy and ferocity. Col. Bouquet marched to Fort Pitt, with a 
regiment of British soldiers and some companies of militia. Th 
Shawanees made a treaty, on the Muskingum, and delivered up th 
prisoners to return to desolate homes. The massacre on Cairr's 
Creek was terribly visited on Cornstalk, when a defenceless hostage, 
after the lapse of more than twenty years. All savages seem alike, 
as the trees in the distant forest. Here and there one unites in his 
own person the excellencies of the whole race, and becomes the 
image of savage greatness. Cornstalk was gifted with oratory, 
statesmanship, heroism, beauty of person, and strength of frame. 
In his movements he was majestic ; in his manners easy and win- 
ning. Of his oratory, Col. Benjamin Wilson an officer in Lord 
Dunmore's army, says — " I have heard the first orators in Virginia, 
Patrick Henry and Richard Henry Lee, but never have I heard one 
whose powers of delivery surpassed those of Cornstalk." Of his 
statesmanship and bravery there is ample evidence in the fact that 
he was head of the confederacy, and led the battle at Point Plea- 

The whole savage race was alarmed at the attempts of the white- 
men to occupy Kentucky ; and the preparations to lay off the bounty 
lands, for the soldiers of Braddock's war, near Louisville, at the falls 
of the Ohio, drove them to exasperation. A confederacy was formed, 
and the Shawanee chief was not backward in the excitements and 
preparations for war. Mutual aggravations on the frontiers followed 
by plunderings and murders, of w r hich the whites could no more say 
they were innocent than the savages, brought on the war. In the 
progress of the confederacy and the war, events took place that 
have left the impression in Virginia, that Governor Dunmore was 
more anxious to secure to his majesty George 3d, the friendship of 
the numerous tribes of Indians bordering the colonies, than to 
avenge the wrongs Virginia w T as suffering from savage hands, either 
as the fruits of his own misdoings, or the overflowing of savage 
ferocity. In April of 1774, Col. Angus M'Donald of the Valley of 
the Shenandoah, led a regiment against the Indians on the Mus- 
kingum. He destroyed their towns and secured some hostages ; and 
the hope was indulged that the frontiers would be safe. The In- 
dians fully convinced that acting by tribes, or small companies, they 
would all share the fate of the Muskingums, made the last effort of 
savages, and acted in concert. The Governor now had no alterna- 
tive ; he must meet the Indians w T ith a force becoming a Governor 
of a Province and the officer of a powerful king. 

An expedition into the Indian country was planned. Point Plea- 
sant, at the junction of the great Kanawha with the Ohio, was the 
place of rendezvous. The Governor was to collect forces in the 
lower part of the Valley of the Shenandoah and the mountains, 
and proceeding to Fort Pitt go down the Ohio in boats. Gen. An- 
drew Lewis was to lead the force, raised in Culpepper, Augusta, 
Bedford, and all the upper part of the Valley, and on the head of 
Holston, and proceeding down the Kanaw T ha to meet the Governor 


at the Point. Gen. Lewis made his rendezvous at Camp Union, 
Lewisburg, about the 4th of September. His brother Charles 
Lewis, led the Augusta regiment under the Captains, George Mat- 
thews, Alexander M'Clenachan, John Dickinson, John Lewis, Ben- 
jamin Harrison, "William Paul, Joseph Haynes and Samuel Wilson. 
Col. William Fleming commanded the Botetourt companies, under 
Captains Matthew Arbuckle, John Murray, John Lewis, James Ro- 
bertson, Robert M'Clenachan, James Ward and John Stuart. Col. 
John Fields, a lieutenant in Braddock's war, and one that escaped 
the massacre of Cornstalk's inroad on Greenbrier, led the men from 
Culpepper. Captains Evan Shelby, William Russell and Harbert 
led companies from Washington 'County, and Captain Thomas Bu- 
ford those from Bedford, and east of the Ridge, and west of the 
James : these four were to be under the command of Col. William 
Christian. On the 11th of September, General Lewis began the 
march, with about eleven hundred men. Captain Arbuckle was the 
pilot through the mountains and down the river. There was no 
track of any kind for the army ; few white persons had ever gone 
down the Kanawha. The distance, about one hundred and sixty 
miles, was passed over in nineteen days. Provisions were supplied 
from pack-horses, and from the cattle driven along for the purpose. 
After waiting for some days, and hearing nothing from the Gov- 
ernor, Lewis despatched two messengers to Fort Pitt for intelligence. 
On Sabbath, the 9th of October, three men came to Lewis's Camp, 
express from the Governor, to give information of his march, by 
land, from the mouth of the Hockhocking directly to the Shawanee 
towns, with orders for the forces at the point to join him there. 
Lewis was surprised and vexed at this movement of Dunmore ; and 
began to indulge suspicions, that never left him, greatly derogatory 
to the purity of the Governor's motives. One of the express, by 
name M'Cullough, enquired for Captain John Stuart, afterwards 
Col. Stuart of Greenbrier, who was on guard. He renewed an ac- 
quaintance he had formed with him in Philadelphia. " In the course 
of the conversation," says Stuart in his narrative, "he informed me 
he had recently left the Shaw T anee-towns, and gone to the Governor's 
Camp. This made me desirous to know his opinion of our expected 
success in subduing the Indians ; and whether he thought they would 
be presumptuous enough to oiler fight to us," as we supposed we had 
a force, superior to anything they could afford us. He answered, 
"Aye, they will give you grinders, and that before long. And re- 
pea ^ing swore, we should get grinders very soon." The express 
j returned to the Governor. While Lewis and his men were think- 
ing only of the Shawanees, and perhaps a few allies, M'Cullough 
was giving notice to Stuart of a fact, he appears not to have noticed 
at the time, that the confederacy was strong enough to meet them 
all in the held, and would soon make trial of their strength. On 
the next morning the battle at Point Pleasant was fougtit. Tw T o 
young men going out on a deer hunt, very early happened to ramble 
up the river Ohio, and after proceeding a few miles came suddenly 


upon a camp of Indians making preparations to march. The young 
men were discovered, fired upon, and one hilled. The other fled in 
all haste for the camp, and entered it at full speed, at about sun- 
rise. "He stopped," says Stuart, "just before my tent; and I 
discovered a number of men collected around him as I lay in my 
bed. I jumped up and approached him to know what was the alarm, 
when I heard him declare that he had seen above five acres of land 
covered with Indians as thick as they could stand one beside an- 

The camp of Lewis was in motion. A battle was about to take 
place, the most fierce ever waged with savages by the forces of Vir- 
ginia, on her own soil. A braveM*knpany of j$men had never been 
assembled, in the colony, than that which was encamped, the second 
Sabbath of October, 1771, on the banks of the Ohio and Kanawha, 
under the command of General Andrew Lewis. "It consisted," 
says Captain Stuart, " of young volunteers well trained to the use 
of arms, as hunting in those days was much practised, and preferred 
to agricultural pursuits, by enterprising young men. The produce 
of the soil was of little value on the west side of the Blue Ridge ; the 
ways bad, and the distance to market too great to make it esteemed. 
Such pursuits inured them to hardships and danger. They had no 
knowledge of the use of discipline, or military order, were in an 
enemy's country, well skilled in their own manner of warfare, and 
were quite unacquainted with military operations of any kind. Igno- 
rance of their duties, together with high notions of independence 
and equality of condition, rendered the service extremely difficult 
and disagreeable to the commander, who was by nature of a lofty 
and high military spirit." One of the Augusta companies that took 
its departure from Staunton, excited admiration for the height of its 
men, and their uniformity of stature. In the bar-room of Sampson 
Matthews, a mark was made upon the walls, which remained till the 
tavern was consumed by fire, about seventy years after the mea- 
surement of the company was taken. The greater part of the men 
were six feet two inches, in their stockings ; and only two were but 
six feet. Patriotic and brave, these valley boys submitted to the 
rigid discipline of Lewis, whom they had known from childhood, 
with a reluctance that, under a foreigner, would have been rebellion. 
Travelling through an untried wilderness, they out marched Dun- 
more on a beaten track, repulsed the Shawanees, and were on the 
march for the Indian towns when arrested by an order from the 
Governor. Their General had seen service. A Captain in 1752, 
he was with Washington at the Little Meadows, and received two 
wounds. In 1755, he was Major under AVashington, and in endea- 
voring to rescue Grant from his rash adventure, was taken prisoner. 
While in captivity, he quarrelled with Grant for abusing the Ameri- 
cans ; and to show his contempt, spit in the English Major's face. 
"In person," says Stuart, "upwards of six feet high, of uncommon 
strength and agility, and his form of the most exact symmetry that 
I ever beheld in human being. He had a stern and invincible coun- 


tenance, and was of a reserved and distant deportment which ren- 
dered his presence more awful than engaging." The Governor of 
New York observed about him, while acting as Commissioner from 
Virginia, at the treaty of Fort Stanwix — "the earth seemed to 
tremble under him as he walked along." Of his bravery and gene- 
ral fitness to command, his troops never expressed a doubt ; but of 
his severity of discipline they loudly complained. Their insubordi- 
nation and thoughtlessness coming in contact with his sense of honor 
and propriety, gave rise to clamor, but never produced ill-will. 

Cornstalk led the Indians. His band of warriors was made up 
of the entire forces of the Shawanees, of the young warriors of the 
Wyandots, the Delawares, the Mingoes, and Cayugas, and the 
smaller tribes under their control. " Of all the Indians," savs 
Stuart, " the Shawanees were the most bloody and terrible, holding 
all other men, as well Indians as whites, in contempt as warriors, in 
comparison with themselves. This opinion made them more fierce 
and restless than any other savages ; and they boasted they had 
killed ten times as many whites as any other Indians. They were 
a well-formed, ingenious, active people, were assuming and imperi- 
ous in the presence of others not of their nation, and sometimes very 
cruel. It was chiefly the Shawanees that cut off the British under 
General Braddock, in the year 1755, only nineteen years before our 
battle, when the General himself, and Sir Peter Hacket, the second 
in command, were both slain, and the mere remnant only of the 
whole army escaped. They too defeated Major Grant and his Scotch 
Highlanders, at Fort Pitt, in 1758, where the whole of the troops 
were killed or taken prisoners." The number of warriors assembled 
could never be ascertained. They have been estimated variously 
from one thousand down to four hundred. Cornstalk led his force 
across to the east bank of the Ohio, on Sabbath evening, October 
9th, about the time the express left the camp of Lewis, desiring a 
battle with Lewis before the forces of the Governor were united ; 
and to surprise the camp at the Point, at its breakfast hour, halted 
for the night at the distance of about two miles. It is scarcely pos- 
sible the express should not have known something of the Indian 
movements. While Lewis was unconscious of the near approach of 
his enemy, Cornstalk, almost within sight of the Point, held a coun- 
cil of his chiefs and principal warriors, and proposed to go into camp 
and ask for peace. Whether he designed merely to try the spirit 
of his braves now about to be engaged in a hard battle, or whether 
convinced, from the past movements of the whites, and the little 
the Shawanees had gained, by their victories and massacres, for a 
series of years, of the impossibility of arresting the progress of the 
Virginians, the hated "long knives," to the "West, he desired now, 
with a show of savage power, to settle an advantageous peace, can- 
not now be known. He was capable of doing either. The council 
unanimously demanded battle. Preparations were then made to sur- 
prise Lewis at sunrise. The deer-hunters prevented a compieie sur- 
prise. The unwounded one fled to the camp and gave the alarm. 


The savages, as speedily as possible, pressed on after the fugitive, 
not to lose their advantage by this discovery. 

General Lewis, on hearing of the near approach of the enemy, 
deliberately lighted his pipe, and proceeded to give his orders with 
entire self-possession and decision. The camp was put in order for 
immediate battle. Col. Charles Lewis and Col. Fleming were 
directed to detail a part of their forces, under their oldest Captains, 
and advance in the direction of the reported enemy. The Colonels 
hastening on as directed, sent forward scouts, and while yet in sight 
of the camp-guards, heard the discharge of musketry and saw the 
scouts fall ; and in a few moments received a heavy fire along their 
whole line. The two Colonels fell badly wounded ; Lewis having 
discharged his piece, and as he said " sent one of the savages before 
him to eternity," fell at the root of a tree. The preparations to 
bear the Colonels to the camp, together with the suddenness of the 
attack, threw the detachments into confusion, and they began to 
fall back. Meeting Colonel Fields and his company they immedi- 
ately rallied, and drove the assailants some distance beyond the 
ground of the first fire. The Indians disappeared. Colonel Flem- 
ing was borne into camp entirely disabled. Colonel Lewis, sup- 
ported by Captain Murray, his brother-in-law, and Mr. Bailey of 
Captain Paul's company, unwillingly returned to his tent. The In- 
dians speedily rushed on again with their yells and their fire ; and 
soon yielded the ground to the advancing Virginians. Then form- 
ing a line, from the Ohio to the Kenawha, enclosing the Virginia 
forces, and stationing a band of warriors on the opposite bank of 
the Ohio to intercept any fugitives, by alternately advancing and 
retreating, they carried on the battle without cessation and with 
unremitting ardor. Early in the forenoon Colonel Lewis breathed 
his last while the battle was raging around him. The wound of 
Colonel Fleming, though severe, was not mortal. When the con- 
fusion of the *first attack had subsided, the forces of Lewis, unac- 
customed as most of them were to war and discipline of armies, 
became prompt in their obedience to orders, alert in their move- 
ments, cool in their bearing, and daring in their advance to meet 
the foe, and firm in meeting their onsets. Coming near the lines 
the savages would sometimes cry out, " we are eleven hundred strong, 
and two thousand more coming." This gave rise to the suspicion 
that either the Governor or his express had given the Indians in- 
formation respecting Lewis's camp. One voice was heard, during 
the day, shouting above the din of battle. Captain Stuart, attracted 
by its singular strength and tone, asked of a soldier who had been 
much among the Indians, if he knew that voice. " It is Cornstalk's," 
replied the soldier. "And what is he shouting?" said Stuart — 
'• lie is," said the soldier, " shouting to his men — Be strong ! — Be 
strong / ' Cornstalk was often seen with his warriors. Brave with- 
out being rash, he avoided exposure without shrinking ; cautious 
without timidity in the hottest of the battle, he escaped without a 
wound. As one of the warriors near him showed some signs of 


timidity, the enraged chief, with one blow of his tomahawk, cleft his 
skull. In one of the assaults, Colonel Fields, performing his duty 
bravely, was shot dead. His men, having on the march declined, 
with their Colonel, the command of Lewis, were now, though recon- 
ciled to the General, greatly dispirited by the loss of their own be- 
loved commander. The faltering of the ranks encouraged the 
savages. " Be strong ! Be strong !" echoed through the woods over 
the savage lines in the tones of Cornstalk ; and as Captain after 
Captain, and files of men after files of men, fell, the yells of the 
Indians were more terrific and their assaults more furious. The 
bravery of Lewis never wavered. Equal to the occasion, he was 
seen moving majestically from place to place ; and wherever he 
appeared, his " stern invincible countenance," and calm bravery, 
aroused his brave men to higher and still higher heroism. Early in 
the battle he contrived to despatch two runners up the Kenawha, to 
hasten the advance of Colonel Christian. Throughout the whole 
day the Indians continued their assaults with unabated, rather in- 
creasing, fury; and the "long knives" showed the terrible Shaw- 
anees, they could avenge the fall of their companions. Towards 
evening, Lewis, seeing no signs of retreat, or even cessation of 
battle, despatched Captains Shelby, Matthews and Stuart, at their 
request, to attack the enemy in the rear. Going up the Kenawha, 
under cover of the banks, to Crooked Creek, and up that Creek, 
under cover of the bank and weeds, they got to the rear of the In- 
dians unobserved, and made a rapid attack. Alarmed at this un- 
looked for assault, and thinking the reinforcement of Colonel Chris- 
tian was approaching, before whose arrival they had striven hard to 
finish the battle, the savages became dispirited, gave way, and by sun- 
down had recrossed the Ohio. Colonel Christian entered the camp 
about midnight ; and found all things in readiness for a renewed 
attack. But the battle had been decisive, and the retreat of the 
Indians rapid and complete. The loss of the Virginians on this 
day, 2 Colonels, 6 Captains, 3 Lieutenants and 64 subalterns and 
privates, was in all seventy-five killed, and 140 wounded. About one- 
tifth of the whole force was disabled. The loss of the Indians could 
not be known. Colonel Christian marched over the field, the next 
morning, and found thirty-three dead, left by the Indians, in their 
rapid flight, probably those killed in the assault on their rear which 
decided the battle. 

Upon reaching a place of safety, the Indians held a council. 
They had been defeated in their long expected great battle. The 
"long knives" were pressing on. Cornstalk enquired, what should 
be done. No one spoke. After a solemn pause, Cornstalk arose. 
" We must fight, or we are undone. Let us kill our women and 
children, and go and fight till we die." He sat down. After a 
long pause, he rose again and striking his tomahawk into the council 
post, said — " Then 1 11 go and make peace." The warriors around 
replied, " ough ! ough ! ough !" Runners were immediately des- 
patched to tne Governor to solicit terms of peace, and to ask for 


protection from "the long knives;" and Cornstalk and his sister, 
the grenadier squaw, set out to meet the Governor. The time and 
place of conference were agreed upon. The chiefs were speedily to 
meet the Governor near Chilicothe. 

After burying the dead and making suitable accommodations for 
the wounded, Lewis began a rapid march for the Scioto. Messen- 
gers from the Governor arrested his march. At Killicanie Creek, 
the Governor accompanied with the chief, White Eyes, had an 
interview with General Lewis. Requesting a particular introduction 
to the officers of the Valley forces, he paid them high compliments 
for their general bravery and for their personal conduct in the late 
battle. Lewis very reluctantly let pass the opportunity of avenging 
upon the Indian villages, one of which was in sight, the massacres 
and murders committed by Cornstalk at Muddy Creek, the Levels, 
and Carr's Creek, and the death of the brave seventy-five, that had 
just fallen in battle. The Governor's course impressed more deeply 
on Lewis's mind the prejudice, probably unfounded, that the interests 
of Virginia were less cared for than became a patriot Governor. 
It was retorted upon the General, that severity in camp and cruelty 
to Indians, might be more agreeable to his ideas of propriety than 
to the feelings of community at large. 

On the third, the appointed day, Cornstalk, with eight chiefs, met 
the Governor, near the Scioto ; and it was agreed mutually that 
hostilities should cease, the prisoners be delivered up, and that a 
treaty should be ratified the next summer at Fort Pitt. The con- 
ference lasted a number of days. Some of the Mingoes being 
present, Lunmore sent two interpreters to Logan requesting his 
attendance. He replied — "I am a warrior and not a counsellor. 
I will not go." The conference was opened by Dunmore's reading 
from a paper, to be interpreted, his charges against the Indians, for 
their infractions of former treaties and their many and unprovoked 
murders. "When Cornstalk rose to reply" says Col. Wilson — 
"he was in no wise confused or daunted, but spoke in a distinct and 
audible voice, without stammering or repetition, and with peculiar 
emphasis. His looks while addressing Dunmore were truly grand, 
yet graceful and attractive." As he became excited he was heard 
through the whole camp. He sketched in lively colors the once 
prosperous condition of his tribe when some of its divisions dwelt 
on the Shenandoah. He inveighed against the perfidiousness of the 
whites, most particularly exclaiming against the dishonesty of the 
traders. He proposed that no one be permitted to trade with the 
Indians on private account ; that fair prices should be agreed upon, 
and the traffic be committed to honest men ; and finally that no 
spirits of any kind should be sent amongst them ; because fire- 
water brought evil to the Indians." In this conference, as in the 
battle, Cornstalk won the highest praise from the English officers. 
His design to cut off his approaching enemies in detail, and the 
platform he proposed for a treaty were worthy of a commander and 
a diplomatist. 


Of the persons engaged in the battle at the Point, some became 
eminent in succeeding years, and are remembered — as Colonel 
Fleming who suffered from his wound during life ; Isaac Shelby, 
Governor of Kentucky and Secretary of War ; William and John 
Campbell, heroes of King's Mountain ; Evan Shelby of Tennessee, 
I Andrew Moore the first member of the United States Senate, west 
of the Blue Ridge ; John Stuart of Greenbrier ; General Tate of 
Washington County ; Col. Wm. M'Kee of Kentucky ; John Steele, 
Governor of Mississippi territory ; Col. Charles Cameron of Bath ; 
General Bezaleel Wells of Ohio ; and General George Matthews, 
distinguished at Guilford and Brandywine, and Governor of Georgia. 
We hear no more of Cornstalk, till in the spring of 1777, he 
visited Point Pleasant and sought an interview with Captain Ar- 
buckle, the commander of the Fort. The Chief Redhawk and a 
few attendants accompanied him. In this interview he informed 
Captain Arbuckle, that the coalition of the tribes west of the Ohio, 
formed by the English against the colonies, was nearly complete ; 
that the young Shawanees, thirsting for revenge for their com- 
panions slain in the battle at the Point, were eager to join the 
confederacy ; that he had opposed the whole proceeding, believing 
that the safety of the Shawanees was in the friendship of " the long 
knives ;" that he believed his tribe and nation " would float with 
the stream in despite of his endeavors to stem it ;" and that hos- 
tilities were about to commence. Captain Arbuckle detained the 
chief, and sent a messenger to Williamsburg. Under orders from 
the Governor, Colonel Skillern, of Rockbridge, with difficulty raised 
a volunteer force in the Valley, and Captain John Stuart raised a 
small company in Greenbrier, composed chiefly of militia officers 
serving as privates, of whom he was one. At the Point the Colonel 
waited for General Hand, from Pittsburg, to lead against the Indian 
towns. While waiting for the General the officers held frequent 
interviews with Cornstalk. One afternoon, as he was delineating 
upon the floor the geography of the country between the Shawanee 
towns and the Mississippi, and showing the position and course of 
the various rivers, that empty into those mighty streams, a shouting 
was heard from the opposite banks of the Ohio. Cornstalk arose 
deliberately, and went out, and answered the call. Immediately a 
j young chief crossed the river, whom Cornstalk embraced with the 
: greatest tenderness. It was his son Elinipsico. The young man, 
j distressed at his long absence, had come to seek his father. At a 
council of officers held the next morning Cornstalk was present by 
invitation. He made a speech, recounting his course since the 
battle of 1771 ; his proposing to kill the women and children, and 
for the warriors to fight till they were all killed ; of his propositions 
and negotiations for peace ; and of the present prospect of war ; 
and his own views of the position of things. ww He closed every 
sentence of his speech," says Stuart — "witii — when I was a young 
man and went to war, I thought it might be the last time, and I 
would return no more. Now I am here among you ; yuu may kill 
me ft' you please; I can die but once; and it is all one to me, now, 


or another time." His countenance was dejected as he declared 
that he "would he compelled to go with the stream ; and that all 
the Indians were joining the British standard. 

About the time the council closed, two of the volunteers, return- 
ing from a deer hunt on the opposite side of the Ohio, were fired 
upon by some Indians concealed upon the bank. " Whilst we were 
wondering," says Stuart, "who it could be shooting contrary to 
orders, or what they were doing over the river, we saw that Hamil- 
ton ran down to the bank, who called out that Gilmore was killed. 
Young Gilmore was from Rockbridge ; his family and friends had 
been mostly cut off by the incursions headed by Cornstalk in 1763 ; 
he belonged to the company of his relative Capt. John Hall. His 
companions hastily crossed the river, and brought back the bloody 
corpse, and rescued Hamilton from his danger. The interpreter's 
wife, lately returned from captivity, ran out to enquire the cause of 
the tumult in the fort. She hastened back to the cabin of Corn- 
stalk, for whom she entertained a very high regard for his kind 
treatment to her, and told him that Elinipsico was charged with 
bringing the Indians that had just killed Gilmore, and that the sol- 
diers were threatening them all with death. The young chief denied 
any participation, even the most remote, in the murder. " The 
canoe had scarcely touched the shore," says Stuart, " until the cry 
was raised — let us kill the Indians in the fort, and every man, with 
his gun in his hand, came up the bank pale with rage. Capt. Hall 
was at their head, and their leader. Capt. Arbuckle and I met them 
and endeavored to dissuade them from so unjustifiable an action. 
But they cocked their guns, threatened us with instant death if we 
did not desist, and rushed by us into the fort." Elinipsico hearing 
their approach, trembled greatly. Cornstalk said, "My son, the 
Great Spirit has seen fit that we should die together, and has sent 
you here. It is his will. Let us submit. It is best ;" and turned 
to meet the enemy at the door. In a moment he fell, and expired 
without a groan. He was pierced with seven bullets. Elinipsico 
sat unmoved upon his stool ; and, like his father, received the shots 
of the soldiers, and died without motion. Bedhawk endeavored to 
escape by the chimney, which proved too small. He was shot, and 
fell dead in the ashes. Another Indian present was cruelly mangled, 
and murdered by piece-meal. The fort was covered with gloom. 
The soldiers gazed in sadness on the dead bodies of Cornstalk and 
his son. Col. Skillern did not arrest the murderers. General Hand 
arrived without forces or supplies, and took no notice of the deed. 
The militia received orders to return home. The civil authorities 
made some investigations, but the county court of Bockbridge, after 
ascertaining with some degree of certainty the actors in the bloody 
deed, proceeded no further. Some of the witnesses died, and others 
fled ; and the distresses and vexations of the seven years' war 
diverted the public attention. The exasperated Shawanees took 
ample vengeance for that cruel and unexpiated slaughter. The 
blood of multitudes along the frontiers flowed for Cornstalk and 
Elinipsico and Bedhawk, before the peace of 1783. 





William Hill was born March 3d, 1769, in Cumberland County, 
Virginia. His parents were of English descent. When five years 
old he was deprived of his father by death. After a few years of 
widowhood, his mother was married to Daniel Allen, a widower with 
children, an elder in the church of which Mr. John B. Smith was 
pastor. He could not remember when his mother began to treat 
h'm in a pious, godly manner. Before her marriage with Mr. Allen 
she was considered as belonging to the Established Church, as all per- 
sons were that did not express dissent ; after her marriage, she united 
with the Presbyterian Church. For a few years young Hill enjoyed 
the instructions and example of his pious mother ; all the recollections 
of whom were intensely sweet to her son, and those also of a godly 
step-father, whom he reverenced. In his twelfth year he was deprived 
of his mother's care and counsel, and left an orphan, that never 
found one to take the mother's place in his heart. 

From about his tenth year till his fourteenth he was favored with 
the instruction of Drury Lacy, employed by Mr. Allen to teach his 
children. This gentleman possessed some peculiar capabilities as a 
teacher, and gave young Hill and Cary Allen an uncommonly good 
English education. While residing with Mr. Allen, Mr. Lacy made 
profession of religion, and was connected with the church under the 
care of Mr. Smith. By the counsel of that man he commenced a 
course of classical study ; went to reside in the family of Judge 
Nash ; became a sub-tutor in college ; and subsequently prepared 
for the ministry. Mr. Lacy retained through life the affections of 
his pupils, Hill and Cary Allen, and heard them preach the gospel 
he loved. 

Young Hill had for the guardian of his property the brother of 
his father. By him he was encouraged to efforts for a classical edu- 
cation, with the design of pursuing the study and practice of the law, 
a course of life presenting at that time great inducements to aspir- 
ing young men ; and was placed at Hampden Sidney College. His 
uncie induced the young man to hope that his small patrimony 
would, by economy and judicious management, be made sufficient for 
his education and entrance upon his profession. While a member 
of college the revival of religion, with which Charlotte, Prince 
Edward and Cumberland were visited, arrested his attention and 
agitated his heart. This revival, as has been noted in the Sketches 
of Virginia already published, began in the Baptist Church in Char- 
lotte, and in a little time was felt under the preaching of the Metho- 
dists and Presbyterians. Mr. Smith set up prayer-meetings in his 
congregation, and began to see among his charge evidences of the 


presence of the holy spirit. Cary Allen openly professed conver- 
sion in circumstances so peculiar as to excite the fear of Mr. Smith 
lest there had been a mistake in the young man. The earnestness 
and frankness of Allen, however, removed all apprehension from his 
pastor's mind, and arrested more particularly the attention of the 
students. This was in the fall of 1787. 

After the students were returned to College, one and another felt 
the necessity of religion. Young Hill, who was with Allen at the 
time of his conversion, was greatly troubled. During the whole of 
the preceding summer he had been in perplexity and distress. The 
talk about awakening and conversion called up the instructions of 
his mother, deeply impressed on his feelings and memory. She had 
prayed for him, and with him ; and often, with her hand upon his 
head, blessing him she had expressed her hope that he would be- 
come a Christian, and a minister of the gospel to others. He 
seemed to himself to hear again his mother's prayers, and to feel 
her hand upon his head. Often would his conscience cry out to him, 
" is this your mother's little preacher for whom she so often prayed ?" 
He would weep and fall on his knees and pray ; and then go among 
the thoughtless boys of College and become merry. He did not 
wish thern to know that he was enquiring after religion. He had 
not read much in his Bible after his mother's death. He had no 
copy of that book with him. He knew of no student that had a 
Bible ; and was ashamed to enquire of them any thing about it. 
He finally applied to the steward, Major James Morton, a godly 
man with a kind heart, and obtained, for a Saturday, the use of hi3 
family Bible. In the deep woods he read through the gospel ac- 
cording to Matthew, passing the day without refreshment and in 
entire seclusion. After this day he felt his determination to seek 
his salvation greatly strengthened, yet he had not courage to dis- 
close it openly. 

A sedate young lad, member of College, William Calhoon, was in 
the habit of returning, on Saturday, to his parents who lived near. 
His father was an elder in the Church and esteemed by all a godly 
man ; a number of his family were professors of religion. As this 
youth was about to return home on a certain Saturday, young Hill 
asked him to bring a good book on religion for him to read, when 
he returned. On reaching home young Calhoon told his father in 
presence of the family, that William Hill said "he wanted a good 
book on religion to read." His sister Peggy, a young lady of much 
intelligence and warm piety, said at once, "I have the very book 
he ougtit to read." On Monday she sent him an old and mucii worn 
copy of Allein's Alarm to the Unconverted. This book young Hill 
locked in his trunk till the next Saturday. His room-mates having 
gone out for the day, he locked the door and began to read his old 
book. He went on with tears and sighs. His distress of soui was 
greater and greater. He had no appetite for his dinner. One and 
another gentle rap at his door had been made and unanswered. 
At lengtii a violent rapping, accompanied with a threat of breaking 


in induced him to open the door. There stood a student from North 
Carolina, James Blythe. He had suspected that Hill was serious, 
and was determined to know the certainty for himself. Looking 
around he saw the old book upon the bed. Taking it up and read- 
ing the title, he exclaimed — "Hill, are you reading this book?" 
Hill was agitated. Should he confess the truth and become the 
sport of the College boys, or should he deny the fact and hide his 
sorrows in his bosom? A strong temptation came upon the youth to 
turn the subject into a laugh. Blythe stood trembling with remorse 
of conscience, for he had come from North Carolina a professor of 
religion, and had been induced to conceal his professions to avoid 
notoriety, and finally to escape the ridicule of the students who 
generally were very far from religion. After a violent struggle, 
Hill at length said — " Yes, Blythe, I have been reading it." "Are 
you anxious about your soul?" said Blythe with great emotion. 
" Yes," replied Hill, "I am. I have neglected it too long, I fear too 
long. I am resolved to be more earnest hereafter." "Oh, Hill," 
exclaimed Blythe with a flood of tears, " what a sinner I am, would 
you believe 1 came from Carolina a professor of religion! Here I 
have neglected my Bible, and have become hard and cold." He 
wept and groaned aloud and threw himself upon the bed ; crying 
out, "Oh Hill, seek your soul's salvation — you may be saved — I 
fear I cannot. I have denied the Lord, I fear I am lost." The 
two youths wept and talked and confessed and read together. It 
was a precious day to both. 

Gary Allen soon came to know the condition of things, and made 
them acquainted with another youth, a resident graduate, Clement 
Bead, who w T as under deep religious impressions. The next Saturday 
they retired to the deep woods in company, and held a prayer-meet- 
ing ; each one, in his turn, read a chapter, gave out a hymn, and 
prayed. On the next Saturday on account of the weather they pro- 
cured a room in College, and locking the door began their prayer- 
meeting in suppressed tones. But the singing and prayers were 
overheard, and speedily a crowd of wild youth assembled at the 
room, shouting, swearing and thumping the door. The noise and 
confusion attracted the attention of the officers of College ; they 
quelled the riot and dispersed the mob, who were rejoicing in having 
broken up the prayer-meeting. After prayers in the evening, Pre- 
sident Smith called for an explanation of the disturbance. Some 
of the ringleaders at once arose, and said, that they heard singing 
and praying in one of the rooms, like the Methodists ; and had 
broken up the disorderly proceeding. Until that moment neither 
the President nor the tutors, Lacy and Mahon, had any idea that, 
besides Cary Allen, there was a praying youth in College. "And 
who are the culprits?" enquired tne President. The tour youth 
confessed themselves -guilty of the charge. Looking at them with 
tears in his eyes, he exciaimed, k * Is it possible that some of my 
students desire to pray ? and is it possible that any desire to hinder 
them? Well my young friends, you shall have a place to pray. 


The next Saturday's prayer-meeting shall be in my parlor, and I 
will meet with you." At the appointed hour on the next Saturday 
the four young men went trembling to the President's parlor ; the 
novelty of the thing had filled the room. They were called on and 
prayed each in his turn, and the President gave a warm exhortation. 
The succeeding Saturday, the whole house was filled to overflowing. 
The next meeting was in the College Hall, which was filled with 
students, and people from the neighborhood. The revival which 
had been heard of in Charlotte and part of Cumberland was felt in 
College. Fully half the students were enquiring what they should 
do to be saved. Prayer-meetings were set up forthwith in different 
parts of Mr. Smith's charge ; and the awakening seemed to spread 
over the two Counties. These four young men thus brought out to 
notice appeared to have the true faith of the gospel. Allen, as is 
shown in its proper place, had fallen on the floor in the agony of his 
conviction ; the other three obtained a hope in Christ without such 
violent emotion. All were busy in prayer-meetings and in exhorta- 

In the vacation of the spring of 1788, Hill and Allen went home, 
to Mr. Daniel Allen, who lived on Great Guinea Creek, and were 
holding meetings around the neighborhood, with the young people, 
with great effect. At one of these, as has been related, Nash 
Legrand, aroused from his stupidity in sin, and greatly alarmed by 
a conversation with Drury Lacy, fell as completely overcome as 
Cary Allen had been, and went home professing faith. In October 
of this year Mr. Lacy was licensed to preach, as also Mr. Mahon 
the other tutor in College. Lacy was full of animation and ran a 
useful career. Mahon, in a few years, abandoned the ministry. 
Cary Allen died early, but a successful minister of Christ. Legrand 
was licensed in about a year, and filled up a measure of usefulness 
alloted to few. Clement Read lived to be old and died a faithful 
minister of Christ. Mr. Blythe died in old age an active, fervent, 
successful minister and teacher of youth, whose memory will long 
be dear in Kentucky. Mr. Hill, the subject of this notice, outlived 
them all, loving and beloved by them all. William Calhoon, the 
youth that brought Alleen's Alarm to College, lived to old age, a 
faithful minister of Christ. 

When the guardian, and uncle of Mr. Hill, understood from him, 
that he was determined not to pursue the study of the law, but 
devote himself to the gospel ministry, he thought proper to inter- 
pose. Being a man of impetuous feelings and violent temper, and 
not inclined to favor the religious action of the students, he de- 
termined to use decisive measures. He had imbibed a strong 
dislike to the established clergy, and was implicated in some acts 
of violence, upon the person of the minister of the parish, which 
led to a troublesome lawsuit ; and was exceedingly opposed to his 
nephew's entering the ministry in any way. He refused to allow 
him any more stipends, either from his own purse or the patrimony 
in his hands, hoping that necessity would bring him to terms. 


"But," says Dr. Hill — "I lived at Major Edmund Read's, near 
Charlotte Courthouse, where I was furnished with a home from 
April 1st, 1789, till July 9th, 1790. During mj residence in this 
hospitable family, I pursued my classical course of study privately, 
while my class was prosecuting their studies in College. I was 
forced to do this, because my uncle, who was my guardian, became 
offended with me for not complying with his wishes in studying law. 
He withheld from me every cent of my little patrimonial inheritance 
for two years. A comfortable home being thus afforded me, I pro- 
secuted my studies in the best manner I could, and obtained permis- 
sion from the trustees of Hampden Sidney College, in Sept. 1789, 
to stand my examination with my class for the degree of Bachelor 
of Arts, which examination was sanctioned, and I was permitted to 
graduate with my class. After I was graduated I continued to 
reside with the same kind family, and prosecuted the study of the- 
ology, in the same private manner, under the direction of my dear 
and beloved friend Dr. John B. Smith, who resided near the 
College, in Prince Edward, about 22 miles off. All the chance I 
had for the study of Divinity thus privately was from the 1st of 
October, 1789, when I was graduated, till July 10th, 1790, when I 
was licensed to preach the gospel, a little over nine months." 

" This family of Mr. Edmund Read is the same that gave a home 
to Dr. Alexander, for some years of his early ministry. Mrs. 
Paulina Read, more generally known as Mrs. Legrand, in her 
widowhood, on the death of Rev. Nash Legrand, was the ready and 
efficient friend of young men desirous of an education, particularly 
those having the ministry in view; and was one of "those women'' 
to be held in honorable remembrance. While a resident in this 
family, " I held meetings of one kind or another, and exhorted in 
the best manner I could, in various destitute neighborhoods in 
Charlotte County, which county had no regular settled clergyman 
in its bounds' at that time. While he was a resident at Major 
Read's, Dr. Alexander on his visit to Prince Edward, with Mr. 
Graham, at the house of the widow of Littlejoe Morton, on the 
Saturday night before the communion heard with surprise Mr. Hill 
deliver an exhortation — "a warm and pungent address, on the 
barren fig-tree, which affected my feelings very much." Warmth 
and fluency characterized his addresses. His figure was good, and 
voice clear and strong, and his bearing bold but respectful. His 
popularity, as an exhorter, induced the Presbytery to hasten his 
licensure to meet the great demand for ministers. Young men, as 
is usual in times of great excitement, were impatient to engage as 
exhorters and ministers, and people encouraged them to enter the 
harvest field waving for the harvest. Eor a series of years Han- 
over Presbytery, as well as Lexington, in sending fortii laborers, 
seemed to partake of the hasty spirit of the inexperienced peo- 
ple, and thrust them out. And ic is to be remarked that tnese 
very young men, living as the majority of them did, to become old 
in their useful labors, united in the effort, which was successful, for 


enforcing, in the general, the rule — that candidates for the min- 
istry shall pursue the study of theology for at least two years. 
They took the lead in foundiDg seminaries, offering inducements to 
keep the candidates at study, for the extended term of three years. 
Mr. Hill is an example of early licensure, and of activity in forming 
seminaries to render a protracted term of study most efficient as 
well as necessary. 

The Presbytery that met at Pisgah, Bedford County, Virginia, 
October 16th, 1789, was opened by Cary Allen, with his trial sermon 
for licensure. Mr. Moore was received from the Methodist Church, 
as a preacher in good standing, on recommendation of Mr. Pattillo 
and seventeen elders — and after long examination, admitted to 
ordination. The Presbytery putting in a declaration that this must 
not be a precedent. Cary Allen's trials were all passed, yet his 
licensure delayed. Clement Read was called to account for preach- 
ing with the Methodists before his licensure. William Hill was re- 
ceived as candidate on the 19th. An essay was assigned him on 
" The advantages of Revelation above the light of nature to pro- 
duce piety and godly living." The Presbyterial exercise was upon 
Matt. 5 : 14, Ye are the salt of the earth. The members present 
were McRobert, Smith, Mitchel, Mahon and Lacy — with Graham and 
Carrick, from Lexington ; Elders Robert Franklin, Benjamin Allen 
and Robert Mitchel, the father of the minister. At the Presbytery 
at Briery, opened by Mr. Blair with a sermon on Isaiah 55 : 1, May 
6th, 1790, calls were put in for Legrand ; James Turner applied for 
advice about becoming a candidate ; Cary Allen was licensed, and 
the Presbytery gave him the right hand in token of approbation, 
and resolved to do the same in future with licentiates ; Wm. Hill 
exhibited his parts of trial assigned, and these being sustained, 
others were assigned — viz., a Lecture Luke 11:20 to 26, Popular 
Sermon Heb. 11 : 21, 5, 6, By faith Moses, when he was come to 
years, refused to be called the son of Pharoah's daughter. Presby- 
tery also took some measures to increase the collections for Missionary 
purposes. Order was also taken to assist in getting out an edition 
of the Family Bible. 

At Buffalo, July 9th, 1790, present McRobert, Smith, Mahon and 
Lacy ; Elders James Allen, Andrew Wallace, Stephen Pettus and 
Littlejoe Morton. The Presbytery was opened by Wm. Hill with 
his trial sermon for licensure. His diploma was received in place 
of examination on literature and science, he read his lecture, and 
passed part of the examination on divinity. On Saturday, the 10th, 
his examination w T as concluded, and he was regularly licensed. He 
was directed by Presbytery to spend the months of August and Sep- 
tember in making a missionary tour through Halifax, Henry, Frank- 
lin and Pittsylvania. His exercises of mind are thus stated : 

Thursday, July 8th, 1790. — I set apart this day for prayer and 
fasting, to beg God's assistance and blessing upon the important 
office I am about to enter upon. I endeavored to examine the 
motives by which I was actuated, found it a very difficult work ta 


perform; being in a state of darkness, and finding my heart so de- 
ceitful I was at a loss what to conclude concerning myself. Felt 
somewhat engaged some part of the day in prayer to God. I think 
I surrendered myself to him unreservedly, and feel willing to 
sacrifice any private interest or happiness of my own in the world, 
that I might be useful to the souls of my fellow-men ; and I am 
willing to throw in my mite towards the advancement of the Re- 
deemer's kingdom on earth. Oh that the glory of God lay nearer to 
my heart, and that I had a more bleeding concern for poor, perish- 
ing sinners. I want to become an entire stranger and pilgrim upon 
the earth. 

Friday, July 9th. — At Buffalo, called on by Presbytery for my 
trial sermon, Heb. 11 : 24, 5 : 6, By faith Moses. &c. After I had 
delivered my sermon Mr. McRobert preached. I felt almost over- 
whelmed at the thoughts of entering the ministry. At night I con- 
ducted a society at Mr. Andrew Baker's, felt my mind somewhat 
engaged. Blessed be the God of mercy who begins to look upon 
such a dead dog as I am. 

Saturday, July 10th. — Mr. Mahon preached; but it was dead 
and lifeless work. I was examined by the Presbytery respecting 
my acquaintance with divinity, &c. ; and afterwards was licensed to 
preach the gospel of Christ to a perishing world. Lord take care 
of thy own cause, and perfect thy strength in my weakness. Past 
the evening at Mr. Foster's ; don't remember that I ever felt my 
heart so overwhelmed with a sense of my unworthiness in all my life ; 
never saw more of my nothingness and insufficiency for the work 
before me than during my retirement in the evening. I saw clearly 
that in me, that is in my flesh, dwelt no good thing, and felt that I 
could do nothing but as strengthened from on high, but was fully 
persuaded that through Christ strengthening me I could do all 
things. If ever I prayed earnestly, and committed myself to God, 
it was this night ; and if ever my soul drank its fill from a good pro- 
mise, it was from that sweet and seasonable one — " My grace is 
sufficient for thee," and I trust that I felt my soul resigned to the 
will of God in all things. A prayer-meeting was held at night, and 
I felt much engaged in speaking, especially of the love of God 
through Christ Jesus unto poor sinners. Some seemed affected and 
considerably impressed. 

The Andrew Baker mentioned, made, sometime after this, the 
donations to the charitable fund proposed by Alexander and others, 
which now are productive, and the yearly increase of which is used 
by West Hanover Presbytery and the Union Theological Seminary. 
He thus speaks of some others who were lights of the church in this 
day — viz : 

Tuesday, July 13th, 1790. — " Was employed' chiefly this day in 
fixing and making arrangements for travelling, as I do not calculate 
on being stationary again for some years. In the afternoon rode 
down to the settlement in Cumberland County, on Great Guinea, felt 
a great peace and tranquillity of soul, and continued breathing after 


more grace. At night, at my old friend Nathan "Woinack's, felt 
great fervor in prayer, especially in the family. 

Wednesday, 14th. — "At night much of a spirit of prayer, espe- 
cially in the family, at the house of Benjamin Allen. 

Saturday, VJth. — " Was unexpectedly called to preach at Nathan 
Womack's, on Great Guinea. The Lord enabled me to speak with 
some life and feeling. After I ceased Mr. Legrand preached an ex- 
cellent discourse. Mr. Smith then arose, and set the house in a 
flood of tears by his animating address. 

Tuesday, 20th. — "Preached Robert Jackson's funeral sermon, 
but felt very little engagedness of soul. Rode to Major Read's, my 
good old home, in the evening ; spent the time in profitable conver- 
sation with my pious and estimable friend, Mr. Read ; felt Jesus to 
be precious to my soul this night, and went to sleep in a sweet frame 
of mind." 

With Sabbath, August 1st, 1790, he began his missionary tour, 
preaching at Yuille's Meeting House, in Halifax. " Went in the 
evening to see an old aunt of mine I had never seen before. T think 
my aunt is a very pious woman. She and my uncle are both mem- 
bers of the Baptist Church ; but was much grieved to see how the 
Lord's day was desecrated and profaned by the family ; and from 
what I can learn it is a common case in these parts, and there is 
little or no difference between professors and non-professors. There 
are scarcely any other professors of religion about here but Baptists. 
It is a common practice to visit and converse upon worldly topics, 
while the children and young people are pursuing their sports and 
plays more extensively than on any other day in the week. I tried 
to remonstrate against these things. My old aunt joined me ; but 
my uncle defended these things, and said the Baptists did not ac- 
knowledge the obligation of the Sabbath day. Whether it was com- 
mon to that society or not, it certainly was in this neighborhood. 

Tuesday, August 3d. — " Do not remember that I was ever more 
distressed about my situation since I first had a hope in Christ ; was 
awfully afraid I had not experienced religion myself, and the 
thought of preaching an unknown Christ was killing to me — wa3 
so distressed that I had not the least appetite for food. Had to ride 
about twenty miles through a wet, rainy day, to reach an appoint- 
ment at Isham Breton's ; preached to a few people who came 
through the rain, and then became quite prostrate by reason of a 
bad cold which I had taken by frequent preaching, riding through 
the rain, and last though not least, the agitated state of my mind. 
* August 5th. — He preached at Reedy Creek, and went to Mr. 
Breton's. In the evening worship he spoke on the words, " Into 
whatsoever house ye enter, first say peace be to this house," &c. 
" If I ever felt the spirit of prayer it was then — and if I was not 
awfully deceived, the love of God was shed abroad in my poor, un- 
worthy heart by the Holy Ghost, so that I could ' rejoice with joy 
unspeakable and full of glory.' I was so exercised at this time that 
I almost lost my bodily strength." When he went to rest, the 


old gentleman, who was greatly agitated during the exhortation, 
and attracted Mr. Hill's attention by his trembling, followed him to 
his room, and confessed that he had been in a sharp quarrel with 
his wife that day, supposed he had heard of it, was very sorry, had 
confessed it to Grod, and was deeply humbled for it. An arrow shot 
at venture ; as Mr. Hill of course knew nothing of it. 

With such alternations of light and darkness, joy and sorrow, 
stupidity and excitement, he made the tour assigned by Presbytery. 
Some were awakened by his preaching, some comforted. The arrows 
shot at venture often pierced the joints of the harness. At Franklin 
Court-House, Monday, September 6th, he says — "I attended the 
Court of Franklin County to despatch some worldly business, and 
look after some property which I hold in that County. It was 
election day. I saw much wickedness this day, and felt much con- 
cerned to see my poor fellow mortals drinking and degrading them- 
selves below the brutes that perish, and to hear them cursing and 
swearing, and using the very language of hell. Some were strip- 
ping and fighting, and tearing each other to pieces like incarnate 
devils. I saw one of the candidates walk through the court-yard 
with a large wooden can of stiff grog, and inviting the voters to 
come and drink with him ; and w r hat made the matter worse, this 
candidate had been an Episcopal clergyman before the Revolution. 
I was so disgusted at this sight, that I determined to go in and vote 
against him, and did so, though it was the first vote I ever gave, 
and I had no intention wdiatever of voting when I came to the place, 
although the property I had in the County entitled me to a vote." 
At Henry Court-house his appointment had been recalled by some 
mischievous persons. At the head of Smith's river, he preached 
with great life — " Many were deeply affected, and some old bigoted 
Presbyterians looked, and gazed, and wondered. Some came up 
and asked me to pray for them, and seemed earnestly to inquire 
what they should do to be saved." He went on through Bedford, 
and on Sabbath, 19th, preached at Pisgah, having met his old friend 
Mitchel with joy. "At night conducted social worship at Mrs. 
Trigg's, an old mother in Israel ; Mr. Turner in his exhortation 
seemed to get at the heart of every person in the house." 

Mr. Turner accompanied Mr. Hill across the Blue Ridge to Lex- 
ington. Both being of a cheerful turn, and glad to ride in company, 
they commenced a free conversation on their religious experience. 
They made mutual disclosures for each other's benefit, and spoke of 
their own short-comings and temptations. Both were gifted with a 
quick sense of the ludicrous, and both had the power of exciting 
ridicule ; Hill severe in sarcasm, and Turner unequalled in fun. 
Something w r as said that excited the sense of ridiculous, and 
was foiiowed by peals of laughter. A spirit of laughter and fun 
seized the young men ; and their mutual disclosures of trials, and 
temptations, and passions as men, and in their sacred office, and 
their failures in preaching, were all sources of ridicule and laughter. 
The efi'ect w r as mutual. Their excited feelings went on with a 


stronger and stronger tide, sweeping away the restraints that should 
have been a barrier, till levity in excess polluted their hearts, and 
gave their consciences weapons for terrible retribution. Their confess- 
ing their faults to one another had ceased to be a Christian virtue, 
and had become a snare and a defilement. At night both were 
sufferers ; the laughter was past, the excitement over ; and* a sense 
of folly and degradation oppressed the heart. They retired to pray. 
For a time they could not. On conversing with Mr. Turner the 
next day, Mr. Hill says — "Found he had spent just such a night 
as I did. We both resolved we would be more watchful and circum- 
spect for the future." The record of opinion which Mr. Hill made 
respecting himself, is — " This day's conduct was matter of grief to 
me on several accounts : 1st, Because it had no resemblance to that 
humble temper which every true disciple of Jesus ought to possess 
upon the review of former acts of wickedness, and discovering 
the indwelling sin and corruption of his nature, which should 
rather make him loathe and abhor himself in dust and ashes. 
2d, I felt in my heart something so different from the gospel charity 
which rejoiceth not in iniquity, that I was rather pleased that my 
brother Turner felt the same evils I had, and felt as lightly about 
them as I did. 3d, I thought I was a stumbling-block in his way, 
and had led him astray, by which I had not only wounded my own 
soul, but destroyed the peace of my brother for whom Christ died. 
4th, Because I was setting a bad example before some others, who 
were with us a part of the time, which must have made them have 
a contemptible opinion of us, but especially of me professing to be 
an ambassador of Christ. I desire to remember this day with sor- 
row and regret as long as I live, and humbly hope it will be a warn- 
ing I shall never forget. The good Lord forgive the iniquity of my 
sins ; remove me from the snare of the fowler, and enable me to 
be more watchful for the time to come." By Mr. Hill's account in 
another place, he did not recover serenity of heart and liveliness of 
hope till after he had endured an attack of sickness. 

The Commission of Synod met at New Monmouth, Friday, Sept. 
24th, 1790. They made choice of William Hill and Cary Allen, of 
Hanover Presbytery, and Robert Marshall of Redstone Presbytery, 
to be their missionaries, on the usual condition, that their respective 
Presbyteries recommend them, and put them under the care of the 
Commission. Rev. Messrs. J. B. Smith and Graham were to apply 
to Redstone Presbytery, and Mr. Smith to Hanover. Messrs. Hill 
and Allen were to labor east of the Blue Ridge, and Mr. Marshall 
on the west side, in Virginia proper, for six months. Mr. Hill 
preached before the Commission ; his mind was dark and he went 
heavily; he says his friend Marshall did well. 

From Lexington Mr. Hill went to Winchester, to attend the meet- 
ing of the Synod, on Thursday the 30th of September ; was sick 
most of the way, both in body and mind, and on reaching Win- 
chester the day Synod opened, took his bed, and did not attend any 
of the sessions, and only got to Church with difficulty on Sabbath. 


On Monday October 4th, he set out for Prince Edward with Mr. and 
Mrs. Smith, and his friend Mrs. Read ; unable to ride on horseback, 
he was accommodated with a seat in Mrs. Read's carriage. He 
slowly gained strength. His sickness did not have that effect upon 
his spiritual condition he had hoped. " I expected to feel the import- 
ance of eternal things, and to be entirely dead to the world and all 
its enjoyments, and that if I lived to get well, I should feel abundantly 
more for poor sinners. But when sickness came an awful hardness 
of heart and insensibility of soul came with it ; for I could neither 
pray nor think, nor converse, with any satisfaction at all ; but my 
mind was shut up and dark, and Satan himself, at times, seemed to 
be let loose upon me, with temptations of infidelity and blasphemy, 
so that I became awfully afraid at times that I should become a 
castaway. By this I see God can bless health as well as sickness, 
and that no affliction of itself, notwithstanding its natural adapta- 
tion to awaken sinners to reflection, would ever prove a real blessing 
without its being sanctified by the grace of God." He did not re- 
cover his peace of mind until Sabbath the 17th, at a communion at 
Briery, where Mr. Smith and Mr. Mitchel were present. On his 
way to Prince Edward, he went by Newtown, Gaines Cross Roads, 
Orange Court House, Colonel Cabell's, Warminster and on to Mr. 
Smith's, and did not attend the Presbytery in Goochland, which 
met October 8th, at the Bird meeting-house, the sessions being held 
mostly at the house of Robert Lewis, Elder. Messrs. Hill and Allen 
were recommended to the commission of Synod for further service. 

" Tuesday, Nov. 2d. Was employed in settling and arranging 
some secular affairs, preparatory to a six month's tour of missionary 
labor, which I am just about to undertake, in the lower Counties of 
Virginia, upon the Chesapeake Bay. Wednesday, od. Rode to 
Guinea neighborhood and had a society meeting at Mr. Nathan War- 
nock's, a place dear to me by many sacred recollections. In this 
house I first obtained a hope that I had passed from death unto life ; 
and my dear friend Nash Legrand, and many others professed to 
obtain religion about the same time, and at the same place." On 
Friday he preached at Gentry's meeting-house, about the borders 
of Cumberland and Powhatan, where Davies used to preach. On 
Tuesday 9th, he rode into Richmond — " there was no place of wor- 
ship there, for any denomination, except the capitol. As I found no 
door open for me, or any one to take me by the hand, I rode in the 
afternoon six or eight miles to the Rev. John D. Blair's." On Thurs- 
day 11th, he preached in the house once occupied by Davies, and 
was oppressed by the thought that the once flourishing Church was 
now so small. 

Visiting Mrs. Brame in Caroline County, an old disciple, and 
hearer of Davies, firm in her faith though solitary in its exercise, 
lie set off for the Northern Neck, to visit the congregations once 
nourishing under the charge of Dr. Waddell, in tne Counties or' 
Lancaster and Northumberland. For a travelling companion he 
had Mr. David Smith from Western Pennsylvania, a member of 


Hampden Sidney College, having the ministry in view, seeking by 
the excursion to recruit his health, a godly and discreet young man, 
who might check his companions' tendency to levity and be cheered 
by his mirthfulness. Crossing the Rappahannock at Port Royal, 
Friday 19th, they passed through the lower end of King George, 
held a meeting for prayer and exhortation in Westmoreland, at 
Leeds, on Saturday, the 20th, " Rode constantly all day, and after 
being lost and perplexed in finding the right road, arrived at night 
at Col. James Gordon's in Lancaster County, where a letter of 
introduction procured us a hearty welcome. His house was full 
of company, relatives and other friends, when we arrived. They 
were generally persons who moved in the higher circles, and appa- 
rently unusually gay and showy in their dress and manners. The 
Col. took me and my young friend Smith, in succession, around the 
room and introduced us to each of his guests, and the members of 
his family, one by one, in the most formal and stylish manner. This 
placed us in rather an awkward situation, as we had both of us been 
accustomed to the plainest and simplest dress, so that we were a 
little disconcerted, when we were received in this manner by Col. 
Gordon, whom we expected to find a very plain and pious man, 
from the accounts we had heard of him." 

" After supper we were conducted to bed, without having an op- 
portunity of forming much acquaintance with any, except from what 
we saw. After we had got to bed, my young friend proposed that 
we should be off in the morning, as he supposed they were only the 
gay fashionable people of the world, who cared very little about 
religion, and among whom he supposed there was very little pros- 
pect of doing good ; but I told him we would try them awhile and 
see what could be done." The next day — Sabbath, Mr. Hill 
preached at the Presbyterian Church nearest Col. Gordon's, some- 
times for distinction called the Upper meeting-house. A Methodist 
minister, having an appointment there, also preached. The audi- 
ence was large and respectful. Dr. Waddell removed from Lan- 
caster to the mountains about the year 1778. He had no successor 
in the pastoral office. Many of the congregation, urged by the 
inroads made by the British vessels of war, and induced by the 
fertility of the soil, sought the neighborhood of the mountains. 
The able session, Messrs. Chichester, Thomas and Dale Carter, 
Mitchell, Gordon and Selden, wasted away by removals, age and 
sickness, and was never renewed. Some of the Church members 
died, others, despairing of having a pastor of the Presbyterian order, 
had united with the Methodists, and some with the Baptists. Di- 
minished in all these ways, the large Church of Dr. Waddell was 
reduced to about a dozen members retaining their position as church 
members, when Mr. Hill visited the counties. 

'* Tuesday, 22d. Preached at Downing's meeting-house in North- 
umberland. Had some agreeable meditations by the way, but in 
yreaciiing was cramped and shut up again. Went home w r ith Ma- 
dame Seiden, an old disciple with whom we should lodge. Wednes- 


day, 24th. Preached at Lowry's ware-house. At night I attempted 
to preach at Col. Gordon's. Began with a cold heart and went on 
like an ox going to the slaughter for a while ; but before I ended 
the Lord was pleased to favor me With considerable liberty, so that 
I was enabled to speak with some life and feeling. I have often 
found my cheerful and lively feelings have been very much confined 
to the line of public exercises. My feelings before have been cold 
and lifeless, and as soon as I retired they returned to the same 
state, so that I have come to the conclusion that the assistance which 
I felt in speaking to others, was rather a favor designed by God for 
others, of which I was but the voice of one crying in the wilder- 
ness, than any evidence of the exercise of a gracious affection in my 
own heart ; which has made me fear sometimes, that after I had 
preached the gospel and been useful to others, I myself might be a 
castaway." On Thursday night, at "Mrs. Berryman's a widow 
lady living immediately on the shore of the Chesapeake Bay. Spent 
the evening very agreeably with that excellent woman and her pious 
Baptist sister, Mrs. Maxwell, in religious conversation, singing and 

Mr. Hill remained preaching in the two counties till Tuesday, 
Jan. 11th, 1791, visiting the few Presbyterians left, and making 
acquaintance with pious people of other denominations. He had 
frequent interviews with the noted Baptist preacher, Mr. Lunsford, 
whom he greatly admired as a Christian man and minister ; visited 
Judge Henry who was beset with infidel objections, and perplexed 
the young minister with his difficulties and metaphysical inquiries. 
The Judge was a professor of religion, but was feeling that trial of 
his faith, which in the novel form of French infidelity, tested the 
hearts of Christian men, the latter part of the eighteenth century. 
Mr. Hill had heard but little of such matters till he heard them on 
the Bay Shore, and they were strange to him. He attended the 
death-bed of old Mrs. Selden, whom he thought one of God's 
jewels ; and visited old Mrs. Miller, about 90 years of age, and 
blind about 7 years, and confined to her room. " She professed 
religion under Mr. Waddell, when he was pastor in the congregation, 
and had not heard a Presbyterian minister since his removal. I do 
not think I ever saw a Christian so ripe for glory before. I then 
visited Mrs. Tapscott again," (a lady wasting away with consump- 
tion and inquiring for salvation) ; " after conversing and praying 
with her I rode to see Dr. Robertson, an old Scotch Presbyterian, 
who is very infirm, and prevented from attending public worship 
any more." (See a notice of him in the Sketch oi Waddell.) 

Mr. Hill frequently visited Col. Gordon's family, and his final 
opinion may be given in his own words — "I find notwithstanding 
the unfavorable impressions made upon Mr. Smith and myself the 
night of our arrival, there were some eminently pious persons in 
that gay and fashionable circle into which we were introduced 
with so much formality. This style of dress and manners was so 
entirely different from what we had ever witnessed among professors 


of religion, the first impression upon us was very unfavorable. I 
find this also, that I had attached too much importance to dress and 
manners, and had identified them too much with genuine piety ; and 
that our good friends in Lancaster, being shut out from the regular 
means of grace and religious instruction, and mingling almost 
exclusively with men of the world and fashionable life, had only 
conformed too much to the spirit of the world, which they readily 
saw and acknowledged, when it was suggested to them as incom- 
patible with the seriousness and simplicity of the gospel of Christ. 
We found a few precious Christians in these parts, to whom our com- 
ing and conversation was as life from the dead." 

Leaving his friend David Smith at Col. Gordon's, a cripple by 
the falling of his horse on the ice, he crossed the Rappahannock at 
Urbanna, in company with an old Baptist preacher, Mr. Sutton, 
and proceeded on through Middlesex, and in Gloucester lodged at 
a public house. " We asked permission to have family worship 
with them. The good lady of the house said she had fixed a room 
for us, and we might go and do what we pleased there. But we 
said we had a desire to pray with the family if they had no objec- 
tion. She said we might do as we pleased as to that ; but made no 
movement of any kind. Her husband was lying on the bed, and 
she and her daughters were sewing, and a number of little negroes 
were picking cotton about the room. As they made no movement, 
we knelt down and prayed while they all continued at their work, 
as if nothing out of the usual way was going on." Detained by 
high wind he crossed the river late, and reached Tv 7 illiamsburg in 
the night. Calling at the house of Mr. Holt, brother-in-law of Mr. 
Davies, the only Presbyterian in the place, and accounted a pious 
man, Mr. Hill, under misapprehension, though offering a letter from 
Col. Gordon, was turned from the door. Not knowing where to go, 
he accosted a negro man in the street, " I asked him if he knew 
any religious man, a good Christian in Williamsburg. After study- 
ing awhile he said he did not know any such in town, but there was 
a very good old man about a mile from town. I told him I would 
give him a quarter of a dollar if he would conduct me to his house, 
which he did much to our satisfaction and comfort. This good old 
man was a Mr. Wilkeson, living about a mile norch of the town, whom 
we found to be just such a man as we took him to be — a plain, 
artless, unaffected, hospitable, pious Methodist, who received us 
very cordially, and treated us with every possible kindness." His 
request next day for the use of the Episcopal church was refused : 
the court-house was refused ; and permission to visit an insane 
person at the asylum refused, because — it was such persons as I 
who sent so many persons to bedlam." A room in the deserted 
old capitol was fixed on as the place, and notice circulated. The 
two preachers went at the hour, and began singing — a few people 
came in — and they each gave a short sermon. He obtained an 
interview with some members of the college who had been his fellow 
students at Hampden Sidney, and was not favorably impressed with 


the morals of the college. Mr. Holt became sensible of his 
misapprehension, and made the amende honorable to Mr. Hill, 
having spent the night sleepless when he understood that he had 
turned a Presbyterian minister from his door. From particular 
| circumstances and the singularity of a man coming at that time of 
! night, to his house, professing to be a Presbyterian minister, in a 
place where one had not been seen or heard of for many years, he 
thought it was a hoax for a particular purpose practised by some 
persons in the city and neighborhood. But nothing could be done 
to assist Mr. Hill in getting a hearing in the city in the short time 
he could stay. Previous notice and some arrangement were abso- 
lutely necessary. The excitement on religion from which Mr. Hill 
had gone was entirely unknown there, and the remains of a Presby- 
t erian congregation could not be found as in the Northern Neck ; 
and the only Presbyterian in the place to whom he had an introduction 
had moved there for purposes of trade, and not then in a position 
to gather a congregation on short notice, as the Sheriff was seeking 
to accomplish a peaceable entrance to his house for some special 
purposes not the most agreeable to Mr. Holt. In the apology he 
made Mr. Hill he exhibited a Christian spirit. Mr. Hill's next 
visit was more agreeable. 

Hearing of a Methodist quarterly-meeting, in James city, he rode 
over, and passed the 15th and 16th of January, Saturday and Sab- 
bath, with them. The cordiality which he had experienced from 
that denomination in Lancaster and Northumberland, and in all his 
previous mission, was not exhibited here. The preachers professed 
the greatest aversion to the Calvinistic creed, telling him his doc- 
trine "was forged in hell and beat out on the devil's anvil." At 
the close of worship on Sabbath, " two young men from the pew in 
which I sat, stepped upon the bench and gave notice there would be 
preaching that night at Mr. Hales' in the neighborhood. I asked 
them who was to preach, and was told they meant to preach them- 
selves. These young strangers were Mr. Robert Sample and Mr. 
Andrew Broaddus, Baptists, who had just commenced preaching, 
and this was one of their first excursions." These young men after- 
wards became prominent men in the Baptist Church. As their pro- 
posed track was on the same route Mr. Hill had arranged for 
himself, for some days they joined company and preached together. 
They visited, and were kindly received at Hampton and Portsmouth, 
and preached a number of times to large audiences. The attempt 
to preach in Norfolk afforded little encouragement, for either Pres- 
byterian or Baptist, to renew the effort at that time. Mr. Hill 
found that the people in this section were generally Baptists, and 
thought their tendencies were to the opposite extreme of the Metho- 
dists he had encountered, bigoted antinomianism. "I find," he 
says, " that it has a very pernicious effect, especially amongst igno- 
rant people, to be continually preaching up the doctrine of the 
perseverance of the saints, without enforcing Christian duties, or 
having it clearly understood, that the perseverance of the saints 


taught in the Bible is a perseverance in holiness, and not in sin. 
This is the error of too many of the Baptists now-a-days, which 
brings Bible Calvinism into contempt, and gives currency to the 
doctrine of Arminianism so industriously circulated by some others." 
He parted company with these young ministers to make a second 
visit to Williamsburg ; their respect was mutual through life. The 
Baptist minister, a Mr. Armstrong, at Portsmouth, had been an 
officer in the Revolution, and while in the army had been repeatedly 
engaged in duels ; but professed conversion and commenced preach- 
ing while in the army, and what was a little singular, he thought 
duels justifiable, and told Mr. Hill that — "he was insulted by an 
individual while preaching in a Court-house, and after he had closed 
his worship, he sat down and wrote a challenge to the person before 
he left the bench." He also told Mr. Hill, this was not a solitary 
event in his history, and that he defended his course. 

A letter was sent Mr. Hill, signed by several merchants in 
Williamsburg, saying it was not known, until he was gone, 
that he was a Presbyterian minister ; and inviting his return with 
assurance of a decent audience, and respectful treatment. He 
returned on Wednesday the 26th, and found a large audience 
assembled in the old capitol. He preached Thursday at old Mr. 
Wilkinson's, and Friday at Mr. Dodd's, a funeral sermon. On 
Saturday, 29th, he crossed James River at Jamestown, after visit- 
ing the ruins, and rode on through the cold to get near Ellis's 
meeting-house in Surrey County. " Felt my heart somewhat warmed 
in conversing with a poor persecuted negro whom I met with, and 
who I verily believe loves Jesus, for he says he has been sorely 
chastised at times on account of his religion. I lodged at night 
with Mr. Moorings, a hospitable Methodist of Surrey County. 0, 
what a pity it is that many Methodists have not as good heads as 
hearts." The next morning. Sabbath, 30th, he rode on some dis- 
tance and met his old college-mate, William Spencer, who had pro- 
fessed conversion a little before the revival in the College, and had 
left his studies and commenced preaching as a circuit rider. Mr. 
Hill preached with another minister. The congregation were 
vociferous in their expressions of interest, often entirely drowning 
the preacher's voice with shouts ; the negroes were fanatically wild. 
The young ministers spent a day or two together preaching repeat- 
edly, and discussing their different views and doctrines. 

When about parting, Tuesday, Feb. 1st, Mr. Spencer refused to 
give Mr. Hill letters of introduction to any of the Methodists in 
Petersburg, informing him that the Methodists were not pleased 
with his doctrine or manner of preaching, and he need not expect 
to be invited to preach any more for them in those parts. " I rode 
through excessively cold weather through Prince George to Peters- 
burg. But having no acquaintance in the place, and no letters 
of introduction, 1 met with a cold reception there. There was not 
a member of the Presbyterian church I could hear of in the place, 
and I could find no one willing to receive me and lend a helping 


band. I asked permission to make an appointment to preach in the 
Episcopal church, and in the Methodist meeting-house, the only 
places of worship in the town, and was peremptorily refused in both 
instances. I then went through the different taverns, and asked per- 
mission to use their public or ball rooms for an appointment to 
preach, but failed even in this." He then rode to a tavern eight 
miles in the country, and lodged with a company of boisterous revel- 
lers. The next day he visited the noted Episcopal minister, Deve- 
reaux Jarrett ; and being kindly received he remained about a week 
at the hospitable mansion of this excellent man, or visiting with him 
in the neighborhood around. Here Mr. David Smith having recov- 
ered from his lameness overtook him. On Tuesday, 8th, they left 
the neighborhood of this solitary but firm defender of evangelical 
truths, whose life will always be an interesting chapter in history, 
and rode over to Mr. Joel Tanner's, in Nottaway, a Presbyterian 
who had not been visited by a preacher of his own denomination for 
some years. The remaining part of the month he spent in Notta- 
way, preaching repeatedly at Peter Dupuy's, also at James Dupuy's, 
at Mr. Tanner's, at the meeting-house near Mr. Tanner's, at Robert 
Smith's, Thomas Jeffries', Mr. Hawson's, Mr. Ferguson's, at Row- 
land's church, (Episcopal), at Charles Anderson's, a Baptist minis- 
ter, where he met three other Baptist ministers, and at Mr. Vaugh- 
an's, in Amelia County, at Chinquepin church, and Grub Hill 
church, (Episcopal). The attendance was generally good, and the 
audiences were often deeply affected. The Rev. James Craig, of the 
Established church, interposed at Chinquepin, and would preach 
himself, and as no one was present of the neighborhood that would 
make the responses, he prevailed on Mr. Hill to make them. On 
Sabbath he interposed again, but the people insisted on hearing 
Mr. Hill, before they separated. Some of the people who heard 
Mr. Hill repeatedly, became very anxious about their souls' eternal 

On Friday, April 1st, 1791, the Presbytery of Hanover, and the 
Commission of Synod, met at Briery church ; the opening sermon 
was preached by Robert Marshall, missionary. Mr. Graham, of 
Lexington, was present, and preached after Mr. Hill, on Saturday ; 
and on Sabbath " Mr. Graham preached in the forenoon, one of the 
greatest sermons I ever heard. I sat under it with great delight, 
and its fruit was sweet to my taste. I had a sweet time at the com- 
munion. Mr. Mitchel gave an impressive concluding address." On 
Tuesday the Presbytery and Commission assembled at Hampden 
Sidney, and were there met by Rev. Devereaux Jarrett, from Din- 
widdie, who took his seat as corresponding member, his old com- 
panion in the ministry having become a regular member. Mr. Jarrett 
"gave us an excellent evangelical sermon." Mr. Legrand was 
ordained to the full work of the gospel ministry, having determined 
to become the settled minister at Cedar Creek and Opecquon, in 
Frederick County. Mr. Smith brought in the famous resolution on 
irregularities in church members, intended particularly fur tUe 
churches east of James River. (See Sketches of his Life;. 


After Presbytery, Mr. Hill resumed his missionary labors ; and 
holding with his step-brother, Gary Allen, a series of meetings in 
Cumberland, passed through Charlotte, Halifax, Pittsylvania, Frank- 
lin, Montgomery, Wythe, on to Abingdon. On the 1st of June, Mr. 
Matthew Lyle, lately licensed by Lexington Presbytery, and sent 
out by the Commission of Synod, met him while he was staying at 
Captain Robert Woods' residence. In this neighborhood he had 
been preaching a number of days with great apparent effect. In 
the morning he had ascended Chesnut Mountain — " My mind was 
greatly elevated with the prospect, and prepared to adore the God 
of nature." He rejoiced greatly that he was to have the company 
of the young brother for a length of time. In his previous missions, 
he had been, with the exception of a short time with David Smith, 
without any regular companion, in his almost daily preachings, and 
his rides through heat and cold, through storms and rains, solitudes 
of the plains and of the mountains ; and had often suffered for want 
of that mutual aid rendered by missionaries who go out two by two. 

Required by their commission to stay but a short time in a place, 
and having a large tract of country to pass over, they with regret 
left the neighborhood of Mr. Wood's, and went on through Frank- 
lin to Montgomery, preaching almost every day. They both gene- 
rally took part in the exercises ; either both preached, or one 
preached and the other followed with an exhortation, unless some 
preacher of another denomination was present, and then sometimes 
all took part. Near Abingdon they visited Rev. Charles Cummings, 
the pioneer mininister, advancing in years. Prom that place they 
turned back on the last day of June. In this tour they passed over 
part of the track assigned to Mr. Alexander, within a year or two, 
so pleasantly alluded to in his memoirs. On their way out they 
preached, starting June 2d from John Martin's, near Chesnut Moun- 
tain — at Mr. John Dickenson's, on Pig River — at Iron Creek — at 
Mr. Turner's, on Pawn Creek — at the meeting house near Capt. 
Hairston's, the funeral sermon of old Captain Hairston — at Mr. 
Pilion's, on Smith's River — at the head of Smith's River; here 
having fasted on Saturday, his concomitant affliction followed him 
on Sabbath, the head-ache, but he preached twice, and Mr. Lyle 
once — at Major Eason's — at Captain Johnson's. On the night of 
Thursday, 16th, they were belated, and slept in a pen made for a 
barn, but without any roof of any kind, having their saddles for pil- 
lows and their great coats for a covering — getting from a miserable 
cabin a rye ashpone and a little sour milk for supper — at Mr. 
Whitiock's, on Little Reedy Island Creek, in Wythe County — at 
the lead mines in Wythe, entertained by Mr. Frisbee — at Graham's 
Meeting House — at Fort Chissel — Mr. George Ewing's, on Crip- 
ple Creek — at Thorn Branch Meeting House ; went to Mr. James 
Campbell's, a very kind and hospitable man, but inclined to Sweden- 
borg s doctrines — spent a day at Mr. Arthur Campbell's, who was 
strongly inclined to follow Swedenborg. While resting here " My 
friend and colleague Lyle and myself hit upon some subjects on 


■which we differed widely in our sentiments, and each contending for 
his own opinion with a warmth disproportionate to the magnitude 
of the subject, the contest grew so sharp that like Paul and Barna- 
bas of old, we at last talked of separating. However we agreed to 
retire and pray together over the matter, and both became ashamed 
of ourselves, buried all our differences, and became more united than 
ever." Preached at Mr. Atkins' — at Major Bowen's, in a large 
room constructed for a ball-room, and met Rev. Charles Cummin gs, 
the pioneer of the Holston waters at Mrs. Beatty's — at Mrs. 
Beatty's — at Ebbing Spring Meeting House, and went on to Mr. 
Cumming's — and at Abington. From this place, on the last day 
of June, they turned their course back towards Cripple Creek, in 
Wythe County. 

On the 4th of July he makes this entry — " It is now the height 
of harvest, when the people are obliged to be at home, and our horses 
as well as ourselves need recruiting, we therefore declined making 
any appointments during the week. We continued at Mr. Ewing's. 
But to spend day after day doing nothing made the time pass 
heavily, so that I wished to be at my employment again." After 
repassing the ground they had traversed, they sought the head 
waters of the Potomac, preaching on the fourth Sabbath of August 
at Mr. Dinwiddie's, on the dividing ridge between the waters of James 
River and the waters of the Potomac ; " the head spring of each 
rises in the same hill about one and a half mile apart." Spending 
some days in preaching at Col. Poage's, in the upper tract in Pendle- 
ton, they passed on to Moorfield, in Hardy County, and preached a 
few sermons there in the absence of Dr. Jennings, the successor of 
Mr. Hoge. Going across to Winchester, they proceeded to New- 
town, and met their young friend Nash Legrand, the pastor of Cedar 
Creek and Opecquon ; with him they spend a few days, and witness 
the success of his ministry. The residences of Gordon, Allen, Glass, 
Gilkerson and Carlisle are mentioned as places of prayer-meetings 
and religious worship. 

On Tuesday, Sept. 15th, Mr. Hill made his first visit to a congre- 
gation to which he afterwards preached a series of years ; " I 
preached to a large congregation at Bullskin. I preached at the 
same place at night with a more solemn impression than in the day. 
Friday, 16th, I preached at Charlestown, the congregation but 
small. I preached at Mr. John White's, an old Israelite indeed. 
The house could not contain the people, whose attention was very 
great indeed. Saturday, 17, I preached at Mr. Peter Martin's. At 
night I became aco^ainted with Mr. Moses Hoge, a very worthy 
minister, in Shepherdstown." On Sabbath having preached at Shep- 
herdstown and Martinsburg, he went to visit — "Mr. Vance, the 
pastor of Falling Water and Tuscarora, who was upon the borders 
of die grave, in the last stage of consumption." 

On Monday, 10th, he preached at Tuscarora to a small audience. 
" Mr. Vaace rode out, and lay in one of the pews while I preached." 
On Wednesday, 21st, he preached his first sermon in Winchester, 


where he spent many years of his after life. " Many could not get 
into the house, and had to return home without hearing the sermon. 
It was a solemn occasion, and many appeared deeply affected." 
After laboring with Messrs. Joseph Smith and James Hughes, from 
Redstone, at a communion service at Cedar Creek, he went to Win- 
chester on the 28th, to meet the Synod and the Commission of 
Synod ; and there, as in the preceding year, was taken sick. He 
was not able to resume his labors till November. 

In this sickness he received attentions always remembered from 
a young Scotchman, William Williamson, whose acquaintance he 
formed on his mission, ending in a lasting friendship. At the fall 
meeting of the Presbytery in October, numerous calls and invitations 
were proposed for the services of Mr. Hill, which were referred to 
him. On recovering his health, he made choice of the congregations 
on Bullskin, and in and around Charlestown, Jefferson County. In 
the month of May, 1792, he was by Hanover Presbytery received 
back from the commission of Synod, and transferred to Lexington 
Presbytery for ordination and installation. When the Presbytery 
of Lexington met at Charlestown, May 28th, 1792, the credentials 
of Mr. Hill had not arrived. On the testimony of Mr. Andrew 
Law, a minister from New England, that he was present at the 
meeting of Hanover Presbytery, when the proper papers were 
ordered and made out, the candidate was received. The calls from 
Bullskin and Charlestown having been accepted, preparations were 
made for the ordination. On Thursday, 29th, Mr. Hill preached 
his trial sermon in Charlestown from 1st John 5th, 10 — He that 
believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself. On Fridaj^, 
the 30th, the ordination services were performed in the Episcopal 
stone church, near Charlestown. Mr. Hoge preached from the 
words — Thou therefore endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus 
Christ, — and gave the charge. Bullskin had been a congregation 
for some thirty years, and had enjoyed the services of missionaries, 
and some stated supplies from Donegal Presbytery. On account of 
the distance from the churches of Hanover and Lexington, Mr. Hill 
was the first minister from Virginia whose services they were able 
to secure. The congregation of Elk branch, situated between 
Charlestown and Shepherdstown, about this time was, by consent, 
so arranged that part went under the care of Mr. Hoge, and part 
under Mr. Hill. 

The extracts from Mr. Hill's journal have been given at some 
length for two reasons : 1st. This is the only journal written by 
Dr. Hill, and is the only one containing much information about his 
field of early labor, written by any one ; and 2d, in it he draws his 
own picture most graphically. The youthful missionary was the old 
man of fourscore. He revised his journal, and gave some explana- 
tory notes, completing the portrait of himself and the times and the 
people. There was always a warmheartedness in him. What he 
did, he did with all his might. He was weary of rest days — as at 
the house of Mr. Ewing — no matter how kindly cared for ; and 


would without hesitation encounter great difficulties to fulfil appoint- 
ments, or gain a favored purpose. He could, all through life, ride 
in the rain, ford rivers, cross mountains to preach to a small audi- 
ence, and then feel ashamed of himself that his message was not 
better delivered. The propensity to merriment would show itself, 
as with Mr. Turner ; but never broke forth in the pulpit. There he 
wns always grave and solemn. He struggled to the last of life with 
that fiery temper that was kindled against Lyle in argument, and 
allayed by prayer. Tall, slim, broad-shouldered, he possessed a fine 
figure for an orator. His breast was thin, in his youth, and showed 
a tendency to flatness, indicative of inherent weakness. Till after 
liis twenty-seventh year, he dreaded consumption, and expected an 
early death. This expectation, in connection with his ardent tem- 
perament, made him reckless of danger and exposure ; he would die 
like a true soldier, in the field. As he approached his thirtieth 
year, his chest enlarged, and the predisposition to stoop gave place 
to a bold manly bearing, and his voice became more strong and 
penetrating. In preaching in the woods, the largest crowds ever 
assembled in the valley could hear with ease, and felt, under his 
vehement and often passionate declamation, his power to excite 
their stormy passions to a tempest. Always grave in the pulpit, he 
sometimes forgot himself when he would unbend in private inter- 
course, and fail to follow out the deep impression he had made in 
public ; but he admired the man that could, without sternness, be a 
preacher everywhere. Warm in his attachments, and, unless re- 
strained by the high motives of the gospel, strong in his resentments, 
the ardency of Ins temperament, his lively feelings, and a fund of 
kindness, softening the natural severity of his temper, made him an 
interesting companion and a valued friend. His power of sarcasm 
sometimes appeared in the pulpit ; his mirthfulness never. 

He presided over a classical school in Charlestown for a length 
of time, with great ability as a teacher and disciplinarian. The 
remuneration he received, after paying the expenses of the school 
and the wages of assistants, was small, but necessary to make up 
the deficiency of his salary in the support of his family. His con- 
nection with the school, consuming time and wasting his strength, 
he considered necessary to the welfare of his congregation, which 
he thought could not flourish without good schools. William Naylor, 
in after life a lawyer of eminence and an elder in the church, was 
one of his assistants. Mr. Hill thought that he might preach more 
effectually, in this way, and his labor was not in vain. 

In the fall of 1792 he was married to Miss Nancy Morton, 
daughter of Col. Win. Morton, of Charlotte, and took over to 
Jeiierson, to bless his house, one of the sweetest flowers ever trans- 
planted from the lowlands to the fertile valley of the Shenandoah. 
Of lovely form, and small delicate frame, of indescribable simplicity 
and sweetness of manners, forbearing iu her disposition and devout 
in her faith, she reigned in her liusbaad's heart till death; receiving 
from him in his age the same respectful, assiduous attention, with a 


greater display of unchecked fondness than when he was striving to 
win her youthful love. Mr. Williamson, also very happily married, 
tells of him, in his early matrimonial days, that reading that verse 
of Paul in which he says — "husbands, love your wives," his single 
comment was, "Thankee, Paul, for that." 

The Synod, at its meeting in Harrisonburg, Sept. 26th, 1794, 
resolved to divide Lexington Presbytery. " The dividing line shall 
begin on that part of the boundary line between the Presbyteries 
of Lexington and Redstone, on the Allegheny Mountains, where 
Hardy County is divided from Pendleton, running thence with the 
line dividing the counties until the same reaches the corner of 
Rockingham County ; from thence in a direct course to the place 
where the great road through Keezletown to Winchester crosses the 
Shenandoah ; from thence to Swift Run Gap on the Blue Ridge, 
which reaches the boundary of the Presbytery of Hanover." The 
members living north-east of said line — Moses Hoge, Nash Legrand, 
Wm. Hill, and John Lyle, and William Williamson formed the 
Presbytery of Winchester. The first meeting was held December 
4th, 1794, in the stone meeting-house, Winchester, now occupied by 
the Baptists; members in attendance were Messrs. Hoge, Legrand 
and Williamson, with elders William Buckles, Alexander Feely and 
James Perry. Mr. Hoge opened the meeting with a sermon on the 
words, "The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed." 
The members all lived in Virginia, and west of the Blue Ridge. 
Mr. Hoge, the oldest member, and the first of the Presbytery 
located in the prescribed bounds, occupied the lower end of the 
Shenandoah Valley from the Ridge to the neighborhood of Martins- 
burg. Mr. Hill was next above him with similar boundaries. Mr. 
Legrand's charge reached across the Valley, and extended from 
below Winchester to Shenandoah County — some families from that 
county attending Cedar Creek meeting-house. Mr. Williamson, 
Warren County and a small part of Shenandoah. Mr. Lyle lived 
upon South Branch of the Potomac, in Hampshire County ; and for 
a time was head of a popular and flourishing school. Mr. Legrand's 
charge was considered the most inviting ; and he exerted a wider 
influence than his brethren for a series of years, and then gave way 
to Mr. Hill. 



At the base of the Blue Ridge, in the County of Bedford, Vir- 
ginia, and in sight of the Peaks of Otter, James Turner had his 
birth-place and his burial. His parents were of English descent. 
His mother eminent for her piety in her unobtrusive lite, gave birth 


to this son May 7th, 1759, in the midst of the troubles of the 
Indian wars. Her efforts to train him in his boyhood, to walk in 
the paths of true wisdom, were ultimately crowned with success. 
In his early years, the Rev. David Rice, the apostle of Kentucky, 
was the pastor of the church at the Peaks, to which his mother 
belonged. Classical schools were cherished by the citizens of Bed- 
ford from the earliest settlement, and were much encouraged by 
Mr. Rice. The capacity of young Turner for language was found 
to be of a hio;h order. He mastered the Latin Grammar in two 
weeks ; and his proficiency in Greek was remarkable. His classical 
education, however, was never completed, and his Greek studies 
were not prosecuted to an equal extent with the Latin. In Mathe- 
matics and Philosophy his education was entirely neglected. He 
learned to speak the English language with purity and elegance, 
and was never at a loss for fitting words. 

Having made choice of the law for his profession, he set out for 
the residence of the gentleman with whom he intended to pursue 
his studies with a wardrobe befitting his circumstances. While on 
his journey he was robbed of his clothes and money ; and returned 
home mortified, and abandoned his scheme for a profession. In 
after life he was accustomed to speak of this frustration of his early 
designs with thankfulness, as one of the means used by the Lord to 
bring him to a heavenly life. 

In early manhood his personal appearance was commanding ; tall 
in stature, masculine in frame, with great activity and strength. In 
disposition kind, and in manners attractive. His sense of honor 
was quick, his integrity unimpeached. He possessed in a high 
degree the power of making mirth ; and at gatherings in the neigh- 
borhood, and on court days, he indulged his vein of humor upon the 
follies and improprieties of others, for his own amusement and the 
enjoyment of the company. Tiie life of the circle in which he 
moved, a party was not complete unless Turner was there. Unhap- 
pily he indulged himself in witty oaths " to point a sentence" and 
provoke a laugh. The use of ardent spirits was universal among his 
companions ; card-playing was the amusement of all. Professional 
gambling was dishonorable. Horse-racing was patronized for the 
excitement, and the supposed improvement of the breed of horses. 
In all these Turner took a part with unbounded glee and humor. It 
was not uncommon for men to call at taverns and take a game of 
cards for a drink of spirits ; or to stop in the woods to play for 
sport, or for a small sum of money. The Rev. James Mitchel, with 
whom Mr. Turner w T as afterwards associated in the ministry, used 
to relate — that one day passing Turner, in his wild days, with some 
others, playing cards by the road-side, Turner, with a great deal of 
profane mirth, insisted he should dismount and take a hand with 
them. In one of the trials of the speed of his horse, common in 
those days, he was thrown, and for a time was supposed to be dead. 
In the early part of the Revolutionary war he served a short time in 


the army. The camp was not inviting, and he declined becoming a 
soldier in the regular army. 

Pugilistic encounters to ascertain who was the "best man," wore 
common in the mountainous regions of Virginia while Turner was a 
youth. When parties from different neighborhoods met, it was a 
point of honor to determine, by an encounter, who was the best 
boxer. One match led to another, and sometimes ended in a gene- 
ral fight. Challenges were sometimes passed by individuals, or sent 
from one neighborhood to another for a trial on a given day, at an 
appointed place, not uncommonly the court-house. Frequently the 
combats were ended without much injury ; one party finding himself 
getting the worse, would yield, and cry " enough." Sometimes the 
angry passions, excited by ardent spirits, raged with terrible ferocity. 
In some places gouging became an art, and biting of the ears and nose 
a science. Barbarity has its limits ; and to gouge both eyes was 
esteemed cruel and dishonorable. These customs have passed away, 
and scarce a relic of the victims can be found. Mr. Turner, by his 
frolic and fun, gave cause for many of these fights and was too high 
spirited to refuse what he had provoked. He received no lasting 
bodily injury, nor is there any tradition of his having inflicted any. 
In his ministerial life he seldom referred to any of these scenes. 
Once, however, illustrating the power of sympathy between a speaker 
and his audience, he said that when in his early days he got a hard 
fight on his hands, and was evidently getting worsted, a shout from 
his friends of " Well done, Turner!" — " Well hit, Turner!" would 
rouse him up, and he would put in a blow so much the better. The 
expression of his friends that he would gain the mastery often made 
him gain it. Through his whole life he was an example of the power 
of sympathy. 

In the year 1778 he was married to Miss Sally Leftwitch, daugh- 
ter of Colonel William Leftwitch, of Bedford. This marriage 
proved to him a source of much happiness : he lived with his esti- 
mable lady half a century wanting a few months. She bore him 
sons and daughters. After his marriage he settled on a farm about 
two miles from Liberty, the county seat ; and for a series of years 
indulged in his mirth and frolic. A beef-steak club was formed to 
meet regularly once a week at a tavern in Liberty, in a room express- 
ly appropriated to their use. Turner was captain. Drinking, gam- 
bling and carousing employed this company to a late hour ; often 
the whole night. 

About the time of his marriage he served his fellow citizens one 
session in the Legislature. His efforts at business and public speak- 
ing were not satisfactory to himself, though spoken well of by others ; 
and at the close of the session he retired to private life, and never 
again permitted his name to be mentioned as a candidate for political 
honors. At that time he did not know his own powers of oratory. 
Of these he never seemed conscious till he saw their effects upon 
audiences listening to his exhortations to flee from the wrath to 



In 1784 Rev. James Mitchel became pastor of the Peaks Church. 
Under his ministry, Bedford enjoyed repeated revivals. In the year 
1789 the Rev. Drury Lacy preached repeatedly in the congregation 
of Mr. Mitchel. Multitudes were attracted to the place of meeting 
— among them Mr. Turner. While "walking around the place of 
worship, and standing in the shade talking with his companions, 
the sweet, clear-toned voice of Lacy, fresh from the excitements and 
religious exercises of Prince Edward, caught his ear. He could 
not resist its charms ; drawing nearer to enjoy its music, some sen- 
tences of gospel truth arrested his mind. He drew still nearer to 
hear what such a man would say on religion. When the congrega- 
tion was dismissed, and the inquirers were seeking instruction from 
the ministers, Mr. Turner with an aching heart turned homewards. 
Strange thoughts passed through his mind, sad feelings possessed his 
soul, unusual sorrows pressed on his heart, melancholy forebodings 
overwhelmed him. He could neither drive these things away, nor fly 
from them. He was wretched and forlorn. He thought sometimes 
he was about to die ; and sometimes that perhaps he too would be- 
come religious like the new converts he had heard of in other 
places. Home had no comfort for him. 

When his sufferings became intolerable, he mounted his horse to 
seek his mother, and ask her sympathy and advice. The arrested man 
thought of the instructions of his childhood, and in the time of his 
distress fled to his mother's bosom. With great simplicity he told 
her his feelings about himself and God, and religion, and death ; 
and inquired what he should do in his strange case. To his utter 
surprise, his mother, instead of expressing sympathy or giving 
counsel, exclaimed with tears — " My son ! this is the very thing for 
which I have prayed for years !" She then broke forth in ascrip- 
tions of praise and thanksgiving to Almighty God, for his wonderful 
mercy in bringing her son under conviction. He stood and won- 
dered if his mother had gone crazy. Her rejoicing added to his 
grief. Knowing his characteristic fondness and honesty, his mother 
did not for a moment doubt the reality of her son's convictions ; she 
believed the strong man armed was seized by one stronger than he ; 
and she rejoiced in his convictions and sorrow of heart, as the fore- 
runners of peace in believing. When her first gush of joy was passed 
she gave the counsel a Christian mother might give her son. He 
attended preaching, sought instruction, went to prayer -meetings, 
prayed in private, and read the word of God. Wearisome days and 
sleepless nights passed before he could find rest to his soul. He 
could make no excuse for his sins ; and saw he deserved the worst 
from the hands of God. In receiving mercy, if ever he did, it 
seemed to him some mark ought to be set upon him, in memory of 
the past. 

Hearing the subject of the new birth set forth, he was fully con- 
vinced of its truth and importance ; and in his own case of its im- 
mediate necessity. And believing, as he afterwards related, that 
the new birth was attended with an agony of mind beyond anything 



lie had felt, and that in his case particularly, it ought to he so, he 
stood, literally stood in the corner of the room, where the services 
were that evening conducted, desiring, praying, waiting, for that 
untold agony of mind and body, which should precede spiritual life. 
He went away from the meeting alarmed, that not only had he not 
felt the expected agony, but had lost the distress he had been 
sinking under, and was becoming calm. He thought of the Lord 
Jesus Christ as the sinner's friend ; and his soul broke forth in praise 
of him for his wonderful ways to the children of men. He felt he 
loved him ; and yet could scaree believe that such a wretch, as he 
had been, could love him, or be loved by him. He knew not what 
to do. But as he meditated the tide of feeling became resistless. 
The mouth, once filled with songs of revelry, now spoke God's 
praise in no measured numbers ; and he that had urged others, even 
preachers, to sin, now most earnestly exhorted them to repent and 
believe in Jesus. 

The great change in Mr. Turner, and his vehement exhortations, 
alarmed and impressed the people of Bedford. In the month of 
September, the Rev. William Graham returning from his noted visit 
to Briery, tarried a few days, together with his young companions, 
in the neighborhood of New London, and joined in a series of reli- 
gious meetings with the pastor and Dr. Smith, and Mr. Legrand. 
The religious excitement was very great. One that heard Mr. 
Turner exhort, Archibald Alexander, said — "his pathetic appeals 
in prayer-meetings, were overwhelming." In October, the Presby- 
tery of Hanover held its meetings at Pisgah, one of the preaching 
places of Mr. Mitchel. The religious exercises were numerous ; and 
the sermons were addressed to crowded auditories. On Sabbath the 
mind of Mr. Turner was greatly agitated. His views of divine things 
were clear, and his sense of unworthiness overwhelming. His past 
evil associations troubled him beyond measure ; he threw himself 
upon the ground beside a fallen tree top, and gave vent to his 
agitated feeiings in groans and cries. 

The awakening on religious subjeets becoming general, the de- 
mands for preaching the gospel were more numerous than the mem- 
bers of Presbytery could supply. The Presbytery, therefore, 
determined at this meeting to relax somewhat the strictness of their 
rules respecting a classical education, that they might admit to 
their number, Mr. William Moore, a Methodist minister, with high 
recommendations — "Because," say they, "in the present state of 
religion, and of our churches, men of liberal education and real 
piety cannot be obtained in sufficient numbers to supply the press- 
ing demands of the people for the word and ordinances; they do, 
however, declare their approbation of that rule, in the general, and 
their intention to preserve a regard to it, as extremely useful, and 
perhaps necessary." This paved the way for an application to be 
made for the licensure of Mr. Turner. 

The Beefsteak Club lay with weight upon Mr. Turner's mind. 
Having assembled the members by special invitation, he recounted 


their past acts of friendship and confidence, and their course of 
living ; he stated the change in his mind and feelings, and the con- 
sequent change of life he had commenced. He said one thing lay 
with weight upon him. He had gambled with them ; and in so 
doing had both lost and won money ; and probably was about even 
in his loss and gains. But he was troubled about the matter ; such 
gains were sinful ; and he was prepared now to begin to return the 
money he had won from them, as far as he could recollect, and 
would go on, if it took all he was worth ; and he requested them to 
state all the instances of his winning they could recollect. He then 
exhorted them to attend to the salvation of their souls through 
Christ, of which they had as great need as himself. The club dis- 
solved ; and many of its members became hopefully pious. A 
prayer-meeting was set up in Liberty, conducted by Mr. Turner. 
His life was consistent, his zeal ardent, and his powers of attraction 
unusual ; and at the same time his doctrines and exhortations were 
scriptural. His pastor called his attention to the gospel ministry ; 
his heart was not averse to the work ; but his circumstances, decree 
of education, his sense of propriety, and of the dignity and sanctity 
of the ministerial office, were great impediments in his way. 

At a meeting of the Presbytery at Briery, May 7th, 1790, " Mr. 
James Turner, of Bedford-, was recommended by Mr. Mitchel, to the 
notice of this Presbytery, as a person who had made some progress 
in learning, and of whose piety he had good hopes, being desirous to 
receive the advice of Presbytery respecting what constitutes a call 
to the ministry." After conversation with him, and hearing from 
him the circumstances of his conversion, and his religious experience, 
"the Presbytery thought proper to assign him subjects to write 
upon, as a specimen of his abilities." Though not enrolled as a 
candidate, they recommended him to write an essay upon the 
Imputed Righteousness of Christ, and a discourse Upon Hebrews 5th : 
4th, and a comment upon Romans 8th : 28th, and onwards. A 
question was proposed by Mr. Mitchel — "Whether a private 
christian of good character might be permitted to exhort his fellow 
christians in social meetings?" Answered in the affirmative, "pro- 
vided the society themselves approved of it." Thus encouraged by 
Presbytery, Mr. Turner held meetings for exhortation and prayer, 
read the Greek Testament, and pursued the studies in preparation 
for the ministry, while attending to the duties of the head of a 

On the 2d of April, 1791, at Briery, he read before Presbytery 
" a discourse upon the words, ' And no man taketh this honor unto 
himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron ;' with which, the 
Presbytery was so well pleased that they admitted him to trial, and 
agreed to sustain that sermon as a part." At Cub Creek, October 
2'M, 1791, Mr. Turner opened Presbytery with his trial sermon. 
His trials and examinations being passed satisfactorily, he was, on 
the evening of the 29th, at the house of William Morton, licensed 
to preach the gospel. A regular call was immediately put in for his 


services by the Peaks church. He hesitated to accept the invitation 
to his native congregation, in which he had lived so long in sin. 
Mr. Mitchel urged the matter. He took time for consideration. 
His mind became dark and his hope clouded immediately after his 
licensure. " Last Saturday being licensed to preach the everlasting 
gospel, in the evening had some sore exercises, and dreadful, awful 
apprehensions of the wrath of God due to me for sin, which drove 
me near the brink of despair." Upon recovering his peace of mind 
he devoted himself anew to God. 

The succeeding May, he informed the Presbytery that he ac- 
cepted the call. On the 28th of July, 1792, he was ordained to 
the full work of the gospel ministry, at Bethel church, in Bedford, 
Mr. Graham, of Lexington, preaching the ordination sermon from 
John 21st : 15, 16, 17, and Mr. Lacy presiding and giving the 
charge. He was also installed co-pastor with Mr. Mitchel. This 
relation he held till his death ; and to the honor of both it is 
recorded that no jarring string was ever known to be struck be- 
tween them. Mitchel never envied Turner ; and Turner never 
scorned Mitchel. Mitchel took the position of senior pastor undis- 
puted, and Turner of the eloquent preacher. Both were beloved 
and honored by the people. 

Mr. Turner had great power to move assemblies. He had been 
unequalled in producing mirth. His few efforts in the legislature 
led others to anticipate, what he did not think possible, success as a 
public speaker, on grave subjects. His exhortations in prayer 
meetings produced effects that revealed to himself his own powers. 
He preached for years to a congregation embracing many very 
intelligent and many shrewd people ; and the influence of his oratory 
was neither weak nor transient, nor wanted novelty to give it effect. 
Impressed himself, he impressed others. His great physical strength 
permitted him to pour forth a current of feeling that would have 
destroyed a weaker body. The gentle flow of his own bosom, or the 
rapid torrent of his excited passion swept his audience along with 
unresisted influence. He carefully studied his subjects ; and some- 
times made notes of thoughts and arguments and proofs and texts, 
but never wrote out a sermon in full, and generally made no written 
preparation. The commencement of his discourse was generally in 
a low voice, in an easy, unpretending conversational style and 
manner, without any promise. His train of thought was good, 
arranged in a plain, simple, common sense way, so natural the 
hearer would be inclined to think he would have arranged it in the 
same way, and that it cost no effort in the preparation, and was so 
plain everybody ought to see it. The outbreak of feeling was 
unpremeditated, and equally unexpected by himself and audience. 
He, in common with the hearers, seemed confident that the subject 
prepared would excite him ; but in what part of the sermon, or in 
what particular channel the torrent would run, he neither knew nor 
desired to know till the moment came, and then he revelled in the 
delicious excitement. If the inspiration did not come upon him. 


and the spring of feeling was not opened, he went mourning from 
the pulpit, but the audience always had a good sermon, one satis- 
factory if it were not known that he could do better. His preaching 
hours were generally seasons of delight ; often of the highest 
enjoyment. On some well prepared, important subject of the 
gospel, his imagination taking fire, his heart melting, his tones and 
gestures and words were graphic ; and his hearers saw and felt and 
rejoiced with him. 

Out of the pulpit, in his conversation on the truths and experi- 
ence of religion, he was often carried away with the excitement 
and was as resistless as in it. His pulpit subjects were the 
weighty truths of the gospel. Over the depravity, ruin, and danger 
of sinful man he was agitated to tears, and sighs, and sometimes 
groans, and exclamations ; and the audience sighed with him. On 
repentance, justification by faith, and the dignity and glory of 
Christ he was enraptured and enrapturing. With a mind clear to 
discover the truth, he had no delight in metaphysical discussions. 
He taught doctrines practically as the foundation of experience and 
the comfort of life. With him, imputation of Adam's sin, universal 
depravity, and the certainty of coming wrath were subjects of deep 
commiseration and powerful incentives to action : justification by 
faith, a source of unspeakable thanksgiving ; election made him 
humble and gave him strength. He felt what he believed. In 
preaching, the rapid transition of his thoughts and variety of feeling 
in grouping his ideas and illustrations, would sometimes excite his 
audience to a pleasant smile, and then suffuse the cheeks with tears 
before the smile had died away. At some unexpected turn of 
thought his hearers would often spring to their feet, without noise, or 
consciousness of what they were doing. Unstudied in his manner 
and attitudes, impulsive, honest, frank, kind, unsuspicious, full of 
zeal and tender feelings, and of strong sympathy with his fellow 
men, he was an orator of nature. 

He was successful as a co-pastor, and as an evangelist to the 
destitute neighborhoods in Bedford and the surrounding counties. 
Dr. Speece used to tell an anecdote characteristic of the two men. 
In one of the excursions the ministers of Hanover were accustomed 
to make for the purpose of preaching in destitute neighborhoods, 
Messrs. Turner and Speece went together according to the Scrip- 
ture rule, of two and two. Turner all feeling, vehemence, and 
passion ; Speece cool, didactic, and argumentative. It was usual 
for the ministers to alternate, and the preacher of yesterday fol- 
lowed the sermon of to-day with an exhortation. It was Speece's 
turn to preach, a large congregation had assembled where preaching 
was seldom heard. Mr. Speece gave an able discourse, full of 
gospel truth, in his unimpassioned style and manner, without any 
thing as Mr. Turner thought to excite or interest the people. At 
the close of sermon, Mr. Turner asked Mr. Speece to close the 
meeting, his feelings being too much borne down to exhort. As 
soon as they were a little withdrawn, Mr. Speece says — "Brother 


Turner, what is the matter with you to-day?" he replied — "Bro- 
ther Speece, I do not like your preaching at all. If I could use such 
language and sentiments as you have at command, I could prostrate 
all before me. But you go drawling along, letting your words drop 
out of your mouth like stones out of the tail of a cart. Why don't 
you fire, man ? — put in more powder, and fire clear ; and then you 
may expect to do execution." 

The blessings which God showered upon him, in his person, and 
family, and congregation, Mr Turner enjoyed with a glad heart. 
He may be said, after his conversion, to have enjoyed life. He loved 
his Redeemer, and loved his fellow men, and enjoyed the favors of 
God to a degree of blessedness he had sought in vain, in the ways 
of sin, in his younger days. The common sorrows and griefs of 
men, were mingled in due proportion in his cup. But in his griefs 
he had joy. Two of his sons entered the ministry of the Presby- 
terian Church. One of these used to tell a characteristic anecdote 
of his father. About the time he was licensed he was called to 
preach in his father's pulpit, the old gentleman sitting directly 
behind him. The presence of the father added nothing to the com- 
posure of the son. His subject was interesting, and the sermon 
pretty well prepared. But he delivered it rather tamely. When 
he was about finishing the old gentleman pulled him by the coat, 
saying — "stop a little — let me try" — and taking his place he 
began the subject again — that of the New Birth — and poured out 
a short sermon, with great pathos, visibly affecting the whole audi- 
ence. "There," said he, turning to his son, "that is the way to 
preach." I slipped down from the pulpit," said the son, "and got 
away, hardly knowing whether I should preach again or not." 

In 1810, his daughter Betsey, married to a Mr. Hoskins, died in 
her 30th year. Her illness was long. She lost her hope in Christ. 
Her father mourned with her in the depths of sorrow. But God 
did not permit her to pass away in a cloud ; her mind became clear, 
and her hope rapturous. She died triumphing. The father's heart 
overflowed as he recorded in his Bible the death of his daughter 
in the sweetness of hope. On the 3d of October, his son William 
Leftwitch, pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Fayetteville, was 
called to his rest, leaving a wife and three children, and a congre- 
gation that loved him tenderly. This stroke was unexpected by the 
lather, and overwhelming. When the bitterness of the grief had a 
little passed, he said — "I cannot do better than raise up children 
for the kingdom of heaven." 

In November 1818, Mr. Turner writes to Rev. J. H. Rice of Rich- 
mond — "I am thankful I attended the meeting of Presbytery in 
Lynchburg. The very cordial reception I met with from my bre- 
thren in the ministry, and others male and female, made me expe- 
rience more enjoyment and fellowship than I had proposed to my- 
self this side of the grave. Yes, my friend, I did enjoy unexpected 
pleasure at different times while there, and more particularly was it 
the case during your delivery of that discourse on Sunday night, 


from ' I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.' Whether any of 
my sermons have ever been useful to you, I cannot pretend to say ; 
but this I believe I can say, that sermon was edifying to me." Re- 
ferring to the young preacher he says, " I was more especially de- 
lighted with the exhibitions of preaching talents made by that truly 
amiable young man Mr. Thornton ; but these feelings have ever 
since been attended with fears of a too early removal from those 
labors in which he appeared so cordially engaged." 

The appearance of Mr. Turner at the Presbytery referred to in the 
preceding letter, is thus given by his friend J. H. Rice, in the Evan- 
gelical and Literary Magazine, for Nov. 1818. "An aged clergyman 
who attended this meeting particularly engaged my attention, and 
I may even say fascinated me. He had in his manner nothing austere, 
nor reserved ; but seemed accessible and communicative to every 
one. All stiffness of etiquette, all doctorial dignity are perfectly 
foreign to his nature and habits. Every thing about him is plain, 
simple and unaffected. The tones of his voice are more expressive 
of cordiality and perfect good-will than any I have ever heard. His 
eye expresses the deepest tenderness. The whole cast of his coun- 
tenance expresses strong intelligence. His perceptions are quick 
and clear, and his imagination ever ready to kindle into a blaze. 
It is impossible to hear him speak without being convinced of his 
absolute sincerity. His style is like himself, perfectly plain and 
unadorned. He never uses any but common words, put together in 
the most natural order, and in sentences usually very short. But 
as these words express the conceptions of a strong original thinker, 
and the feelings of a most affectionate and tender heart, they seize 
and enchain the attention and subdue the hearts of his hearers. 

" His preaching is in the tone, and style and whole manner of 
animated conversation, except when occasionally he is borne away 
by his feelings, and speaks too loud for his own ease or the comfort 
of his audience. In fact this is the only thing that I could censure 
in his manner of preaching. On the whole, he comes near, in many 
respects, to my idea of an orator. And he more than ever has con- 
vinced me that simplicity is one of the highest attributes of true 
eloquence. Involved sentences, unusual expressions, the fragments 
of splendid metaphors broken and mixed together in dazzling con- 
fusion, are, since I have seen this venerable preacher, more disgust- 
ing than before. In private conversation, the Rev. Mr. is as 

pleasant as in the pulpit he is edifying. He has a very consider- 
able store of anecdotes ; relates them in the most natural manner ; 
and generally brings them to bear on some point of utility, so as 
to ailord instruction and make it delightful. In younger life he was 
a man of pleasure, and mixed much with the gay world. His ob- 
servations on men and things, thus have great truth and pungency. 
I was gratified to hear sucii a man as lie is, bear a most solemn 
testimony against the daily, even though moderate use of spirituous 
liquors. It was his declaration, that according to his experience 


this practice had produced greater trouble in the Church and created 
more scandals than all other sources of evil combined." 

Such was the appearance of Mr. Turner, all the latter part of 
his life, with this only exception, that like fully ripened fruit he grew 
more mellowed and lovely as he drew near his end. Preachers and 
people hung upon his lips to catch some of the lovely thoughts of 
the simple-hearted venerable Christian. When it became evident 
that his attendance on Synod and Presbytery was drawing to an 
end, the anxiety to see and hear him, became uncontrolled. "Will 
father Turner be here ? Has father Turner come ? Where is he ? 
Will he preach ? No, he is unwell ; but he will perhaps give an 
exhortation. Where does he lodge ?" His age was crowned with 
reverence and honor. 

Dr. Baxter conversing with a young friend in the year 1831, re- 
specting the prayerfulness and spiritual-mindedness of Mr. Turner,, 
said, on one occasion when the Synod met in Lexington, (probably 
1805), during recess, Mr. Turner walking down the street to a friend's 
house, became absorbed about the things of eternity, and, appa- 
rently unconscious of the place or company, took off his hat and 
began to pray aloud for a blessing on the occasion and people. And 
said the Doctor, after a pause of deep emotion, " there are souls 
rejoicing in heaven over the result of that meeting." The Rev. J. C. 
W T illson, speaking of the same Synod, said, he had no doubt that at 
times Mr. Turner was more eloquent than Patrick Henry ever was. 
He preached on Sabbath afternoon of the Synod on Rev. 1st. 7th. 
" Behold he cometh with clouds and every eye shall see him, and they 
also which pierced him and all kindreds of the earth shall wail be- 
cause of him; even so, Amen." And so great was the power of his 
description, that during a good part of the discourse I seemed to 
see the Saviour coming and hear the people wailing. Mr. Willson 
and a number of others, as J. D. Ewing, Samuel M'Nutt, Joseph 
Logan, A. B. Davidson and John M'llhenny, that were impressed at 
that time, and particularly moved by that sermon, afterwards entered 
the ministry. 

Mr. Turner was not unconscious of his powers, neither was he 
unmindful of the fact that the inspiration of truth and the gush of 
resistless feeling that came upon him, in his ministry, were not at 
his bidding. He looked for them, and if they came not, he went 
away bemoaning himself and humbled before God. He once told 
an anecdote of himself, illustrating the operations of his mind and 
heart. Preaching of a week-day in the extreme part of his charge, 
in the earlier part of his ministry, Mr. Lacy and another brother in 
the ministry heard of this appointment on their road, and, anxious 
to hear him planned their arrival so that he should be in the exercises 
of worship on their entering, and so prevented from calling on them. 
He had commenced his sermon when he saw them quietly enter and 
take their seats, said — "Ah, why did you not come earlier — you will 
get only plain fare from me to-day." It was a hot day, and he had 
taken off nis coat to be more free. He wished he had it on ao-ain. 



On lie went with his sermon, and his little congregation were in 
tears ; he looked round and saw the tears rolling down the cheeks 
of his brethren — "Ah, have I got you too?" So he concluded to 
preach when it was his duty, and not to mind who came in. 

The time came that he must die. His strength was evidently 
giving way fast. He set his house in order. On the 10th of 
March, 1827, he put his hand and seal to his last will and testament, 
in which are these sentences : "I, James Turner, a minister of the 
gospel, in Bedford County, Virginia, convinced of the uncertainty 
of human life, and of my own in particular, and now laboring under 
a complication of complaints, that I am apprehensive will before 
long, remove me from time to eternity ; but in full exercise of my 
reason and judgment, do institute and appoint this my last will and 
testament. In the first place, as a poor lost and ruined sinner, I 
cast myself wholly upon the mercy of God, in and through his be- 
loved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, hoping, praying for salvation from 
sin and hell, in no other way ; and do hereby solemnly ratify and 
confirm that written covenant with the Lord, into which I entered 
not long after I became a professor of religion, and renewed shortly 
after 1 was licensed to preach the gospel. I know most assuredly 
that upon any other plan than that of the gospel I cannot be saved ; 
but upon this plan of infinite grace and mercy, the vilest sinner 
upon earth, who has become a believer, may humbly, yet confidently 
hope for heaven with all its everlasting enjoyments. As to my 
body I feel no anxiety about it, only that it should without parade, 
and in the plainest manner, be committed to the earth to see cor- 
ruption, believing that at the last day it will be raised to immor- 
tality. With respect to the disposal of my earthly property amongst 
my children, it has long been a settled point with me, that I would 
as near as possible, make an equal division. 

In the October following, in Lynchburg, he met the Synod of 
Virginia for the last time. On Sabbath afternoon, the sacrament of 
the Supper was administered, the communicants occupying the entire 
area of the church. The sight of this assembly, as he looked at it 
from the pulpit, overcame him. The minister that read the hymn 
of institution, as he took his seat, saw the tears flowing down Mr. 
Turner's cheeks. "This large assembly," said the old man, "of 
the people of God, so reminds me of what is said of their coming 
from the north, and the south, the east, and the west, and sitting 
down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven — 
and the thought that I shall so soon be there myself, quite overcomes 
me." He at the earnest request of the brethren girded up his 
strength and delivered one sermon, perfectly characteristic. 1c was 
on the progress of the church of God from the day of Pentecost to 
the present, and its anticipations of future glory. With graphic 
power he recounted its trials, its enemies, its conflicts, and its 
victories. It was the last effort of the old man. On the 18th of 
January, 1828, a fit of apoplexy brought him to his end. He was 
sensible of his disease, its power, and progress, and uttered but one 
sentence — "I am dying." 




Of the four congregations formed by John Blair on his visit to 
Virginia in 1746, with their appropriate elders, embracing the whole 
width of the Valley from a little above Staunton to some distance 
beyond Lexington, south-westwardly, Forks of James, Timber 
Ridge, New Providence, and North Mountain ; the first of the last 
have disappeared from the records of the church. In the place of 
the first name, Hall's meeting-house, New Monmouth, New Mon- 
mouth and Lexington were in common use. In place of the fourth, 
Brown's meeting-house embracing one end of the congregation 
became the leading name on the records — then Brown's meeting- 
house and North Mountain ; and now Hebron and Bethel. The old 
North Mountain meeting-house stood near the grave-yard eight or 
nine miles from Staunton, on the Middlebrook road. Brown's 
meeting-house accommodated one part of the extended congregation, 
better than the North Mountain did the other. After much consul- 
tation a new church called Bethel was reared, principally by the 
agency of Col. Doak, a few steps from the site of the present brick 
church, in a retired but pleasant and central spot, about ten miles 
south of Staunton, and about midway between the Greenville and 
Middlebrook roads, from Staunton to Lexington. To this place a 
greater part of those families in the neighborhood of the North 
Mountain meeting-house have come, and with them were united 
some from New Providence, and some from Tinkling Spring, and 
formed the large and flourishing congregation of Bethel. 

The name North Mountain, as applying to the whole region now 
covered by Hebron and Bethel, was never entered upon the records 
of Hanover Presbytery. "Brown's meeting-house" — "the meet- 
ing-house near Major Brown's " — "the inhabitants assembling at 
the meeting-house," &c, were the names recorded in petitions for 
supplies. For a number of years after New Providence, and Tim- 
ber Ridge, and Tinkling Spring had pastors, this region could get 
no settled minister, and depended on supplies, and the labors of the 
neighboring ministers. In October of the year 1766, Mr. Charles 
Cummings received a call from — " the congregation belonging to 
Major Brown 's meeting-house in Augusta;" this he accepted, and 
served the congregation till April, 1772. In what manner he dis- 
posed of his labors we have no memoranda, and can only conjecture 
that the Bethel part of the congregation was not neglected. The 
two parts of the congregation remained vacant till 1778, when a 
call was put in for the services of Archibald Scott from Brown's 
meeting-house and North Mountain, which he accepted. They were 
an associated charge during his pastorate of more than twenty 


years. After his death the congregation made separate provisions 
for their spiritual wants. 

Mr. Archibald Scott, a lonely emigrant from Scotland to Penn- 
sylvania, in early life, followed the plough for a livelihood, in the 
employ of wealthy farmers. His correct religious deportment, and 
studious employment of all his leisure hours in the acquisition of 
useful knowledge, attracted the attention of Dr. Cooper, a member 
of Donegal Presbytery. On further acquaintance the doctor encour- 
aged him to commence a course of study for the sacred ministry. 
Having been educated in the peculiarities of the Seceders in Scot- 
land, he retained through life a strong attachment to the Church of 
his fathers, and carried out in his ministry, in after life, some of 
the characteristic traits of that division of the Scotch Presbyterian 
Church. The kindness shown him in Pennsylvania, and the encour- 
agement to prepare for the ministry, drew him to a closer acquaint- 
ance with the Presbyterian Church, from which he differed in some 
matters, of importance in the estimation of his own denomination ; 
and after a time he became a member of that Church and a candi- 
date for the ministry. He pursued his classical studies under the 
direction of a Mr. Finley, whose course of instruction was ex- 
tensive and his teaching thorough, though principally confined to 
the classics. Here he became acquainted with a Mr. Ramsey, whose 
parents had emigrated to the Virginia frontiers, and by him he was 
persuaded to seek employment in that new and fertile region. 

Supporting himself by teaching school, he pursued a course of 
theological reading, under the direction of Mr. William Graham, of 
Liberty Hall. Tne first notice of Mr. Scott, on the minutes of 
Presbytery, bears date June 19th, 1777, Concord, Bedford County. 
"Mr. Scott delivered the lecture, and the Presbyterial exercise 
assigned him at our last Presbytery, which were considered and sus- 
tained as parts of trial." This refers to the meeting at Concord, 
Oct. 1776 ; the records of the meeting are lost. Oct. 30th, 1777, 
at Buffalo, Mr. Scott delivered a popular sermon on Rev. 22d. 17th, 
"And the Spirit and Bride say come." On the next day, he and 
Samuel Doak and Edward Crawford, after a protracted examination 
were licensed to preach the gospel. The Presbytery, upon delibe- 
rating upon their several trial sermons, resolved, " that they be sus- 
tained as parts of trial, and that the moderator administer to them 
such cautions as the Presbytery thought necessary, upon the consid- 
eration of their performances." Por about a year, Mr. Scott 
preached as a supply to the vacancies in the Valley ; and in October 
1778, at Mountain Plains a call from the North Mountain and 
Brown's meeting-house was put in his hands by Presbytery and ac- 
cepted ; preparations were made for his ordination at Brown's meet- 
ing house on the first Tuesday of the succeeding December ; Mr. 
Graham to preach the ordination sermon, and Mr. Waddell to pre- 
side and give the charge. Mr. Scott was appointed to preach prior 
to his ordination from the words, " God is love." Mr. Samuel Doak 


having accepted a call from the congregations of Hopewell and 
Concord on Holston, in Tennessee, his ordination was appointed to 
take place with that of Mr. Scott. The records of the meeting for 
the ordination are lost ; but Mr. Scott appears as a member at the 
next meeting. 

The year succeeding his settlement, as he was riding through the 
neighborhood, he came unexpectedly upon a company of men put- 
ting up a large log building. Upon inquiry, he found it was de- 
signed as a meeting-house. The people worshipping at the old North 
Mountain meeting-house, had been talking about a new church build- 
ing, and a new position, but nothing had been decided upon by the 
congregation. Fearing lest evil might spring from this sudden 
movement of one part of the congregation, the young pastor says — 
"Are you not too fast, my boys?" "No," said Col. Doak, "we will 
end the dispute by putting up the Church." The church building 
was completed and called Bethel, and the dispute was heard of no 
more. This church building became notorious for two politico- 
religious meetings during the Revolution. 

In the year 1784, the Presbytery of Hanover presented a memo- 
rial to the General Assembly of the State, on the Bill for a general 
assessment for the support of religious teachers, brought forward 
and advocated by Patrick Henry, who thought that support should 
be given to the public instructors in religion, of whatever denomi- 
nation, under the sanction and provisions of law. That memorial 
was presented by Messrs. Smith and Todd. A few days after, these 
gentlemen handed in one in their own name. 

To the Honorable the Speaker and the House of Dele- 
gates — The petition and memorial of John Todd and John B. 
Smith respectfully shows — that your memorialists as members of 
the Presbytery of Hanover, entrusted by them to wait upon the 
Assembly with their late memorial, (see 1st Vol. of Sketches, pp. 
337 and 8), beg leave to explain that particular which refers to the 
incorporation of clergymen, as we are afraid that some gentlemen 
in the house may entertain a misapprehension of it. The Presby- 
tery suppose that the only incorporation, which government is ade- 
quate to, is of a civil nature, by which societies in a collective 
capacity may hold property for any lawful purpose. And in their 
view, to incorporate clergymen exclusively of the religious commu- 
nity which they serve, would be an unequal, impolitic and dangerous 
measure. As to the incorporation of any order of men, or any 
religious society by the State, under the express idea of conveying 
to them any powers of Church government, the Presbytery abso- 
lutely protests against it, as inconsistent with the proper objects of 
legislation and an unnecessary and dangerous measure ; unneces- 
sary, because it would be to acknowledge the state as the indulgent 
parent of any class of citizens, whose consciences would permit them 
to become obedient children in spirituals, whilst those who should 
refuse submission in this respect, though equally good citizens, might 
be treated with a partial coldness, which would be undeserved. We 



therefore pray in the name of the Presbytery, that this distinction 
of the two kinds of incorporation may be preserved as their true 
meaning. We are gentlemen your humble servants, 

John Todd, 
John B. Smith. 

Richmond, Nov. 18th 1784. 

At the next Spring meeting, held in Bethel meeting-house, May 
19th, 1785, a petition came up from the session of Augusta church, 
requesting an explanation of the word liberal in the late memorial. 
This led to consultation by Committee, and in Presbytery at large, 
which ended in the Presbytery declaring, unanimously, against any 
assessment whatever. The Presbytery were unanimously of the 
opinion, that a Convention of the Presbyterian body was expedient. 
In concurrence with several members of different congregations, the 
10th of the succeeding August, was fixed upon. This Convention 
met and adopted an able memorial, (see 1st vol. of Sketches, pp. 
842, 43, 44), in which the memorialists say — "We oppose the bill, 
because it is a departure from the line of legislation ; because it is 
unnecessary and inadequate to its professed end, impolitic in many 
respects, and a direct violation of the declaration of rights." On 
this memorial, J. B. Smith was heard on the floor of Assembly, in 
Committee of the Whole. In the event, Mr. Jefferson's bill on the 
freedom of conscience was adopted. 

The members of this congregation took some share in the strug- 
gles of the Revolution. Captain Tate was in the battle of the 
Cowpens, and shared in Morgan's retreat to- Virginia with the 
prisoners. He returned to Carolina with the militia that were sent 
from Bethel and Tinkling Spring, to join General Greene, and 
assist in turning Lord Cornwallis back from his approach to Vir- 
ginia. When his company of militia assembled at Midway, or 
Steele's tavern, Dr. Waddell addressed them on the eve of their 
departure, and exhorted them to patriotism and courage, and prompt 
obedience to the military rules, under which they now came. They 
joined Greene, and were with him in the battle of Guilford, March 
15th, 1781. Captain Tate was in the second, or Virginia line of 
militia. The first line of militia had orders to fire once and retreat ; 
the second to act as circumstances required, and when necessary, 
to fall back on the regulars. Tate bravely maintained his post; 
being a little deaf, it is supposed he did not hear the signal 
call for the militia to retire, and was surrounded and slain with a 
number that stood courageously with him. The majority of his 
company returned, and were assembled with their neighbors to 
worship God, from Sabbath to Sabbath, at Tinkling Spring and 
Bethel. Many of these militia carried scars from Guilford to their 
graves. Some of these militia soldiers were for a time hearers 
of the present minister, Dr. McFarland, the last of whom, Mr. Wil- 
son, he attended to an honorable grave. 

In the June succeeding the battle of Guilford, an alarm was given 
on a Saturday, that Tariton having surprised Charlottesville, was 


on his way to Staunton. Mr. Scott was then hearing a class in the 
Catechism, at Bethel meeting-house. This he hastily dismissed to 
go home, and spread the alarm. The succeeding Sabbath was a 
day of military gathering from Lexington to the Peeked Mountain, 
to pre-occupy all the gaps of the Blue Ridge with expert riflemen. 
Scott had no preaching that day at Bethel ; Brown had no worship 
at Providence ; Wilson, of Augusta, sent his people to watch the 
enemy ; Waddell went to Tinkling Spring, but his people were lining 
the mountains on the look-out for the approach of Tarlton ; and 
Graham in Lexington was parading his people, and marching with 
them for Rockfish Gap. But the Valley was spared the shedding of 
blood on that occasion. No hostile force trod upon her soil. Her 
sons spilt their own blood elsewhere in the defence of their country, 
at Point Pleasant, the Cowpens, Guilford, and Yorktown. There 
was lately living one, William McCutchan, who served three tours 
in the army. The first and longest was in the Jerseys, and at White 
Plains ; to this he was with difficulty admitted by the commander 
on account of his youth. The second was to meet Cornwallis in his 
approach to central Virginia ; and the last at Yorktown. His sim- 
ple narrative gives a deeper impression of the wrongs of the soldiers 
in the American army, in losing their wages by the paper currency, 
or continental money, than any page of history has ever done. 

Dismissed to return home from the Jerseys, after his time of ser- 
vice was expired, he received his wages in this money. Soon after 
leaving camp, a landlord, supposed not to be favorable to the cause, 
refused him and his companion a meal of victuals for less than five 
dollars a-piece in paper currency. The next landlord demanded 
two and a half dollars. They determined to travel as far as 
possible in a day; and to eat but one meal. In all the places 
along the road where they called for refreshment, they were asked, 
"can you pay for it?" and "in what can you pay for it?" In 
Winchester where they purchased their last meal, the landlord took 
but half price of them, as they were soldiers — the first time any 
allowance was made in their favor — and charged only a dollar and 
a half. A week's wages would not pay their expenses, travelling 
on foot, a single day. 

As pastor of Bethel, Mr. Scott had in his charge some of the 
connections of his early teacher, Mr. Finley ; particularly the family 
of Mrs. Margaret Humphreys, who lived to an advanced age near 
Greenville, and for a long time the only female representative of 
Bethel during the Revolution. Her graphic descriptions were full 
of interest, and conveyed the liveliest impression 'of the times, when 
the valley was a frontier settlement. Where now may be seen the 
beautiful farms and substantial houses in Bethel, her active memory 
recalled the log cabins, the linsey woolsey, the short gowns, the 
hunting shirts, the moccasins, the pack horses, the simple living, the 
shoes and stockings for winter and uncommon occasions, the deer 
and the rifle, the fields of flax and the spinning wheel, and the wool 
and looms ; and with them, the strict attention to religious concerns, 


the catechising of children, the regular going to church, the reading 
of the Bible, and keeping Sabbath from the beginning to the end, 
the singing of hymns and sacred songs, all blended, presenting a 
beautiful picture of enterprise, economy and religion in laying the 
foundation of society. 

A sacred lyric that was said to have been composed by Samuel 
Davies, and in great repute in her young days, she repeated with 
animation in her declining years : 

Active spark of heavenly fire, 
In a clod of earth confined, 
Ever fluttering to aspire, 
To the great paternal mind ; 
Death has broke thy prison of clay, 
And given thee leave to soar away. 
Now to thy native regions go, 
There with etherial flames to glow. 

Hark ! th' angelic envoys say, 

Sister spirit, come away ! 

Drop the cumber of thy clay ! 

And with thy kindred join ! 
Angels, I come ! conduct me on, 
Instruct me in a world unknown ; 
Teach me, inexperienced stranger, 
How to act as the immortals do ; 
To think and speak and move like you. 
Teach me the senses to supply, 
To see without the organ of an eye ; 
The music of your song to hear, 
Without the organ of an ear. 

Yes ! now blessed angels now I find 

The powers of an immortal mind, 

How active and how strange ! 

And is this then Eternity ! 

And am I safely landed here ! 

No more to sin, no more to die, 

No more to sigh, or shed a tear ! 

My soul, can this be I ? 
I who just now in prison dark, 
In yonder world of woe and guilt, 
Just now shuddering, trembling, sighing, 
Startled at the thought of dying, 
Am I the same ? 
Or is it all a pleasing dream ? 

yes the very same ! 

Ye heavenly choirs ! cherubic, seraphic choirs ! 

Help a stranger to express 

His thanks to rich unbounded grace. 
Jesus! the unbounded grace was thine, 
Who bled and groaned upon the tree, 
And bore infinite pangs for me ; 
And do I see thy lovely face at last, 
my dear incarnate God ! 
And has thy love thy servant placed 
In thy shining blest abode ? 
Enough ! enough ! thy bounty gives me more 
Than I could ask, or wish before. 


Toil and simplicity of living, with industry, were commingled with 
devotion. Hearts that could relish Davies' Sentiments, could not 
be rude or vulgar or coarse. Minds of the finest mould, and hearts 
of the purest sympathies, were found clad in homespun, and often 
at labor not so well fitted to the strength and condition of women. 
But in a frontier life what hardships will not women bear ! Said a 
man in Bethel, somewhat advanced in years — " The hardest day's 
work I ever did, when a young man, in the harvest field, was in 
keeping up with a stout Dutch girl, that came to help us for a day 
or two ; on she went, singing and laughing, till night ; and I was 
glad to see sundown come." The lighter frames and fairer forms 
would spin and weave, and clothe their fathers and their brothers, 
and make becoming fabrics for themselves. 

For above twenty years Mr. Scott fulfilled the duties of pastor to 
these churches. His residence was on the east side of the Middle- 
brook road, near the sixth mile post from Staunton, a log house, 
still standing, in the hollow, a short distance from the more sightly 
habitation of its present owner. Here he was often seen sweating 
at the plough, gaining for his children a livelihood, as he had gained 
his own, in his youth ; for during the war, and for a time afterwards, 
the salaries of the clergy were small and indifferently paid. He 
was tall, of a large frame, but not fleshy; his features prominent 
and pitted with the small-pox, by which one eye had been affected, 
requiring frequent wiping to prevent a tear-drop. In his preaching 
he was doctrinal, always instructive, and often deeply impressive 
and powerful. His modesty sometimes became diffidence, and his 
self-respect was often overshadowed by his shrinking from notoriety. 
He took no prominent part in Presbytery or Synod, but waited for 
those whose opinion he valued to take the lead. He held his own 
abilities and acquirements in low estimation, and was seldom satisfied 
with his pulpit performances. 

The people of his charge, capable, many of them at least, of judg- 
ing with great accuracy, held him in high estimation. He was sound 
in doctrine, and if blessed with less powers of mind than Graham, 
he exhibited a greater fund of tenderness ; with less of eloquence 
that takes every soul by storm, he could mingle more with the mass 
of people, and make them feel he was bone of their bone. His use- 
fulness was increasing, and his hold on his people growing stronger 
and stronger till the day of his death. He did justice, loved 
mercy, and walked humbly with God. Having preached from a text, 
from which while a student with Mr. Finley he had heard a warm- 
hearted minister discourse affectingly — "Comfort ye, comfort ye 
my people"— he expressed himself as having preached badly, and 
bemeaned the text ; while his hearers thought he had preached ex- 
ceedingly well. Mr. Graham heard the same man in Pennsylvania 
— and when he afterwards poured out his excited heart in a discourse 
on the same words, with an impression never forgotten, he calmly 
replied to an impertinent inquiry — "Mr. Graham, how long were 
you getting that sermon ready you preached the other day ?" 


" How long was I in getting it ready ? — why, about twenty years," 
and probably thought as little of that sermon as Scott did of his. 

Greatly devoted to catechising the children of the congregation, 
he devoted some time in the week to meeting different neighbor- 
hoods for that purpose. Besides the shorter catechism, he used 
another called The Mother s Catechism, of which he procured a re- 
print in Staunton, in thirty-two full octavo pages ; the last two and 
a half pages formed an appendix on election, drawn up by himself. 
Judging from that, almost the only remaining specimen of the pro- 
ductions of his pen, his mind was discriminating, his views of theologi- 
cal subjects sound and in accordance with the principles of the 
Reformation ; and if he preached as he wrote, his people were well 
instructed in divine things. If the present generation know little 
of him, it is because no written memorial was made of his labors and 
his worth. He still lives, however, in the Lord's vineyard, if a man 
may live in his descendants ; and the covenant of mercy has been a 
rich inheritance to his children and grand-children ; many of whom 
are in the church, and a number in the ministry, whose labors God 
has condescended to bless. 

On the 4th of March, 1799, after a short illness, he closed his use- 
ful life, leaving a widow and six children, two sons and four daugh- 
ters, all young, and one an infant. His body lies in the burying- 
ground near Hebron Church ; and though the subject was frequently 
spoken of, and some steps once taken by his people, no tomb-stone 
has yet been erected over his ashes ; and soon the inquirer will 
search for his grave in vain. His wife, a sister of the young Mr. 
Ramsey, that induced him to seek a home in Virginia, survived him 
but a few years. The care of the family then devolved upon his 
eldest child, a daughter. She opposed the scattering of the children 
among the friends, as was proposed by some well-wishers of the 
family.; and taking the direction of affairs and the management of 
the children, the sister became mother to the bereaved flock. With 
the advice and counsel of the ministerial brethren of her father, 
and the judicious relations that were near, and those gentlemen of 
the congregation who loved the children for the father's sake, she 
contrived to secure a classical education for the boys, and a suffi- 
cient course of instruction, in English, for the girls, refusing all 
offers of marriage till the education of the children was secured. 
One of the sons, long a successful and laborious minister of the gos- 
pel, attributes much of his usefulness to the kindness and energy 
with which that sister trained his early years, with exemplary devo- 
tion and care. During his life he reverenced her as a mother. 
'•As I passed the place of our residence a short time since," said 
the son, who was too young at his father's death to know his loss, 
" I paused a while to ponder over the scenes of the young days of 
my orphanage, while my sister, MTheeters, now no more, was my 
sister and my mother. I loved and reverenced her then ; I thanked 
God for her again, with a heart full of unutterable emotion." Some 
pious females will be found at the last day, who in their silent and 


unobtrusive self-denial have won a crown that shall never fade away. 
Christ has said of Mary — " She has done what she could." How 
much that sentence means when applied to a sister that reared one 
brother for a useful and successful teacher, and three sisters, who 
were all comfortably situated as heads of families, and another bro- 
ther to be a minister in the Presbyterian Church, who in his declin- 
ing years looks upon three of his sons devoted to the work of the 
ministry, eternity alone can determine. 

Bethel has shared in various precions revivals, and has sent forth 
some faithful ministers of the gospel, as Doak, the pioneer of the 
gospel and literature in Tennessee, the two Logans, MTheeters, and 
Mines. In the early revivals there was nothing peculiar. In that 
great revival, which prevailed in Virginia in the years 1802 and 1806, 
the bodily exercises were matters of great discussion. Baxter was 
in the midst, and was slow in saying they were from evil ; Erwin, of 
Mossy Creek, set himself strongly against them, and his congregation 
was never visited by them ; Brown, of New Providence, was clear 
and decided against them, and his people were not troubled ; Wil- 
son, of Augusta, was much inclined to believe that they were accom- 
paniments of good, and might be themselves good, and his congre- 
gation was largely visited. Bethel was a vacancy for a time after 
Mr. Scott's death, and the people were somewhat divided in opinion 
about the nature of these exercises. At a meeting held there by 
Baxter of Lexington, Brown, of New Providence, and Mr. Boggs, 
a licentiate of Winchester Presbytery, under a sermon from Baxter, 
the whole congregation appeared deeply affected. During the sermon, 
delivered by Mr. Boggs, after a short interval, the bodily agitations 
began ; one of the elders rose and began to sing, and immediately 
the whole congregation was convulsed with various emotions and 
exercises ; groans and sighs and cries were heard in every part, and 
for awhile the worship was suspended. The congregation were 
greatly divided in their opinion about the proper course of pro- 
cedure ; some withdrew, and joined the Seceders at Old Providence, 
where there were no symptoms of the approach, or of a welcome of 
the exercises, should they make their appearance. In a few years 
all thought alike of them, as mere bodily affections, in some way 
connected with the mind, but not at all religious in their nature or 

The Rev. William M'Pheeters, D. D., was born in Bethel, near 
the North Mountain, on the waters of Middle River, September 28th, 
1788. He inherited the surname of his father and grandfather and 
great-grandfather, who emigrated from Scotland to Ireland, in the 
time of Oliver Cromwell. His grandfather married young in Ire- 
land, and emigrated to Pennsylvania, and finally settled in Augusta 
County, Virginia, bringing his family, a wife and eight children ; 
some of the children unmarried, and some heads of families. His 
father was born in Pennsylvania in 1729, and was married to Rachel 
Moore, with whom he lived to rear a large family ; served as magis- 


trate, and was a ruling elder in the congregation of which Archibald 
Scott was pastor. Dr. M'Pheeters was reared in the faith of his 
mother and grandmother. Rachel Moore was born in the year 1736 : 
her mother was a Walker, from Wigton, Scotland. Through the 
Walker family there is a connexion traced back to the illustrious 
Rutherford, of Scotland. The Doctor was more careful to preserve 
some written memorial of his mother's experience than of his own. 
She was of a lively disposition, cheerful, but never fond of trifling 
conversation, and much given to secret prayer, in which she had 
great enjoyment, before she was fifteen years of age. 

" When my mother was about thirty years of age, on a certain 
communion Sabbath, her exercises during the day were unusually 
comfortable. Some pious friends from Walker's Creek accompanied 
her home ; that night, their conversation till bed-time, was on the 
subject of religion. After retiring to her bed, my mother was 
favored with such overwhelming views of the beauty and glory of 
the heavenly inheritance, as to deprive her of nearly all her bodily 
strength. These rapturous views continued to recur, at short in- 
tervals, during the whole night, and sleep was entirely taken away 
from her. About daybreak her views were more rapturous and over- 
whelming than before. During the next day she experienced great 
composure of mind, and felt no inconvenience from the want of 
sleep. After this her exercises were various ; sometimes she was 
happy in the enjoyment of religion, sometimes destitute of feeling, 
and sometimes backward in receiving, as coming from God, the com- 
forts bestowed upon her. 

Her son David died from home, in his twenty-fourth year. Some 
short time after his death, on a certain Sabbath, while reclining on 
her bed, it pleased God to give her clear and satisfactory evidence 
of her acceptance in the Beloved. Being thus near to God, and 
enjoying in so great a degree the gracious smiles of his reconciled 
countenance, the thought occurred to her that she might now inquire 
respecting her son, and ask of God some evidence of his happiness 
in the world of spirits. But soon did she check her presumptuous 
inquiry, and felt reproved for attempting to pry into the unrevealed 
secrets of God's righteous government. 'With this great truth,' 
said she, ' I must be satisfied ; the Judge of all the earth will do 

Then let my Sovereign if he please 

Lock up his marvellous decrees, 

Why should I wish him to reveal 

What he thinks proper to conceal ? 

His mother died January 30th 1826, aged about 90 years, with- 
out a groan or struggle, as in a sweet sleep ; literally falling asleep 
in Jesus. Her end was a fitting conclusion of her life, as some ex- 
tracts from a letter from her pastor to her son, some years after her 
death, will show. " She took great delight, as you know, in attend- 
ing at the house of God, especially on communion ' Sabbaths. But 
as she advanced in years she was not always able to be present on 


these occasions. On the Sabbath before alluded to, when we were 
celebrating the Lord's Supper, she being too infirm to be present, 
about the time, as I suppose, when we were at the table, she told 
me, that in musing she thought herself at the Lord's table, and 
seated at the end of it next to me ; that she plainly saw the bread 
and the wine ; that as I handed the bread to her, and pronounced 
the words, ' Broken for you,' that those words came with such power 
to her mind as almost to overwhelm her : and that the delightful 
state of mind that followed continued the whole clay. I remarked 
to her that I supposed she enjoyed the occasion as much as she 
sometimes did when she was actually at the table. yes ! said she. 
I have been twenty times at the table when my enjoyment has not 
been so great. I tben said, Now when you are deprived of the op- 
portunity of attending on the ordinance, the Lord you see is giving 
you the enjoyment without it. At this her heart was filled and her 
utterance checked. On another occasion, July 1825, she told me, 
that recently, just before a severe turn of illness, she had such a 
sense of nearness to God as she had scarcely ever experienced be- 
fore, or as she supposed was possible in the flesh. Indeed she 
thought her frail body could not have borne much more. At another 
time she told me — that as to the matter of dying, she had no fear 
about it ; and that if she should be called off suddenly, she wished 
me to preach her funeral sermon from Amos 4th, 12th. Prepare to 
meet thy God, Israel. And from that text I did preach her 
funeral. Her piety was Of the very highest order. 

Your Brother, Francis M'Farland. 

March 12th, 1842. 

Dr. M'Pheeters commenced his classical studies in Staunton, and 
completed his education at Liberty Hall under Mr. Graham. Oct. 
1797, he commenced the study of medicine with his brother James 
in Kentucky. In the course of the two years he pursued that study, 
he became deeply exercised on the subject of his salvation. Having 
professed his faith and united with the Church under the care of Wm. 
Robertson, his heart was drawn to the ministry of the gospel. Re- 
turning to Virginia he put himself under the care of Lexington 
Presbytery, and pursued his Theological reading with that logical 
man Samuel Brown of New Providence. His first piece of trial, 
on the words " Here am I, send me," was exhibited at Hebron, Oct. 
12th 1801. He was licensed at New Providence, April 19th 1802, 
the Rev. Benjamin Erwin officiating. In June 1803, he took charge 
of the Church in Danville, Kentucky; and to aid in his support 
taught school. In 1804 he visited Chilicothe. In September he 
was married to Elizabeth, daughter of John M'Dowell, near Lex- 
ington Kentucky, and returned to Virginia. After visiting the 
counties of Greenbrier and Monroe, and preaching for some time in 
Windy Cove and New Lebanon, he took charge in December 1805, 
of Bethel, his native congregation ; and on Monday the 22d of 
April, was ordained to the full work of the gospel ministry, Dr. 


Baxter preaching the sermon, which was printed in the Magazine, 
and his theological teacher, Mr. Brown, delivering the charge. In 
the December following he laid the remains of his wife and child 
side by side, the first occupants of the grave-yard by Bethel Church 
now so full of mounds. In 1810, his second wife was taken from 
him leaving a young daughter. 

"About this time," as he writes, "I received, by the hands of a 
special messenger, an invitation from the Trustees of the Academy, 
Raleigh, North Carolina, to preside over the institution as principal 
teacher ; and to preach to the town congregation, then vacant in 
consequence of the removal of Rev. Win. L. Turner to the town of 
Fayetteville. Having visited the place and being pleased with the 
prospect, I accepted the invitation, and in the month of June 1810, 
took charge of the congregation and academy." 

Dr. M'Pheeters resided in Raleigh from this time with one short 
interval till his death in 1842. In March 1812, he was united in 
marriage with Miss Margaret A. C. M'Daniel of Washington, North 
Carolina. She survives him, the mother of twelve children, seven 
of whom survived their father. 

In June 1816, a Presbyterian Church was organized in Raleigh, 
consisting of four elders and eighteen members. In about two years 
from that time their spacious and neat house for worship was ready 
for occupation. The congregation continuing to increase, Dr. 
M'Pheeters, thinking that the duties required of the principal of 
the Academy and the pastor of the Church, were sufficient for two 
men, and believing that his proper sphere was in the Academy, on 
the 18th of March 1824, resigned the pastoral office. While he 
continued to supply the pulpit there appeared to him a slackness in 
efforts to procure a pastor, he therefore declined preaching to the 
congregation. The Rev. Thomas P. Hunt was induced to remove to 
Raleign, Nov. 1828. He remained about two years. Rev. Michael 
Osborne ministered to the congregation for a few years. In 1886, 
Dr. M'Pheeters still refusing to become pastor, the congregation 
called the Rev. Drury Lacy D. D., who remained with them till in- 
vited to the Presidency of Davidson College, in 1853. 

In 1836, Dr. M'Pheeters opened a female school in Fayetteville, 
and received extensive patronage. His health failing, he was suc- 
ceeded by Rev. Rufus W. Bailey. Returning to Raleigh, he be- 
came agent for the Board of Missions of the General Assembly, and 
served about two years, with great bodily suffering. In 1840 he 
was elected President of Davidson College, successor of Dr. Morri- 
son. Though fond of giving instruction to youth, and desiring earn- 
estly the prosperity of the College, he, on account of his health, 
declined the ottered honor. His habits of correctness, his amiable 
disposition, and deep sense of responsibility, qualified him in a pecu- 
liar manner for the office of teacher, which he occupied for so many 
years in Raleigh. As a member of Church judicatories he was in- 
valuable. Cooi, deliberate, cautious, kind, in the exercise of sound 
sense and cheerful piety, as an adviser he was not surpassed. To 


a casual observer he would sometimes appear to be moving slug- 
gishly, while he was pondering the subject in hand, weighing causes 
and effects, and probable consequences, and moving on to a conclu- 
sion, which, once expressed, was not speedily changed. Few men, 
called to do so much, have had as little to undo. He was not a 
splendid man ; but for the Church he was something better. He 
loved her interests, and labored for her through life, with a reputa- 
tion above reproach, too modest to perceive that his influence was 
increasing with his years, and that in his last days no man's opinion 
weighed against his in that Synod of which he had been a member 
for more than thirty years. 

After resigning the pastoral office, knowing as he must, the kind 
feeling of the whole community to him, he was particular never to 
propose anything to the attention of the congregation, or advocate 
anything proposed until he was satisfied that the approbation of the 
pastor had been fully expressed. Honor to whom honor is due, 
was the maxim of his heart and life. Of course he lived on the 
most friendly and intimate terms with his successor. He took a 
lively interest in the erection of a parsonage for the minister of the 
church, and encouraged the lady, by whose means it was accom- 
plished, with more earnestness than if it had been erected for 

In his domestic relations he was pre-eminently happy and lovely. 
Could an open, or secret enemy have passed a few days under his 
roof, witnessing the untiring efforts of the father to lead his family 
to the love and service of the Lord Christ, he must have felt it im- 
possible longer to contend with such a man ; that even in the 
mistakes into which, as a man, he might fall, the mercy of a cove- 
nant-keeping God was a shield and defence. His daughter that 
passed away before him, in her mature years, gave evidence of con- 
version to God in early life. In her fourteenth year she wrote to 
a young friend. 

April 19th, 1831. 

My Dear Mary Ann : — I do hope your prayers and the prayers 
of my other dear friends have been answered in my behalf. Yet 
my dear Mary Ann continue to pray for me that I may not be 
deceived ; for you know that the heart is deceitful above all things, 
and desperately wicked. On Sunday last I heard Mr. Beard, of 
Philadelphia, preach twice. In the morning he preached to Chris- 
tians ; and in the afternoon he addressed sinners from the text — 
" And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to 
come, Felix trembled and answered, go thy way for this time, when 
I have a convenient season I will call for thee." Oh ! he preached 
an awful sermon about grieving the spirit. I was afraid I had 
grieved him, and that he would take his final flight. My dear 
friend, you cannot tell what feelings I had. Oh ! I felt if I did 
grieve him he would leave me forever, for I know that God hath 
said in his holy word — " My spirit shall not always strive with 
man:" and when I considered how often I had been warned of my 


danger, I thought, if I did grieve the Holy Spirit, that he would 
never return any more. So I determined through God's strength, 
that I would never rest till I should give myself away to the 

That evening after sermon a young female acquaintance came 
home with me, and Satan told me I had better let it alone until the 
next day, that it would not do for me to leave my company. But I 
thought with myself — is not the soul of more value than anything 
else ? Yes. I knew it was. So I determined that nothing should 
hinder me. I went to my room up stairs, and did not come down 
till the family were ready to go to night-meeting. In my retirement 
I felt I could give up all to the Saviour. But I did not feel so 
happy as I wished to feel. So I determined I would give myself 
away again. The next morning I went alone, and tried to give my 
whole heart to the Saviour. I hope I did so. I felt that he was 
able and willing to save me. But I was so afraid lest I might be 
deceived, that I said nothing about it to any body. I did wish, 
however, that you were here that I might talk with you. After 
breakfast, I visited two of my pious female friends, and staid with 
them till nearly-dinner time. Then I came home, and after dinner 
retired again, and gave myself away, and all that I had unto the 
Lord, for time and eternity. Oh, then I was happy, happier than 
I had ever felt in my life before. But still I had not yet courage 
to tell any body. The change in my feelings, however, was noticed 
by the family ; and my mother the next day called me into the 
room and asked me what made me so happy. I then told her all 
about it. She prayed with me, and you may be sure we were both 
happy. But my dear friend I can't tell you all. I must save the 

rest till I see you. Mrs. M , I hear has obtained a hope, and 

several others are very serious. 

0, that all might believe, 

And salvation receive, 

And their hope, and their joy be the same. 

My dear Mary Ann pray for me that I may grow in grace, and 
love the Saviour more and more, who has done so much for me. 
Farewell dearest friend, and pray for me. 

Margaret Ann MTheeters. 

The hope of this young girl strengthened with her years and 
cheered her in death. In about a year after her marriage with Mr. 
John Wilson of Milton, she was called into the presence of her 
Lord, and went cheerfully. 

In October, 1836, Dr. MTheeters lost by death a son, David 
Brainerd, in his seventh year. From very early in his life this 
little boy manifested deep religious feeling. As he drew near his 
end, his exercises became more interesting. His parents were more 
than usually exercised at the time of his baptism ; and the attention 
of the little child had from the first been turned to the work, in 


which, that good man. whose name he bore, had been engaged. His 
infant feelings were all enlisted in the cause. He knew himself to 
be a sinner. After worship he was often found in tears. To his 
mother, who one day inquired of him what was the matter, he 
replied, " I am afraid God will not love me, I am too sinful." Being 
directed to the Saviour, and urged to pray for a new heart, he 
replied — " I do love him, and have prayed to him for a new heart." 
He felt the duty of prayer to a great degree of tenderness. One 
night observing that his little brother, in bad humor, was retiring 
without prayer — he refused to sleep with him, and sat up in bed 
till the offender arose and attended to his neglected duty. A short 
time before his death he called for his purse, having about fifty 
cents in it. "If you die," said his mother, "what shall be done 
with your money?" Looking at her for a moment — " Mother, if 
I die, give all my money to send the gospel to the heathen ;" and 
then he earnestly repeated — "Mother, if I die, give all my money 
to send the gospel to the heathen." 

The death of Dr. M'Pheeters was preceded by the distressing pains 
that accompany the successive stages of calculus. He was under the 
scientific operations of distinguished physicians. He had a distinct 
view of his approaching dissolution, and through the power of un- 
broken faith contemplated it with entire resignation. On Wednes- 
day, 9th of November, 1842, an immense congregation was assembled 
in the Presbyterian Church, Raleigh, to attend his funeral. The 
stores of the city were closed : the church was in mourning attire. 
Rev. Drury Lacy pronounced a sermon, and delineated the character 
of his predecessor and friend. That stern integrity, that uncom- 
promising adherence to truth and right, that modesty that kept him 
from pride and vanity, and that piety which clung to Christ as his 
Lord, that amiable deportment in his intercourse with man, which 
had been the crown of his life, seemed brighter when contemplated 
from the grave. 

The University of North Carolina, some time before his death, 
conferred upon him the title, D. D., one richly deserved, if successful 
training of youth has any merit, and a life of piety any charm, and 
success in building up the church of Jesus Christ any admiration. 
Dr. M'Pheeters did not seek wealth for his children ; and he left his 
family the inheritance of a good name, and the blessing of a 
covenant-keeping God. 

In the agitations of the Presbyterian Church, which for some ten 
or twelve years before his death absorbed the attention of the Judi- 
catories, Dr. M'Pheeters always was decidedly in favor of that 
system of doctrine and practice commonly called " Old School," 
and was in advance of his Virginia brethren. 





Archibald Alexander made his first efforts, as a licensed min- 
ister, in the extensive contiguous congregations of Moses Hoge, 
"William Hill and Nash Legrand. From his narrative, told in 
all the simplicity of truth, we learn that the people were willing to 
hear the gospel ; that he must have been an acceptable preacher ; 
that although the congregations gave him no further remuneration 
for his services than his board and horse-keeping, leaving him to pay, 
after his return to Lexington, for a pair of pantaloons he purchased 
in Shepherdstown, he was yet contented with the temporal result of 
his labors ; that he felt himself under obligations to Mr. Hoge, for 
the benefit derived from intercourse in his family, and that he left 
the lower end of the valley improved in his theology, or rather con- 
firmed by Mr. Hoge in a full belief of the immediate and personal 
action of the Holy Ghost on the heart of man in regeneration. 

The eighth session of Lexington Presbytery was held at Brown's 
meeting-house, now Hebron, commencing Tuesday, Oct. 26th, 1790. 
Members in attendance were Rev. Messrs. Scott, Crawford, Mont- 
gomery, Erwin and Houston ; with Elders William M'Pheeters, 
William Yuell and Thomas Shanklin. On account of the cold the 
Presbytery convened at 2 o'clock in the afternoon at the house of 
William M'Pheeters ; and Mr. John Lyle read part of his trials. 
Rev. Messrs. Brown and Graham, with William Alexander as Elder, 
came in the next day. The record says that " Information was made 
by a member that Mr. Archibald Alexander, of Lexington, desired 
to be taken under the care of this Presbytery, as a candidate for the 
gospel ministry, and Presbytery having a favorable account of his 
moral and religious character, and literary accomplishments, intro- 
duced him to a conference, in which, having given a narrative of his 
religious exercises, and of his evidences of faith in Christ and 
repentance towards God, together with his call and motives to the 
gospel ministry, and a specimen of his skill in cases of conscience ; 
Presbytery having considered the same, do approve thereof, and 
agree to take him under their care as a candidate for the gospel 
ministry. Mr. Alexander is appointed as parts of trial an exegesis 
on the following theme — 'An fide sola Justificamur ?' and an 
homily on this theme — ' What is the difference between a dead and 
living faith?' to be delivered at our next." This application was 
made at the earnest request of his teacher, Mr. Graham. Mr. 
Alexander was averse to taking the lead in religious meetings. Mr. 
Graham supposed his aversion would be less, if not removed en- 
tirely, after he should be acknowledged as a candidate for the 
ministry, and proposed that he should be a candidate under the 


care of Presbytery as long as might be thought desirable by the 
parties concerned ; and that he and the other candidates should be 
employed as the young men, Hill and Calhoon and Allen and 
Legrand had been, east of the Ridge, in holding prayer-meetings 
and meetings for exhortation, where there might be a necessity. 
The Presbytery acted on the first part of the request, and gave no 
decision on the latter, leaving it to the discretion of the ministers 
in whose congregations the candidates might be placed. 

Mr. Alexander commenced his theological studies with but one 
companion, John Lyle, who was afterwards the pastor of the church 
in Hampshire County. Upon asking Mr. Graham what books he 
should read, Mr. Graham smiled and replied — "If you mean ever 
to be a theologian, you must come at it not by reading, but by 
thinking." The astonished youth said, in after life, "This did 
me more good than any directions or counsels I ever received." 
He was not aware then, that he was, and had been engaged in that 
very course recommended by his instructor, while he was investi- 
gating the whole subject of conversion and Christian experience. 

At the ninth session of Presbytery, held at Hall's meeting-house, 
now New Monmouth, commencing Tuesday, April 26th, 1791, Mr. 
John Lyle delivered his trial sermon for licensure at the opening 
of the sessions, and on Wednesday he and Mr. Alexander were ex- 
amined on the Latin and Greek languages ; and Mr. Alexander read 
his. exegesis. On Thursday morning Mr. Alexander read his homily, 
and Mr. Lyle his lecture ; in the afternoon the two candidates were 
examined in Geography, Natural Philosophy, Criticism, Astronomy, 
and Moral Philosophy ; and Mr. Lyle was examined in part on 
Theology. On Friday the Presbytery sustained all these parts of 
trial, and gave Mr. Alexander for a lecture, to be read at the next 
meeting, Hebrews, 6th chapter, 1st to 7th verse. Mr. Graham 
urged the Presbytery to assign a subject to Mr. Alexander for a 
popular sermon. Mr. Alexander was reluctant, and plead his youth, 
and general unpreparedness. The urgency of Mr. Graham pre- 
vailed. At the suggestion of Samuel Houston, the text assigned 
was — " Say not I am a child ;" Jeremiah 1st : 7th. On the same 
day three of Mr. Alexander's fellow-students of theology were 
received as candidates for the ministry, Thomas Poage, of Augusta 
County, Benjamin Grigsby, of Rockbridge County, and Matthew 
Lyle, also of Rockbridge County, and a cousin. The reasons given 
by Mr. Graham for pressing the young candidate so speedily into 
the ministry were : that his manner of conducting meetings was 
captivating, his instructions sound ; that his acquirements were 
greater than ordinary ; and that his own expectations of success 
were vastly higher than the candidate's humility permitted him to 

At this meeting of Presbytery Mr. William Alexander, the father 
of the candidate, declined the offer conferred in the fall, that of 
Commissioner to the General Assembly. On request of Mr. Graham, 
the candidate, whom he had ordained as elder during the winter, 


was appointed Commissioner. To all this the candidate yielded, as a 
pupil to his instructor, whose judgment he esteemed more highly 
than his own. In after life he doubted the propriety of the coarse. 
On his journey to Philadelphia, performed on horseback, he stopped, 
in Frederick County, at the house of Solomon Hoge, brother of 
Moses Hoge, and became acquainted with the father, of whom he 
says — "J know not that I ever received so much instruction in the 
same time, from any one, as from this old gentleman." He spent 
the Sabbath with Mrs. Riley, on Bullskin ; and by a happy mistake 
a congregation assembled in the evening to hear him preach, and 
listened to his exhortation with great solemnity. His graphic 
sketch of the Assembly, preserved in his memoirs, is an example of 
the practicability of daguerreotyping both the spirit and appearance 
of every Assembly. 

The course of study and recitation to which Mr. Graham called 
Mr. Alexander and his fellow-students, assumed the form of a 
seminary. Once a week they met in his study, to read compositions 
on presented subjects, to discuss given points of theology; and most 
particularly to hear the masterly reasonings and clear statements 
of the teacher. A profound reasoner himself, Mr. Graham taught 
his pupils to think as profoundly as their capabilities permitted. 
Endeavoring to avoid partiality in his intercourse with his students, 
he nevertheless could not conceal his opinion that his young pupil 
was as profound a thinker as himself. His own safeguards were the 
Bible as the book of God ; the great principles of Calvinism, true 
both in nature and revelation ; and a teachable spirit relying upon 
the promised aid of the Holy Ghost. He thought he saw all these 
things in the young man, and he loved him. True to his master's 
great principles, the youth sometimes differed from his master in the 
conclusion from given premises. The young men under Graham's 
instruction, at this time, all acquired the habit of discussion and 
extempore speaking. One of these was George A. Baxter, member 
of college, who, Dr. Alexander says — " Had a mind formed for 
accurate distinctions and logical discussions." Mr. Baxter became 
Mr. Graham's successor. 

The tenth session of Lexington Presbytery was held at the Stone 
church in Augusta, commencing Tuesday, Sept. 20th, 1791. The 
members present were Messrs. Graham, Scott, Crawford, Mont- 
gomery, Erwin, Wilson, McCue, and Houston ; Elders, John Wilson, 
John i)unlap, Thomas Frame, and Samuel Pilson. " Mr. Archibald 
Alexander, a candidate for the gospel ministry, opened Presbytery 
with a popular sermon, from Jeremiah 1 : 7, the text assigned at 
our last meeting." The candidate was called, according to usage 
in those days, to open the Presbytery with his trial sermon, in the 
old fort church, standing in the capacious pulpit, in the back of 
which, by an entrance through the wall, was the door leading to 
the room, then called the session room, but in days of savage war- 
fare, the kitchen. He had urged his youth and inexperience, and 
want of knowledge, as bars to licensure. Mr. Graham and others 


called for the sermon. He came forward, and from the words — 
" Say not that I am a child, for thou shalt go to all that I shall 
send thee, and whatsoever I command thee, thou shalt speak" — 
discussed in a plain and manly manner the call to the ministry, 
avoiding all allusion to himself in the most distant manner. Every 
one was surprised. Graham wept for joy. His young friend had 
proved himself no longer a child, and had declined even calling him- 
self a child — when the allusion gave such opportunity. On Thurs- 
day he read his Lecture ; and Mr. Grigsby a homily on the question 
— "Did Christ die indefinitely for all men, or for the elect only." 
Messrs. Lyle and Poage exhibited their pieces of trial ; and Mr. 
John Campbell, of Augusta, another fellow-student of Mr. Alexan- 
der in Theology, was received on trial. The examination on the- 
ology was postponed to an adjourned meeting, to be held in Win- 
chester during the meeting of the Synod, the succeeding week. 

On Wednesday, Sept. 29th, 1791, the Presbytery convened in 
Winchester, at the house of Mr. James Holliday. Present, Messrs. 
Graham, Montgomery, Erwin, Houston, and Hoge ; with Elders, 
John Campbell and John Wilson. Rev. Messrs. J. B. Smith, from 
Prince Edward, and Joseph Smith, of Redstone, by invitation, took 
seats. The examination of Mr. Alexander in theology, the only 
business of the meeting, was conducted principally by Mr. Smith, 
of Prince Edward, and closed by Mr. Hoge. On Saturday, Oct. 
1st, in the old stone church, now occupied by the Baptists, the 
services of licensure were ' performed by Rev. J. B. Smith, with 
intense feeling and pervading sympathy. From that day a warm 
friendship was cherished by the two pastors, Smith and Alexander. 
" That evening," says Dr. Alexander, " I spent in the fields in very 
solemn reflection and earnest prayer." In the latter part of his 
life, spending a few days in Winchester with Dr. Atkinson, in the 
house built by Judge White, he remarked, pointing back of the 
house, " In a strip of woods out there, I spent the afternoon after I 
was licensed." 

Mr. Legrand, pastor of Cedar Creek and Opecquon, and Mr. 
Hill, in Jefferson, each derived the aid of Mr. Alexander for the 
winter. By direction of Presbytery, contrary to his own plans and 
desires, he passed the winter in Frederick, Jefferson, and Berkeley, 
principally in the two latter. There had been, and was an unusual 
attention to religious things in all that section of country. Mr. 
Hill preached but little that winter, on account of ill health. The 
lively, earnest preaching of Mr. Alexander excited attention. Old 
and young listened to him. After the wind blew away his manu- 
script in Charlestown — "I determined," he says, "to take no 
more paper into the pulpit." He preached after profound medita- 
tion, memorizing thoughts and arguments, and often sentences, 
without writing. For a part of the winter he made his home with 
Alexander White, father of Judge White, and was greatly pleased 
with the old father of his host, John White, an eminently pious 
man. His visits to Moses Hoge, of Shepherdstown, were more and 


more pleasing and profitable ; their influence remained through life. 
He thought the views of Mr. Hoge in regard to the influence of the 
Holy Spirit in conversion were more correct than those of his 
teacher, whom in the general he delighted to follow. 

The report of the pulpit services of Mr. Alexander, awakened all 
along the Valley a great curiosity to hear "the boy," Archy Alex- 
ander, preach. Staunton, with Judge Stewart at its head, expressed 
its admiration of his preaching, by wondering that the young man 
should be so well acquainted with Mental Philosophy. The people of 
Lexington, his native town, filled the Court-House on Sabbath, to hear 
their fellow-townsman. All had known him from a child ; and many 
had been his companions. He was now in the beauty of youth ; rather 
small of his age ; very active, with a bright sparkling eye, and melo- 
dious distinct voice ; rapid, often vehement in his utterance; and 
the attention he so easily arrested, he preserved to the end. Every 
person could easily hear his clear musical voice, filling the whole 
space without apparent effort. His text, John 9 : 25, " One thing 
I know, whereas I was blind, now I see," by whatever circumstances, 
or agent suggested, was in its discussion a happy answer to that 
act of his uncle, Andrew Keid, who, soon after the company re- 
turned from the meetings in Prince Edward and Bedford, walked 
over to Mr. Alexander's dwelling, and presented to the young peo- 
ple a volume of Locke on the Human Understanding, with the leaf 
turned down at the chapter on Enthusiasm. 

At the eleventh session of the Lexington Presbytery, held in Lex- 
ington in April, 1792, Messrs. Thomas Poage, Matthew Lyle and 
Benjamin Grigsby were licensed to preach the gospel. On Saturday 
the Presbytery recommended Messrs. Alexander, Lyle and Grigsby 
to the Commission of Synod. A few days before, the Commission 
had elected Mr. Alexander a missionary on condition he were recom- 
mended by the Presbytery ; and Mr. Graham and Elder John Lyle 
were appointed to bring the matter to a proper issue. The Com- 
mission asked for one ; and the Presbytery gave them three choice 
young men, of precious memory. This Commission of the Virginia 
Synod, whose history may be found in the first series of Sketches, 
in its successive efforts to publish the gospel, gave the first exam- 
ple of a Board of Missions, responsible to an ecclesiastical superior, 
that may be found in the Presbyterian Church in America. At this 
time great efforts were made to remove Mr. Graham to Prince 
Edward. The Presbytery could not decide the question ; it was re- 
ferred to Synod. In looking at the events that so soon occurred, 
we can scarce restrain the wish — oh, that he had gone ! But, as 
in the case of Jonathan Edwards, we check ourselves by the reflec- 
tion that either of these events changed must have changed the whole 
course of events in the church ; and God's orderings are always best. 
The recollections of the missionary tours performed east of the 
Blue Ridge by Mr. Alexander, under the direction of the Commis- 
sion of Synod, form a most interesting part of the autobiography 
published by his son. At the seventeenth meeting of Hanover Pres- 


bytery, "held at Briery, commencing April 3d, 1793 — present Messrs. 
McRobert, Mitchel, Mahon, Lacv and Turner ; Elders Michael 
Graham, James Venable and John Hughes ; Mr. Pattillo, from North 
Carolina, and Devereux Jarratt, an Episcopal clergyman, and Jacob 
Cram, a Congregationalist, were corresponding members. Mr. 
Samuel Brown was licensed ; and calls were put in from Briery, 
Buffalo and Cumberland for Mr. Lacy and Mr. Alexander as col- 
legiate pastors. Mr. Lacy agreed to the arrangement, and leave 
was given to prosecute the call for Mr. Alexander before the Pres- 
bytery of Lexington. At the nineteenth meeting of Hanover Pres- 
bytery, held at Cumberland Meeting-House, commencing November 
7th, 1793, Wm. Williamson was ordained, and Wm. Calhoon and 
Cary Allen received back from the Commission. Mr. Alexander 
was on the 8th received from Lexington Presbytery, and " the 
Moderator called upon him to know whether he accepted the said 
calls ; but he desiring longer time to consider of the matter, the 
Presbytery granted it." " On motion it was resolved that Mr. Alex- 
der supply in said congregations in the same manner as if he had 
accepted the calls." The reason of the delay of Mr. Alexander was 
the hope he and others had that Mr. J. B. Smith might be induced 
to return to the churches he had left ; and so the three would be 
employed on some system agreed upon, managing the College and 
supplying the congregations. The Presbytery gave leave to the 
Churches of Briery, Buffalo, Cub Creek and Cumberland, to prose- 
cute the call for Mr. Smith. He declined the invitation. Messrs. 
Lacy and Alexander supplied the congregations at six preaching 
places, Cumberland Meeting-House, College, Briery, Buffalo, Cub 
Creek and Charlotte Court-House, each preaching to them all in suc- 
cession, and each congregation having public service once in three 

At the twenty-first meeting of Presbytery, held May, 1794 at the 
house of Dr. Waddell, preliminary steps were taken for the ordina- 
tion of Mr. Alexander as evangelist. On the clay appointed, the 
7th of June, Messrs. Lacy, Mahon and McRobert, with Elder John 
Morton, met at Briery. Mr. Mahon presided. Mr. Alexander 
preached from the words " Thy word is truth," John 17 : 17. Mr. 
Lacy delivered the ordination sermon, from Coloss. 4 : 17, " And 
say to Archippus — Take heed to the ministry which thou hast re- 
newed in the Lord that thou fulfil it." And Mr. Alexander — 
" having declared his acceptance of the Confession of Eaith as re- 
ceived by the Presbyterian Church in America, and promised sub- 
jection to his brethren in the Lord, was set apart to the whole work 
of the gospel ministry by prayer and imposition of hands. A 
solemn charge was then delivered by Mr. McRobert." 

The experiment of supplying six preaching places in rotation by 
two ministers, was perfectly satisfactory in about one year. Ac- 
cordingly arrangements were made that at the twenty-second meet- 
ing of Hanover Presbytery, held at the Cove, in Albemarle, May, 
1794, calls were put in for Mr. Alexander to become pastor of 


Briery and Cub Creek ; and for Matthew Lyle, received from Lex- 
ington Presbytery as licentiate, to become pastor of Briery and 
Buffalo. By this arrangement the brethren were to be co-pastors of 
one church, and each sole pastor of another. Mr. Lyle was ordained 
pastor on the 17th of February, 1795. There is no mention made 
of any installation services for Mr. Alexander. 

In October, 1795, the Presbytery, in session at Briery, directed 
that all materials collected by members according to previous orders, 
and all that should be collected before the first of February, should 
by that date be sent to Messrs. Lacy and Alexander, who were to 
prepare a narrative to be sent to the General Assembly, according 
to a resolution of that body enjoining each Presbytery to collect 
materials in its bounds for the history of the Presbyterian Church. 
The narrative was prepared, and sent on in the beautiful writing of 
Mr. Lacy, by the Commissioners to the Assembly, and is preserved. 

Mr. Alexander had his residence with Major Edmund Read, about 
two miles from Charlotte Court-House. This family was one of the 
many greatly beloved by their ministers, and chosen by him for his 
residence on account of its greater convenience and abundant ac- 
commodations. In the society of this family he perfected those 
manners so universally pleasing wherever he went ; simple, pure, 
just as they should be in a good man. Whoever became acquainted 
with Mrs. Read — afterwards Mrs. Legrand, loved her as a woman 
of no common excellence. Her bearing and manners were unre- 
strained, simple, modest, dignified ; there was a something lady-like 
and pure, gaining confidence and inspiring respect, and forbidding 
undue familiarity ; and yet so easy of access to all that might with 
propriety approach, and so entirely safe from all that ought not to 
intrude into a woman's presence. Every one could see, could feel, 
the excellence of her manner and the corresponding spirit ; but 
none could properly describe the various attributes that united in 
the charm her presence always wrought. To all acquainted with 
the two persons in their advancing years, they appeared formed on 
the same model. 



In the congregation of Rev. Samuel Davies, in Hanover County, 
were five brothers of the name of Allen. Soon after Mr. Davies 
left Virginia, these brothers, with others of the congregation, sought 
locations in the more fertile lands along the frontiers, and made 
their home on Great Guinea, in Cumberland. Four of these brothers 
successively became elders in the church in Cumberland County, of 


■which they were, in part, the founders. Daniel Allen, by his first 
■wife, a Miss Harrison, had ten children ; of which Cary was^ the 
eighth, horn April, 1767. For his second wife, he married the ^idow 
of Joseph Hill, with five children, Mrs. Joanna Hill. Her fourth 
child was William, from whom, through Dr. Hill, of Winchester, very 
many of the circumstances concerning the life of Cary Allen have 
been preserved for the public. When these two families were united, 
Allen was in his ninth and Hill in his seventh year. 

Cary was remarkable, from his early childhood, for his good tem- 
per and amiable deportment among his associates. Mr. Allen reared 
his numerous family on religious principles. His children, in 
their retired situations, grew up strangers to vice and immorality. 
The cheerfulness of Cary often approached levity. He was very 
agreeable, as his eccentric thoughts and speeches had a peculiar 
drollery of an amusing nature. He could make others laugh to 
excess, without laughing himself, or appearing to know that he had 
said anything to cause a laugh. This power appeared to be exer- 
cised without premeditation, and the habit was fixed from very early 
years, and continued through his whole life. His talent for the 
acquisition of knowledge was moderate : for investigation and close 
reasoning, still more circumscribed. His voice was clear, his utter- 
ance easy, his frame tall, and built for strength. His whole appear- 
ance was that of a pleasant, eccentric man, from whom drollery 
might be expected, whose oddities were no disparagement to his use- 
fulness in common life. Gravity sat illy upon him, even when he 
was oppressed with serious reflections. There was often something 
of the ludicrous mixed up with his mental distress. One afternoon, 
reclining upon the hill-side with young Hill, and looking at the 
fatted hogs in a pen, and at the preparations made for their slaughter 
the next morning, after contemplating the entire unconsciousness 
and ease of the hogs, and the certainty of their approaching de- 
struction, he exclaimed, "Oh! that I could exchange lots with one 
of those hogs !" " What upon earth do you mean ?" said young 
Hill ; "I always thought you much better than myself, and I 
would not exchange lots with one of those hogs, with a knife so 
near my throat, for the world." "But," says Allen, "you forget 
that those hogs have no souls ; and when they are killed, there is 
the end of them, but I have a never-dying soul, which is unprepared 
to meet God, my judge ; and, whether I shall ever be prepared, God 
only knows." 

When about seventeen years of age he was visited with a typhus 
fever. For weeks he was either raging with a fever, or overcome 
with torpor. His recovery was unexpected and gradual. His ema- 
ciated limbs required the use of crutches. His friends, believing 
that his bodily vigor would never be sufficient for active employ- 
ment, turned his attention to the preparation for some profession 
suited to his condition. He commenced a course of study at Hamp- 
den Sidney. His health and strength slowly returned. His sickness 
had not led him to godly living ; he was more droll and volatile than 


ever. Though his progress in literature and science was laborious 
and slow, he was desirous of completing the course he had begun. 
His moral conduct was correct. He was very studious. His eccentric 
mirth was an unfailing source of amusement to the students and the 
young people of the neighborhood. In the exhibitions given, spring 
and fall, by the students, for improvement in public speaking, Allen 
became a favorite. Choosing subjects congenial with his mirth- 
inspiring spirit, he deluged the audience with his fun. His appear- 
ance was the signal for uproarious laughter. He was commonly put 
last on the list, because, after his address, the audience were not 
prepared for serious discussion. He got possession of the first copy 
of Cowper's John Gilpin that came to the neighborhood, and kept 
it carefully for his appearance at the exhibition. A large audience 
was assembled. Allen's appearance on the stage was the signal that 
the exercises were coming to a close, and the fountain of mirth to 
be opened. Rehearsing the stanzas, with proper tone and gesture, 
he speedily broke up the gravity of the most sedate, and for a time 
was the personification of fun and drollery. His complete success 
was injurious. His eccentric ways became fastened upon him beyond 
his power of escape. He was evidently a man for comedy. He 
was comedy itself; outwardly all fun and merriment, and inwardly 
pained at heart, and envying the swine. 

With light and joyous mind he went to spend his vacation in the 
fall of 1787, with his father and friends in Cumberland. The Rev. 
Hope Hull, a popular and impressive preacher, well skilled in setting 
forth the claims of God's violated law, preached in the neighbor- 
hood. He was a follower of Wesley, and had not yet separated from 
the Episcopal Church. The Methodists were then considered revived 
Episcopalians, and found ready access to Episcopal neighborhoods, 
desirous of hearing on the subject of spiritual religion. Young 
Allen went one night to hear Mr. Hull. The house being crowded, 
he stood in front of the preacher, and very near him. Refore the 
exercises closed, he trembled, shook, and fell prostrate upon the 
floor. After the congregation was dismissed, he was in great agony, 
crying for mercy. He afterwards declared that he then put up his 
first earnest prayer to his justly offended God. W T hen asked why 
he had never prayed before, having been religiously educated, and 
taught to repeat forms of prayer from his childhood, he replied, 
that in his view the character of God was so great, glorious and 
exalted, in his holiness, justice, omnipotence and omnipresence, that 
it appeared to him irreverence and mockery for him to speak to the 
Majesty of heaven, who well knew what a sinful wretch he was. 
Refore he rose from the floor, he professed to surrender his rebel- 
lious heart to God, and to find peace in believing on the Lord Jesus. 
In a few days he returned to college, and renewed his studies. 
President Smith examined him closely on his experience and his 
views of religious truth, instructed him in the life of godliness, and 
gave him books to read ; among others, Edwards on trie Affections. 
Allen professed to have been long in trouble about his soul, had 


felt the wickedness of his heart, and his unfitness even for prayer ; 
and that on the night he heard Mr. Hull, he had cast himself on 
the mercy of God in Christ Jesus. In every thing hut his eccen- 
tricity and aptness for drollery, Allen was a changed man ; and 
these his foibles were henceforth under a restraining influence. 

After much enquiry and reading and self-examination, he came 
to the conclusion that he loved the Lord Christ and ought to spend 
his life in preaching the gospel. Having finished his college course 
with honor, his morals untarnished and his profession of religion 
unspotted, he commenced the study of Theology in preparation for 
the gospel ministry. His friends were in great doubt about the 
propriety of 'his choice of profession. His way of thinking and 
speaking would provoke a smile when there was no cause for ridicule 
or sneering because there was nothing mean, or vulgar, or vile in 
the subjects under consideration. Carrying the impress of honesty 
and frankness, he had no natural or acquired gravity. But while 
smiling at the oddity of the speaker in his exhortations at prayer- 
meetings, the hearer would be arrested by his intense earnestness. 
He, that began to listen with a smile, would in the end be bathed 
in tears. Allen seemed to those, who knew him best, to live only 
for religion ; his heart was filled with desires to do good. His ac- 
quaintances loved him for his devotion to God, while they feared he 
would mar his usefulness as a minister, by his strange fun-produc- 
ing ways ; and threw many obstacles in the way of his entering the 
ministry, to divert his attention and lead him to some other pursuit 
in life. But all these efforts were in vain. 

In January 1789, he was received by the Hanover Presbytery, 
met at Buffalo, as candidate for the gospel ministry, after an enquiry 
at some length — "into his experimental knowledge of religion, and 
a work of grace in his soul, and after some time spent in hearing 
from him a detail of God's dealings with him, and examining into 
his motives for desiring to preach the gospel." At the next meet- 
ing held April 26th, in the same year, at Buffalo, Mr. Legrand de- 
livered his popular sermon and read his lecture, and on the next day 
Mr. Allen read an essay on the Extent of Christ's Redemption, and 
a Presbyterial exercise upon John 3d. 8th, — The wind bloweth where 
it listeth, and thou nearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell 
whence it cometh, and whither it goeth ; so is every one that is born 
of the spirit. Mr. Legrand was licensed to preach, and Mr. Allen 
had other parts of trial assigned him. At Pisgah, in Bedford, Oct. 
1789, Mr. Allen was called on to open Presbytery with his popular 
discourse on Bom. 7th. 13, 14 ; he read his lecture upon Luke 15th, 
from the 12th to the 32d verse, inclusive. Wm. Hill and Daniel Wiley 
were received candidates. Mr. Allen's pieces of trial were sus- 
tained. At Mr. Mitchel's house on the 19th, " The Presbytery then 
entered upon the examination of Mr. Allen on Divinity, and after 
spending a considerable time thereon, were of opinion that he is not 
so well acquainted with that necessary science as to be sufficiently 
qualified to teach others, at present. They therefore recommend to 


him a diligent attention to the study of Divinity till the next session 
of Presbytery." At this decision Allen was surprised and morti- 
fied. Legrand was licensed after about a year's study ; a Methodist 
minister was at this meeting received and ordained ; the revival was 
progressing, and calls for preaching came from every direction ; 
and his trial pieces had been sustained. The Church has long since 
decided that two years in study are not improperly spent in prepa- 
ration for the ministry ; and Allen had passed but one, but had 
studied as long as was usual in his day. The want of ministerial 
gravity impressed the Presbytery with the fear that the spirit of 
Theology had not sufficiently imbued his soul. Allen bowed meekly 
to the decision and without a word of complaint pursued his studies. 
On the 8th of May, 1790, at Briery, after examination at length in 
Divinity, Mr. Allen was licensed to preach the gospel. The Pres- 
bytery took him by the hand as a token of fellowship. This cere- 
mony became a standing rule from that time. Mr. Pattillo preached 
on the occasion from the words, " The spirit of the Lord is upon 
me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor." 

Mr. Hill was licensed in the following July. He and Mr. Allen 
passed the summer as missionaries in the counties along the Carolina 
line. In October the Presbytery, " recommended Mr. Hill and Mr. 
Allen to the care and direction" of the commission of Synod on a 
request from that body. Allen had during the summer surpassed 
the expectations of his warmest friends. His whole soul was in his 
work. The careless and profane would listen to his talk ; and who- 
ever listened for any time must hear some great truths of religion. 
His frank open countenance, his polite demeanor, and his cheerful- 
ness tinged with his indescribable drollery, attracted attention, and 
that once arrested Allen was sure of a hearing, be the auditor who 
he might, young or old, learned or unlearned, infidel or Christian. 
A sentence that provoked a smile would be followed by sentiment 
that shot like a barbed arrow to the heart. Often the very sen- 
tence that provoked the smile would make the heart ache. No one 
talked with him or heard him preach without feeling that he was a 
devotedly pious man. Multitudes under his ministry were turned to 
God. He continued in the employ of the commission of Synod 
about three years. In this time he made two trips across the Alle- 

The first tour of missionary service in that part of Virginia now 
embraced in the State of Kentucky, was performed by Mr. Allen 
and Robert Marshall, under the direction of the Commission in 
1791. The route to Kentucky was dreary and dangerous. A vast 
wilderness intervened the settlements east of the Alleghenies and 
the scattered inhabitants on the Western rivers. Indians, hostile 
to the progress of the white man to their hunting grounds, infested 
the route by land or water. The emigrants were accustomed to 
assemble at Fort Redstone, the head of boat navigation on the 
Monongahela, now called Brownsville. They might descend the 
Monongahela and Ohio rivers in boats, or cross the mouutains on 


pack-horses. Emigrants commonly preferred to descend the rivers, 
as less fatiguing. Those returning from Kentucky preferred crossing 
the mountains. 

As some time was necessarily consumed in the preparations for 
embarkation, Messrs. Allen and Marshall had opportunity to make 
proof of their ministry in Pennsylvania. Their zeal in the cause 
of the gospel excited great attention ; and the use of Watts's 
psalms and hymns provoked opposition. Many refused to hear 
them ; but crowds of young people flocked to their appointments in 
private houses. A large number became deeply interested on the 
subject of their salvation. When the emigrants embarked there 
was a company of inquirers left around Redstone, many of whom 
afterwards became, hopefully, Christians, and were united with, the 
Church of Christ. 

After the usual exposures and labors of the passage down the 
rivers in boats, the missionaries arrived safe in Kentucky, and 
without delay commenced their labors. Both were popular and 
useful ; and both eventually settled in that State. In habits and 
manner of preaching they were antipodes. Marshall was grave and 
reserved ; Allen cheerful to excess and social. Marshall declaimed 
powerfully, and could reason closely and exhibit much research. 
Allen, by his manner and cheerful speeches, would arrest attention, 
and fill the mind with pious thoughts without any pretence to argu- 
ment or research, or splendid declamation. For a time they went 
along in company. The calls for preaching becoming numerous, and 
at great distances, they separated to supply the urgent demand for 
the ministration of the word. In due time Mr. Marshall became 
pastor of the churches Bethel and Blue Spring. His ashes lie near 
Bethel church. 

On Silver Creek was a settlement from Virginia. With them was 
living a Baptist minister, who had removed with them. He had 
grown lax in his sentiments, and preached Universalism. Many 
admired the new doctrine. Reports respecting Mr. Allen awakened 
a desire to hear him preach, and an invitation was sent to him to 
visit Silver Creek. On an appointed day a large crowd was assem- 
bled. The log meeting-house being small, a stand was erected in 
the woods. When Mr. Allen ascended the stand the Universalist 
took his seat by his side. After a pause, Mr. Allen arose and 
looking round upon the concourse assembled, seemed lost in thought. 
At length breaking silence — "I do not know to what to compare 
the people in Kentucky." Another long pause. " But I think 
they remind me of a nest of young robins as much as anything I 
can think of. Go to their nest and chirp, and every one will hold 
his mouth wide open, and you may put in what you please, food or 
poison, and it all goes down alike. Get up here and tell the people 
you are going to preach to them, and they stare at the preacher 
with eyes and mouth open, and you may say what you please, truth 
or error, sense or nonsense, and they are equally pleased, if you 
call it preaching. A man has been preaching here, who tells you 



he has found out a little back door in hell, where you may all step 
out, and get safely round to heaven at last ; and because he called 
it preaching you gulped it. Poison, rank Poison. If you trust to 
this unscriptural fancy, you will land in that place of fire and brim- 
stone between which and heaven there rolls the unfathomable gulf 
you can never pass." He then gave a plain, pungent sermon, 
warning his hearers of the doom of all impenitent sinners. The 
audience were captivated by the honesty of the man, and deeply 
impressed with the truths he delivered. He preached to the con- 
gregation repeatedly. On the 21st of April, 1792, a call was made 
out for him by desire of the people, and signed by Thomas Maxwell, 
Samuel Woods, Alexander Mackey, James Henderson, John Cochran, 
John Young, and Robert Dickey. They pledged for his support 
<£150 the first year, and afterwards as they might agree. 

Mr. Allen returned to Virginia soon after this call was made out. 
He went with a company on horseback across the mountains, car- 
rying his rifle like the rest, in defence against the patrolling Indians, 
girded with a wampum shot pouch that had been taken from a 
hostile Indian, and presented to him, in appearance more like a real 
backwoodsman than a gospel minister. The party often saw the 
trail of savages, but met no enemy. After parting with his travelling 
companions, passing on through Campbell County alone, towards 
evening, after a long day's ride, he determined to call for the night 
upon an old gentleman, an elder in the Church, in easy circum- 
stances, who lived not far from the road. The day had been warm, 
and he had put on a yellow grounded calico morning gown, with his 
wampum belt for a girdle. About dusk he approached the house, 
and asked the lady, who answered his call, for lodging and food. 
Not liking his appearance in this strange costume, with rifle in hand, 
she said they were not in the habit of entertaining strangers, and 
begged him to apply elsewhere. Allen replied — "The day is 
spent, I and my horse are weary ; and I have been taught that it is 
right for good people to entertain strangers, for thereby some have 
entertained angels unawares." Moved by the text of scripture, the 
old lady bid him come in. He entered cheerfully, set his rifle in the 
corner of the room, hung his wampum belt upon the muzzle, and set 
himself at ease. "You have been travelling some distance?" 
" Yes, a considerable distance, madam." " Pray, sir, where are 
you from?" "From Kentucky, madam." "And what news do 
you bring from that new country?" "Nothing much out of the 
usual way." After a pause — "There is something which has 
excited a good deal of interest and talk among the people. Certain 
men have been there and brought strange things to their ears. Some 
do not understand these things ; and others think there is a great 
deal of truth in them." "Why, who are they; and what do they 
talk about ?" " They call therfiselves preachers, and talk much 
about the Bible, and say people must be born again, and be con- 
verted, and the like of that ; and many folks don't know what to 
make of such talk." "Well, if we believe the Bible, people must 


experience these things." "Aye, that is another thing which they 
talk much about — experience : they often talk of experience as an 
important point; but many do not know what is. meant by it." 
" Every true Christian knows what is meant by it," said the lady. 

At this point in the conversation the old gentleman came in and took 
his seat. "But Madam, resumed Allen, you said every good Chris- 
tian knows what experience means. Pray Madam can you tell what 
it means ?" The old lady appeared unwilling to talk more before a 
thoughtless stranger, on the subject of experience. But Mr. Allen 
pressed the matter, saying he wished to know what it was. With 
some hesitation she told him the exercises of her mind till she found 
peace in believing on the Lord Jesus. Indeed, said Allen, is that 
what people mean by Christian experience ? Then turning to the 
old man — he inquired of him — if he had the experience of grace in 
his heart. The old man said he hoped so — but did not know for 
certain that he was ever converted. Do you think, said Allen — an 
experience of religion necessary ? — for instance — if a man is strictly 
honest, pays his debts, is charitable to the poor, and upright, and 
moral, may not such a man be saved without all this fuss about 
religion ? The old man thought that such a man might probably be 
saved. " In fact, says Allen, is it any matter what religion a man is 
of, if he is only sincere, and charitable, and honest, and lives a good 
moral life?" The old man thought such an one might be saved as 
well as others. Supper was now announced. 

Allen walked to the table, devoutly asked a blessing, and sat 
down. The old lady gazed at him for a time. In the name of com- 
mon sense who are you ? Are you a minister of the gospel ? Allen 
smiled, told his name, and said he had been trying to preach the 
gospel. Now Mr. Allen, said she, aint you ashamed to play such 
pranks on an old woman, to make her expose herself. Never mind, 
said Allen, you have not exposed yourself; you have borne an hon- 
orable testimony, that you are not ashamed of your religion, but are 
willing to confess Christ before men. But as for you, turning to the 
old man — you have given evidence that you know nothing about 
religion — and that you are in the gall of bitterness, and the bond of 
iniquity. He then exhorted the old man to flee from the wrath to 

After a short visit at home, Mr. Allen prepared to return to Ken- 
tucky. The commission were well satisfied with his report ; and in 
sending him back to his former scene of labor, they gave him for a 
companion, the Rev. William Calhoon, who had been licensed to 
preach on the 12th May of that year, 1792. In descending the 
Ohio, the boat in which they were embarked was attacked by In- 
dians. Mr. Allen insisted on having his post, and rifle in hand, 
with cheerfulness, faced the danger as fearless and composed as if 
the enemy were not near. 

On reaching Kentucky and resuming the work of a missionary, 
Mr. Allen resolved to get clear of his eccentric ways, and be as 
grave as Marshall, and his present companion, Calhoon. The year 


previous, Marshall seeing the impression made by Allen's humor, 
resolved to relax somewhat of his gravity and follow the track of 
Allen. A few attempts, however, convinced him of the absurdity 
of all such attempts ; and he renewed his efforts to improve the powers 
God had given him, and became the most impressive speaker in 
Kentucky. Allen admired gravity in others, and felt his want of 
it ; charmed with the ministerial dignity of his young friend, he 
determined to imitate him. With all the gravity he could assume, 
he went to his next appointment, rode to the house slowly, dis- 
mounted in a slow quiet manner, spoke gravely to the people, 
moved about in a solemn manner without a smile or exciting a smile 
in others. People were astonished. Are you unwell, Mr. Allen ? 
Has anything happened, Mr. Allen ? Have you heard any bad 
news, Mr. Allen ? Any affliction among your friends, Mr. Allen ? 
At last bursting into a laugh, to the surprise and merriment of all, 
he exclaimed — " I can play Calhoon no longer." When the excite- 
ment was over, he made them weep under his sermon. 

In the fall of 1793, Messrs. Allen and Calhoon returned to Vir- 
ginia, and met the Presbytery at Cumberland meeting-house, Nov. 
8th. The record is — "Mr. Carey Allen and Mr. William Calhoon 
who have been under the direction of the commission of Synod pro- 
ducing their dismission from that body with recommendations to the 
Presbytery, were again received and recorded as probationers under 
their charge." On the next day, Mr. Allen was appointed to 
supply in Albemarle, Madison, Louisa, Goochland, and Buckingham ; 
Mr. Calhoon in Mecklenburg, Lunenberg, Nottaway, and Amelia. 
The tour performed the succeeding winter by Mr. Allen was remem- 
bered through life by the youths and children on whom his conver- 
sation made the deepest impression. The cheerful man of God 
fastened their attention, and engraved on their memory the things 
of religion. Some living now will say — "I remember him at our 
house," and will tell what passed. 

In the Spring of 1794, Mr. Allen removed to Kentucky. In 
preparation for a permanent residence west of the Alleghenies, he 
was married to a daughter of Col. Fleming, of Botetourt. In pass- 
ing back and forth during the winter, he preached at Pattonsburg. 
Coi. Skillern, an amiable old Virginia gentleman, not particularly 
inclined to religion, supposed to be somewhat infectediwith infidelity, 
went to hear him. Struck with the benignant countenance of the 
preacher, and impressed favorably by his singular sermon, he sought 
an introduction, and invited him to his house. Mr. Allen declined 
the invitation, having agreed to pass the night with another family. 
'•Weil, Mr. Allen," said the Colonel, "I shall be happy to see you 
at my house at any time that will suit your convenience." "But, 
Colonel, 1 am sent out to preach the gospel, I have no other busi- 
ness ; so I preach wherever 1 go." "That forms no objection, Mr. 
Allen, 1 shall be glad to see you, and have some of your conversa- 
tion." "Well now, Colonel, suppose I make an appointment to 
preach at your house a little time hence V "Agreed, Mr. Allen, 


make what appointment you please." Mr. Allen immediately gave 
notice that on a certain Sabbath they might expect preaching at Col. 
Skillern's. "Now, Colonel, you may expect me the Saturday before." 

On the appointed Saturday, Mr. Allen was most kindly received 
by the Colonel and his family ; and the afternoon and evening were 
spent in cheerful conversation. The improvement of James River 
was the absorbing subject at that time. The passage of a canal 
through the Blue Bidge, on the banks of the river, was considered 
of vital importance to the Valley. The Colonel was greatly inte- 
rested, as his possessions in lands and negroes were very large, and 
the difficulties in reaching market very much diminished the profits 
of his farming operations. Mr. Allen made no effort to turn the 
conversation in which the Colonel's heart was so engaged. At bed 
time he said, " It is my custom, Colonel, wherever I lodge, to have 
family prayers before I retire, will you call in your family?" " Cer- 
tainly, sir;" and the family were assembled, and worship attended 
with great solemnity. 

On Sabbath morning the Colonel began on James River, and its 
improvements. "Colonel," says Mr. Allen, "what day is this?" 
" Sunday morning, sir." "Aye, so it is; and now will you tell me 
the design of the Sabbath day?" "It is for rest, and the worship 
of Grod." "Well, then, Colonel," said Allen, in his most pleasant 
manner, "we have had six busy days on James River, we are to let 
James River rest to-day, and all worldly matters, and attend to the 
proper business of the day. We will, if you please, begin with family 
worship before breakfast." " Certainly, Mr. Allen ;" and the 
family attended worship w T ith great solemnity. After breakfast the 
Colonel began again on James River. " To the point, Colonel, to 
the point," said Allen, and turned the conversation upon the unsat- 
isfying nature of earthly things, and the necessity of laying a good 
foundation for time to come. 

At the hour of preaching, the house was filled ; rooms, passage, 
porch, all were occupied, and some even standing in the yard. The 
attention to the sermon was good ; some of the hearers were deeply 
affected. Towards the close of the sermon, Mr. Allen turned to 
the Colonel's negroes who had been assembled, "You negroes, I 
have a word for you. Do you think that such poor black, dirty- 
looking creatures as you can ever get to heaven ? I do not speak 
this because I despise you, and have no tender feelings for you ; by 
no means. I pity you from my heart. You are poor slaves, and 
have a hard time of it here ; you work hard, and have few of the 
comforts of life that you can enjoy ; but I can tell you that the 
blessed Saviour shed his blood as much for you as for your masters, 
or any of the white people. He purchased pardon for you as much 
as for the white people. He has opened the door of heaven wide 
for you, and invites you to come in. I have thought the poor 
negro slaves, of all people, ought to strive the hardest to get reli- 
gion, and make their peace with God. Your masters may make 
some sort of excuse for serving the devil, because they have many 


of the good things of this life, with the pleasures of sin for a season. 
But what have you to make a heaven of in this world ? What do 
you get for serving the devil here ? You may become religious, 
and find peace with God as easy as white persons, and I think easier 
too, for you have not half so many temptations in your path. Make 
God your friend, and take Jesus for your Saviour, and he will 
keep you through all your troubles here ; and though your skins 
may be black here, you will hereafter shine like the stars in the 
firmament. I entreat you, set about this work without delay. 
Break off from all your wicked ways, your lying, stealing, swearing, 
drunkenness, and vile lewdness ; give yourselves to prayer and 
repentance, and fly to Jesus, and give up your heart to him in true 
earnest, and flee from the wrath to come." The negroes wept 
abundantly. The white people were more affected with the address 
to the black people than with the sermon to themselves. Allen 
parted with the family on the kindest terms. He never visited 
them again. He soon left Virginia for ever. 

In one of his various journeyings, he found at the tavern at 
which he called to pass the night, a company of young people assem- 
bled for a dance. The landlord, at his request, accommodated him 
with a comfortable room and blazing fire ; and announced to the 
company, when about to begin the dance, that a very agreeable gen- 
tleman had arrived at the house and taken lodgings, and perhaps 
might be induced to join the dance. Well, said a lively, pretty 
girl, I will go and get him for my partner. Entering his door, 
she dropped a handsome curtsy, and said — sir, shall I have the 
pleasure of a dance with you this evening ? Allen eyed her for 
a moment, and said — well, my little sweet-heart, I cannot deny 
such a charming little girl what she asks. So taking her by the 
hand, they together entered the ball-room, and took their stand 
upon the floor. Just as the fiddle was called for to begin — stop ! 
stop ! says Allen, we are a little too fast ; I make it a point to 
engage in nothing without asking heaven's blessing upon it. Let 
us pray. He put up a fervent prayer of some length. At its close, 
discovering he had made a deep impression, he gave a solemn exhor- 
tation. His lively partner, trembling with alarm, fell upon the 
floor, and was laid upon a couch. Some of the young men left the 
room ; others wept profusely ; and many exhibited deep feeling. 
The dance was broken up, and the evening spent in religious wor- 
ship ; many were asking what they should do to be saved. Tradi- 
tion says there were some hopeful conversions from among the enquir- 
ers. In his talent, or capability of saying and doing things which 
ordinary men could never accomplish, and should never attempt, 
was the secret of Allen's popularity. His sanctified eccentricity 
made him a useful man. 

A little before his removal to Kentucky, he preached in Lexing- 
ton. Paine's Age of Reason had been circulated among the youth, 
and a number of store boys and apprentices were quite captivated with 
the work. There was much talk among the young people about the 


soundness of the arch-Infidel's opinions. A large company had 
assembled to hear Mr. Allen preach. Towards the close of the ser- 
mon he said — "Young men I have a word with you before I close ; 
— you say some of you, that by the help of Paine's Age of Reason, 
you have found out that religion is all a fable, and that the Bible is 
nothing but a pack of priest-craft. Now, I ask you what do you 
know about religion and the Bible ? When did you bestow half of 
the pains and time in studying the Bible that you have upon Paine's 
Age of Reason ? You green-heads, you are nothing but the retail- 
ers of the shreds and scraps of Infidelity ; mere echoes of an echo. 
You know no more about religion than a goose does about geogra- 
phy." This attack came unexpectedly. The serious and grave 
could scarce restrain a laugh ; the contaminated youth bit their lips. 
Infidel talk was however banished from Lexington, or confined to 
private places. " Green-heads," and " goose's geography," would 
silence all cavils at religion. The infidel was killed with his own 
favorite weapon. 

Early in the spring, having accepted the call from Silver Creek 
and Paint Creek, which had been in his hands about two years, Mr. 
Allen removed to Kentucky. His father sent by him the following 
letter to Jacob Fishback : 

Cumberland Cy., Virginia, March 7tb, 1794. 

Sir — I received your letter by my son Cary ; and I read it, 
and I believed every word that you wrote to be the truth. My 
heart said give him up, cheerfully up, to do the Lord's work, be it 
where he was called for most. But my flesh scringes at it, and 
would make the water flow out of my head very freely ; and I could 
not help it. But it appears to me now, at this time, he is wanted 
here as much as at Cantuck ; and I will give reasons for it. Cary's 
connexion is very large, and people that are of no church are very 
fond to hear him ; they have faith in him. He is now married, and I 
am pleased at that ; perhaps it may be a means of hearing from him 
oftener than had he married in Cantucky. But now, my dear sir, 
you have all the advantage of me, his old father, who must go out 
of the world shortly, and Cary a favorite child. Will you sympa- 
thise with me, and let him come to see me. His friends would now 
stop him from going could they do it. But his heart is at Cantucky ; 
and I never did undertake to persuade him against going, but often 
told him I was opposed to it, and could not be angry with him. I 
am now sixty-five years old, a planter, and never was but a little 
over one hundred miles from home in my life. I have seen and felt 
two revivals in my time ; and now we are very cold in religion again. 
I was in Hanover when religion first sprung up in my neighborhood ; 
and now at that place there is scarcely the shadow of religion. 
And will it be so here ? God forbid it should. If it should I can- 
not stay here. But I am in hopes when the seed is sown in the 
heart it will not die. My desires are the same now as ever ; and I 
feel now like I never could give up to the foolish fashions and cus- 
toms of the world. I remain a stranger, but am in hopes a friend 
to you and you to me. Danl. Allen. 


The simplicity and godly sincerity that appear in this letter 
characterized all that section of country around Hampden Sidney 
College, occupied by the Presbyterian congregations. Mr. Allen 
would probably have yielded to the wishes of his father and friends, 
and have remained in Virginia for life ; but his numerous admirers 
in Kentucky gave him no rest, sending messages and letters to call 
him west of the Alleghenies. 

On the 11th of October, 1794, he was ordained pastor of the two 
churches that had given him the call. Feeling himself the shepherd 
of the flock, he was ready to spend and be spent for those for whom 
Christ laid down his life. One cold winter night he preached in a 
log cabin to a crowded auditory. After service, leaving the room 
in a free perspiration, he rode some miles to the place of his lodg- 
ing ; took cold and fell ill. A cough succeeded, and a rapid decline. 
On the 5th of August, 1795, he breathed his last, being in his twenty- 
ninth year; leaving a wife and one child, a daughter. As he ap- 
proached his end, his desire to be useful lost none of their intensity. 
He called the elders to his room for counsel and exhortation. He 
sent for members of the church in companies, and exhorted them ; 
and thus kept the spirit of piety alive. He departed in the tri- 
umph of faith. His grave is in a burying-ground near Danville, 
marked by head and foot-stones, erected in lo23 by the Presbytery 
of Transylvania. 


The sedate, unaffected, sincere, and conscientious young com- 
panion of Cary Allen, on his second trip to Kentucky, William Cal- 
hoon, was reared in Prince Edward County, the son of a pious elder 
in the Briery Church. Born in 1772, and early instructed in reli- 
gious truth, and the practice of strict morality, unusually inclined to 
gravity, and very respectful to religion, and its ministers, he became 
a member of Hampden Sidney College, at the age of fourteen. He 
was a student there during the great revival, which made its appear- 
ance, among the Presbyterians, first in Briery ; and was a partaker 
of its blessings. His father lived about six miles from the College, 
and required his son to return home every Saturday, and pass the 
Sabbath with the family in private, social, and public worship of 
God. This keeping the Sabbath holy cherished in the mind of the 
youth those religious impressions early made. All the jeers and 
laugh of the thoughtless boys in College, not one of whom was known 
to be religious, could not destroy the conscientious sedateness of young 
Calhoon in any matters that concerned morality and religion. In 
cheerfulness and close attention to his studies he was surpassed by 

When William Hill began to be disturbed about the condition of 
his soul, he requested this sedate lad, as he was going home of a 
Saturday, to ask his father to send him some good book to read. 
The message was delivered in presence of the family. Miss Peggy, 
a pious elder sister, said, "I know what to send — 1 have got the \ery 


book for him." And on Monday, young Calhoon carried to College 
a much used copy of Alleine's Alarm to the Unconverted. This 
book was the occasion of discovering the seriousness in College, and 
of uniting the prayerful in a social band. In the revival which fol- 
lowed, the bearer of the book was a hopeful partaker of the blessings. 
That Allen, and Hill, and Read, and Calhoon, and Blythe should 
cherish a warm friendship for each other and for Legrand, was but 
the natural consequence of companionship in the early exercises of 
a renewed heart. Allen, mirthfully eccentric ; Hill fiery, passionate 
and lofty, yet mirth-loving ; Read, resolute but full of kindness, with 
the simplicity of a child ; Blythe, full of generous feeling, and from 
the hour he wept in Hill's room over his remissness in religion, an 
unflinching defender of the truth as it is in Christ ; and Calhoon, 
with his gravity, ardor, and tender conscience, all of them ran 
for Christ a race marked with their individual characteristics, and 
abounding in blessings to the church. 

When about nineteen years of age, Mr. Calhoon offered himself a 
candidate for the ministry, to the Presbytery holding its sessions at 
the Briery Meeting House, April 1st, 1791. His examination took 
place that evening, in the dwelling of Mrs. Morton, and record was 
made of his acceptance. In the absence of the moderator, Robert 
Marshall, a licentiate under the care of the commission of Synod, 
opened the Presbytery, being present, in preparation to go with 
Allen to Kentucky on a mission. In October, at Cub Creek, the 
candidates, Moses Waddell and William Calhoon, appeared for ex- 
amination. In the evening, at the house of Littlejoe Morton, they 
read their trial pieces, Mr. Calhoon's being a lecture on 110th 
Psalm. The examination on Greek and Moral Philosophy was on 
May 10th, 1792, at D. S. Mr. Calhoon was called to open Presbytery 
with his trial sermon for licensure, on John 6th, 37, All that the 
Father giveth me shall come unto me ; and him that cometh to me I 
will in no wise cast out. On the 12th, William Calhoon, Moses 
"Waddell, and William Williamson, having passed the various exami- 
nations and trials required by Presbytery, were licensed to preach 
the gospel. One of the candidates for licensure, Mr. Waddell, had 
a seat in Presbytery as elder from Cumberland congregation. At a 
meeting of the Presbytery at Bethel, July 27th, 1792, Mr. Calhoon 
was recommended to the commission of Synod : — And at a meeting 
of the commission, in Harrisonburg, Sept. 22d, he was appointed 
missionary, and sent with Mr. Allen to Kentucky, on his second visit 
to that region. 

In descending the Ohio, the boat in which the missionaries were 
embarked, was fired upon by some bands of savages, for plunder. 
The cheerful Allen, and the sedate Calhoon stood bravely for de- 
fence, and demanded an equal exposure to danger. Allen, by his 
mirth-moving eccentricities, would first attract the attention of 
strangers, and his frank, open-hearted bearing in his piety, would im- 
press those whose attention he had won. The youth, gravity, upright- 
ness, and bravery of Calhoon, now about twenty years of age, made 


an impression in his favor as a minister of the gospel, who was to be 
listened to with respect. His sociability in private circles, and deep 
earnestness in the performance of his ministerial duties, held the 
attention once gained, aud often ripened it into abiding seriousness. 
Allen preferred Calhoon's manner to his own, and would have 
adopted it if he could ; but found, like Marshall, who preferred 
Allen's, in some things, to his own, that in style and manner, it is 
better to improve nature, than to try to change her ; imperfections 
may be remedied, and excellencies improved. 

Mr. Calhoon was an acceptable missionary, and travelled exten- 
sively among the infant and scattered settlements of Kentucky. 
He left no diaries or journals. It is not known that he ever kept 
any. He had an excellent memory. He trusted it like Robinson 
of North Carolina ; and it was faithful to him. Almost everything 
respecting himself he committed to her charge, the dates and facts 
of his various travels, his experience, his reading, his observations 
on men and things, the sayings of those he loved, his interviews and 
discussions, all were safely treasured up for time of need. He 
often entertained his family and others with his adventures in Ken- 
tucky ; but left no record. 

In November, 1793, he was received back from the commission 
by the Presbytery, at Cumberland meeting-house, at the time Mr. 
Alexander was received a licentiate from Lexington ; on December 
25th, of the same year, he was transferred to Transylvania Presbytery 
to become a resident of Kentucky. On the 12th of February, 1795, 
he was ordained pastor of Ash Ridge and Cherry Spring. Not 
being entirely satisfied with his position and prospects he returned 
to Virginia, and at the Cove, May 9th, 1799, was, without written 
credentials, received, on oral testimony of a dismission from Tran- 
sylvania, a member of Hanover Presbytery. For some years he 
preached at D. S. and other places in Albemarle. On the 3d of 
May, 1805, at a meeting of Presbytery at Bell Grove, he accepted 
a call from Staunton and Brown's meeting-house, and was on the 
same day transferred to Lexington Presbytery. To these he de- 
voted his time and strength for a series of years. The increasing 
services, required by the enlarging congregations, induced him, as 
the infirmities of age came on him, to withdraw, first, from Staunton 
which he thought, and rightly, required the undivided attention of 
a minister ; and then, from Brown's meeting-house, which had taken 
the name of Hebron, and which required the labors of a strong 
man. Retaining a great degree of activity and resolution he sup- 
plied vacancies, and preached in neighborhoods that were desirous 
of hearing the gospel, and not favorably situated to attend upon 
divine service in the regular churches. His ministerial labors were 
always equal to his strength, and often, in the estimation of his 
family, beyond it. He was never satisfied, in that particular, till he 
felt conscious he had gone to the utmost of his strength, and that 
consciousness he often found on a bed of pain and exhaustion. His 


family were never afraid that he would rust out. He was always 
afraid that he should not wear out. 

He was united in marriage to the eldest daughter of Dr. Wad- 
dell ; and was happy in his domestic relations. She survived him, 
having been his companion in his joys and sorrows about half a 

Mr. Calhoon was a hearty Presbyterian. Reared under the fos- 
tering wing of Virginia Presbyterianism, he gave the Church of his 
parents his earliest and his latest love. He carefully studied her 
doctrines, examined her forms, and investigated her history. In 
comparison with the Church of Rome, he was a Protestant upon 
conviction ; in the philosophy of his religious creed, he was a Pre- 
destinarian; in the forms of the Church he held to the parity of 
the clergy and simplicity in worship ; in practice he was pure in 
morals, upright between man and man, and exercised a benevolence 
that would embrace the whole race. He was a friend of all insti- 
tutions by whomsoever conducted that contemplated the conversion 
of the world to God, and the elevation of the human race, on 
Christian principles. 

Mr. Calhoon was a ready, prompt man. All his stores were at 
his command at a moment's warning. His self-possession was never 
surprised. He always appeared at ease. Preaching, at a certain 
time, at Rocky Spring, Augusta County, a member of another 
church exclaimed in the midst of sermon — " I deny that doctrine," 
and by his rudeness excited some uneasiness in the congregation. 
" Good people," said Mr. Calhoon, "be pleased to be quiet; that 
gentleman and myself will discuss the matter." In a few moments 
the discussion was through, and Mr. Calhoon went on with his argu- 
ment, and finished his discourse as if nothing had happened. 
Quick in retort, he would sometimes disconcert that master of words 
and humor, Dr. Speece. The directness of the thrust was equalled 
only by the kindness of the manner. 

Mr. Calhoon was a brave man. Unobtrusive, unpretending in his 
manner, very polite in his intercourse with his fellow-men, frank, 
open and cheerful, and master of his passions — he was never 
known to show any cowardice. He seemed to know his position 
and the danger that was imminent, and the way he must ward it off, 
escape, or overcome, and could adapt himself to circumstances with 
wonderful facility. In one of the necessary journeyings from Ken- 
tucky, which in those days were always performed on horseback, he 
was passing alone a track of wilderness, and was overtaken by the 
approach of night, some miles from the lonely tavern where he mio-ht 
lodge. A bright moon cheered him with her light. Suddenly a 
horseman emerged from a forest path, and, in silence, took the road 
a few steps in his rear. Annoyed by the singular conduct of the 
stranger, after proceeding some distance, he suddenly wheeled his 
horse and said — " Sir, 1 am strongly impressed with the belief, 
from your appearance, that you are a robber. I must protect my- 
self. Now 1 order you to take the road before me until we reach the 


next house. Then if it appears that I have wronged yon, I will 
make any amends in my power." The horseman, after a moment's 
delay, took the lead in silence for about a mile, then suddenly by a 
side path dashed into the forest. It was the opinion of those at the 
tavern, which Mr. Calhoon soon reached, that by his presence of 
mind and promptness he had escaped the hands of one of those who 
had for some time infested the wilderness and committed numerous 
robberies, and some murders. Prompt in command and in danger, 
he was profoundly submissive to constituted authority in its legiti- 
mate exercise, fearless of exposure or of disgrace. 

Mr. Calhoon was a social man. He enjoyed society and made 
himself agreeable. Always preserving the propriety of his minis- 
terial character, he would approach the young and thoughtless, and 
even opposers of religion, with cheerful news and pleasing anecdotes, 
and give the conversation a religious turn to impress some great 
truth of a spiritual nature. In the discussions that would some- 
times follow, he was remarkably happy, in setting forth the truth, 
removing all difficulties and objections. In the opinion of some his 
preaching talents, of a high order, were excelled by his conversa- 
tional powers. It is certain that the good impressions made by his 
pulpit services were not obliterated by his private intercourse. "Do 
you remember" said Dr. Speece to Mr. Calhoon, soon after the death 
of the Honorable William Wirt, •' the discussion you had with Mr. 
Wirt when you were living in Albemarle?" "I do very well" re- 
plied Mr. Calhoon. " Well," said the Dr. "I visited him in his last 
sickness, and he told me that he was a miserable man ever after till 
he embraced Christianity." 

Mr. Calhoon related the circumstance of the discussion. He 
called to see the family of Dr. Gilmer at Pen Park, near Charlottes- 
ville. Mr. Wirt the husband of the eldest daughter made a part of 
the family. In the afternoon the origin and authority of the Chris- 
tian religion became the subject of conversation. Mr. Wirt arrayed 
the arguments and facts and illustrations of the French infidel phi- 
losophers, at that time exercising a vast influence in Virginia by 
their novelty, apparent fairness and the support they received from 
men high iu the public estimation. Mr. Calhoon was endeavoring 
to convince the young lawyer of the dangerous ground on which he 
was standing, and the unsoundness of the positions he had assumed. 
Mr. Wirt was arguing that Christianity was of human origin, and 
of course its facts fabulous ; Mr. Calhoon, that it was from (iod and 
its facts and doctrines of course all true. The discussion grew 
warm. Both felt its importance. At late bed time Mr. Wirt him- 
self conducted Mr. Calhoon to his room, conversing all the way, 
and while he was preparing for bed ; then sitting down continued 
the discussion till the candle flickered in its sjcket. Tiien undres- 
sing he threw himself into an adjoining bed and continued the discus- 
sion. The dawn found them still warmly engaged, unconscious of 
the passage of the hours of night. After breakfast Mr. Wirt ac- 
companied Mr. Calhoon several miles on his way, still earnestly en- 


gaged in the discussion. In consequence of that discussion Mr. 
Wirt said he was a miserable man till he embraced Christianity. 

Mr. Calhoon was a punctual and pleasant member of judicatories, 
fond of discussion, and not tenacious of an opinion about mere cir- 
cumstantials. Contending valiantly for the truth, he could yield a 
world of non-essentials for love, and give up a proposition frankly 
expressed for the proposition of a brother that would secure unanim- 
ity. His conscientiousness was sometimes extreme. He knew not 
how to give up an appointment for preaching, except for sickness or 
some most marked providence of God. Distance, cold, storm, mud, 
waters, must be in excess to shake his resolution one moment. His 
conscience was more likely to make him do and suffer more for little 
things than the generality of men will for the greatest. He would 
sooner ask an ungodly crowd at a village tavern to join with him in 
prayer before he went to rest, than many others would call their 
quiet families to the worship of God. His greatest difficulty with 
his conscience was to find the boundaries of prudence. His great 
horror of being at fault in his duty as a Christian minister, or man, 
often led him into positions which the prudence of some would have 
avoided, and the cowardice of others would have shunned. He 
never counted the cost of fearing God and keeping a good conscience. 

Mr. Calhoon was not fond of his pen. He could use it. It 
probably would have been better for him and those that came after 
him, had he used it more. One short letter of recollections sent to 
F. N. Watkins, enriched the sketch of the revival at Hampden Sid- 
ney College, in the former series. He could tell an anecdote, or 
relate a fact, well. He had multitudes at command ; and often re- 
solved to commit, some of them at least, to paper ; and at last suf- 
fered most of them to pass away with himself. He wrote but few 
sermons. He meditated and arranged his thoughts with care. But 
if, in the warmth of his public exercises, any new thoughts, or a 
new arrangement pleased him, he adopted them forthwith. Some- 
times like his beloved preceptor, he would follow one head of his 
discourse or the new thought, to the entire neglect of the symmetry 
of his announced plan, or pre-arranged order ; and so subject him- 
self to the suspicion of having lost his way, or of not having pre- 
pared his sermon. Those that knew him understood the whole 
matter, and sometimes rejoiced, and sometimes mourned, at the 
event. In any circumstances he was not a dull preacher ; always 
good, he was often deeply interesting. God appointed him trials 
fitted to his nature ; he t'eit them and acknowledged the hand that 
smote. A particular relation might instruct others how to bear, 
and how to avoid, afflictions. But like his brother Hill, having 
reaped the benefit of sore trials, he has left the record of them to 
the book of God. 




The birth-place of John H. Rice was in Bedford County, Virginia, 
in sight of the Peaks of Otter. Fearlessness, composure, frugality, 
open-handed hospitality, frankness, and deep religious feelings, charac- 
terized the region in which he was born. Plain fare, plain dress, little 
money, cheerful hearts, active spirits, capability of endurance, and 
shrewd minds, were to be found in log-houses in that fertile and 
magnificent county, lying south of the river James, and at the base 
of the Blue Ridge. 

Benjamin and Catherine Rice had six children, Edith, David, John 
Holt, Sarah, Benjamin Holt, and Elizabeth. John Holt, the third 
child, and second son, was born the 28th of November, 1777. The 
father grew up in Hanover County, and was by profession a lawyer, 
a man frank in his manners, sociable in his disposition, and shrewd 
in his apprehensions. A natural vein of humor, and his determined 
piety, made him a pleasant and safe companion, and a desirable 
friend. At the time of the birth of his second son, he was deputy 
Clerk of Bedford County, and ruling elder in the congregation of 
Peaks and Pisgah, the pastoral charge of his uncle, David Rice, 
afterwards known as the apostle of Kentucky. The mother, Cathe- 
rine Holt, a near relative of the second wife of Rev. Samuel Davies., 
born and reared in Hanover County, possessed a gentle disposition and 
a cultivated mind, was domestic in her habits, and devotedly pious. 

Mr. Rice lived upon a small tract of land belonging to the brother 
of his wife, the Rev. John White Holt, an Episcopal minister, and 
had an income of eighty pounds from the Clerk's Office, in addition 
to the profits of his legal practice. His unsullied purity of princi- 
ple and life, and his unsophisticated manners gave him influence and 
a high standing in society. Hospitality, in those days of simplicity, 
unincumbered with expensive entertainments, was the source of 
great enjoyment and mental improvement. The habits of the coun- 
try ensured the visitor a cheerful welcome to a plentiful supply of any 
provision the host might have prepared, or was convenient. Of books 
the number was small, and the circulation of newspapers very limited ; 
and the conversation of intelligent visitors, at the evening fireside, 
or the table of refreshment, w r as eagerly sought for the passing enjoy- 
ment, and the improvement of a rising family. Some of the finest 
characters of the Revolution, and the times succeeding, were formed 
under this social influence, this contact with enlarged and improved 
minds. The earliest associations of Mr. Rice's young family were 
with the good and the intelligent. The uncle of the father, the 
pastor of the Presbyterian congregation, and the brother of the 
mother, an Episcopal minister, exercised an elevating religious influ- 
ence in their familiar intercourse with the young people. 


The son John Holt, when about two years old, appeared, after 
a long illness, to be near his end. He was taken from his cradle 
and laid upon the bed to breathe his last. Suddenly, to the surprise 
of the family standing around, and commending him to God, he 
began to revive. His recovery was rapid. His uncle Holt, declared 
solemnly, that he believed the child was spared for some great and 
good purpose, and charged the mother to bring him up piously for 
the work designed by divine Providence. He promised his aid in 
giving him a classical education. These words, like those spoken to 
Hannah, deeply impressed the mother's heart ; and, in after years, 
affected the child's mind. Who can measure the influence of the 
thought — "I am called of God" — on the heart of a noble-minded 
child ? Soon after this sickness his uncle, William Rice, taught 
school in the neighborhood, at Coffee's old field, and resided with 
the family. The little boy often went with his uncle to the school, 
sometimes riding on his shoulders ; and the uncle amused himself by 
the way, and at home, in teaching the boy to call the letters, and 
spell words. The father was surprised to find that he could read, 
before he thought him old enough to be taught ; and in his joy 
exclaimed — "that boy shall have a good education." By the time 
he was four years old, he would sit on a cricket by his mother's 
knee, and read aloud to her in the Bible, and Watts's Psalms and 

When about eight years of age, he commenced the Latin Gram- 
mar at the school of his uncle Holt, in Botetourt County. That 
school being broken up in about a year, on account of his uncle's 
health, he returned home, and was, for a time, under the tuition of 
Rev. James Mitchel, the son-in-law and successor of David Rice. 
He then came under the instruction of a number of teachers in suc- 
cession in the neighborhood, from none of whom he received any 
particular advantage. The general impression on his mind, from 
the whole, was unfavorable to systematic study ; the evil of which 
he felt many years, perhaps the consequences followed through life ; 
first in the time lost in making acquirements in after years which 
might have been made in these, and then the effort to counteract 
a bad habit of thinking and acting. His mind, however, was slowly 
maturing, and gathering stores of miscellaneous wealth for future 

In his thirteenth year, young Rice suffered a calamity in the afflic- 
tion that came upon him, the death of his mother. Mr. Rice and 
his children saw more clearly from day to day, as weeks and months 
rolled on, the length and breadth of the distress that followed the 
bereavement. The guiding hand of Mrs. Rice being paralyzed, 
discomforts came in upon the family, and the widowed husband, 
like many another man, felt he had lost the comfort and charm of 
his house. John Holt was old enough to appreciate and remember 
his mother ; and through life he cherished a lively recollection of 
her form, her affection, and her instructions. She had already cast 
the mould of the boy's character, and laid the foundation of the 


man. The habit of entire self-control so remarkable in him, he 
attributed, under the blessing of God, to the earnest persuasion and 
instruction of his sainted mother to govern his naturally hasty tem- 
per ; and his thirst for knowledge and desire for improvement 
had been cherished, if not instilled, by her tender care. 

When fifteen years of age he was permitted by his pastor, James 
Mitchel, to make a public profession of religion. He had witnessed 
the great revival in Bedford, the revival that began in Charlotte 
and Prince Edward, and was promoted by the labors of Smith, 
Graham, Legrand, Lacy, Mitchel, and Turner. From his earliest 
life in religion, he believed that true piety consists in a spirit of 
ardent devotion, deep penitence, love of purity, and an earnest 
attachment to Christ. He had trembled uuder the warnings of 
Mitchel, been agitated by the pathetic exhortations of Turner, 
moved by the persuasions of Legrand, and enlightened and im- 
pressed by Smith and Graham. The standard of religious experi- 
ence formed in the churches about the time he became a member, 
he labored to erect wherever he preached in after life ; rallying the 
church around that, he strove to lead her on to high achievements 
of godly living ; a standard higher than any since the days of 
Davies, and having the elements of perfection. 

On the division of the County of Bedford, in the year 1784, Mr. 
Rice removed to Liberty, the new County seat. His worldly cir- 
cumstances were improved by his marriage with a widow of the 
brother of Patrick Henry. The first Mrs. Rice excelled in tender- 
ness and piety; the second in domestic management and success in 
worldly affairs. The step-mother not being deeply impressed by 
the abilities of John Holt, and perhaps not valuing at a high rate a 
liberal education, and consulting for the future welfare of the boy, 
proposed that, as the father probably would not be able to give him 
a farm, he should be put to some good trade. The father and the 
son objected. The son thought of nothing but an education, and 
the father cherished the desire, and God's providence favored the 

Dr. Rice used to tell some circumstances of his early life, charac- 
teristic of himself and the country. Cotton was reared as an indis- 
pensable material for clothing, and was manufactured in the family. 
VVhitney's cotton-gin was not then invented, and the preparation of 
the cotton for the spindle was a tedious operation, and gave employ- 
ment to the fingers of servants and children the early part of the 
long winter nights. After supper, the children and servants were 
gathered round the blazing hearth, each with his regular task of 
cotton from the field in balls, to be freed from seeds and impurities. 
Pieces of the heart of pine, and knots saturated with turpentine, by 
a process of nature, supplied the place of candles and lamps. Burn- 
ing on the hearth, they gave a splendid light. Where the rich pines 
abounded, candles were scarcely known m the domestic concerns. 
Thousands of families in the Southern and Western country at this 
time enjoy this light by night. By this, young Rice performed his 


regular nightly tasks of cotton picking, and then indulged his appe- 
tite for reading and study. u Often," said he, " as the flames wasted, 
have I thrown myself at full length upon the floor, drawing nearer 
and nearer the decaying brands, and finally thrusting my head into 
the very ashes, to catch the last gleam of light." Multitudes of 
Southern youths have conned their school tasks by the pine light ; 
and men in high station have amused their visitors, by contrasting 
the simplicity of their boyish days with the luxuries of their grand- 
children. Dr. Hill was accustomed to describe the cotton pickings 
with great glee. 

Young Rice was sent to Liberty Hall Academy ; Rev. "William 
Graham, in the meridian of his fame, presided. Mr. Edward Graham, 
the brother and assistant of the president, writing, in the later years 
of his life, says : " his moral character was entirely correct ; that he 
gave much of his time to miscellaneous reading, and was not par- 
ticularly distinguished in his classical studies." Young Rice mani- 
fested a desire of excellence, but never appeared ambitious of sur- 
passing his classmates. It is not probable that he studied one hour, 
during his academic life, with the desire of supremacy. His habits 
of mind did not fit him to shine in the class-room, and he was pro- 
bably too indifferent to classic honors. After remaining at the 
academy about a year and a-half, he was recalled by his father, for 
reasons of a pecuniary nature. Mr. George A. Baxter, the pupil, 
and ultimately the successor, of Graham, was teaching an academy 
at New London. Learning the circumstances of young Rice, he 
invited him to pursue his studies with him, and be a partner of his 
room. He remained with Mr. Baxter about a year, reciting regu- 
larly in the school, and in his leisure hours perusing choice works 
of English literature. His acquaintance with the classics became 
intimate and correct, and the productions of his pen manifested the 
advantage of his English reading. Mr. Baxter considered young 
Rice correct in morals and pious, kind in heart, reserved in com- 
pany, conversing on moral and religious subjects with propriety, 
but possessing little of that small talk essential to the cheerfulness 
of social circles. He gave no intimations of any extraordinary 
powers, or brilliancy of intellect. His mind was slow in its opera- 
tions, but safe in its conclusions. The friendship formed between 
the teacher and his pupil ripened with increasing years ; the one 
became President of Washington College, and the other Professor 
in Union Theological Seminary, which position he yielded by death 
to the friend and teacher of his youth. 

Mr. Rice commenced the work of a teacher in the family of Mr. 
Nelson, of Malvern Hills, about thirty miles below Richmond. Judge 
William Nelson, while attending a session of the District Court at 
New London, made inquiries for a teacher for the family of his kins- 
man. Mr. Baxter recommended young Rice ; and, with the consent 
of his lather, he was engaged for the office. Patrick Henry being 
at this sessions of the court, the step-son of his brother's widow was 
introduced to him in the court-house yard. The orator addressed a 


few words of encouragement to the youth, and said, "be sure, my 
son, remember the best men always make themselves." Inoperative 
at the time, this sentiment was pondered, in after years, as a great 
historic truth in Virginia, among statesmen and divines. An emi- 
nent British statesman said, "No man can rise without patronage." 
Patrick Henry, after untold mortifications, had risen to a command- 
ing position ; and the youth he addressed at New London, in his 
kindness, after efforts equally great, without the mortifications, left 
a name among the churches never to pass away. 

With his father's blessing, ten shillings in his pocket, and all his 
wardrobe in a handkerchief, he walked to James River, stepped on 
board a market boat, and floated down to Richmond. Canal boats, 
rail cars, and trunks of baggage, were unknown in those days; and 
young Rice would probably have been amazed at the luggage of some 
students in these days of progress in education. In Mr. Nelson's 
family he showed himself worthy of the great kindness he received, 
by his diligent attention to his duties as a teacher, his modesty, and 
obliging deportment. Here he was introduced to the highly polished 
society of the "Ancient Dominion," at an age to feel its allurement, 
and its power to refine. He made himself agreeable to the family, 
and the numerous visitors. His high tone of honorable and refined 
intercourse with ladies, which rendered him peculiarly pleasing and 
useful in Richmond, and throughout Virginia, and wherever else he 
visited, was greatly improved by his social relations with the society 
of Malvern Hills. Naturally unsociable, he learned winning man- 
ners. With his kind heart and sound principles, he became irre- 
sistible, where he determined to please a social circle. 

This improvement in his manners was bought with trials of heart. 
His sense of truth and justice was accompanied with a keen percep- 
tion of the ridiculous and absurd. He could be pleasant in his 
remarks, like his father, humorous in his observations, and when 
excited or offended, keenly satirical. The world opened upon him 
with her enchantments, and touched his heart. His well arranged 
principles guarded him against the persuasives to sin, while the soft- 
ening influence of refined society wore away his awkwardness, and 
reserve, and the greenness of boyhood. Religious society once fami- 
liar, now necessary to preserve the balance of his mind, and purity 
of his heart, was a rare enjoyment, almost a thing unknown. Men 
of sprightly minds and pleasing manners uttered in his hearing the 
sentiments that prevailed in Paris, and produced the arguments of 
the leaders of the French Revolution, which he was not prepared to 
answer, and by the novelty of which he was sometimes confounded. 
In the midst oi luxuries unusual, and prospectively beyond his enjoy- 
ment, and not congenial to his moral tastes, he began first to feel 
lonely; and then an indifference towards his fellow men came over 
him ; and then lastly a strange coldness towards his God. He was 
passing the trial which in some form awaits all youth as they come 
upon the great theatre of the world. First, is the kind feeling 
towards all; then, as bitter experience makes them partially wiser, 


comes the distrust of men which may be very general ; then as the 
tide of affairs roll on, unless prosperous business, or kind attention 
of the good, or the internal influences of God's amazing grace arrest 
the downward course, come misanthropy, hardness of heart, free 
thinking, perhaps dissipation, Atheism, and an unhonored death. 

Young Rice never knew, till this time, the power within him to 
hate his fellow man, nor the bitterness, that hidden under ridicule 
and sarcasm, could amuse and sting the world, and torment the pos- 
sessor's heart. He knew he had a power that might be fearful or 
amusing, but its two edges he found out by some inward wounds 
that were healed by a kind mother's hand in Prince Edward. He 
remained in the family of Mr. Nelson about a year and a half. On 
a visit to his father's house he was seized with a violent and pro- 
tracted fever. During the progress of the disease he fathomed the 
excellence of Deism, of the French Moral Philosophy, of the being 
without God in the world : and the line soon reached the bottom. 
Deism became his abhorrence on principle and on feeling. He 
sounded the grace of the gospel, and like the God from whom it 
flowed, it was without shore or bottom, an ocean in which he might 
swim for Eternity. The one might be charming in the revelries of 
a voluptuous city, the other was the help of a sinner as he approached 
his God with the veil torn from his heart. The world now appeared 
to him, empty as a treasure, false as a support, lovely as a work of 
God ; and full of wisdom and goodness, as man's place of trial. The 
cheerfulness and piety of his father were priceless in his eyes. His 
heart was broken, and not healed ; the fashion of Christ was appear- 
ing, but not the full image of unsullied brightness that shone out in 
succeeding years. The work of reconstruction was reserved as the 
work of another agency more winning than sickness. 

On the restoration of his health he sought employment as a 
teacher. Bearing in the kindest remembrance the family in which 
he had been employed ; and carrying with him their warmest wishes 
for his prosperity, and enjoying their friendship through life, like all 
youth pleased with " novelty and fond of change," he turned his atten- 
tion to another part of his native state. Hearing that a tutor was 
wanting in Hampden Sidney College, he sought the office. The 
Presbytery of Hanover held its fall session, Oct., 1796, at Eethel 
Meeting House in Bedford. Besides Mitchel and Turner, the co-pas- 
tors of his native congregation, Lacy, Alexander, and Lyle, were 
present. The father of Mr. Rice, as an elder, was member. The 
ministers were all deeply interested in the College, and some of them 
warm friends of the father, and prepared to favor the son. With 
such introduction as he could procure he made application to the 
trustees, by a personal interview. 

With his bundle in his hand, he proceeded on foot through Camp- 
bell County, and part of Charlotte to Prince Edward ; and found 
that the trustees were in correspondence with Robert Logan of 
Fincastle, and waiting a final answer. Encouraged to expect the 
appointment if Mr. Logan declined, and anxious to know the event. 


he returned to Bedford, crossed the Blue Ridge, and waited on Mr. 
Logan. Returning to Prince Edward with a communication from 
Mr. Logan declining the office, and recommending Mr. Rice to the 
attention of the trustees, this long pedestrian journey was crowned 
with success ; he received the appointment. 

Major James Morton, Treasurer of the Board, took him to his 
residence to remain the short time intervening the commencement 
of his labors as teacher. From that visit Willington became asso- 
ciated, in the heart of young Rice, with all that is kind, and excel- 
lent, and lovely. The Major advanced a small sum of money for 
some claims due in Lexington, and furnished him with clothing for 
the winter. And Mrs. Morton, in her kind and Christian manner, 
won his confidence. The intimate friendship that followed, Dr. Rice 
always acknowledged as having a most controlling influence through- 
out his whole succeeding life. He had passed his childhood in 
retired life ; in his early youth he had been with the polished world ; 
and now he was introduced to a sphere of activity in pursuit, and 
seclusion in living, under the influence of Christian example of the 
most endearing domestic nature at Willington, in Mrs. Morton ; and 
the most admirable public exhibition in Archibald Alexander. In 
Mrs. Morton he seemed to himself to find his own dear mother re- 
vived, and by that name he called her long before the thought was 
formed that she might be so in reality. With the confidence of a 
son he laid open to her his distress of soul, and told her his hopes 
and fears, and the perplexing experience through which he had 
passed. Her counsels and instructions were, by the blessing of 
God, the means of rescuing him from the hardening influences of 
an infidel philosophy, which he could neither believe, or with clear 
reasons decidedly reject; they closed the springs of bitterness, and 
opened the fountains of benevolence. He used to say of Mrs. 
Morton — " It was impossible to know such a woman without 
thinking more kindiy of his fellow-men for her sake." During the 
winter the pupils were few and the duties of the teacher light. The 
hours not required in teaching and preparation for recitations, were 
devoted to literary reading and composition. He practised the 
celebrated rule of reading some well-written piece, and then, without 
relying upon verbal memory, attempting to reproduce the style and 
thoughts of the author. He wrote narratives and essays, and made 
compends of important treatises. His facility in composition, in 
after years, may be traced to the efforts at improvement made at 
Kew London, and his early residence at Hampden Sidney. 





The connection of Mr. Archibald Alexander with the College in 
Prince Edward County, was not desired by himself, or hastily 
formed. The knowledge of the circumstances leading to that event 
is from the Records of the Trustees of the College, November 1st, 
1792. " The Board having failed in their attempt to get the Rev. 
Mr. Graham to take charge of the College as President, have 
thought proper to secure to the Rev. Drury Lacy the office of Vice 
President for the term of four years from the present time. It is 
also the intention of the Board to secure to Mr. Lacy the use of the 
house and lands that he now occupies, for the above-mentioned term." 
On the 12th of the same month the Board made another entry : — 
" The Rev. Drury Lacy, who has at present the charge of the 
College, with the office of Vice President, attended the Board, and 
desired that the Board would think of some suitable person, who 
should be associated with him in the charge of the College with 
equal authority, to take an equal share of the labor, and have an 
equal share of the emoluments. The Board having thought the 
proposal such an one as they ought to accede to, and Mr. Archibald 
Alexander being proposed as a proper person — ordered, that 
Samuel W. Venable and Joseph Venable be a committee to write to 
Mr. Alexander, and in behalf of the Board to propose to him to 
accept the charge of the College, in conjunction with Mr. Lacy, to 
have, as has been proposed, equal authority, and to bear an equal 
share of the labor, and to receive an equal share of all the emolu- 
ments. Ordered, that the same committee appointed to write to Mr. 
Alexander, be appointed to write to the different congregations 
about now to be associated for supporting a minister, to inform them 
of this resolution of the Board, and to propose to them to join their 
interest with us, and to endeavor to induce Mr. Alexander to under- 
take the charge of the College, with Mr. Lacy, on the proposed 
plan, and to preach to the congregations as one of the ministers 
proposed to be employed in the plan of association mentioned 
above." April 9th, 1793. — "A letter from Mr. Archibald Alex- 
ander being read to the Board, in which he stated the objections to 
his accepting the invitation of this Board, that was given him some 
time ago, to take part in the management of this College, it is 
agreed that the Board will consider it at their next meeting, and 
that they will take no resolution on it at present." At the next 
meeting, the prospect of Mr. Alexander's accepting being in no 
respect more favorable, Mr. Lacy was requested to consult the two 
former Presidents, on his trip to Philadelphia, as Commissioner to 
the Assembly. 


The time for which Mr. Lacy was engaged being about to expire, 
the Board, December 22d, 1795, ordered — " That Paul Carrington, 
Sen., Esq., F. Watkins, S. W. Venable and A. B. Venable be a 
committee to make inquiry for some suitable person to take charge 
of the College as tutor, when the term for which Mr. Lacy is 
engaged has expired ; and also to make inquiries for a suitable 
person who will be disposed to undertake the office of President ; 
and report the success of their inquiries to this Board, from time to 
time." In the previous April Mr. Alexander had been chosen 
member of the Board of Trustees. 

In the summer of 1796 propositions were made to Rev. John D. 
Blair, of Richmond, to become the President, but without success. 

In the month of August, 1796, the attention of the Board was 
once more turned to Mr. Alexander. Mr. Lacy was about removing 
to his farm, Mount Ararat, a few miles from the College, and the 
institution was on the point of being left without instruction. On 
the 13th the records say — " The Board will engage to him £50 per 
annum from the funds of the College, and that the tuition, until it 
shall amount, with the sum of £50, to £180, shall be divided 
between him and one assistant ; and when the tuition shall amount 
to more than this, that then the trustees will appropriate the over- 
plus as to them shall seem best." Besides this salary, Mr. Alex- 
ander was to have the use of the dwelling-house provided for the 
President. On the 1st day of the succeeding September, Mr. 
Alexander's reply was read — "In which he expresses a wish to 
decline giving his final answer till November : the Board, on consi- 
dering the same, have agreed to await his answer till that time." 
An order was passed the same day to take the proper steps to 
obtain a teacher for the approaching winter session. In November 
the Board met at the Court House, on the 21st. Mr. Alexander 
met with them as trustee, and gave for answer to their appointment 
— u That he would accept their invitation, provided the Board would 
be satisfied that he should defer taking the actual charge of the 
College until the month of April next. The Board determined to 
accept of his proposal ; but they wish and expect, that if he can 
find it convenient, he will come at an earlier period." Rev. Mat- 
thew Lyle was chosen trustee at this meeting. 

At a meeting of the Board, December 19th, 1796, " Samuel W. 
Venable, from the committee appointed to employ a teacher, re- 
ported — that he and Mr. Francis Watkins, part of that committee, 
had contracted, on the part of the Board, with Mr. John Rice, to 
act as a teacher in College, till the last of April next ; for which 
they have engaged that he shall receive twenty-five pounds. The 
Board approved of this arrangement, and ordered it to be entered 
on their minutes." As soon as practicable after his appointment, 
Mr. Rice began his labors, teaching the pupils assembled at the 
College. The winter was passed usefully and happily by him, am- 
bitious to make the best preparation for the President, whom he 


occasionally saw and heard preach, and began to tove and to hold 
conference with about their future course of teaching. 

May 31st, 1797, at the College. Present — " Col. Thomas Scott, 
Major -James Morton, Charles Allen, Charles Scott, Jacob Morton, 
Francis Watkins, Samuel W. Venable, Joseph Venable, Richard N. 
Tenable, and Dr. Robert L. Smith and the Rev. A. Alexander, the 
President, who this day appeared and entered on his office. On 
motion by Mr. Alexander, Major James Morton is appointed in 
future to receive the tuition, room-rent, and deposit from such stu- 
dents as shall wish to enter College, and grant them receipts for the 
same, which they shall present to the officers of College when they 
enter. Mr. S. W. Venable, from the committee, reported that he 
had agreed with Mr. John H. Rice, for the next term, and that he 
had agreed, on the behalf of the Board, to pay him twenty-five 
pounds for the term." 

Here are two young men brought, in the Providence of God, to 
become acquainted, and act together upon the arena of labor, and 
struggle, and usefulness ; and to form a friendship to be perpetuated 
through life, unharmed by those changes incident to mortals, loving 
each other more strongly and more purely to the last. They met, 
the one in his twentieth year, prepared to perform the duties of 
teacher, and the other in the beginning of his twenty-sixth year, to 
assume the responsibilities of a president of a college, where in fact 
there was no college. There was a small but pleasant wooden 
dwelling for the president ; a moderate sized brick building for col- 
lege purposes, recitations, and lodging the students ; a wooden 
building to serve as a college hall, the place for assembling the 
students for prayer, and the neighborhood for public worship ; a 
small library ; a meagre apparatus ; and an amount of funds to yield 
an inconsiderable income. But of college classes there were none ; 
and of students few. Under the first and second presidents the col- 
lege was crowded with students : would it be a gain ? 

Though not symmetrical in its arrangements, the usefulness of the 
college was almost unbounded for a series of years in a country of 
exceeding loveliness, and among a population of great moral worth. 
The second president saw the beginning of its decline. The revival 
of religion, of which he had been a great and honored instrument, 
called him away from college duties, and complaints came up, per- 
haps not well founded, that he neglected the college. Upon this 
came also complaints, found in the end to be unfounded, that the col- 
lege was sectarian. And fears were expressed also lest, somehow, 
politics had or would get into college. The region of country occu- 
pied by Davies and Todd and Waddell, north of the James, had not 
been bound as firmly to the college as it might have been. Smith's 
strong resolutions in Presbytery had a severity not soon forgotten, 
under all these influences the college was drooping, when J. B. 
Smith left the presidency. The vice-president, Lacy, on who n the 
college rested for a time, struggled manfully with great difficulties. 
He loved to preach, and his calls for preaching were numerous, and 


to distant places. The trustees could not offer a salary to sustain a 
president and a professor. Weary with over labor, and oppressed 
with feeble health, he retired. Graham, though invited by the trus- 
tees, and the congregations which were expected to aid in support- 
ing the president, would not take the responsibilities and the labors. 
Mr. Lacy had been contriving from the time of Mr. Alexander's first 
visit, to get him engaged in the college ; and he rejoiced when at 
last, as he removed from the hill, he found Mr. Alexander preparing 
to take the responsible office. 

The board acted wisely in committing the college to two young 
men. It was a position for the energy and enterprise and vivacity 
of young men. And the providence of God, most kind and wonder- 
ful, led them to employ those whose worth and influence and useful- 
ness cannot be estimated. The elder came from Rockbridge, tho 
younger from Bedford, counties divided by the Blue Ridge, and in 
all their religious history intimately blended. Upon James Mitchel's 
and James Turner's altar the sacred fire often blazed forth ; and 
then they ran from Rockbridge to carry a coal to the altars in the 
valley. Mr. Rice had excited no high expectations ; of Mr. Alexan- 
der his friends anticipated much. Both had taught in private families , 
and both were untried in the management of a classical school or 
college. With the trustees the experiment was hopeful ; with the 
public, a trial by which they might gain ; with the young men, a 
labor in which Alexander had much to lose and more to gain, and 
Rice nothing to lose and everything to gain. 

The years these young men passed at Hampden Sidney were years 
of vast improvement. The college gained in numbers and in repu- 
tation ; the trustees gained confidence ; the public gained in their 
educated sons ; and the church gained gems, the value of which she 
could not know, and does not now, after more than half a century, 
fully estimate. In the spring of '97 the college classes all commenced 
anew. The talents of the young men for instruction, discipline, 
arrangement of classes, and the course of college studies were fully 
exercised. The college began, went on enlarging, unfolding, im- 
proving, advancing. The salaries were small, the labors great, and 
the trials many. If the students were few, the salary of the teach- 
ers was of course small ; if numerous, still it was limited to a very 
moderate amount. But their own mental improvement was incalcu- 
lable. When they left the college, as both did in about nine years, 
they were worthy of the positions they occupied, and were prepared 
for any exertions the church might demand. Erom preparing boys 
for college studies, and arranging the upper classes, and educating 
youth fur the various departments of life, both went to arrange 
theological seminaries, and prepare ministers of the gospel of Christ. 

When preparing to remove to Hampden Sidney, Mr. Alexander 
obtained from Presbytery a dissolution of his pastoral relation to 
Cub Creek. The connexion with Briery Congregation he still 
retained. The arrangement made for preaching for Messrs. Lacy, 
Alexander and Lyle was, Mr. Lacy alternated at college and Cum- 


berland Church, about ten miles distant, Mr. Lyle at Buffalo and 
Briery, Mr. Alexander at Briery, on alternate Sabbaths with Mr. 
Lyle, and at college, or elsewhere, at discretion. For a series of 
years, the history of the internal affairs of Hampden Sidney was like 
that of every incipient college. Boys came in all stages of educa- 
tion, were formed, as speedily as convenient, into college classes, 
and carried on, as far as practicable, before they left the institution, 
some but a little way, and some to the degree of A. B. ; the larger 
portion leaving college with an imperfect education. First the insti- 
tution appears a grammar school, then an incipient college, and then 
a college in full operation, with regular classes, a library and appa- 
ratus, and a full list of professors and tutors. 

At the time of opening the college by Messrs. Alexander and Rice, 
Hanover Presbytery embraced in its boundaries all Virginia east 
of the Blue Ridge and south of the Rappahannock. The ministers 
were, James Waddell, D.D., without charge in Louisa ; William Irwin, 
without charge in Albemarle; Archibald M'Robert, Old Concord 
and Little Concord, Campbell County ; Messrs. James Mitchel and 
James Turner, co-pastors, Peaks in Bedford ; J. D. Blair, Hanover ; 
Prury Lacy, Prince Edward ; Archibald Alexander, Hampden 
Sidney College ; Matthew Lyle, Prince Edward ; one licentiate, 
Samuel Ramsey ; one candidate, John Todd, son of John Todd, 
co-laborer with Davies. The numerical strength of the different 
congregations was not reported. 

In obedience to the direction of the Synod of Virginia, in Win- 
chester, October, 1791, respecting the education of youth for the 
ministry, the Presbytery of Hanover, at a subsequent meeting, pre- 
sent Messrs. Mitchel, Turner, Irvin, Mahon and Lacy, with Elders 
John Hughes, Andrew Wallace, Andrew Baker and Jonas Erwin, 
after receiving back from the commissions of Synod Cary Allen and 
William Calhoon, and from the Presbytery of Lexington A. Alex- 
ander, resolved "to raise a fund for the education of pious youth.''' 
The resolution lay inoperative. In October, 1794, at the Cove, Mr. 
Alexander was requested to prepare a proper subscription paper for 
raising the fund. In October, 1795, at Briery, Presbytery deter- 
mined that the fund raised should be under the direction of Pres- 
bytery, and not under the Synod, as had been proposed. In the fall 
of 1796, it appeared that some progress had been made in raising 
the fund. In the spring of 1797, as " something considerable had 
been done," Messrs. Alexander and Lyle were appointed a com- 
mittee to draft rules for the management of the fund. 

The plan was finally settled at Pisgah, in Bedford County, Friday, 
October 26th, 1797: present, M'Robert, Mitchel, Lacy, Turner, 
Alexander and Lyle ; Elders, Benjamin Rice, John Leftwitch and 
William Baldwin. u The committee appointed to prepare a plan for 
the regulation of the charitable fund for the education of poor and 
pious young men, informed the Presbytery that it had occurred to 
them, some other important objects might be embraced by the plan, 
besides the education of poor youth, which they now laid before the 


Presbytery for their advice ; whereupon the Presbytery continued 
the committee, and directed them to include any other objects in 
the plan which they judged proper, and to report." On the next 
day, Saturday, 21st, " the subject of the charitable fund was taken 
under consideration ; and, after being discussed a considerable time, 
it was resolved, 1st, that the members immediately proceed to exert 
themselves to raise money ; 2d, that the outlines of a plan, com- 
prehending the general object to which the money is to be appro- 
priated, be prepared, to be annexed to the subscriptions, for the 
information of the public ; 3d, that Mr. Alexander be directed to 
draft the outlines of such a plan, and to report in the afternoon." 

In the afternoon, Mr. Alexander produced the following outlines 
of a plan for appropriating the proceeds of the charitable fund, 
which, being read, were approved, viz : 1st. " The objects which are 
intended to be embraced by this fund, are the education of poor and 
pious youth, the support of missionaries, and the distribution of 
useful books among the poor. 2d. The moneys which may be col- 
lected shall be deposited in a fund, and this principal shall not be 
diminished, but the interest arising from it shall be appropriated to 
the aforesaid purposes. 3d. The profits of the fund shall be used 
for the education of such youth as this Presbytery shall judge might 
be useful in the church, and who are in such circumstances as pre- 
vent their obtaining an education without assistance, until the annual 
profits shall be more than sufficient to support more than two young 
men. 4th. Whenever this shall be the case, the surplus shall go to 
the support of missionaries to be employed to preach the gospel in 
destitute places. But if the interest of the fund should ever be 
more than sufficient to educate two young men and support two mis- 
sionaries, the balance shall be used to purchase useful books to be 
distributed amongst the poor. 

" If, however, it should happen at any time that no young man 
of the above-mentioned description can be found, the annual profits 
shall be applied to the support of missionaries ; and in case no mis- 
sionaries can be obtained, the moneys designed for their support 
shall be appropriated to purchase useful books. The Presbytery 
may, at any future period, if they think proper, include other objects 
in the management of the fund, than those already specified, pro- 
vided there be more money than is needed for the aforesaid purposes. 
The Presbytery of Hanover shall have the whole direction and 
management of this fund, and shall deposit the principal in such 
hands as will promise the greatest security and increase. All dona- 
tions hereafter given shall be added to the principal. A register 
shall be kept by the Presbytery, in which the names of all the con- 
tributors shall be entered, and the respective donations specified." 
In the spring of 1798 one hundred and fifty-nine dollars were 
reported as collected. Collections were proposed to relieve the dis- 
tresses of the citizens of Philadelphia suffering from the yellow 
fever. These collections, as stated in the fall of 1799, were 78/. 7s. 
Id., and the charitable fund had increased to 95/. Is. 6d. This is 


the beginning of the fund that now sustains the Union Theological 
Seminary in Prince Edward, and may be considered the first step 
towards that institution. 

The peculiar and urgent duties of College induced Mr. Alexander 
to ask of Presbytery, November 16th, 1798, at Cumberland, "to 
be released from the pastoral charge of Briery congregation." No 
objection being made, the request was granted. With the firmest 
attachment to Mr. Alexander as a preacher, the congregation appre- 
ciated his worth as a president. His labors were unremitting. He 
resided in the president's house, but commonly took his meals in the 
steward's hall. It was a time of great mental effort, intense study 
and bodily exertion. He was resolved to be prepared to give 
instruction in all the departments devolving upon him. The advan- 
tages of the close regular study, and the habits of exact acquisition 
in himself and recitation in his classes, were manifest in after life, 
when called to preside over the Seminary at Princeton. He was 
familiar with the Latin and Greek classics, became fond of the exact 
sciences, and pursued the study of mental aud moral philosophy on 
the plan of his beloved instructor, Graham. 

The number of students increasing, the Board authorized the 
employment of assistants. In the summer of '98 the President 
employed Mr. James Aiken, and for his services for the session gave 
him £15. Mr. Aiken was continued the next session, and by order 
of the Board was paid £36. 

In the fall of 1798, Mr. Rice gave notice that he should resign his 
office, at the close of the winter session. "Mr. Alexander is 
requested to endeavor to procure a suitable person to take Mr. Rice's 
place, at College, in case he shall persist in his determination to 
resign his office." The President obtained the services of Mr. 
Conrad Speece in the spring of 1799. Mr. Rice was disconnected 
with the College some time in the fall of that year, and made prepa- 
rations to attend the medical lectures in Philadelphia. While pur- 
suing medical studies he devoted a part of each day to the instruction 
of a class of young pupils, principally girls, of the family at Wil- 
lington, and their connections. 

Mr. Rice soon found himself in a position, in relation to one of 
the young misses at Montrose, to make him most earnestly desire to 
hold Mrs. Morton in the near relation of mother. This fact he felt 
bound to reveal to the young lady herself before he went to Phila- 
delphia, and also to be entirely candid with the mother, who was to 
him so true a friend. Mrs. Morton heard his avowal with the kind- 
ness and prudence of a loving mother and true friend ; the daughter 
with girlish mirth, chastened by h,er great respect for his moral 
worth. Probably no lover ever left the scene of his enchantment 
with more mutual kindness than Mr. Rice left Willington ; or a 
more resolute intention of abandoning a pursuit he considered hope- 
less. He went to reside at Montrose, in Powhatan, with the family 
of Josiah Smith, the brother of Mrs. Morton, whose children made 
part of his class of pupils. With the family at Montrose he com- 


menced a lasting friendship. The piety of Mr. and Mrs. Smith was 
of the earnest, lovely cast of Mrs. Morton's, which had charmed 
and improved him. Could he have hoped that the desire of his 
heart would be finally gratified, his cup of happiness would have run 
over. He pursued his medical studies under the direction of an 
eminent physician, Samuel Wilson, and in the fall of 1800 was 
. ready to attend the medical lectures in Philadelphia. But instead 
of prosecuting his design, he yielded to the persuasions of some 
friends and returned to the College, and engaged in teaching with 
his friend Alexander, and his young companion, Speece. 

In the month of January Mr. Alexander had given notice that he 
intended resigning his office at the close of the summer session. 
The confinement of College life with all its excitements, had lost its 
charms for a young man thirsting for excellence and usefulness in 
the ministry, and with a heart to love and be loved. Probably the 
three young friends had a mutual influence over each other's course. 
Rice came back to the College, and Alexander remained the presi- 

In the spring of 1800, the Trustees, " ordered that the spring 
vacation be extended to the 15th, instead of the first of June next, 
in order that there may be time to repair the College." It is prob- 
able that the exploring expedition Dr. Alexander made to Ohio, of 
which his family have lively traditions, was made this spring and 
summer. In April of this year, Mr. Speece was immersed by the 
Rev. James Saunders. While preparing for the ministry under the 
care of Lexington Presbytery he, in the winter of '97, '98, while 
giving the doctrines of the Confession of Faith a thorough exami- 
nation, became doubtful of the propriety of infant baptism. He 
communicated his doubts in April '98. His licensure was delayed 
while he might still further consider the subject. When he went to 
the College, in 'the spring of '99, he was unsatisfied on the questions 
respecting the mode and subjects of baptism. He found Mr. Alex- 
ander and Mr. Lyle, making diligent enquiries on that same subject. 
The two young ministers became greatly perplexed ; and by mutual 
agreement for a time discontinued infant baptism, determining not 
to resume the practice till their minds were settled on its validity. 
Like Mr. Speece they communicated their doubts to their Presby- 
tery. But of that fact the Presbytery made no record. The young 
men were left to their investigations without reproach or suspicion. 
The immersion of Mr. Speece was unexpected at the time. Mr. 
Alexander continued his researches and came to the conclusion that 
the baptism of infants was of Scripture authority. Mr. Speece was 
greatly impressed by the fact that Mr. Alexander had arrived at a 
conclusion contrary to his own. u My friend the Rev. Archibald 
Alexander, having obtained in the autumn of this year (18U0), the 
removal of his objections against infant baptism, soon convinced me 
of the necessity of reconsidering the subject for myself." In con- 
sequence he says, "April 9th 1801, having read before the Presby- 
tery of Hanover a discourse o>n baptism, by way of trial, they 


licensed me to preach the gospel." About this same time Mr. Alex- 
ander carried into effect the resignation he proffered more than a 
year preceding. 

For about two years, baptism was a standing subject of thought 
and investigation by Messrs. Alexander, Lyle and Speece. Speece 
committed and re-committed himself. Alexander and Lylc acknow- 
ledged their difficulties, and after wading through doubts and ap- 
prehensions and fears, were firmly settled in their faith. Mr. Rice, 
does not appear to have been particularly troubled on this subject 
of enquiry. But that he derived great advantage from the discus- 
sion, is evident from the production of his pen in after years, the 
biblical argument having been stated in a masterly manner in a large 
pamphlet. After the baptism of Mr. Speece, the expectation of 
the public was on tiptoe about the other two young men. The Bap- 
tist community were confident of their acquisition ; and the Presby- 
terian public in anxiety for their young ministers. By rumor, days 
were appointed for assembling the multitude to witness the immer- 
sion. But this anxiety of the public neither hastened or hindered 
the process of investigation in the mind of Alexander. Speece 
gave the Substance of his investigations in a paper he read to the 
Presbytery. He and Mr. Alexander, some years after, published 
numerous papers on the different heads of the subject of Baptism, 
in the Virginia Religious Magazine, printed in Lexington. Some 
of the sentences appearing there, from the pen of Mr. Alexander, 
are similar to those appearing in hig autobiography, published by 
his son. 

.That the mind of Mr. Alexander should be exercised on the sub- 
ject of baptism, is not at all surprising. His first deep religious 
exercises commenced by the means of a baptist lady of sincere piety. 
She impressed upon his mind the great truths of her own belief, and 
above all, the reality of her Christian experience. That she should 
endeavor to impress upon him her views of baptism was both natural 
and Christian, especially as she manifested nothing of a proselyting 
spirit. And then the great revival in Charlotte and Prince Edward, 
whose power he had felt, began under the preaching of a baptist 
minister by the name of Williams. Under those circumstances he 
could but investigate the subject of baptism ; and for him to doubt 
was to be unhappy till the doubt was removed. Speece was fond of 
such kind of investigation, and very naturally would take hold of 
the subject, and having taken hold would go through to a conclu- 
sion ; in his early years much more hastily than after his mind had 
become more matured. At the College, Alexander could wait longer 
for light on a dark subject than Speece could. Rice could wait 
longer than either, but it was perhaps because his. mind moved 
slower. Lyle was not inclined to be doubting or misgiving, on any 
subject he had once received as true. But a doubt of its truth once 
obtaining entrance, he could never rest till the exact state of the 
case was satisfactorily discovered. 

At the time Mr. Alexander left the College, in 1801, the students 


were numerous ; the classes had assumed some regular form, and a few 
students had completed their course and received the degree of A.B. 
In September 1799, Robert Dobbins and Benjamin Montgomery re- 
ceived their degree ; in April 1800, William Venable and George 
Brown received theirs ; in Aprill 801, Ebenezer Cummins and Wm. 
Barr received theirs. In the February of this year is a record — 
" Mr. Alexander permitted William Matthews, an orphan, to come to 
College without paying tuition. On a question whether his tuition 
shall be charged to Mr. Alexander in his account with the College, 
it is determined it shall not." The committee appointed to find a 
successor of Mr. Alexander as president, reported, April 23, 1801, 
they had not succeeded. " It is therefore determined that the 
charge of the College be committed for the next sessions to Mr. 
Speece and Mr. Rice, the present tutors in College." The committee 
were directed to procure an assistant teacher. " Mr. Speece and 
Mr. Rice," at the same time, "the present tutors in College have 
given notice, that they will resign their offices at the next session." 
The committee were directed to engage suitable persons to teach in 
College in the place of these gentlemen. Mr. Speece left the Col- 
lege in September, and never returned. Mr. Rice was engaged for 
another series of years with Mr. Alexander. 

Of the religious exercises of Mr. Rice, we learn something from 
a letter to Mrs. Morton, July 27th, 1800 — "I every day feel with 
emphatic force, the truth of that saying — of yourselves ye can do 
nothing. Surely, no wretch ever felt as entirely helpless as I am. 
I feel that my attempts are all fruitless, that my labors are all in 
vain, that my righteousness is as filthy rags, that it is, indeed, 
nothing, that my wisdom is all folly, my strength is all weakness, 
and my best services all sin and impiety. With propriety I may 
exclaim, O, wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the 
body of this death ? These feelings naturally cast down my soul ; 
but now and then I feel cheered by some gracious promise. Some 
portion of the balm of Gilead is poured into my wounded heart, 
some comfort from the tree of life, whose leaves are for the healing 
of the nations. But soon my comforts vanish. Sin hangs heavy 
like a clog upon my soul, chills my love, and almost extinguishes 
my zeal. Do you, my friend, feel these alternations of light and 
darkness, of pleasure and pain, of rapture and grief? or, do you go 
on from one degree of strength to another ¥ Do you feel faith 
lively, hope strong, evidences bright and unclouded ? If so, you 
have abundant reason to be thankful. If not, God grant you may. 
I can wish no better wish to my best of friends, than ihat she may 
daily feel comfortable assurances of divine favor, and that her soul 
may constantly rejoice in God, the God of her salvation." 

With these views, and the example of Lacy, Alexander, and Lyle 
before him, and the declared intention of his companion Speece to 
preach the gospel, Mr. Rice began to consider the importance of the 
ministry oi the gospel. There were present to him the example 
of his uncle David, the apostle of Kentucky ; of Mitchel and Turner 


in his native county; and the remembrance of his mother's desires, 
expectations, and prayers. He compared the healing art with the 
gospel of Christ in its power to bless mankind, and as a pursuit for 
life. The current of his feelings, and the decision of judgment were 
for the gospel ministry. 

Messrs. Rice and Speece went on with the instruction in College, j 
the summer session of 1801, while Mr. Alexander was abroad on an 
excursion through New England. The estimation in which Mr. 
Speece held his friend Rice at this time, is thus expressed in a letter to 
Mr. Maxwell — " My friend did not possess, in those days, the habit 
of close persevering study, which he afterwards acquired. His read- 
ing was a good deal desultory. I remember feeling surprise, now 
and then, on his owning to me, concerning some book of prime 
merit, that he never had read it through. Still his quick mind 
gathered and digested knowledge with great rapidity. I considered 
him an able teacher, both in language and science. There was in 
him a vein of dry playful humor, which made his conversation very 
pleasant to all companies which he frequented. Meanwhile his con- 
duct was such in all respects as to adorn his Christian profession. 
The satirical talent, which you know he possessed in no ordinary 
degree, always levelled its shafts against vice and folly. 

His friend Alexander thus writes — "When I came to reside at 
that place (the College), I found him there ; and from this time our 
intercourse was constant and intimate as long as I remained in the 
State ; and our friendship then contracted continued to be uninter- 
rupted to the day of his death. It is probable, therefore, that no 
other person has had better opportunities of knowing his character- 
istic features, than myself; and yet I find it difficult to convey to 
others a correct view of the subject. 1st, One of the most obvious 
traits of mental character at this period, was independence; by 
which I mean a fixed purpose to form his own opinions ; and to exer- 
cise on all proper occasions, entire freedom in the expression of them. 
He seems very early to have determined not to permit his mind to 
be enslaved to any human authority, but on all subjects within his 
reach, to think for himself. He possessed, in an eminent degree, 
that moral courage or firmness of mind, which leaves a man at full 
liberty to examine and judge, in all matters connected with human 
duty or happiness. But though firm and independent, he was far 
from being precipitate either in forming or expressing his opinions. 
He knew how to exercise that species of self-denial, so difficult to 
most young men, of suspending his judgment on any subject, until 
he should have the opportunity of contemplating it in all its rela- 
tions. He was ' swift to hear and slow to speak.' No one I 
believe ever heard him give a crude or hasty answer to any question 
which might be proposed. Careful deliberation uniformly preceded 
the utterance of his opinions. This unyielding independence of 
mind, and slow and cautious method of speaking, undoubtedly ren- 
dered his conversation at first less interesting, than that of many 
other persons ; and his habit of honestly expressing the convictions 


of his own mind, prevented him from seeking to please his company 
by accommodating himself to their tastes and opinions. Indeed, to 
be perfectly candid, there was in his manners, at this period, less 
of the graceful and conciliatory character than was desirable. He 
appeared, in fact, to be too indifferent to the opinions of others ; 
and with exception of a small circle of intimate friends, manifested 
no disposition to cultivate the acquaintance, or seek the favor of 
men. This was undoubtedly a fault ; but it was one which had a 
near affinity to a sterling virtue ; and what is better, it was one 
which in after life he entirely corrected. 

" 2d. Another thing by which he was characterized, when I first 
knew him, and which had much influence on his future eminence, 
was his insatiable thirst for knowledge. His avidity for reading 
was indeed excessive. When he had got hold of a new book, or an 
old one which contained matter interesting to him, scarcely any 
thing could moderate his ardor, or recall him from his favorite 
pursuit. When I came to reside at Hampden Sidney, he had been 
there only a few months, and I was astonished to learn how exten- 
sively he had ranged over the books which belonged to the College 
library. And, as far as I can recollect this thirst for knowledge 
was indulged at this time, without any regard to system ; and often 
it appeared to me without any definite object. It was an appetite 
of the very strongest kind, and led to the indiscriminate perusal of 
books of almost every sort. Now, although this insatiable thirst 
for knowledge, and unconquerable avidity for books, would in many 
minds, have produced very small, if any good effect, and no doubt 
was in some respects injurious to him; yet possessing, as he did, a 
mind of uncommon vigor, and a judgment remarkably sound and 
discriminating, that accumulations of ideas and facts, which to most 
men, would have been a useless, unwieldy mass, was by him so 
digested and incorporated with his own thoughts, that it had, I doubt 
not, a mighty influence in elevating his mind to that commanding 
eminence, to which it attained in his maturer years. 

" 3d. A third thing which at this early period was characteristic 
of him, and which had much influence on his capacity of being use- 
ful to his fellow-creatures in after life, was a remarkable fondness 
for his pen. He was, when I first knew him, in the habit of writing 
every day. He read and highly relished the best productions of 
the British Essayists ; and in his composition, he would imitate the 
style and manner of the authors whom he chiefly admired. Addison 
appeared to be his favorite ; but his own turn of mind led him to 
adopt a style more sarcastic and satirical than that which is found 
m most of the papers of the Spectator or Guardian. These early 
productions of his pen were never intended for the press, and were 
never otherwise published than by being spoken occasionally by the 
students on the college stage. 1 may add, that his first essays in 
composition, though vigorous, and exuberant in matter, needed 
much pruning and correction. 

"4th. There was yet one other trait in his mental character, 


which struck me as very remarkahle in one of his order of intellect. 
He never discovered a disposition to engage in discussions of a 
speculative or metaphysical kind. I cannot now recollect that, on 
any occasion, he engaged with earnestness in controversies of this 
sort ; and this was the more remarkable because the persons with 
whom he was daily conversant, were much occupied with them. To » 
such discussions, however, he could listen with attention ; and would i 
often show, by a short and pithy remark, that though he had no 
taste for these speculative and abstruse controversies, he fully un- j 
derstood them. Yet I am of opinion that he took less interest in | 
metaphysical disquisitions, and read less on these points, than in 
any other department of philosophy. On some accounts this was a 
disadvantage to him, as it rendered him less acute in minute dis- 
crimination, than he otherwise might have been ; but on the other 
hand, it is probable, that this very circumstance had some influence 
in preparing him to seize the great and prominent points of a sub- 
ject with a larger grasp, while the minor points were disregarded 
as unworthy of attention. 

" 5th. As a teacher he cherished a laudable ambition to know 
thoroughly and minutely all the branches of learning in which he 
professed to give instruction. His classical knowledge was accurate 
and highly respectable ; and the ease with which he pursued mathe- 
matical reasoning gave evidence that he might have become a profi- 
cient in that department of science. At the same time, he was apt 
to teach, and succeeded well in training up his pupils in all their 




The man that succeeded William Graham in Washington Aca- 
demy, and John H. Rice in the Union Theological Seminary, was 
second to neither in mental endowments, magnanimity of soul, or i 
tenderness of heart. A pupil of Graham and tutor of Rice, he 
admired their character, appreciated their labors, and was beloved 
by both. Equal to Graham in mental acumen and comprehension, 
he lacked somewhat of his bold daring : superior to Rice in meta- 
physical and logical acuteness and taste for metaphysical discussions, 
lie was greatly his inferior in constructive power, and activity, and 
efficiency in benevolence. With as clear a knowledge of human 
nature as it is, and as it came from the hands of the creator, he 
knew less _ of men in society than Rice, and more than Graham. 
With a guileless spirit and brave heart he marched with logical pre- 


cision to the conclusion of an argument, irrespective of those 
circumstances Rice would have explained to his hearers ; and he 
announced the right and the obligation, with a simplicity as remark- 
able as it was complete. Governing less strongly than Graham, 
and moulding less plastically than Rice, he nevertheless bound the 
hearts of his pupils with chains of gold. Afraid to offend Graham, 
who always put his foot on the neck of a rebel, not knowing how to 
escape Rice who would surely mould them to his will, the students 
yielded to that authority of Baxter that counted punishment his 
strange work. Graham read little and thought much. Baxter read 
much and thought much, and forgot nothing. Rice read more than 
either ; and elaborated with his pen for the instruction of the pub- 
lic more than both. 

All three excelled as preachers. Graham starting high, then 
descending in the scale of excellence and interest ; and then ascend- 
ing higher than ever. Rice and Baxter constantly ascending from 
the first. All were unequal in their performances ; but seldom ap- 
peared unequal to the time and circumstance, and subject. Their 
knowledge and judgment, and piety preserved them from dullness ; 
but some exciting circumstance called forth all their powers. Then 
Graham cut like a two-edged sword dipped in the balm of Gilead ; 
Baxter, resistless in argument, overwhelming in pathos, often preach- 
ed in tears, and was heard in tears and sighs ; Rice brought forth 
his stores of theology and literature, and deep feeling arranged with 
wonderful skill, himself calm, self-possessed, his hearers often in 
tears. Their mental power, tenderness, strong feeling, combined in 
different degrees, were all under the controlling influence of the love 
and mercy of God. Graham in private, sometimes in public, in- 
dulged his power of sarcasm with exasperating effect. Rice, in pub- 
lic assemblies restrained his, and in private circles subdued it to 
playfulness. Baxter had none, but was quick and playful in retort, 
and enjoyed wit and humor. Graham and Rice were always on 
their guard. Baxter, in his simplicity, often seemed credulous. 
His unsuspicious manner might have led to the conclusion that the 
toils of the designing were around him, when suddenly awakening 
as from a revery, with a rapidity astonishing, he would unravel the 
whole tissue of sophistry, and laugh with exquisite delight at the 
exposure, and the awkward position of him that presumed on his 
ignorance of facts and of logical precision. Quicker in his mental 
operations than either his master or his pupil, he loved the truth 
with equal fervor, and counted no cost in its defence. A powerful 
opponent, seldom foiled, and never exasperated in debate. What 
Rice could sketch grandly, Baxter could see clearly and defend 
strongly. Graham could open the gates, and say like the empress- 
mother, "This is the way to Byzantium." Baxter and Rice could 
walk in the path, put up way-marks and clear obstructions for others 
to follow. All saw the church arise around them and by their in^ 
strumentality ; and each has a name among those who have done 
well for their race and for their God. 


George Addison Baxter was born in the county of Rockingham, 
Virginia, in the great valley of the Shenandoah, July 22d, 1771. 
His parents, George Baxter and Mary Love, were emigrants from 
Ireland, at a very early age, landing on the banks of the Delaware. 
The parents of George dying soon after their arrival, he was received 
into the family of Thomas Rodgers. This gentleman had married 
Elizabeth Baxter, and emigrated from Londonderry to Boston, Mas- 
sachusetts, in the year 1721. In about seven years he removed to 
Philadelphia, and there reared a family of eight children, of whom 
John Rodgers, the companion of Davies, was one. George Baxter, 
when of mature years, followed his emigrating countrymen in their 
search for a home on the frontiers of Virginia, and chose his resi- 
dence in Mossy Creek congregation, once a part of the Triple Forks, 
and afterwards of Augusta Church, and now a separate charge. 
Here he was married ; his father-in-law having previously settled in 
the same neighborhood. Here he became ruling elder, Benjamin 
Erwin being pastor. Here he answered the calls made on the militia 
during the Revolutionary war for active service. In the course of his 
life he represented his county in the legislature about fifteen times. 
He reared his family according to the customs of his fatherland, and 
the habit of his emigrating countymen, in industry and economy ; 
giving all an English education, in a manner as liberal as circum- 
stances would permit ; and choosing, if possible, one child of talents, 
whose desires were favorable, for a liberal education and a profes- 
sional life. Of all the professions, the ministry held, in his estima- 
tion, the highest place. 

Mary Love, his wife, left among her descendants a memory pre- 
cious for her exemplary piety and prudent conduct as a wife and 
mother, in situations calling every day for the exercise of Christian 
graces, and seldom offering occasion for the lofty display of any 
accomplishment. The lives of her children were her best eulogy. 
George Addison was the second son, and the third of eight children, 
all of .whom he survived. Vigor, frankness, uprightness and indus- 
ry characterized all the members of the family, reared in the sim- 
plicity and hardships of a frontier life. The happy influence of the 
revolutionary trials and hardships was often alluded to by Dr. Bax- 
ter in his advanced years. The mother laid the foundation of morals 
and religion in her children while they were young ; and expressed 
the most decided unwillingness to part with any of them till their 
faith in Christ was established. Her unremitting attention to the 
spiritual concerns of her children was followed by the unspeakable 
reward of seeing them all consistent professors of religion, accord- 
ing to the faith she trusted for her own salvation. The Bible, the 
Sabbath, the Assembly's Catechism, the preaching of the gospel, 
family worship and private instruction were things of solemn interest 
to the family from the earliest recollections ; and connected indis- 
solubly with the memory of their parents, the influence was tender 
and perpetual. The image of the mother stood before the children 


rejoicing when their faith triumphed, and weeping when they sinned. 
Blessed is the mother that knows her power. 

Of the sayings, doings, and mental exercises of Dr. Baxter, in his 
childhood, there is no memorial. One event only is remembered as 
| peculiar. It fixed a mark that went with him to his grave. Put in 
I mind of it every day of his life, and exhibiting it to others in his 
slightly limping gait, he never referred to it in conversation. Any 
' direct notice of his halting step was painful to him, and all curiosity 
' repressed with dignity. " He got a fall in early life," was all the 
tradition generally known. He could no more forget the cause than 
he could remove the consequences. One Sabbath morning, when he 
was about five years of age, the negro woman came running to the 
house, crying out, " the bears have got Master George." Following 
his cry of distress, he was found stretched on the ground. His state- 
ment was, that in chase of a squirrel he had climbed the tree under 
which he was lying, and venturing on a feeble limb had been precipi- 
tated to the ground ; that he had lain there some time in great suf- 
fering, unable to move homeward, or attract notice by his cries. 
One of his limbs was badly fractured. With maternal care the wound 
speedily healed ; but the injured limb was ever shorter than the 
other. A high heel to his shoe, and a slight swing to his gait reme- 
died the evil ; till late in life it was not generally observed that he 
limped, and few knew his abiding memento of the fourth command. 
To a peculiar train of circumstances Dr. Baxter attributed much 
of that thirst for literature which made him earnestly desire a liberal 
education, and willing to spend his share of the patrimony in its 
accomplishment. From the earliest period of Virginia history the 
planters and farmers supplied themselves with laborers, either from 
the African race, or that class of people called "indented servants," 
or "redemptioners." Coming from some part of Europe, not unfre- 
quently from the British isles, and unable to pay the passage money, 
they made arrangements with the captains and ship-owners to serve 
in the colony, till such time as their wages should equal the expense 
of their transportation. In some cases, the agreement was to serve 
a given time, any person who would pay the captain the demands for 
the passage. In other cases the amount of expense was agreed upon, 
and masters were sought that would pay the sum for the shortest 
time of service. Large companies often came together. The landing 
places were frequented by those in want of laborers, and presented 
scenes of thrilling interest, as young and old, men and women, were 
parcelled out at the bidding of the masters, and the will of the cap- 
tain. Each redemptioner was prized according to his ability to labor, 
or the caprice of those seeking servants. Persons of sterling cha- 
racter and skill in the mechanic arts, were found in these companies, 
and having served their allotted time, with credit and cheerfulness, 
became wealthy, and held an honorable position in society, the de- 
scendants being unreproached for the faithful servitude of their 

Colonel Love, the father-in-law of Mr. Baxter, purchased an 

264 m'nemara. 

indented servant, a young Irishman, while his son-in-law was absent 
at the Legislature. About this young man there were various 
opinions, — some supposing him insane — others that he was suffering 
under some calamity — and others that he was above his condition, 
and had fled for crime. His appearance and manners were those of 
a gentleman. Mr. George Baxter became interested in the young 
man, and learning some facts of his history, and- that he was well 
educated, purchased his indentures. Giving them to him, he said, 
" You are now perfectly free, Sir — but I shall be glad to have you 
stay and teach my children." The young man engaged in teaching. 
He assumed the name of McNemara, and would give no account of 
his parentage. The cause of emigration he said was a calamity he 
would not explain ; it was supposed, from circumstances, to have been 
of a political nature. He said that he expected to find in Baltimore 
an uncle. Upon reaching the place, he learned that his uncle had 
removed to Charleston. He was penniless and friendless, and to his 
great mortification, was sold to pay his passage. 

Under the instruction of this young man Dr. Baxter acquired the 
rudiments of education ; and from hearing him quote the English 
classics with great appropriateness, became desirous of drinking at 
the fountain of "English undefiled." A thirst for knowledge came 
with his desire to read the classics. His mother encouraged this 
strong desire of her child, with secret hopes and prayers, that he 
might in mature years preach the gospel of the Son of God. We 
have no further account of his "log school-house days," or his pro- 
gress in learning while growing to the stature of a man, at the base 
of the North Mountain, on the head streams of the Shenandoah. 

After some years the teacher accompanied one of Mr. Baxter's 
sons to Richmond, the market of that part of the Valley. He 
avoided as much as possible meeting with his countrymen. Stepping 
into a store he was accosted by the merchant as an old acquaintance. 
Alarmed and distressed he asked a private interview. The merchant 
would give no further account respecting the teacher to young Bax- 
ter, than, that his father was a merchant of the first standing in 
Cork. Soon after this interview, the young man prepared to return 
to Ireland. Upon bidding Mr. Baxter and friends farewell, he said, 
if he should be successful in an enterprise in which he was about to 
embark, they should hear from him ; if he failed, they should know 
nothing more of him. . Some time after, on looking over a list of 
persons executed in Ireland for rebellion, the friends in Rockingham 
were induced, from various circumstances, to believe he was among 
the sufferers. 

George Addison Baxter preferred a liberal education to a farmer's 
life. His father assented to his choice, the expenses of his education 
to be the principal part of his patrimony. In the year 1789, he 
became a pupil of William Graham, at Liberty Hall, near Lexiugton. 
His literary course, pursued with ardor and delight, was more than 
once interrupted by failure of health, which sent him for a season 
to the pursuits of agriculture. His boarding-house was four miles 


from the Hall, and this distance he regularly walked morning and 
evening ; but the exercise was not sufficient to counteract the lassi- 
tude consequent upon his intense application. His progress in the 
acquisition of language is thus related by one that had the means of 
accurate knowledge : — " On his first coming to Liberty Hall, one 
of the trustees, in advising as to his course of study, told him if he 
would make himself completely master of his Latin Grammar, read 
some Latin books, which he mentioned, together with some other 
study, during the session, he might think himself successful. He 
remained but six weeks, and in that time completed his course, and 
progressed a good deal further, making himself, in ten lessons, so 
completely master of his Latin Grammar that it was never after- 
wards necessary for him to review." Unless he had paid some 
attention to the Latin under M'Nemara, or his successors, this pro- 
gress was altogether extraordinary. 

About the time of his becoming a student at Liberty Hall, Mr. 
Baxter made profession of his faith, and united with the church of 
his parents, Mossy Creek, under the care of Benjamin Erwin. Of 
his spiritual exercises there is no record or tradition. In the fall of 
1789 the happy revival that had spread so widely east of the Ridge, 
began to be felt in the valley. Mr. Graham made his memorable 
visit to Prince Edward, and had been a co-worker in the harvest at 
the Peaks of Otter, and returned to Lexington with a company of 
young people rejoicing in the Lord. " The Blue Ridge rang with 
their songs of praise." The voice of a young man, in a public 
prayer-meeting in Lexington, was that night heard for the first time, 
between whom and George A. Baxter the acquaintance of students 
was mingled with the highest respect. From that night onwards, 
for more than two years, the converting influences of the Holy 
Spirit accompanied the preaching of the gospel throughout the great 
valley of Virginia. Graham was in his best days. J. B. Smith 
came over occasionally. And Legrand, young, ardent, and suc- 
cessful, went as evangelist wherever there was an open door. Not 
a congregation was unmoved. 

Mr. Baxter, whether pursuing his studies at Liberty Hall, or 
laboring on the farm, was in the midst of this great awakening. 
His ideas of revivals, and of preaching, were formed when the stan- 
dard of doctrine and practice and Christian experience w T as settled 
for generations in Virginia. Professors of religion, of long and 
respectable standing, were greatly impressed, and not a few as 
deeply exercised as new converts. The minister at Timber Ridge, 
Mr. Carrick, had great troubles of soul about his own spiritual con- 
dition. In simplicity and frankness, yet privately like Nicodemus, 
he sought an interview with Mr. Smith, of Prince Edward, and 
stated his fears, not that he held wrong doctrines, but that, observing 
the mental exercises of the converts, he feared he had mistaken the 
exercises of a true Christian man, and that the truths of God had 
not produced their proper effect upon himself, in his previous expe- 
rience. He, after the conference, found peace in the gospel he had 


been preaching ; his distress gave place to joy ; and he went on 
proclaiming the gospel of the Son of God with a glad heart. Dr. 
Baxter never referred to this revival but with emotion ; his voice 
trembled as he spoke. A reference to it would kindle a fire in his 
heart. Throughout his life the mention of a revival anywhere would 
enlist all the sympathies of his soul. In his later years, when God 
was pleased to revive his slumbering church, after a long period of 
inaction, some of the young agents that knew not the days of power 
Baxter had witnessed, proclaimed him a convert to revivals, ex- 
pressing surprise that the old preacher should become a warm 
advocate of what appeared to them new. He, in the simplicity 
characteristic of him, was but living over again the days of his 
youth, and in his modesty claiming nothing for himself in the pre- 
sent or the past. 

The Bev. Robert Stuart, of Kentucky, says part of the time Mr. 
Baxter was a member of Liberty Hall Academy, they were room- 
mates, and bears testimony to his great application and success in 
pursuing his studies. " He was instrumental in establishing in the 
Academy a debating society, of which he was a prominent member, 
and early showed that talent for debate which rendered him, in 
after life, a distinguished member of the judicatories of the church. 
He had naturally a slight hesitancy or stammering in his speech. 
In order to correct this defect and acquire a distinct enunciation, he 
imitated Demosthenes in frequently speaking with pebbles in his 
mouth ; and to strengthen the volume of his voice, to declaim by 
the noise of the waterfalls. I state these incidents, being a witness 
to them, as a clear and distinct evidence of the ardor and zeal with 
which he cultivated the talents with which his Maker had endowed 
him for future usefulness." 

Again Mr. Stuart says, in writing to a daughter of Dr. Baxter — 
" As to his theological course of study, I can give you no satisfactory 
account. Although my impression is that we were nearly of the 
same age, (this day, August 14th, 1845, I have entered upon my 
74th year,) yet I was much farther advanced in my literary course 
than he, having commenced earlier in life. I had finished my theo- 
logical course in company with your uncle Ramsey, (the Bev. Samuel 
Bamsey,) who had been my room-mate and companion during the 
whole theological course and trial before Presbytery. We were 
licensed to preach the gospel on the same day, April 20th, 1795. 
There were none in the theological class at this period but Mr. 
Bamsey and myself." 

The time that the degree of A. B. was conferred on Mr. Baxter, 
is uncertain. The early records of the Academy were loosely kept, 
and some are, in all probability, irrevocably lost. Dr. Speece in his 
autobiography says, " I entered the school," (New London Academy) 
" in November 1792. At the end of my first year Mr. Graham left 
the school and was succeeded by Mr. George A. Baxter. God's 
providence continued me at school a year and a half longer." By 
this it appears Mr. Baxter was at New London the latter part of 


1793. He went from Liberty Hall with a high reputation as a tutor, 
having served in that office, for the lower classes, while he was com- 
pleting his own course under Mr. Graham. He had for his asso- 
ciate, in Bedford, for a length of time, Mr. Daniel Blain, afterwards 
Professor in Washington Academy and minister of the gospel. 
Under the supervision of these gentlemen, the reputation of the 
Academy was still more widely extended. Some pleasing instances 
of careful attention to the moral and spiritual concerns of the youths 
under their care are remembered by the surviving pupils. An elder 
in the Church says, that going on a Sabbath morning for his books, 
left at the Academy, Mr. Baxter invited him to the room, occupied 
by himself and Mr. Blain, to attend morning prayers, and that the 
conversation of the two men, and the prayer offered by one, made 
impressions on his heart that resulted in his conversion. John H. 
Rice became a pupil ; and Mr. Baxter made him an associate. Drs. 
Speece and Rice cherished through life the warmest friendship for 
their instructor, to whose care and attention they owed much of 
their eminence in literary acquirements. Some private memoranda 
in possession of his family lead to the conclusion that his degree of 
A. B. was not conferred till the year 1796. 

The records of Lexington Presbytery from December 1792 to 
June 1800, cannot be found ; and the time of his being received a 
candidate, and the various parts of trial required of him previously 
to his licensure are unknown. Mr. Stuart says, " my physician 
gave it as his opinion, that unless I quit speaking, I would soon fall 
into confirmed consumption. He advised me to spend the winter in 
the South, which I did, the winter of 1796. In the spring, April 
1797, 1 returned to Rockbridge ; and on my return I had called at 
your grandmother's, which was a kind of resting place to the clergy." 
Having met Mr. Baxter the next morning on his way there, he 
turned back — " I spent the day and night with him, and he started 
the next morning with me, and we travelled together to Lexington. 
At that time I am assured he had been teaching east of the Blue 
Ridge, and had not obtained license." Private memoranda in his 
family say, he was licensed at New Monmouth, April 1797. Im- 
mediately after being licensed, he made a tour through parts of 
Maryland and Virginia, taking collections for the advantage of New 
London Academy. 

The earliest presbyterial record respecting him, is dated October 
20th 1797, at Pisgah, Bedford County, at a meeting of Hanover 
Presbytery. "A letter was received from Mr. George A. Baxter 
formerly a licentiate under the care of Lexington Presbytery, con- 
taining a dismission from Presbytery, and expressing his desire to 
put himself under our care ; which request being agreed to, he was 
accordingly received as a probationer under our particular charge." 
Ad this meeting Mr. Samuel Ramsey, mentioned by Mr. Stuart, 
accepted a call from the Church in Grassy Valley, Tennessee ; and 
Dr. Alexander's plan for the appropriation of the charitable fund of 
Presbytery was adopted. The unly other notice of him on the records 


of Hanover is dated May 9th 1799, at the Cove meeting-house, 
Albemarle, and is" a dismission to put himself under the care of Lex- 
ington Presbytery. Mr. Baxter confined himself to his Academy, 
preaching as occasion required, but not encouraging any call from 
a church, or vacancy, in the bounds of Hanover. 

Having found his way to — "the resting place of the clergy" — 
Widow Fleming's residence in Botetourt, he continued his visits for 
special reasons, other than the hospitality of this family of stand- 
ing and wealth. Dr. Hall in his journeyings to and from Philadel- 
phia, as commissioner from Orange Presbytery, used to rest with the 
family in his simple character of minister of the gospel, and always 
found a welcome. Cary Allen in his journeyings to and from Ken- 
tucky as a missionary, rested here as a missionary, and was welcome 
to all the refreshment the family could give. His agreeable enter- 
tainment resulted in his asking, and, in 1794, obtaining the hand 
of the eldest daughter. After the death of Mr. Allen, this lady 
became the wife of Mr. Ramsey mentioned by Mr. Stuart. Mr. 
Baxter obtained the object he went for, and on the 27th of January, 
1798, was married to Miss Anne Fleming. With her he lived about 
forty-five years. 

Col. William Fleming to whose daughter Mr. Baxter was united, 
was a Scotchman emigrating to Virginia in early life. Of the no- 
bility of Scotland, he received an education becoming the rank of 
the family, and sought in America a more ample field for his exer- 
tions, than his native land could afford. Of fine manners, vigorous 
constitution, and enterprising spirit, and delighting and excelling in 
the sports common among the young men of Virginia, fond of so- 
ciety, and not unmindful of the fair, and not averse to those occa- 
sional indulgences at the plentiful board, that marked the age among 
the poliier classes in the " ancient dominion," he became a favorite 
with the Governor. Rambling through the western domain of Vir- 
ginia, he was enamoured with the mountain scenery and the produc- 
tive valleys, and took his residence in Botetourt County, on the 
waters of the James. Getting possession of fine tracts of land, for 
which his friendship with the governor afforded great facilities, he 
became wealthy. His enterprise and social manners made him 
popular. He led a regiment in the expedition to Point Pleasant ; 
and in the bloody battle received a wound, the effects of which fol- 
lowed him to his grave, and hastened his death. 

In the fall of 1798, the New London Academy could boast of a 
greater number of students than Liberty Hall; and Mr. Baxter 
had a greater reputation as a teacher than any person in the great 
Valley. The trustees of Liberty Hall, Oct. 19th, 1798, offered to 
him the professorship of Mathematics, with which was connected 
Natural Philosophy and Astronomy. Mr. Edward Graham with 
tutors had carried on the instruction of the students during the 
interregnum succeeding the resignation of President Graham. Mr. 
Baxter accepted the invitation and removed to Lexington. He was 
accompanied by Mr. Blain and ten students, and found Mr. Graham 


with seven students prepared to welcome him. The trustees had 
not provided a house for any of their teachers, but offered Mr. 
Baxter the use of the steward's house till it should be wanted for 
the use of the steward. On the records of the Academy he is 
called tutor. 

On the 16th of October, 1799, he delivered in the Presbyterian 
church in Lexington, by request of the trustees of the Academy, 
an oration on the death of William Graham, the rector. He was — 
" requested to furnish the Board with a copy of this oration that it 
might be filed with the papers of the Academy." This oration can 
no where be found. As a specimen of the writings of Mr. Baxter 
at that time it would gratify the public, and be a memorial of his 
teacher and friend. On the same day he was elected rector of the 
Academy, and entered upon his office. He was on the same day 
requested to draw up a code of laws for the government of the stu- 
dents of the Academy. With the rectorship of the Academy, Mr. 
Baxter accepted the invitation of the church of New Monmouth, 
which included Lexington, to hold the pastoral office. The pro- 
ceedings of the Presbytery are among the lost records. In the 
double capacity as Rector and President of the institution, and 
pastor of the church, he served his generation about thirty years. 
He found, in his public ministrations an ample reward for all his 
efforts to correct his enunciation. His impediment was not noticed. 
His voice was clear and his pronunciation distinct. Speaking was 
no labor to him. Preaching was pleasant as a spiritual and mental 
exercise, and as a physical act : in his late years few of his hearers 
had any knowledge of his early impediment. They all knew that 
he had never given any signs of exhaustion ; and the occasional 
stoppage in his speech they attributed to deep emotion. He was 
frequently heard to say the exercise of preaching refreshed him, 
and that he was better prepared for a fatiguing exercise after offi- 
ciating in the sanctuary than at its ccmmencement. 




The Presbytery of Hanover met at Hampden Sidney, April 
8th, 1801. Mr. Alexander was free from his pastoral charges, 
having resigned the care of Cub Creek in 1797, on entering upon the 
duties of President; of Briery in the fall of '98, on account of the 
increased labor of his position ; and at this time he carried into 
effect his contemplated resignation of the Presidency. At this 
meeting of Presbytery, Mr. bpeece was licensed ; libraries for min- 


isters and congregations were recommended ; Mr. Amos Thompson 
of Winchester Presbytery, took his seat as corresponding member ; 
a regular assessment for the expenses of Commissioners to the 
Assembly was, for the first time, laid on the churches ; and Mr. 
Alexander and Wm. Calhoon were chosen Commissioners to the 


Mr. Alexander asked for credentials, as he proposed visiting dis- 
tant parts of the country. The church of Briery put in a call for 
his ministerial services one-half his time. He enquired if an imme- 
diate answer was necessary. It was replied the congregation would 
wait a time for his consideration. The committee of trustees 
appointed to obtain another President, also determined to wait the 
issue of his visit. He set out upon his journey uncommitted. 

When he left the college, he tells us he was not settled in miud 
whether he would go the upper road as it was called, along the foot 
of the mountains, or the lower road more commonly travelled, and 
on which he had been invited to stop and assist Mr. Todd at a com- 
munion season. He does not tell what decided his doubtfulness ; 
but Mrs. Legrand (Mrs. Read) would have suggested that it was a 
living reason, in a very pretty form of flesh and blood. "Are you 
not afraid, if you stay away so long, that some of the young min- 
isters visiting Mr. Waddell's, will get away Miss Janetta ?" " I shall 
conclude then — she was never intended for me." He took the 
upper road and tarried some days at Dr. Waddell's ; and when he 
went on he left his plighted vows with Miss Janetta. The mother 
moulded the destiny of Waddell ; and the daughter, of Alexander. 
In the Assembly of 1801 he became acquainted with Dr. Edwards, 
the mover of the famous plan of Union, Dr. M'Millan, venerated in 
Western Pennsylvania, Dr. Green, for years a leading member of 
the Presbyterian Church, and Dr. Miller, with whom he was after- 
wards associated in office. Reports of extensive revivals in the 
West were laid before the Assembly ; and the Synod of Virginia 
had credit for sending six missionaries west of the Alleghenies. He 
received the appointment of delegate to the General Association of 
Connecticut, with Dr. M'Knight, of New York, and Dr. Linn, of 

This journey through New England left footprints not yet worn 
away. His sketches afford the finest picture of New England as it 
was, that can be found. Its graphic power is equalled only by 
Davies' journal in England, and the notes of his friend Rice, as he 
recorded his views of New England, in subsequent years. 

On his return to Virginia in the fall, he became the second time 
a member of the family of Major Read. Negotiations were at once 
commenced by the committee of the trustees of the college, which 
resulted in propositions more agreeable to him, than any offers made 
him on his journey. On the 18th of January, 1802, at Prince 
Edward Court-House, the trustees " appoint Mr. Alexander Presi- 
dent of the College, in conformity with the agreement made with 
him by committee." The terms made his salary dependent on the 


success of the college, and limited it, at the maximum, to about six 
hundred dollars, with the use of the president's house. The dwell- 
ing was put in readiness for the new president to commence house- 
keeping ; and on the fifth of April, he became son-in-law of James 
Waddell. The two most eloquent preachers of their day were thus 
united by domestic bonds. The elder had passed his days of use- 
fulness, and speedily ended his course ; the younger, not yet in his 
meridian, surpassed all the expectations of his early friends. With 
similarity to make them congenial, and individuality to make each 
pleasing to the other, their excellencies commended them to the 
church. Waddell was tall and spare, Alexander short and firmly 
built, both active and manly in their bearing, without the least 
appearance of ostentation. Both possessed a clear penetrating 
voice ; Waddell's perhaps the most musical, Alexander's the most 
piercing. Both talked their sermons with inimitable simplicity and 
earnestness. The younger, the more excitable, and more vehement 
in that excitement ; the elder preserved his composure, though the 
very fires of Vesuvius raged within. Both possessed graphic sar- 
casm. Alexander seldom indulged it ; Waddell would not unfre- 
quently inflame his audience with his scorching invectives. The 
affections of both were strong ; but Alexander was the most lovely. 
Waddell was always in all things more stately — he could not help 
it : he had most dignity ; but, if equal in age, could not have 
inspired more reverence. Blessed in their domestic relations, Alex- 
ander was most intensely beloved. In their sermons, the power 
that subdued was more visible in Waddell than in Alexander. The 
swing of Waddell's long finger was more often seen than the motion 
of Alexander's hand. Waddell could write with the keen terse- 
ness of Junius ; Alexander would not, if he could. In the sentences 
of Waddell, the words would sometimes be seen ; in Alexander's, 

On the 15th of the same month, a call from the Cumberland 
congregation was presented to the Presbytery, at Bethel Meeting- 
House, in Bedford, for Mr. Alexander, for one-half his time. A 
letter was received from Mr. Alexander, declaring his acceptance 
of the same, and also of the one committed to his consideration the 
previous spring, by the congregation of Briery. By the arrange- 
ments completed by Presbytery, Mr. Alexander was president of 
college, and co-pastor with Mr. Lacy, of Cumberland congregation, 
which embraced the college, and with Lyle in Briery. The entire 
absence of jealousy in the hearts of these two pastors, at the over- 
shadowing influence of the young president, is to be admired. For 
about four years, Mr. Alexander occupied the president's house, 
and the co-pastorship continued in perfect harmony ; and for a part 
of the time, Mr. Bice was co-laborer in the college. 

The interest felt by Mr. Rice in the pupils of his charge, may be 
learned from a letter of March 5th, 180^!, addressed to Mrs. Morton : 
"lam not much in the habit of writing to you lately, but it is not 
because I do not love you as much as 1 ever did ; indeed, my afiec- 


tion for you increases. I suppose you can conjecture the reason ; 
but I did not begin to write, that I might talk of this subject : I 
have one more interesting to your feelings. Think now what event, 
of everything in the world, would give you most pleasure ; think 
of that for which you would, with the fullest heart, return thanks 
to Heaven, and you will know what I am about to write on. I have 
good news, which will delight your soul. I am delighted myself; 
how then will the heart of a fond mother, — but I am going too fast ; 
my feelings are very apt to hurry me away. This evening, William 
came into my room, and, after some indifferent conversation, he 
informed me that he was at a loss for a subject for a composition to 
read before the society to-morrow. I told him it would be well to 
write on the advantages of a religious education. He might show, 
I told him, the great benefit of having pious friends, and advise his 
friend, (for I recommended an epistolary form,) to make a wise 
improvement of the great privileges he enjoyed. This touched a 
string which touched his heart. God seemed to have put it into my 
mind to say this, that a way might be made for what followed. 

He immediately replied that it was truly a great advantage ; but 
remarked that very many who had enjoyed it were worse than others. 
I observed that the remark was just, and proceeded to account for it 
in this way, that those who were so highly favored very frequently 
had serious impressions made upon their minds, which they gradually 
wore off till their hearts became hardened, and they were given up 
of God to work all manner of iniquity with greediness ; and this was 
the most awful situation in which a soul could be placed on this side 
of everlasting destruction. He then observed he frequently had felt 
such impressions, but they had left him he hardly knew how. I 
told him then that I felt extremely anxious for him ; that I had ob- 
served him looking serious lately, and that I was much pleased with 
it. I know of no event, said 1, that would give me such pleasure as 
to see you a Christian. 

He then opened his heart to me, and said that since he first came 
to college, he had felt serious impressions. I believe, continued he, 
that God gave them to me that I might be preserved from the bad 
courses of the students. When I was with you in Powhatan, I felt 
more seriously than I had ever done before, but I soon forgot it. 
However, since last Sunday I feel more on these subjects tuan I 
did then. While I am alone I can think of nothing else ; it even 
interrupts my studies ; indeed, says he, I am apt to forget while I 
mix with the boys, but then it constantly returns. He then com- 
plained of his inconsistency ; and said he had felt more to-day than 
he ever did in his life, though perhaps he had never been wilder, or 
played more with the boys. 1 have, said he, felt ashamed to talk 
about religion ; but I believe that is not a good way, and I came this 
evening on purpose to talk with you, that I might have something 
more to bind me, and keep me from doing what I ought not. I know, 
says he, that my heart is so bad that I shall wish I had not done so, 
but I am determined while I feel as I do to try every way, in my 


power, to be religious, but 0, I am so afraid that before to-morrow 
night I shall forget all this. 

In reply, I informed him that he gave me very great pleasure by 
talking thus. It will be well for you said I to converse frequently 
on this subject with those who feel the powers of religion in their 
hearts. Solomon says, that he that walketh with wise men shall be 
wise, and by wisdom he means religion. Whenever you are disposed 
to talk on the subject, I shall be highly pleased to converse with 
you. And let me observe to you that this is a gracious season, and 

improve it as such. You know not but that it may be the last. 

1 know that college is a very unfavorable place for religious exercises ; 
that indeed is the principal objection I have to it myself ; I had 
much rather see you placed in a private family, with a pious teacher, 
but you are at college ; and while here you will be exposed to many 
temptations and hindrances ; but we are all subject to difficulties, 
and when they come in your way you must remember your soul is at 
stake, that your eternal welfare depends on your conduct now ; for 
now is the accepted time, and now the day of salvation. God, the 
infinitely great God, has been graciously pleased to say, I love them 
that love me, and those who seek me early shall find me. This is a 
gracious promise which should encourage you to go on to seek the 
Lord. And as for the difficulties you complain of, there is only one 
resource ; go to God for assistance, he will give it to those who ask 
him. We are indeed poor helpless creatures, we can do nothing our- 
selves ; but he is able and willing to help us. If you are always 
thus fearful of losing your serious impressions, you will be in no 
danger on that score ; the danger is lest you should grow indifferent 
about them ; and beg of God that he would not take his spirit 
from you. I trust the Lord has begun a good work in your heart, 
and will carry it on to perfection ; and be assured that when I pray 
for myself, I shall pray for you too. 

This is only a specimen of our conversation. I could not detail 
it all in the compass of three or four sheets. We talked for a con- 
siderable time, and for the greater part of it he was melted in tears. 
You know not how much better I love him. Among other things 
which I suggested to his mind, I mentioned the anxiety of his dear 
I parents, — 0, says he, I know nothing would please them half so well. 
When I mentioned the Saviour, he said, I have tried to depend upon 
him alone. When I told him that if he obtained religion he would 
have a treasure which he would not exchange for the whole world, 
Ah, says he, I would not take the world for it now. I could go on 
much further, but I must stop. I know that you would enjoy much 
by knowing what passed between us, and I therefore resolved to send 
you this little account. May God grant that not only your William, 
but your Mary, your Johnny, and your Fisher, may be made par- 
takers of Christ's purchase ; and in the great day may you, and your 
dear Major, say here we are Lord, and ail whom thou hast given us. 
And may I too be of the number ; pray to God that I may. 

Your most affectionate, 
18 J. H. Rice. 


This letter, though directed to you, is for the Major, and for 
Nancy too. I know that you all will be equally glad." The William 
mentioned is still living (1855), an elder in the church of his fathers. 

Mr. Rice had three fine and perfectly distinct models of preaching 
before him. Mr. Alexander, whose simplicity of manner and 
thought, clearness of arrangement and expression, force of sentiment 
and directness of reasoning, sometimes metaphysically and some- 
times by collocation of facts and apparently simple truths, sweetness 
of manner and ardor of soul, and entire losing of himself in his 
subject, all taken together as united in a handsome, active person, 
formed, in the eye of Mr. Rice, a surpassing model of excellence. 
Mr. Lyle, whose pure thoughts and classic language, clear enuncia- 
tion of the great gospel truths, entire soundness in the doctrines 
of faith, pleasant and frequently impressive manner, the correct- 
ness and often great strength of his positions, and varied exhi- 
bition of the doctrines of grace in a form to instruct and interest 
the common mind, presented another model as symmetrical and as 
hard to imitate as that of his beloved co-pastor ; and Lacy, with a 
more commanding person than either, a musical voice, simple-hearted 
and guileless as a child, that loved to preach for the very benevo- 
lence of the truth he announced, and which flowed in and out from 
his own heart and the hearts of his hearers while he announced the 
truths, a child of impulse, a slumbering giant that roused himself to 
the height of any position a preacher is called to, with no ambition 
to surpass his brethren in anything, and not knowing that he did 
till they told him of it, and one that looked for his happiness in his 
domestic relations and his God. Alexander, in the buoyancy of his 
spirits, would sometimes seem to leap, to run, to fly and come back 
again and split the rocks and rive the gnarled oaks ; Lyle moved on 
with the solemn march and measured tread of the heavy-armed 
soldier, with the heart of compassion for the widow and orphan, and 
of a lion for the foe, and never turned back in kindness or in war ; 
Lacy would sometimes talk like a child, it would seem as if he was 
going to babble, then, by some sudden inspiration, would sound the 
alarm, the rallying cry, longer, louder, sweeter, stronger, more 
melodious, tears and exultations, sighs and gladness in the tones, 
more strong as they were sweet, and sweeter as they were more 
strong, filling the whole atmosphere and thrilling to the very 
horizon ; and as he sat down people would sigh — oh why does he 
stop ! And the excellencies of these men both animated and dis- 
couraged him. To be as useful as they were his heart panted ; but, 
alas, there were great difficulties in the way, such as deterred him 
for a time, and made him think of the medical profession. He was 
not fluent in speech. By some peculiar disarrangement of his vocal 
powers, he frequently found great difficulty in the utterance of words, 
and was often brought to a disagreeable pause. By prolonged effort 
this vicious habit of lungs was improved, but never entirely over- 
come. Through life it was occasionally apparent in his public 
services, sometimes affecting himself and the audience disagreeably, 


and at others adding greatly to the solemnity, particularly when his 
mind and heart were struggling under a tide of emotion. Once, in 
the city of New York, he was violently affected suddenly, in the 
midst of an impassioned address, of great feeling. One or two that 
knew the cause were alarmed for the consequence, seeing his violent 
struggles for breath. The mass of the audience leaned forward in 
profound silence till he finished the sentence, thinking nothing else 
than that it was a natural pause from the struggling emotions of the 
speaker's heart. As they passed from the house, one and another 
was saying, did you ever hear such a pause ? did you ever see such 
an effect ? In man's weakness God is strong. That he engaged in 
the study of theology, that he struggled with his impediments and 
overcame them, and that he entered the ministry, the church will 
thank God for ever. 

While engaged in the duties of the college, and in preparations for 
the ministry, he maintained his high stand in the esteem and affec- 
tions of the family at Willington. The attachment he had formed 
for the eldest daughter had, to his surprise and joy, become mutual. 
The mother, in feeble health, counting death near, gave him, on a 
visit to the family, in a private interview, an account of her situa- 
tion, and her hopes and fears as respected the world to come and 
this mortal life, and solemnly charged him to be a friend to her 
young children after her departure, and, as far as possible, lead them 
in the way of salvation. With some fears lest the daughter's deli- 
cate health should not be equal to the duties of a wife, to a minister 
in narrow circumstances, the parents had given their consent to the 
marriage, which was probably hastened by the delicate health of the 
mother. On the 9th of July, 1802, John H. Rice and Ann Smith 
Morton were united in bonds to be separated only by death. Through 
life he alluded to this union as the source of his greatest earthly 
enjoyments, and the spring of much of his usefulness. Immediately 
after the marriage, Mr. Rice commenced housekeeping near the 
college, in a small tenement provided by Major Morton. This 
house, much enlarged, is now the residence of Mrs. Rice (1855) and 
her sister, Mrs. Wharey, the widow of a clergyman. About this 
time Mr. Rice was ordained elder of Cumberland church. In a 
letter he expresses his estimation of his friends in Prince Edward 
and Powhatan : — "In no other circumstances do I more plainly see 
the hand of God than in bestowing upon me so many honest-hearted 
friends as I have. They are all among the excellent of the earth. 
Their regard is worth having, because they esteem only what is 
good. May the Lord make me worthy of them." 

At a meeting of Hanover Presbytery at Hanover meeting-house, 
April 9th, 1803, present Rev. Messrs. John D. Blair, Drury Lacy, 
and James Robinson ; Elders, John Parker and Andrew Hart ; a 
record was made — " Whereas, it was represented by one of the 
members present, that Mr. John H. Rice, a tutor in Hampden 
Sidney College, was desirous of coming under the care of this Pres- 
bytery as a candidate for the ministry, and that subjects had been 


assigned him by Mr. Alexander, as pieces of trial, which he had 
intended to have produced at this time, hut was prevented by sick- 
ness ; on motion, resolved, that Messrs. M'Robert, Lacy, Alexander, 
and Lyle, and also Messrs. James Allen, Nathaniel Price, and 
James Morton, Elders, and any other members of Presbytery, who 
may find it convenient to attend, be a Committee to receive Mr. 
Rice as a candidate if they deem it advisable, and to examine such 
pieces of trial as he may produce." This Committee met, with the 
exception of Mr. Price, on the 29th of July, at Hampden Sidney, 
and " examined Mr. John H. Rice on his experimental acquaintance 
with religion, and respecting his motives for desiring to preach the 
gospel, on which they received competent satisfaction ; that Mr. 
Rice then proceeded to read an essay on the question — "are the 
miracles of Christ of themselves sufficient to prove the truth of the 
Christian religion ;" and also a lecture on Romans 8:1-4 inclusive, 
which pieces of trial were sustained. They appointed him to write 
a discourse on Acts 10 : 34, 35, and also on John 5 : 40, as the 
subject of a popular sermon, to be preached as soon as convenient." 
On Friday, Sept. 9th, 1803, at the Cove meeting-house, Albemarle, 
one of the preaching places of James Robinson, " Mr. John H. Rice 
preached a sermon on John 5 : 40, the subject which had been 
appointed by the Committee, which having been considered was 
sustained. Mr. Rice then read an exercise on Acts 10 : 34, 35, 
which had also been appointed by the Committee, which was sus- 
tained as part of trial." On Monday, the 12th, Mr. Rice was 
licensed according to the forms of the Presbyterian Church ; the 
Rev. James Robinson performing the services of the occasion. 

Mr. Alexander gave himself to the spiritual welfare of the church, 
as well as to the progress of literature in the College ; in fact the 
progress of science and literature had charms for him, mostly as 
they might in their diffusion advance the cause of truth and upright- 
ness. The Assembly of 1801, that sent Mr. Alexander a delegate 
to New England, also gave him a commission to visit Georgia as a 
missionary. This he could never find time to fulfil. It also 
enjoined the Presbyteries to collect information on the five following 
subjects, for the use of the Assembly. 1st, The Indian tribes among 
them, or on their borders, and their readiness for instruction. 2d, 
The frontier settlements, and the facilities for missionary operations, 
and the circulation of religious books. 3d, The interior districts 
that are destitute of the means of grace, and the facilities for sup- 
ply. 4th, The colored race, and the opportunities for instruction. 
5th, Proper persons for missionaries in any of these departments. 
All these things had been claiming the attention of the Virginia 
Synod, and were in part supplied by her Commission. In October, 
1802, Messrs. Waddell, Alexander, and Calhoon were appointed to 
collect the required information. The Virginia Synod having 
been divided in the Spring of 1802, and the Synods of Kentucky 
and Pittsburgh taken from her bounds, her relative position was 
changed, and she began to change her method of procedure. The 


Presbyteries also felt the necessity of a modification of their actions. 
Search was made by this Committee for the old records of the 
Presbytery, to direct them in their course. Some of the volumes 
could no where be found. The Committee answered the demands 
of the Assembly on the five heads of information to the best of their 
knowledge ; and the paper with others was committed to Dr. Green 
and Mr. Hazard, to prepare a history. 

The Presbytery at Hampden Sidney, April 7th, 1804 — "Having 
received information that the minutes of the old Hanover Presby- 
tery were recovered, and were in the possession of the Rev. Archi- 
bald Alexander ; ordered, that they be deposited in the hands of the 
Stated Clerk for safe keeping, and that he transcribe, or procure to 
be transcribed such parts of them as need it, in order to their pre- 
servation, and present his account for this service to the Presbytery 
when it is completed." In September, Mr. Lacy, the Clerk, reported 
that he had performed the duty, and presented a quarto volume of 
beautiful penmanship. The Presbytery agreed to allow him thirty 
dollars for the work. The Presbytery then were in possession of 
two copies of all their records that could be procured, from the for- 
mation of the Presbytery, in 1756, to the division in 1786, one copy 
just made by their Stated Clerk, in one volume ; and the other in 
a number of small volumes, by different Stated Clerks, the covers 
of some of the volumes being of parchment or leather, the others 
of frailer material. Of some of the sessions the minutes were irre- 
trievably lost. By a previous order of Presbytery, Mr. Lacy, the 
Clerk, had procured a thick quarto volume of durable materials in 
which he had transcribed, in an engrossing hand, the records of the 
Presbytery from its division, 1786, down to the current time. So 
that, in 1804, the Presbytery had two copies of records made out 
by her Stated Clerks, one in two volumes, and the other in six. 
But for these records thus preserved, a correct account of Hanover 
Presbytery and its ministers could never have been procured. 

"A call from Cub Creek congregation addressed to Mr. John H. 
Rice for three-fourths of his time, was read and presented to him." 
April 6th, 1804, at a meeting of the Presbytery, at the College — 
"But Mr. Rice informed the Presbytery that he did not wish to 
give a decisive answer to the call at present, but was willing to take 
it under consideration." On the next day, he declared his accept- 
ance ; " and it appears proper that he should be ordained at our 
next meeting." lien. 3: 4, "And the serpent said unto the woman, 
ye shall not surely die," was appointed him as the subject of a trial 
sermon. Mr. Alexander was appointed to preach an ordination 
sermon, and Mr. Lacy to preside and give the charge. Mr. Rice 
resigned his office as tutor, and removed to Charlotte, fixing his 
residence on a farm about six miles from the Court-House. The 
Presbytery met at Cub Creek on the 28th of September, and con- 
sisted of Messrs. Alexander, M' Robert, Lacy, and Lyle, with Elders 
Major Morton, from Cumberland congregation, Captain Mask Leak, 
from the Cove, and Colonel William Morton, from Cub Creek. 


After approving the trial sermon of Mr. Rice, the Presbytery pro- 
ceeded to his ordination on Saturday, the 29th. Mr. Alexander 
preached from Acts 20: 28, " Take heed, therefore, unto yourselves, 
and to all the flock over whom the Holy Ghost hath made you over- 
seers, to feed the Church of God which he has purchased with his 
own blood." Mr. Lacy delivered the charge ; and Mr. Rice, who 
had held to the Presbytery the relation of Ruling Elder, candidate 
for the ministry and licentiate, now took his seat as an ordained 

Mr. James Tompkins, a Baptist minister, was present at the meet- 
ing in Bedford, to promote Christian Union, and after a time applied 
for admission to Hanover Presbytery. The committee that were 
charged with the examination of Mr. Rice, were directed to consider 
this application, which had been before a called meeting, in Bedford, 
in February, and the regular Spring meeting in Hanover. The com- 
mittee met at Bannister Meeting-House in June, and considered the 
application, and inquired into some reports implicating the character 
of Mr. Tompkins, by impeaching his motives for desiring a change 
of denominations. At their meeting in July, at the college, the com- 
mittee decided favorably in case of Mr. Rice and Mr. Tompkins, and 
so reported to the meeting of Presbytery in the fall. After Mr. Rice 
was licensed, Mr. Tompkins " was received under the care of this 
Presbytery as a preacher of the gospel — and exercises of trial were 
appointed unto him. And as this is a new and important case — 
resolved further, that the following question be brought before Synod 
at their next meeting, by way of overture. A regularly ordained 
minister of the Baptist Church applies to a Presbytery to be received 
as a minister of the gospel in connexion with them ; is his ordination 
to be considered as valid?" On the third day of the sessions of 
Synod, Oct. 15th, at the college, the question was considered, and 
was unanimously decided in the affirmative. The day before Mr. 
Rice was ordained, Mr. Tompkins "delivered a discourse on 1st John 
2d, 2d. The subject assigned him in Sept. 1803, which the Presby- 
tery sustained as satisfactory. The Rev. James Mitchel came in — 
his reasons for not coming sooner, and also for non-attendance at our 
last meeting were sustained. Mr. Tompkins then read an essay on 
the following question — Wherein consisted the punishment of Adam's 
transgression, and in what manner was it inflicted. The Presby- 
tery having received competent satisfaction with respect to Mr. James 
Tompkins, of his abilities to preach the gospel, and of his soundness 
in the faith, agreed to receive him as a member in full standing." 
Mr. Tompkins was an acceptable preacher, and an useful minister of 
Christ. His race was short. On the 20th of July, 1806, he entered 
on his everlasting rest. 

The Second Step by Hanover Presbytery for a Theological Seminary '. 

An overture brought into the Assembly of the Church in 1805, by 
Dr. Green, was approved, and sent to the Presbyteries, enjoining 
them—" to look out among themselves, pious youth of promising 


talents, and endeavor to educate them, and bring them forward into 
the ministry ; that it be made a Presbyterial business, that the youth 
are to be conducted by the Presbyteries through the whole of their 
academical course, and theological studies, and at such schools, and 
! under such teachers as each Presbytery may choose to employ or 
.'recommend." The Hanover Presbytery took up the overture, April 
1 4th, 1806, at Briery. The Synod of Virginia, many years before, 
•had proposed these schools in her bounds, to carry into effect a 
'similar proposal, one in Redstone Presbytery, one in Transylvania, 
and one in Lexington. Hanover Presbytery had taken it up, and in 
the year 1797 had commenced her charitable fund, the first step 
towards a Seminary. Something more was wanted to make the pro- 
ject effective. Therefore — " Resolved, that the Rev. Messrs. Alex- 
ander, Lyle, Rice and Speece, together with Messrs. James Morton, 
Robert Quarles, and James Daniel be a committee, of whom any four 
shall be a quorum, to solicit donations, and do all other things which 
may to them appear expedient for obtaining and establishing a 
Theological Library and School at Hampden Sidney College ; and 
for the support of such poor and pious youth as the Presbytery may 
undertake to educate and bring forward to the Holy Ministry." 
Mr. Rice, a member of the Assembly, was on the committee of bills 
and overtures, that reported the overture of Dr. Green ; and was 
appointed by this committee of Hanover Presbytery an agent to 
gather funds for a library, and the school, and the education pur- 
poses. This was another step towards Union Theological Seminary. 
The address of the committee to the public is worthy of preservation, 
setting forth the fundamental principles of theological schools. 

The person to whom the Presbytery turned their eyes as the man 
to direct the use of the intended library, and preside in the school 
w r hen organized, appears not to have made any such calculation 
about himself. In a letter to Mr. Maxwell, Dr. Alexander says, 
speaking of Mr. Rice — " Our excellent friend was not a systematic 
student in his theological studies ; and although you seem disposed 
to give me the credit of having been his preceptor in this sacred 
science, yet candor induces me to say, that I have a very slight 
claim to the honor. I never considered myself his teacher, in this 
or any other department of knowledge. I was rather his com- 
panion in study ; but was ever ready to communicate to others the 
tacts of my own reading. I was about a half a dozen years older 
than he, and had been about that time in the ministry, when I first 
knew him ; but then the idea of teaching theology to any one was far 
from my thoughts. I do remember, iiowever, that at his earnest 
request, I prescribed a course of reading in theology ; and the im- 
pression of the fact was rendered indelible in my mind, by an inci- 
dent of a somewhat remarkable kind, which I will relate. Among 
the books to be perused was Dr. Samuel Clarke's Demonstration of 
the Being and Attributes of Grod. The effect winch the reading of 
this able work had on his mind 1 can never forget. It plunged him 
into the abyss of scepticism. It drove him almost to distraction. 


I never contemplated a powerful mind in such a state of desolation. 
For a day or two his perturbation was overwhelming and alarming. 
But in a few days, effectual relief was obtained ; but in what par- 
ticular way, I am, at this distance of time unable to state, except 
that the difficulties which he experienced were not overcome by 
reasoning, or any human means ; but by the grace of God through 
prayer. I do not pretend to explain how the perusal of this work 
of profound argumeut should have produced such an effect. I 
merely note an interesting fact, from which every reader may draw 
his own conclusions. It is now my impression that this occurrence 
interrupted the theological studies of our deceased friend. 

" His discourses when he first engaged in public preaching, were 
principally argumentative, and especially directed to the demonstra- 
tion of the truths of the Christian religion, and its vindication from 
the objections of infidels. He was naturally led into this strain of 
preaching, by the prevalence of deistical opinions in that country 
for several years preceding. His sermons therefore were not at 
first suited to the taste, nor adapted to the edification of the com- 
mon people ; but they were calculated to raise his reputation as a, 
man of learning and abilities, with men of information and discern- 
ment." There was a change in his style of preaching ; in a few 
years he became a favorite with the colored people. 

The records of College give evidence of disturbances, and ten- 
dencies to disorder among the students, to a greater degree during 
the second presidency of Mr. Alexander than the first. Domestic 
discipline had relaxed, and many things were considered by parents 
and guardians as admissible, that, in previous years, had been in- 
tolerable. The number of students from a distance increased ; and 
they brought their insubordination along with them. College duties 
were severe, and Mr. Alexander longed for the ministry of the word. 
There were congregations that would sustain a preacher ; for one 
of these Mr. Alexander began to have strong desires. His health 
was enfeebled by his great exertions as preacher and teacher ; and 
his opportunities for study were lessening. In this condition of 
things, Pine street Church in Philadelphia sent him an invitation. 
He immediately made them a visit ; and being pleased with the 
prospect, he accepted their proposition and prepared for a removal. 
A called meeting of Presbytery was held at the College, November 
13th 1806, and the call for Mr. Alexander came under considera- 
tion. Tne churches with which he was connected yielded to his 
wish to remove, and made no objection to the call. He was there- 
fore transferred to the Presbytery of Philadelphia. At least three 
ministers mourned his departure ; and the hearts of many laymen 
were sad. But in tne removal he was evidently blessed of God. 

On receiving Mr. Alexander's resignation, the Trustees appointed 
Mr. Wm. S. Keid, then teaching in College, to take charge of the 
classes tor a season ; and gave him as tutors Mr. Andrew iShannon, 
Mr. Thomas Lumpkin and Mr. James C. Willson ; all of whom 
afterwards became ministers of the gospel. 





At the commencement of the nineteenth century, the Synod of 
Virginia consisted of the Presbyterian ministers and churches in the 
States of Virginia and Kentucky, then a part of Virginia, and Penn- 
sylvania west of the Allegheny Mountains ; and was the theatre of 
one of those great religious movements which convulse society, and 
leave their impress for generations. It commenced in Kentucky, 
and spread northward, eastward, and southward, following the track 
of the pioneers of the forest first, and then seeking beyond the 
mountains the homes they had left. Its character, like the beautiful 
country in which it commenced, and the people that were the sub- 
jects, was unlike in many of its externals to any awakening, of 
which the church, in her numerous histories, has any record. In 
Kentucky the excitement was greatest ; and the good and the evil 
interwoven, most prominent and enduring. It has formed the 
theme of history already, and will claim for ever a chapter in the 
history of that State. In North Carolina, the consequences, full 
of blessings to the Church and State, were abundant, and will form 
a part of her record for ever. West Pennsylvania has many monu- 
ments to tell of the excellencies of that great religious movement 
which made all things, like this beautiful country, new. 

In 1802, the Synod of Virginia was divided, and from her bounds 
were constituted three Synods, that of Virginia confined to the 
State, Kentucky, and Pittsburg embracing West Pennsylvania. 
In each of these Synods the work of God had progressed, moulded 
in its externals by the varying condition of the population. Sin is 
the same in its nature and attributes everywhere, and in all time ; 
the love of God is as pure and unchanging as its source ; and the 
grace of Christ as purifying and transforming as at the day of 
Pentecost. But the manner the great truths of the gospel shall stir 
the passions, alike in all time in the great principle, will in circum- 
stantials show a striking variety, like the color and forms of the race. 

Tne Synod of Virginia after this great curtailment of her bound- 
aries and churches, numbered on her list of laborers twenty-seven 
ordained ministers and five licentiates. In the bounds of the two 
Hanovers, were James Waddell, William Irvin, and Archibald 
M'Koberts, without a pastoral charge ; James Mitchel and James 
Turner, in Bedford ; John D. Blair occupying Hanover and Henrico; 
Drury Lacy, Cumberland; Matthew Lyie, Buffalo and Briery; James 
llobmson, Kocktish and Cove; William Calhoon, Albemarle; and 
Archibald Alexander at the head of Hampden Sidney College. In 
the Presbytery of Lexington, then containing Montgomery and 
Ureenbrier were, Benjamin Erwin, without charge; William Wilson, 

282 dr. Baxter's letter. 

Augusta church ; John McCue, Tinkling Spring ; Samuel Houston, 
Falling Spring and High Bridge ; Benjamin Grigsby, Lewisburg 
and Concord ; Samuel Brown, New Providence ; Robert Wilson, 
Windy Cove, Little Spring, and Rocky Spring ; Robert Logan, 
without charge ; and George A. Baxter, New Monmouth and Lex- 
ington, and head of Liberty Hall, or Washington Academy, with 
John Glendy, a probationer from Ireland, supplying Staunton, 
Bethel, and Brown's meeting-house. In the Presbytery of Win- 
chester, were Amos Thompson, without charge ; Moses Hoge, Shep- 
herdstown ; Nash Legrand, Cedar Creek and Opecquon ; William 
Hill, Winchester; William Williamson, South River and Flint Run; 
John Lyle, Romney, Springfield, and Frankfort; Joseph Glass, 
Gerardstown and Back Creek. The licentiates were, Daniel Blain, 
William McPheeters, John Todd, John Mines, and John Chavis, a 
colored man. These thirty-two Presbyterian ministers scattered 
over the large State of Virginia, felt their hearts moved at the 
reports brought in from Kentucky. Most of them had friends, and 
many of them relatives, in the midst of the excitement. Mr. Baxter 
made a tour through Kentucky in the year 1801, observing carefully 
the circumstances of the religious meetings, and, like a true philoso- 
pher, gathering facts for his future consideration, without any pre- 
viously formed theory. On his return, he wrote to his friend Archi- 
bald Alexander, of Hampden Sidney College, the result of his 

To the Rev. Archibald Alexander. 

Washington Academy, Jan. 1st, 1802. 

Rev. and dear Sir — I now sit down agreeably to promise, to 
give you some account of the revival of religion in the State of 
Kentucky ; you have, no doubt, heard already of the Green River 
and Cumberland revivals. I will just observe, that last summer is 
the fourth since the revival commenced in those places : and that 
it has been more remarkable than any of the preceding, not only 
for lively and fervent devotion among Christians, but also for 
awakenings and conversions among the careless ; and it is worthy 
of notice that very few instances of apostasy have hitherto appeared. 
As I was not myself in the Cumberland country, all I can say about 
it is from the testimony of others ; but I was uniformly told by 
those who had been there, that their religious assemblies were more 
solemn, and the appearance of the work much greater than what 
had been in Kentucky ; any enthusiastic symptoms which might at 
first have attended the revival, had greatly subsided, whilst the 
serious concern and engagedness of the people were visibly in- 

In the older settlements of Kentucky the revival made its first 
appearance among the Presbyterians last spring. The whole of that 
country about a year before was remarkable for vice and dissipation ; 
and I have been credibly informed that a decided majority of the 


people were professed infidels. During the last winter appearances 
were favorable among the Baptists, and great numbers were added 
to their churches. Early in the spring the ministrations of the 
Presbyterian clergy began to be better attended than they had been 
for many years before. Their worshipping assemblies became more 
solemn, and the people, after they were dismissed, showed a strange 
reluctance at leaving the place ; they generally continued some time 
in the meeting-house, in singing or in religious conversation. Per- 
haps about the last of May or the first of June the awakenings 
became general in some congregations, and spread through the 
country in every direction with amazing rapidity. I left that 
country about the first of November, at which time this revival, in 
connexion with the one on Cumberland, had covered the whole 
State, excepting a small settlement which borders on the waters of 
Green river, in which no Presbyterian ministers are settled, and I 
believe very few of any denomination. The power with which this 
revival has spread, and its influence in moralizing the people, are 
difficult for you to conceive of, and more difficult for me to describe. 
I had heard many accounts and seen many letters respecting it 
before I went to that country ; but my expectations, though greatly 
raised, were much below the reality of the work. The congre- 
gations, when engaged in worship, presented scenes of solemnity 
superior to what I had ever seen before ; and in private houses it 
was no uncommon thing to hear parents relate to strangers the won- 
derful things which God had done in their neighborhoods, whilst a 
large circle of young people would be in tears. 

On my way to Kentucky, I was told by settlers on the road, that 
the character of Kentucky travellers was entirely changed, and that 
they were now as distinguished for sobriety as they had formerly 
been for dissoluteness ; and indeed, I found Kentucky the most 
moral place I had ever been in ; a profane expression was hardly 
heard ; a religious awe seemed to pervade the country ; and some 
deistical characters had confessed that from whatever cause the 
revival might originate, it certainly made the people better. Its 
influence was not less visible in promoting a friendly temper ; 
nothing could appear more amiable than that undissembled benevo- 
lence which governs the subjects of this work. I have often wished 
that the mere politician or deist could observe with impartiality 
their peaceful and amicable spirit. He would certainly see that 
nothing could equal the religion of Jesus for promoting even the 
temporal happiness of society. Some neighborhoods visited by the 
revival had been formerly notorious for private animosities, and 
mairy petty law-suits had commenced on that ground. When the 
parties in these quarrels were impressed with religion, the first thing 
was to send for their antagonists ; and it was often very affecting to 
see their meeting. Both had seen their faults, and both contended 
that they ought to make concessions, till at last they were obliged 
to request each to forbear all mention of the past, and to act as 
friends and brothers for the future. Now, sir, let modern philoso- 


phists talk of reforming the world by banishing Christianity and 
introducing their licentious systems. The blessed gospel of our God 
and Saviour is showing what it can do. 

Some circumstances have concurred to distinguish the Kentucky 
revival from most others of which we have had any account. I 
mean the largeness of the assemblies on sacramental occasions, the 
length of time they continued on the ground in devotional exercises, 
and the great numbers who have fallen down under religious im- 
pressions. On each of these particulars I shall make some remarks. 
1st. With respect to the largeness of the assemblies. It is generally 
supposed that at many places there were not fewer than eight, ten, 
or twelve thousand people. At a place called Cane Ridge Meeting- 
House, many are of opinion there were at least twenty thousand. 
There were 140 wagons which came loaded with people, besides 
other wheel carriages. Some persons had come 200 miles. The 
largeness of these assemblies was an inconvenience — they were too 
numerous to be addressed by one speaker ; it therefore became 
necessary for several ministers to officiate at the same time at differ- 
ent stands. This afforded an opportunity to those who were but 
slightly impressed with religion to wander to and fro between the 
different places of worship, which created an appearance of confusion, 
and gave ground to such as were unfriendly to the work to charge 
it with disorder. 

Another cause also conduced to the same effect ; about this time, 
the people began to fall down in great numbers, under serious 
impressions. This was a new thing among Presbyterians ; it excited 
universal astonishment, and created a curiosity which could not be 
restrained, when people fell even during the most solemn parts of 
divine service. Those who stood near, were so extremely anxious 
to see how they were affected, that they often crowded about them, 
so as to disturb the worship. But these causes of disorder were 
soon removed; different sacraments were appointed on the same 
Sabbath, which divided the people, and the falling down became so 
familiar as to excite no disturbance. In October, I attended three 
sacraments ; at each, there were supposed to be four or five thou- 
sand people, and everything was conducted with strict propriety. 
When persons fell, those who were near took care of them, and 
everything continued quiet until the worship was concluded. 

2d. The length of time that people continue at the places of wor- 
ship, is another important circumstance of the Kentucky revival. At 
Cane Ridge they met on Friday, and continued till Wednesday even- 
ing, night and day, without intermission, either in public or private 
exercises of devotion, and with such earnestness, that heavy showers 
of rain w T ere not sufficient to disperse them. On other sacramental 
occasions, they generally continued on the ground until Monday or 
Tuesday evening ; and had not the preachers been exhausted and 
obliged to retire, or had they chosen to prolong the worship, they might 
have kept the people any length of time they pleased ; and all this 
was or might have been done in a country where, less than twelve 


months before, the clergy found it difficult to detain the people 
during the usual exercises of the Sabbath. 

The practice of camping on the ground was introduced partly by 
necessity, and partly by inclination ; the assemblies were generally 
too large to be received by any common neighborhood; everything 
indeed was done which hospitality and brotherly kindness could do, 
to accommodate the people ; public and private houses were opened, 
and free invitations given to all persons who wished to retire. 
Farmers gave up their meadows, before they were mown, to supply 
the horses ; yet, notwithstanding all this liberality, it would have 
been impossible, in many cases, to have accommodated the whole 
assemblies with private lodgings ; but, besides, the people were un- 
willing to suffer any interruption in their devotions, and they formed 
an attachment to the place where they were continually seeing so 
many careless sinners receiving their first impressions, and so many 
deists constrained to call on the formerly despised name of Jesus ; 
they conceived a sentiment like what Jacob felt in Bethel, " Surely 
the Lord is in this place." "This is none other but the house of 
God, and this is the gate of heaven." 

od. The number of persons who have fallen down under serious 
impressions in this revival, is another matter worthy of attention ; 
and on this I shall be more particular, as it seems to be the prin- 
cipal cause why this work should be more suspected of enthusiasm 
than some other revivals. At Cane Ridge sacrament, it is generally 
supposed not less than one thousand persons fell prostrate to the 
ground, among whom were many infidels. At one sacrament which 
I attended, the number that fell was thought to be more than three 
hundred. Persons who fall, are generally such as had manifested 
symptoms of the deepest impressions for some time previous to that 
event. It is common to see them shed tears plentifully for about 
an hour. Immediately before they become totally powerless, they 
are seized with a tremor, and sometimes, though not often, they 
utter one or two piercing shrieks, in the moment of falling ; persons 
in this situation are affected in different degrees ; sometimes, when 
unable to stand or sit, they have the use of their hands, and can 
converse with perfect composure. In other cases they are unable 
to speak, the pulse becomes weak, and they draw a difficult breath, 
about once in a minute : in some instances, their extremities become 
cold, and pulsation, breathing, and all the signs of life forsake them 
for nearly an hour. Persons who have been in this situation have 
uniformly avowed that they felt no bodily pain, that they had the 
entire use of their reason and reflection, and when recovered, they 
could relate everything that had been said or done near them, or 
which could possibly fall within their observation. 

Prom this it appears that their falling is neither common fainting, 
nor a nervous action. Indeed this strange phenomenon appears to 
have taken every possible turn to baffle the conjectures of those who 
are not willing to consider it a supernatural work. Persons have 
sometimes fallen on their way from public worship ; and sometimes 


after they had arrived at home ; and in some cases when they were 
pursuing their common business on their farms, or when retired for 
secret devotion. It was above observed that persons generally arc 
seriously affected for some time previous to their falling ; in many 
cases, however, it is otherwise. Numbers of thoughtless sinners 
have fallen as suddenly as if struck with lightning. Many pro- 
fessed infidels, and other vicious characters have been arrested in 
this way, and sometimes at the very time they were uttering blas- 
phemies against the work. 

At the beginning of the revival in Shelby County, the appear- 
ances, as related to me by eye-witnesses, were very surprising 
indeed. The revival had before this spread with irresistible power 
through the adjacent counties ; and many of the pious had attended 
distant sacraments with great benefit. These were much engaged, 
and felt unusual freedom in their addresses at the throne of grace, 
for the out-pouring of the divine Spirit at the approaching sacra- 
ment in Shelby. The sacrament came on in September. The 
people as usual met on Friday : but all were languid, and the exer- 
cises went on heavily. On Saturday and Sunday morning it was 
no better. At length the communion service commenced, everything 
was still lifeless : whilst the minister of the place was speaking at 
one of the tables, without any unusual animation, suddenly there 
were several shrieks from different parts of the assembly ; instantly 
persons fell in every direction ; the feelings of the pious were sud- 
denly revived, and the work progressed with extraording power, till 
the conclusion of the solemnity. This phenomenon of falling is 
common to all ages, sexes, and characters ; and when they fall they 
are differently exercised. Some pious people have fallen under a 
sense of ingratitude and hardness of heart, and others under affect- 
ing manifestations of the love and good of God. Many thoughtless 
persons under legal convictions, have obtained comfort before they 

But perhaps the most numerous class consists of those who fall 
under distressing views of their guilt, who arise with the same fear- 
ful apprehensions, and continue in that state for some days, perhaps 
weeks, before they receive comfort. I have conversed with many 
who fell under the influence of comfortable feelings, and the account 
they gave of their exercises while they lay entranced was very sur- 
prising. I know not how to give you a better idea of them than by 
sayiug, that in many cases they appeared to surpass the dying exer- 
cises of Dr. Finley ; their minds appeared wholly swallowed up in 
contemplating the perfections of Deity, as illustrated in the plan 
of salvation, and whilst they lay apparently senseless, and almost 
lifeless, their minds were more vigorous, and their memories more 
retentive and accurate than they had ever been before. 

I have heard men of respectability assert that their manifesta- 
tions of gospel truth were so clear, as to require some caution when 
they began to speak, lest they should "use language which might in- 
duce their hearers to suppose, that they had seen those things with 


their bodily eyes ; but at the same time they had seen no image, 
nor sensible representation, nor indeed any thing besides the old 
truths contained in the Bible. Araono; those whose minds were 
filled with the most delightful communications of divine love, I but 
seldom observed anything extatic. Their expressions were just and 
rational, they conversed with calmness and composure, and on their 
first recovering the use of speech, they appeared like persons re- 
covering from a violent disease which had left them on the borders 
of the grave. I have sometimes been present when persons who 
fell under the influence of convictions, obtained relief before they 
arose ; in these cases it was impossible not to observe how strongly 
the change in their minds was depicted in their countenances. In- 
stead of a face of horror and despair, they assumed one open, lu- 
minous, serene and expressive of all the comfortable feelings of re- 
ligion. As to those who fall down under legal convictions and 
continue in that state, they are not different from those who receive 
convictions in other revivals, excepting that their distress is more 
severe. Indeed extraordinary power is the leading characteristic 
of this revival ; both saints and sinners have more striking discove- 
ries of the realities of another world, than I have ever known on 
any other occasion. 

I trust I have said enough on this subject to enable you to judge, 
how far the charge of enthusiasm is applicable to it. Lord Lyttle- 
ton in his letter on the conversion of St. Paul observes, (I think 
justly), that enthusiasm is a vain self-righteous spirit, swelled with 
self-suiiiciency and disposed to glory in its religious attainments. 
If this be a good definition there has been perhaps as little enthu- 
siasm in the Kentucky revival as in any other. Never have I seen 
more genuine marks of that humility which disclaims the merit of 
its own duties, and looks to the Lord Jesus Christ as the only way 
of acceptance with God. I was indeed highly pleased to find that 
Christ was all in all in their religion, as well as in the religion of 
the gospel. Christians in their highest attainments seemed most 
sensible of their entire dependence on divine grace, and it was truly 
affecting to hear with what agonizing anxiety awakened sinners en- 
quired tor Christ, as the only physician who could give them any 
help. Those who call these tilings enthusiasm ought to tell us w r hac 
they understand by the spirit of Christianity. In fact, sir, this 
revival operates as our Saviour promised the Holy Spirit should 
when sent into the world : it convinces of sin, of righteousness, and 
of judgment ; a strong confirmation to my mind, both that the 
promise is divine, and that this is a remarkable fulfilment of it. 

It would be of little avail to object to all this, that probably the 
professions of many were counterfeited. Such an objection would 
rather establish what it meant to destroy, for where there is no 
reality there can be no counterfeit, and besides when the general 
tenor of a work is such as to dispose the more insincere professors 
to counterfeit what is right, the w T ork itself must be genuine. But 
as an eve-witness in the case, I may be permitted to declare that 


the professions of those under religious convictions were generally 
marked with such a degree of engagedness and feeling, as wilful 
hypocrisy could hardly assume. The language of the heart when 
deeply impressed, is very distinguishable from the language of affec- 
tation. Upon the whole, sir, I think the revival in Kentucky among 
the most extraordinary that have ever visited the Church of Christ, 
and, all things considered, peculiarly adapted to the circumstances 
of that country. Infidelity was triumphant, and religion at the 
point of expiring. Something of an extraordinary nature seemed 
necessary to arrest the attention of a giddy people, who were ready 
to conclude that Christianity was a fable, and futurity a dream. 
This revival has done it, it has confounded infidelity, awed vice into 
silence, and brought numbers beyond calculation, under serious im- 
pressions. "Whilst the blessed Saviour was calling home his people, 
and building up his Church in this remarkable way, opposition could 
not be silent. At this I hinted above ; but it is proper to observe, 
that the clamorous opposition which assailed the work at its com- 
mencement has been in a great measure borne down before it. 

A large proportion of those who have fallen, were at first op- 
posers, and their example has taught others to be cautious, if it has 
not taught them to be wise. I have written on this subject, to a 
greater length than I first intended, but if this account should give 
you any sstisfaction, and be of any benefit to the common cause, I 
shall be fully gratified. 

Yours with the highest esteem, 

G. A. Baxter. 

In this letter he displays one of his characteristics through life, 
an ability to gather facts with coolness and precision in preparation 
for illustration, demonstration, or experiment in the broad field of 
natural and moral philosophy, in the science of physics or of mind, 
religion natural or revealed. From these data he formed his 
opinion. Of the bodily exercises he wrote more favorably than he 
probably would have done some years later in life. He never 
thought them subversive of religion, in their early stages, and more 
moderate forms, or irreconcilable with its purity. They might be a 
weakness, but not a sin. In their later stages, when they became 
violent and varied, he carefully separated them from religion, both 
in its early and more matured exercises. The work, as he saw it, 
he believed to be of God, and rejoiced in it, and desired to behold 
its power in Virginia. The old men, leaders in the revival of '88, 
were gone or sinking in years. The young men, and converts, were 
the standard bearers now, and watched the approach of the pillar 
of cloud and of fire, that, hovering over Kentucky, moved slowly 
eastward. With an almost universal dread of the bodily exercises, 
they longed for the presence of the Almighty, with which these 
were mysteriously connected. 

_ The excitement, with some of its peculiarities, was felt in Vir- 
ginia, first, in the Presbyterian settlements along the head waters 


of the Kenawha, in Greenbrier County. Here were no stated min- 
isters. Missionaries occasionally visited them. The work began 
at a prayer-meeting of private Christians. Ministers from Ken- 
tucky recognized here the power of spiritual truths over the minds 
of men, as they had seen it in the West. Some of the Virginia 
preachers visited the settlements, and beheld, with astonishment, the 
influence of grace combined with an unknown power. Desires, 
hopes, and fears were high. Would the shower descend upon the 
Virginia church ? 

In the latter part of the year 1801, the churches under the care 
of Messrs. Mitchel and Turner, were greatly revived. A meeting 
held at the close of the year was noted for the number of people 
impressed with a deep sense of the value as well as truth of the 
gospel. Many made profession of their faith. The bodily agitations 
of numbers were uncontrolled ; they fell upon the ground as smitten 
by a resistless power. In the succeeding spring the influence of 
divine truth was felt with increased force. The Presbytery of Han- 
over met at Bethel. Crowds attended upon the ministrations of the 
gospel. About one hundred had now professed conversion. There 
were some bodily exercises ; but no noise or outbreaking of disor- 
derly emotions. The congregations in Albemarle, in Prince Edward 
and Charlotte, were greatly awakened ; and the happy influence was 
felt over a large region of country, east of the Blue llidge. 

Mr. Baxter visited Bedford, and some of his young people mingled 
with the congregation of Bethel in their religious services. The 
pastor and his young people returned like Graham from Prince 
Edward, imbued with the spirit of the revival. The congregations 
of Lexington and New Monmouth became deeply interested. There 
were many hopeful conversions. The work of grace spread through 
the congregations in the Valley. Bodily exercises accompanied, 
and, in some of the congregations, were violent. Mr. Baxter for a 
time hesitated. Were they a necessary connection ? If so, let 
them be as violent as could be imagined, only let the work of grace 
go on. Were they an accidental thing, or the work of the enenry 
sowing tares ? If so, they were to be opposed at all hazards lest 
they defile the work of God. Samuel Brown, of New Providence, 
said boldly they were a profane mixture, a device of Satan to mar 
the work of God. In a little time Mr. Baxter, and the ministers 
generally, came to the conclusion that' they were not a necessary 
part of the work of grace, and were to be discountenanced. Only 
one minister felt unwilling to speak and act against them. By 
private conversation, and calmly pausing in public services whenever 
the exercises commenced, till quietness was restored, the minister in 
a little time entirely put down the unhappy "profane mixture," 
except in some peculiar cases and solitary instances. 

The awakening continued in different parts of the Synod for some 
years. There w T ere many hopeful converts where there w T as no 
stated ministry, or regular church organization. Many of these 
looking in vain to the Presbyterian Church for the living ministry, 


turned their attention to other denominations prepared to supply 
their wants, and are now lost to the Presbyterian Church. The 
demand for educated ministers came pressing on the Synod. She 
looked to her Colleges, and to the sons of the Church, and to her 
God, for the supply. 



Like William Graham, the first Rector, Mr. Baxter appropriated 
the income, from the tuition and the available funds principally, to 
the support of the professors and tutors associated with him, reserv- 
ing for himself the remainder after their salaries were paid. The 
expenses of his own family were met by the salary of £100, Virginia 
currency, from the congregations of New Monmouth and Lexington, 
and the income of the property received with his wife from the 
estate of her father. It does not appear that any specific salary 
was ever offered him while connected with the institution. 

To his duties as instructor in the Mathematical department, he 
added the recitations in Rhetoric, Moral Philosophy, Natural Law, 
and the Law of Nations. With the able assistance of Messrs. Joseph 
Graham and Daniel Blain, Mr. Baxter soon found himself at the 
head of an academy containing about seventy scholars. The pros- 
pects were encouraging for an increased number. The list of gradu- 
ates had not hitherto been, and was not during the Rectorship and 
Presidency of Mr. Baxter, proportionably equal to the list of those 
receiving their education at the academy. A specified amount of 
acquirements in the Classics, Mathematics, Mental and Moral Philoso- 
phy was necessary to obtain the degree of Bachelor of Arts. But 
it had always been left optional to the students with their parents 
and guardians, whether they should pursue the whole College course, 
or confine themselves to some particular departments, as the exact 
sciences, or languages and philosophy, or the sciences with philoso- 
phy. A large number of the students left the academy without the 
degree of A. B. given as a certificate of their general progress, 
though they might have a certificate for their chosen study in which 
they excelled. 

Virginia is now solving, on a large scale, the problem often dis- 
cussed, how far the interests of literature and science, and of the 
body politic at large, require a prescribed course of study embracing 
the principles of all the departments in science and literature ; and 
how far, and in what way, all these interests are affected by per- 
mitting students to pursue chosen branches, a degree being given for 
excellence, in any one branch, expressing the progress made, and 


naming the branch of study; and a degree being also given for 
excellence in the whole circle of studies, that fact being particularly 

About the close of the 18th century, a taste for classical study 
was extensively discouraged in America, and the Mathematics with 
the Natural Sciences engrossed the public attention. The study of 
language began to be confined to candidates for the ministry, and 
lovers of literature for its own excellence. Public opinion has 
undergone a change ; and the classics have regained their standing 
in our Colleges and Universities. And the enquiry now is, whether 
students shall be required to pursue a complete course of scientific 
and literary studies in our public institutions, or be permitted to 
select particular branches, or parts of a general course. Public 
experience will in due time decide the question. 

Dr. Baxter held the offices of Rectorship and President about 
thirty years. Under his direction about four hundred and fifty 
youths completed their academic studies. In after life they were 
found in various positions in society — gentlemen of leisure, farmers 
of science and taste, ministers of the gospel, lawyers, governors, pro- 
fessors and Presidents of Colleges, and Judges of the different 
Courts, and members of the medical profession. 

The endowment made by Washington, began, in a little time, to 
yield a fair per cent. ; and is now by an arrangement made some 
years since by the State, the most productive of the College funds. 
The Virginia Society of the Cincinnati, in preparation for its own 
dissolution, followed the example of Washington, and gave their pro- 
perty, amounting to $16,000, to the Washington Academy, to sus- 
tain a professor, part of whose duties should be the teaching of those 
branches of education particularly required for the profession of 
arms. The fund retains the name of the Society. Mr. John Rob- 
inson, a citizen of Rockbridge, made the institution his heir. An 
emigrant from Ireland, living on the waters of the James River, 
without descendants, he had amassed property in lands, slaves, and 
money ; and was induced to give, by will, all his possessions, to be 
united with the donations of Washington and the Society of the 
Cincinnati, for the support of a Literary Institution. 

In the year 1813, by Act of Legislature, the name of the insti- 
tution was changed from Academy to College, and is now styled 
Washington College ; the name of Liberty Hall having, in the year 
1798, given place to that of Washington, in memory of his donation 
of one hundred shares of James River stock. The charter remained 
unchanged, its powers being considered sufficiently ample. The 
propriety of altering the appearance of College hill, and of enlarging 
the accommodations for students and professors, and of increasing 
the number of the faculty of instruction, was admitted by the trus- 
tees, and the accomplishment was resolved upon many years before 
the funds became sufficiently productive. They have, however, all 
been realized ; and Washington College is, in all these respects, the 
fulfilment of Dr. Baxter's earnest desires. 


By the successive classes of students Dr. Baxter was held in 
peculiar estimation as a kind, fatherly, resolute President, who 
might be deceived by a designing boy, the deception sure to be dis- 
covered, bringing at last more trouble in the heart than pleasure in 
the mischief. They gave him the significant title "old rex." The 
cry of "old rex is coming!" — and they could always know when 
he was coming, without much watching, for he always gave the alarm 
by his half suppressed cough — "old rex is coming !" the mischief 
was all done, the boys in their places, and at work. But somehow, 
"old rex," when stirred up to investigate some little offences, always 
seemed to get at the matter so easily, and to dispose of the pecca- 
dilloes so justly, and kindly, and according to law, that his authority 
never lost its power, and offenders could not long escape some dis- 
cipline. His pupils never lost their admiration of "old rex." If 
he was indignant, he did not get angry ; if he did punish he was 
not cruel ; and if there seemed to be the beginning of wrath, all 
were sure there had been a great provocation. And then sometimes 
"old rex," when he had caught the offenders, and they knew that 
he had caught them, beyond the possibility of excuse, would seem 
not to believe them guilty ; it was not possible they could be guilty ; 
and he would take any explanation and let them all go, when all 
knew they ought to suffer, and would send them away with some 
kind words about "father," and "mother," and "sisters," and 
"home," that went to their hearts. Sometimes he would keep them 
in suspense, waiting day after day to know their doom, till the tor- 
ture of suspense would well nigh break their spirits, and then dis- 
miss them with a caution. The students loved him ; they loved him 
through life ; they loved to talk about him, and his absolute 
dominion and his inherent greatness, and the winding up of their 
various little pranks, always getting off easier than they deserved. 
When Dr. Baxter expressed entire confidence in his own authority, 
and his ability to preserve it, he mistook neither the hearts of the 
students or the people of Lexington. On a certain occasion, a scur- 
rilous pamphlet was put in circulation, intended for his injury. For 
a time it produced great excitement. One of his elders invited him 
to his counting-room, and expostulated with him for not answering 
it, and exposing its utter falsity. " Capt. Leyburn," replied the 
Doctor, " I have lived in this community for thirty years to little 
purpose, if it is necessary for me to answer that pamphlet." In a 
little time the whole matter was forgotten. His great self-reliance 
was without haughtiness or pride, and he cherished in others this 
excellence in himself. 

Dr. Baxter was struggling with difficulties throughout the whole 
time of his connexion with the Academy and College. The want of 
a sufficient income for the necessary professors and tutors, rendered 
it necessary for him to perform a great amount of labor that his 
pupils might have proper instruction. The system of permitting 
irregular students — those who pursued but part of the course of 
study — operated, for a time, very unfavorably, threatening to reduce 


the college, in the public estimation, to a high school, to which those 
■who desired to have a full course of instruction should not go ; and 
from which, students should repair to other more entirely systematic 
colleges, to complete their education. In combating this tendency 
in the public opinion, the Doctor put forth all his powers. The 
spirit of emigration also took possession of Virginia. The West 
opened its wide, beautiful, and fertile fields, and allured youth to 
seek for a home and wealth in her forests and prairies. The paths 
of science mourned, the halls of college languished, as the youth 
and the heads of young families turned their eyes to the inviting 
regions on the waters of the Mississippi, and the plains beyond. 
The college has surmounted all these combined difficulties. The 
contest consumed the strength of two Presidents, Baxter and Ruff- 
ner, aided by accomplished professors. The prize was worth the 

The ability of Dr. Baxter to preside over an institution of the 
highest grade with dignity and honor, was never doubted by his 
pupils, or brethren in the ministry. He was always equal to any 
emergency that came upon him. The University of North Carolina 
conferred the title of D. D., and invited him to the presidency. 
Similar invitations came from literary institutions in Kentucky and 
Tennessee. He chose to spend his strength in the State in which 
he was born. 

In October, 1829, he resigned his office as President for two rea- 
sons. He thought, that at his time of life, the pastoral duties of his 
charge were sufficient to employ his strength ; and, that the affairs 
of college were now in a position to permit the execution of those 
plans, long contemplated, and requiring the time and effort appro- 
priate to younger men ; and the division of councils among the trus- 
tees was passing away. His heart was with the college to the last. 
He rejoiced in its prosperity under his successors; and witnessed 
with paternal pride the improvements on the hill, and the increase 
of the students. There will ever be men of ability who will rejoice 
to conduct the affairs of Washington College ; these will contemplate 
with admiration the mental power and disinterested labors of those 
that cherished its infancy. 

Dr. Baxter loved books, and had a faithful memory. With a keen 
relish for knowledge, he gathered materials for reflection, compari- 
son, and invention, still trusting his memory and recollection, to pre- 
serve, and bring out of her storehouse the gathered treasures on 
demand. They "were ever ready, and ever true. The products of his 
pen bore no proportion, in number, to the varied riches of his intel- 
lect. He wrote when compelled by some imperious circumstance. 
He set no value upon the pen to preserve his thoughts, and acquisi- 
tions, or to prepare for discussion and public speaking, or any of the 
ministrations belonging to his office. The products of his richly fur- 
nshed mind were committed lavishly to the memory of others, and 
with the exception of a-few sermons, and parts of lectures, are sought 
for in vain in manuscript or in print. He delighted in the study of 


mental and moral philosophy, and the laws of nature and of nations. 
In the latter he excelled. " The mind formed for accurate distinc- 
tions and logical discussions," he displayed to great advantage, as 
years passed over him, in his theological pursuits, and his lectures 
on natural and national law. 

Like the Elder Edwards, he committed his household concerns to 
the management of his wife. To her prudence and discretion he 
trusted the expenditure of his salary, the moderate stipends from 
the academy and college, and the income of their private property, 
in the supervision and education of a numerous family of four sons 
and five daughters. In his entire seclusion from the management 
of worldly affairs, it is probable he never once thought his decreasing 
property might and ought to have been preserved. He knew it was 
getting less ; and never expected it to increase ; and had no uneasy 
moments of reflection, or anxious forebodings about the consequences 
to himself or family. 

A member of his family makes the following interesting statements. 
" My mother inherited a large fortune from her father, much the 
greatest part of which consisted of valuable lands in Kentucky. Of 
these there were several thousand acres, and nearly all lying in the 
best parts of the State. This property, from the confusion then 
existing in Kentucky, in regard to land claims, required a great deal 
of attention, and sometimes litigation. One or two of these tracts 
were secured by my father; and there was no doubt entertained that 
his title to the rest was perfectly good. But he found that it would 
take much of his time to secure and manage them : and thus, though 
well assured of ultimate success, and of the value of the property, 
he, after mature thought, came to the conclusion, that he had no 
right to take from the work of the ministry, to which his time and 
talents were both consecrated, several of the best years of his life, 
for the purpose of securing a merely secular good. So he ceased to 
give any attention to the matter, and they have long since passed 
into other hands. I will only add, that since my father's death, an 
eminent lawyer in Frankfort, being employed to look into our claims, 
wrote to my mother, that much valuable property had passed from 
us, from want of attention." 



For those fond only of the exciting, and the thrilling, and the im- 
posing, Rev. Daniel Blain presented in his life and character little that 
is pleasing. To those who can delight in the calm sunshine of heaven, 
beaming with endless splendor, he has much to offer for meditation 


and love. Like a spring day, with its clouds and light showers, and 
much sweet sunshine ; beautiful in its rising, enlivening in its noon, 
and lovely in its early close ; one of those days that make spring so 
dear, and is so necessary a preparation for seed time, and the after 
harvest ; that medium between winter and summer, the want of which 
makes tropical climes wearisome and enervating ; a day in which 
there is no thunder or lightning, or chilling frost, in which no blood 
freezing event takes place, no great and notable circumstance, but a 
succession of events, some pleasing, all necessary to make up the web 
of human life, he exhibited acts and graces breathing of heaven, and 
finally perfected in heaven. President Baxter loved him as his 
amiable professor and co-laborer ; his brethren called him " the 
amiable Mr. Blain,'" and Mr. Blain, "that amiable man." He was 
born in South Carolina, Abbeville District, in 1773, of the Scotch 
Irish race. His father was among the pioneers upon the head waters 
of the Savannah, on the South Carolina side, and formed a part of 
that emigration, whose descendants have made Abbeville District 
famous in political history. 

Of a mild and gentle disposition, equally removed from self-compla- 
cency or presumption, and from cowardice or fear, guileless, generous, 
unpretending and cheerful, young Blain passed his early life on the 
frontiers in the American Revolution. Like Andrew Jackson, and 
a multitude of Scotch-Irish boys in North and South Carolina, who 
in maturer years rose to eminence and worth, he was familiar with 
the privations and distresses and battles and massacres of the famous 
campaigns of the southern war. In the plunderings and excesses 
and wanton cruelties of the marauding parties, the Presbyterian 
settlements, from their known and stern adherence to the principles 
of American Independence, had the greatest share. The large Bible, 
with David's Psalms in metre, was sure evidence that rebels of the 
worst sort lived in that house. Singing old Rouse, rebellion and 
being plundered, were synonymous terms ; and hardships and priva- 
tions were familiar consequences. 

What awakened in the heart of the youth desires for a literary 
and scientific education no one can now tell. It is probable they 
were in connection with the preaching of the gospel, of which he 
hoped some day to be a minister. And in the hearts of how many 
Scotch-Irish boys in Virginia and the Carolinas has that spirit been 
kindled by maternal love and paternal piety, under the exciting 
example of some kind and earnest preacher of the gospel ! Those 
still Sabbaths of a frontier Presbyterian settlement ; those solemn 
groves ; those log meeting-houses and tents ; those earnest men of 
God, whose voices echoed in the woods from Sabbath to Sabbath, or 
month to month, uttering the messages of mercy; the impressive ser- 
vices of the communion seasons ; those days of catechising, that fre- 
quent conning over of questions and answers of the Assembly's 
Catechism — " What is repentance unto life ? Who is the Redeemer 
of God's elect? and what is effectual calling?" — all these, con- 
nected with reading the Bible and the expostulations and exhorta- 


tions to prepare for the eternal world, exerting an influence together, 
no wonder ingenuous little boys, thinking over the present and 
pondering the future, should heave the sigh, " would God I were 
a preacher of the gospel," connecting in their childish thoughts the 
sacredness of the preacher's office with the glories of heaven. Under 
the instruction of Rev. Francis Cummins, the minister of Rocky 
River congregation, Abbeville District, young Blain commenced his 
classical course. As the Presbyterian congregations in the Caro- 
linas had been the strong-holds of American Independence, as will 
be shown whenever the history of South Carolina is fully written, or 
the portraiture of the Presbyterianism of the State is presented to 
the world, so the Presbyterian ministers were the able and success- 
ful preservers and cultivators of literature and science. In their 
log school-houses, the finest specimens of American citizens of the 
last generation received their early, and many of them their entire 
education. And these children of the Revolutionary times were 
taught to fear God more than man, and were accustomed to meditate 
on the great principles of civil and religious liberty, and to feel that 
under God, men's success in their various callings in life, depended 
on themselves. 

When about twenty years of age, Mr. Blain, to complete his eclu- 
tion, repaired to Liberty Hall, near Lexington, under the tuition of 
the Rev. William Graham, in the zenith of his glory. The institu- 
tion at Charlotte, North Carolina, broken up soon after the massacre 
on the Waxhaw, had not been re-opened, and the college at Winns- 
borough, South Carolina, had for various reasons declined in its 
efficiency, and the college of Hampden Sidney was depressed with 
some difficulties at this time ; the institution now known as Washing- 
ton College, had most attractions for Southern youth, especially 
those seeking the ministry. Here he completed his academic and 
theological course of study in preparation for the ministry. In the 
log College of Tennant and its offspring — the New Londonderry of 
Blair — the Queen's Museum at Charlotte — Winnsborcugh, South 
Carolina — Hampden Sidney College, in Prince Edward — and Liberty 
Hall, near Lexington, Virginia — students in preparation for the 
ministry were expected to give particular attention to the college 
course on mental and moral philosophy, rhetoric and natural law, as 
part also of the theological training. The Greek Testament was a 
manual in acquiring the Greek language, and was read in a manner 
to cultivate the habit of critical investigation. The time not occu- 
pied in the usual studies of the regular classes was given to those 
historical works, and other volumes that could be obtained, illustra- 
ting the sacred Scriptures. In fact, the whole training of a student 
intended for the ministry in these institutions had a theological cast ; 
and frequently in a comparatively short time after receiving their 
classical and scientific degree they were licensed to preach. Greater 
effort, and with greater success, had been made at Liberty Hall, 
under Mr. Graham, to form a regular class of students engaged, 
systematically, in theological studies after the college course was 


completed than were attempted in any other of the southern colleges, 
or under any other president. 

Mr. Blain was licensed by Lexington Presbytery. The second 
volume of the Presbytery's records having been lost, the circum- 
stances and place of licensure cannot be told. Private memoranda 
say it was about the year 1796. He engaged with Mr. Baxter in 
teaching the New London Academy at Bedford, and, as a co-laborer, 
saw with delight the growing fame of the institution. He removed 
to Lexington with Dr. Baxter, being appointed professor in the 
academy. He taught the languages and some of the mathematics, 
and in conjunction with the rector, and Mr. Graham, sustained the 
honor of the academy. 

Report says that he was not insensible of the many excellencies 
of the young lady of Indian captive-memory, Mary Moore, nor 
altogether unacceptable in her eyes. But there " came a change 
over the spirit of their dreams," and she became the wife of another 
preacher, and he the husband of Miss Mary Hanna, of Lexington. 
His domestic life was, like his own character, made up of a succes- 
sion of quiet scenes and cheerful hours, and days in which content- 
ment reigned. He bequeathed to his children a capacity and a love 
for domestic life and its retired enjoyments. He preached regularly 
to the congregations of Old Oxford and Timber Ridge, each in the 
vicinity of Lexington, on opposite sides. His sermons were charac- 
terized for plainness in the exhibition of truth, simplicity in style, 
and kindness in manner, and always pleasing in delivery. In prayer, 
he seemed to his people to lead them very near to God ; and long 
after his death, they called to mind his " sweet prayers." He had 
tenderness of feeling, quickness of susceptibility, and liveliness of 
sympathy to make him modest, and natural powers of mind and 
acquired information, and strength of moral principle to make his 
modesty a crowning virtue. 

When the Synod, at its session in 1803, at Hampden Sidney, 
considered the subject of a religious periodical, it was resolved, 
" that Messrs. Samuel Houston, Matthew Lyle, Archibald Alexan- 
der, George A. Baxter, Samuel Brown, Daniel Blain and Samuel 
L. Campbell, be a committee to make all necessary enquiries on the 
subject, and if they shall think the publication of such a work can 
be conducted with advantage, they are hereby authorized to take 
every measure necessary to carry the scheme into complete execu- 
tion ; and, in that event, they may rely upon the full support of 
Synod." Under the direction of this committee, the first number 
of The Virginia Religious Magazine was issued October, 1804. To 
this magazine, Mr. Blain contributed a number of articles ; March, 
1805, Christian Zeal; May, 1805, Observations on the Sabbath; 
September, 1805, Necessity of Revelation, and an Account of the 
illness and death of Mrs. Ann Leech, who died June 13th, 1805 ; 
November, 1805, Death of Voltaire and Mrs. Leech contrasted ; 
also, on Religious Curiosity ; January, 1806, The Scriptures Profit- 
able ; September, 1807, Professor and Honestus ; November, 1807, 


Lines on the dark day in Lexington. Some extracts from the first 
of these, Christian Zeal, will give a specimen of the style, and ex- 
hibit the mental and Christian character of the man, unconsciously 
drawn by himself. 

"It is good to be zealously affected always in a good cause. 
Every laudable pursuit calls for zeal proportioned to its importance. 
But, whilst the Apostle approved of a passionate ardor and a warmth 
of holy affection in the service of God, he lamented that the zeal of 
some, with whom he was conversant, was not according to knowledge. 
The great Apostle of the Gentiles had obtained a happy deliverance 
from the party schemes and contracted selfish designs of zealous 
bigots. The glory of God, the spread and success of the gospel of 
Christ, and the consequent happiness of all the nations of the earth, 
were the grand objects that stimulated him to unexampled zeal in 
the discharge of his duties as an Apostle and as a Christian. His 
sufferings and self-denial testified that he had no interest to prose- 
cute, distinct from the Redeemer's cause ; that he only desired to 
live to bear testimony to the riches of his grace, and that he was 
willing to die for the name of the Lord Jesus. Though all Chris- 
tians are not called to manifest their zeal in the same manner, or to 
move in the same sphere : though all are not apostles or preachers, 
the great object pursued by all is the same. They are the several 
members of that body of which Christ is the head ; and though all 
the members have not the same office, yet one spirit pervades and 
influences all; and thus is every member stimulated to vigorous 
efforts for the formation of a common cause. The method whereby 
a sinner is brought to participate of the blessings of the gospel, and 
the nature which by the spirit of Christ he is led to contemplate, 
are such as cannot fail to excite an ardent Christian zeal in the 
mind, on which they have thek full operation. Constrained by the 
love of Christ, delighted with the excellencies of the gospel, and 
penetrated by a view of the odious nature of sin, the Christian is 
led to proclaim, ' What shall I render to the Lord for all his mercies ? 
How shall I manifest to the world the love and gratitude I owe to 
a Saviour who died that I might live ?' 

" Instead of those carnal weapons, with which many under the 
name of zeal for God, have made havoc of his church, he is clothed 
with humility ; he is meek and gentle, and easy to be entreated, dis- 
posed to do good to those that hate him, and to pray for those who 
despitefully use and persecute him. It is probable that a zeal 
thus tempered with benevolence, forbearance, and other mild Chris- 
tian dispositions, has had a greater influence on sinners, and has 
operated more effectually in divesting them of their prejudices against 
the truth, than any other means which have ever been used. It 
ought not, however, to be forgotten, that Christian zeal, though 
always mild, is likewise firm, when the cause of God is assailed. 
It differs widely from a cool indifference to truth, which, under the 
specious name of liberality, or extensive charity, rejects no doc- 
trines as heterodox or dangerous, objects against no crimes as 


inconsistent with the Christian character. There are too many, 
who, having witnessed perhaps some of the evils attendant on 
intemperate zeal, and feeling little concern themselves for the pros- 
perity of Zion, are ready to reprobate every appearance of religious 
zeal ; and especially if a Christian is seen contending earnestly for 
the faith once delivered to the saints, he is branded with the oppro- 
bious name of partizan, or bigot, or enthusiast ; and men who on 
no other occasions have discovered any symptoms of religious sen- 
sibility, clamorously require his excommunication. Such people sel- 
dom manifest the same degree of apathy on other subjects. How 
will men who are blind to the difference between truth and error, 
justify the anathemas pronounced by the Apostle Paul against 
perverters of the gospel : ' If any man preach any other gospel 
unto you, than that which you have received, let him be accursed V 
The Christian who would be useful, must be zealous. Brethren, let 
us consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against 
himself, and with renewed zeal press toward the mark for the 
prize of our high calling, until we arrive at that world where we 
shall no longer need to provoke each other to zeal or love, or good 

Mr. Blain was called from earth in the meridian of life, from in- 
creasing usefulness and a young family, March 19th 1814. The 
faith he beautifully describes in the obituary of Mrs. Leech, sus- 
tained him in his last moments. He left a blessing for his family 
with the good hope that in due time all should ascend after him. 
His wife remembered whose servant she was, and at what price she 
had been bought ; and cherishing the memory of the man, whose 
name as a widow she bore, she reared her little family in the fear 
and love of God. His son is a minister of the gospel, and though 
he may say, " It grieves me to think that I know so little of one in 
whose heart I had so warm a place — his person is very dimly 
shadowed on my memory — I doubt not my heart is sadder now at 
the thought of his early death, than it was when in the thoughtless- 
ness of early childhood I looked on his dying struggles, — my heart 
goes out in warm affection to one who can only say, 'I knew him' " — 
he and his sisters may add, "we know that the children of the 
righteous are not forsaken." Had the Church no such lovely char- 
acters as Daniel Blain, her beauty would be marred, and her bands 
loosed. He drew with his pen, a contrast between the death of 
Voltaire and Mrs. Leech, and gave it to the world in the Magazine. 
A more striking one might be drawn between himself and some of 
his generation that attracted public attention for a time, and have 
now passed away. 

Should the memory of Mary Hanna, the wife of Daniel Blain, 
pass like her person from among men, the knowledge of a bright 
gem, from the valley, in the Saviour's crown, would be lost to the 
world. She had for her father, the pious tanner at the foot of the 
hill, on which the village of Lexington was built. The spirit of 


God dwelt -with him as evidently as with Simon the tanner at Joppa. 
Fearing and loving God himself, he strove to bring up his children 
according to the direction of Paul, " in the nurture and admonition 
of the Lord." Day by day was the example before their eyes of a 
man, that loved them more than he could tell, and yet evidently 
loving God more than all his family ; or rather of one in whose 
heart the love of his family was mingled indissolubly with the con- 
straining love of his Saviour. He labored in his vocation cheer- 
fully, and successfully, for the support of his family ; but his child- 
ren saw, that with all his gettings, he desired their spiritual renova- 
tion more than wealth. Mary, the eldest of five daughters, was 
endowed from her birth with tender feelings ; as she grew in years 
she manifested great simplicity of purpose and sensitive conscience, 
resolution in what she thought right, sincerity in her disposition and 
actions and professions, firmness of purpose to pursue her object 
through difficulties, kindness in her temper, with a pleasing person, 
and over all an amiability of manner blended with modesty. She 
was one of the young company that met her pastor, Mr. Graham, 
in Bedford, on his return from Prince Edward ; and was partaker 
of the blessings showered upon Mr. Mitchel's congregation, at that 
blessed meeting of the ministers of the gospel ; and sang praises as 
the company passed the Ridge on their return home. Dr. Alex- 
ander says of her, " all believed that if any one had experienced 
divine renewal, it was Mary Hanna. One afternoon while reading 
a sermon of Tennant's, on the need of a legal work preparatory to 
conversion, she was seized with such apprehension of her danger, 
that she began to tremble, and in attempting to reach the house 
which was distant only a few steps, fell prostrate, and was taken up 
in a terrible convulsion. The news quickly spread, and in a short 
time most of the serious young people in the town were present." 
They were all alarmed — if she had no religion — who had : She 
manifested through life great tenderness of soul on the subject of 
salvation, by Christ ; and often trembled for herself and wept for 
others. She became the wife of Mr. Blain. All, that knew them 
both, believed that they were mutually constituted by nature, and 
fitted by grace, to make each other happy as earth could permit. 
And for tiie few years they lived together they were so. Wiien the 
mother of six children she became a widow. As she looked upon 
her five little daughters and one son, she claimed God as her fatiier 
in the heavens and as their father ; she claimed him as the widow's 
and the orphan's God ; and he answered her. She left her own 
sweet impress on them all. Mother and religion, mother and Christ 
were, somehow, interwoven in their childish hearts, never to be dis- 
severed in maturer years. And if she did leave them sooner, far 
sooner, than they wished, what a treasure she left with them, m the 
love of Christ ! An amiable godly mother ! — Who knows her value 
while she lives? and who can tell the blessings that follow the 
children for their glorified mother's sake ? Extract from a letter 
from Rev. S. B. Wilson D. D., January 2od 1855. "In this con- 

KEV. JOHN II. RICE, D. D. 301 

nexion allow me to say, that good man Matthew Hanna deserves to 
be held in lasting remembrance. His name may never shine on the 
page of human history. But it will shine bright in the records of 
heaven. In the erection of the first Presbyterian Church in Lex- 
ington, he was the prime mover, and the active and efficient agent. 
In it, he became an elder. In ail his relations in life, as magistrate, 
sheriff, elder, parent and master, he was an example of rectitude. 
His five daughters were all pious. Two of them married ministers ; 
two married elders ; and one a pious physician. His grand-children 
are so far as known all members of the Church. ' I will be a God 
to thee and thy seed,' was a promise fulfilled to him as well as to 
Abraham. His life closed as peacefully and joyfully, as the journey 
of a wanderer in a foreign land, when the time arrives to return to 
his beloved home. My wife was the fourth daughter, Elizabeth." 
And now that she is dead, we may add, she was a faithful wife, and 
reared her children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, ac- 
cording to her father's example. 


I f 


The church of Cub Creek, when Mr. Rice became pastor, con- 
sisted af 113 members, of whom 55 were black slaves. These 
assembled at three places of worship in rotation, the second and 
fourth Sabbaths of the month at Cub Creek, the first at the Court- 
House, and the third at Bethescla. The largest assemblies were at 
Cub Creek ; and of the four or five hundred people assembling, 
about one-fourth or fifth were blacks. At this place he commonly 
preached twice on the Sabbath ; the afternoon sermon being to the 
colored people. At one place only, Bethesda, did the congregation 
assemble near their pastor's residence. 

At this time Hanover Presbytery consisted of fourteen members — 
three of whom through infirmities were unable to preach, the other 
eleven were in their prime, and had for the theatre of their regular 
ministrations, the Presbyterian churches already gathered, and for 
their missionary operations, all the country east of the Blue Ridge, be- 
tween the Rappahannock river, and the North Carolina line, unoc- 
cupied by other denominations. Not one of these eleven received 
from the congregations, to whom he ministered, salary sufficient to 
supply the necessary demands of a small family. And every min- 
ister of the Presbytery was compelled to engage in literary and 
scientific schools, or the cultivation of the earth. The salaries fixed 
for Davies and his coadjutors were barely sufficient for their sup- 
port. Very few of the generation following received a salary 

302 HEV. JOHN H. RICE, D. D. 

approaching any reasonable proportion to the support of the first 
ministers. Two reasons may be found ; the liberal givers were 
scattered, and as new congregations were formed for regular ser- 
vices, their number of liberal supporters was not always increased ; 
the congregations became careless, and the ministers were backward 
to complain, preferring to dig rather than to beg. This state of 
things led to embarrassments, and finally to the removal to the 
other sections of the church of some of the most beloved men in 
the Presbytery. 

Mr. Eice received about four hundred dollars from his charge. 
He chose to add to his salary by teaching ; at the same time culti- 
vating the soil to an extent sufficient to employ the domestics and 
work-ha&ds necessary for house-keeping in a country of tobacco 
planters. His reputation as a teacher was high ; and his house was 
generally filled with the children of his friends. The confidence 
and judiciousness of his supporters may be estimated by an incident 
related by Mrs. Rice. A young lad by the name of Trent, from 
Cumberland, had by repeated transgressions of the laws of the school, 
brought on himself the displeasure of his teacher ; and finally chastise- 
ment, to preserve the peace of the school. The boy secretly departed, 
and reached home late Saturday afternoon. No one saw him come in 
but his mother. She received him kindly, took him to her chamber, 
ascertained the cause of his unexpected return, required him to 
keep himself concealed that night and the succeeding Sabbath in 
his bed-chamber, and early Monday morning sent him on horse- 
back under safe guidance to resume his studies. The mother, like 
Mrs. Morton, believed Mr. Rice to be the friend of boys, and appre- 
ciated his efforts to subdue the rugged will, and check the heedless- 
ness of his little charge. 

Three times in the month he was called to a distance from home 
for his Sabbath ministrations. Most commonly he went on Friday 
evening, or Saturday morning, visiting among the families of his 
scattered charge, catechising the children, and preaching in private 
houses. He commonly rested at home Sabbath night. Five days 
in school each week, and but one Saturday at home in a month, 
with the various calls for the attendance at the sick-bed, and at 
funerals, and at weddings, gave Mr. Rice ample employ for all his 
powers of body and mind, and stores of knowledge. 

His attention was turned particularly to the slave population. A 
large number of African slaves upon the estate of Colonel Byrd, 
in Hanover, became pious under the ministry of Samuel Davies, 
and with the consent of their master, members of the Presbyterian 
church. Their black faces, Mr. Davies says, often cheered him in 
his Sabbath ministrations. Some of these were taught to read, 
and were presented with a copy of the Bible, Catechism, and Hymn 
book, and occasionally other religious books. Part .of this Byrd 
estate was removed to Charlotte, by Colonel Coles, one of the heirs. 
Of those thus removed, a number were pious, and two could read. 
These two were very particular in teaching their descendants the 


Catechism, and the principal truths of the gospel, had the privilege 
of attending preaching, and the liberty of teaching as many to 
learn to read as desired. These privileges they freely used, with- 
out abusing the confidence of their master, who was not a member 
of the Presbyterian church, to which they all belonged. Mr. Rice 
thought that a special appointment to preach to the colored people 
would be advantageous to the cause, among that race, in his own 
charge, and throughout the southern country. The Commission 
of the Virginia Synod, east of the Alleghenies, having been dis- 
solved, he obtained a commission directly from the General Assem- 
bly in 1806 — " to spend two months in missionary labor among 
the blacks in Charlotte County, Virginia, and parts adjacent." 
The next year his commission was for three months, and was re- 
newed from year to year while he resided in Charlotte. The 
attachment of the colored people to Mr. Rice was great, and his 
success among them as a minister very encouraging. At the close 
of his ministry, about 100 were members of Cub Creek church ; a 
large number of which were from the Cole's estate, which had 
greatly multiplied on the waters of the Roanoke, the professors of 
religion bearing a good proportion to the general increase. 

Rev. S. J. Price, who became well acquainted with the condition 
of these people, says : — " They were industrious and faithful to 
their owners ; had regular religious worship, and maintained Chris- 
tian discipline. Men of good character were appointed watchmen, 
to take the lead in their religious matters, and make their regular 
reports of the moral and religious conduct of those committed to 
their charge. The children were, as a general thing, able to repeat 
the Shorter Catechism, whether they could read or not. Very 
many were exemplary and happy in their religion ; their prayers 
were fervent, and their singing melodious. An unfavorable report 
from a watchman was a heavy punishment, relieved only by restoration 
to favor. After the death of Col. Coles, they served their mistress 
for years without an overseer ; and worked a large estate to advan- 
tage, dividing out among themselves the necessary plantation opera- 
tions, and emulating each other in the performance of their work. 
These servants were finally divided among the heirs. And at this 
time (1850) some of the descendants of the two old men are owned 
by James C. Bruce, Esq., of Halifax county, and are connected 
with the Presbyterian church at Halifax Court-House ; some by 
John R. Edmonds, of the same county, and are connected with the 
same church ; some by Capt. Henry Edmunds, of Halifax, and are 
connected with Mercy Seat church ; some by Mrs. Sarah E. Car- 
rington, of Halifax; some by Messrs. Charles Bruce, Paul Car- 
rington, and Joseph Edmunds, of Charlotte, connected with Roanoke 
church ; some by William B. Green, of Charlotte, who are connected 
with Bethesda church ; some by Capt. Walter Carrington, of Meck- 
lenburg, and I suppose connected with Clarksville church ; some by 
Mr. Morson, on James River, who are connected with Hebron 
church, Goochland County ; some by Isaac Carrington, of Charlotte, 


and connected with Bethesda church ; and some by General Edward 
Carrington, of Botetourt, and I suppose connected with the church 
in Fincastle." This is from one estate. Many persons in Charlotte 
and counties adjacent paid great attention to the instruction of their 
servants, and were in a good degree successful. Those servants that 
heard Davies remembered him through life : some living to a great 
age, would repeat parts of his sermons with tears. Mr. Rice 
thought that the evidence of piety among his colored people was as 
decisive as among the most polished and intelligent members of the 

The success of the Connecticut Evangelical Magazine induced the 
Synod of Virginia to take the necessary steps to establish a peri- 
odical. In October, 1804, the first number of the Virginia Reli- 
gious Magazine was published at the press of Samuel Walkup, 
Lexington, Virginia, "the first of the kind, we believe, that has 
ever been published in this State, or in any of the States south of 
the Potomac." The work was continued three years, in numbers of 
sixty-four pages, once in two months. Mr. Rice contributed to this 
work very regularly : in 1805 three numbers on Infidelity ; in 1806 
another number on Infidelity ; Vivax and Paulinus, a dialogue on 
the Bible doctrines ; Jack Vincent, or the misery of not training 
children in the fear of the Lord ; Vivax and Contumax, a dialogue 
on experimental religion ; in 1807 an abridgment of Lord Littleton's 
observations on the conversion of St. Paul, originally drawn up for 
the young members of Major Morton's family, at Willington ; and 
an account of Mr. Jervis, his family, and conversations held there, 
in four numbers. In this fancy sketch, after the model of the 
English. Essayists, the character and opinions of his friends Majoi 
Morton, Archibald Alexander, and Conrad Speece, are portrayed in 
an agreeable manner, with great truthfulness. These two gentlemen 
also contributed to that work — Mr. Alexander four pieces, and Mr. 
Speece more numerously than any other contributor. 

Another step towards a Theological Seminary was the bequest 
made by Andrew Baker, an elder in Buffalo congregation. At the 
meeting of Presbytery, at the time Mr. Rice was ordained, it was 
announced that Mr. Baker had, by will, made a donation to the 
Presbytery of X400, in three equal notes of 133?. 6s. Sd., due in 
1803, 1804 and 1805 ; the interest arising on the first note to go to 
the education of poor and pious youth for the ministry ; the second 
to the support of missionaries ; the third for the distribution of reli- 
gious books. Mr. Baker named the person to enjoy the advantage 
first — his nephew, Andrew Davidson, pursuing his education in 
Washington College. The charitable fund commenced about the 
year 1797 amounted, at this time, to 241?. 18s. 9d. Other members 
of the church expressing increasing interest in the education of 
young men for the ministry, the Presbytery was encouraged to make 
still greater efforts to prepare a well-educated gospel ministry. 

In the month of May, 1806, Mr. Rice made his first trial as agent 
for a Theological School. The committee appointed to manage the 


business of providing a Library and Theological School, appointed 
him to the work of collection. He preached the first Sabbath of 
May at College, the second in Richmond, the third in Norfolk, and 
then returned to his charge. Mr. Maxwell says — u He was kindly 
received in Norfolk by the Rev. Mr. Grigsby ;" — who had not yet 
joined Hanover Presbytery — "preached from Romans 1st, 16 — 'I 
am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ;' and it was on this occa- 
sion I had the pleasure of seeing and hearing him for the first time. 
There was nothing, however, as far as I can recollect, that was very 
striking or peculiar in his appearance, or style of preaching, at 
that period of his life, and certainly nothing fine or fascinating in 
his manner. He stood up, in the pulpit, at his full height, and, 
being rather thinner than he afterwards became, appeared to be very 
tall. His voice, too, was a little hard and dry, and his action (what 
there was of it) was by no means graceful. His sermon, however, 
I thought, was full of solid and valuable matter, and it was heard, I 
believe, with interest by all who could appreciate its merit. Among 
the rest, I was myself favored with a call from him on this occasion, 
and had some little conversation with him, when I found that, though 
he was not very chatty, he could yet talk well and agreeably on the 
subject of letters and religion. His good nature, too, as it struck 
me, and his affectionate disposition, were quite apparent, and very 
pleasing ; and it was impossible, I thought, to see and hear him 
without being satisfied that he was a good man, and much engaged 
in his work. He succeeded in raising about $200, mostly in small 
sums of five and ten dollars." 

He made but one other excursion during the year, and that in- 
cluded his attendance on the Presbytery in the Byrd congregation, 
in October, and was extended into Amherst County. In April, 
1807, the Committee reported subscriptions to the amount of $2500, 
of which $1000 were paid in, and $324 had been expended in books, 
viz., Walton's Polyglott Bible, 6 vols, folio ; Castell's Lexicon, 2 vols, 
folio; Rabbi Joseph's Paraphrase, 1 vol. quarto; an Introduction to 
the Study of Oriental Languages, 1 vol. quarto ; Chrysostom's 
Works, 8 vols, folio ; Tertullian's Works, 1 vol. folio ; and Calmet's 
Dictionary, 3 vols, quarto. This beginning gave great satisfaction, 
and the Presbytery began to think a theological school was certain ; 
the library was begun, no mean beginning at that time, the funds 
for carrying on the work, though small, were yet begun also, and 
the person to be the Professor, in the eye and heart of all. 

Rut there came a chill on all these warm and kind feelings, and 
incipient anticipations. Mr. Alexander had been recommended by 
his beloved friend, J. B. Smith, D. D., to the church of his charge 
in Philadelphia, as worthy of any position to which he should be 
called, or could be persuaded to accept. He had been talked about 
as a proper person to fill various posts ; in New England they asked 
for him as Professor in a College ; in Baltimore they wanted him as 
pastor of their church, the mother of all the Presbyterian churches 
in the city. The people of Philadelphia had talked with him at 


different times, when visiting that city as Commissioner to the 
Assembly. The confinement and labor of College, superadded to 
the ministerial life he was resolved to lead, oppressed him. Mr. 
Bice knew he was, sometimes, meditating a change of position, as a 
necessary consequence of his exceeding labors. The other brethren 
were unwilling to hear or think about it, and wove around him all 
the bonds they could invent. Under date of the 8th of March, 1806, 
a lady writes of Mr. Rice — "He is seriously alarmed lest Mr. 
Alexander should remove to Philadelphia next fall, and he staid to 
talk with him about it. Oh, that the Lord in mercy to us and Vir- 
ginia would not suffer him to forsake us, but would bless and prosper 
his labors amongst us, and convince him that he is now in the most 
useful station in which he can be placed." But such was not the 
mind of the Lord. Having declined, in the spring, to listen to any 
propositions, according to the desire of his friend Bice, he received 
another in September in the midst of a season of insubordination 
and vexatious inattention to study among the College boys. With- 
out consulting with any of his brethren, he visited Philadelphia, and 
accepted an unanimous invitation to Pine Street church. He was 
absent at the regular meeting of the Presbytery at the Bird, in 
Goochland, Oct. 3d, and procured a called meeting at the College, 
Nov. 13th, to grant his dismission. The brethren grieving at the 
decision he had made on the subject, yielded in silence, and dis- 
solved his connection with the churches and the Presbytery, and 
transferred his relations to Philadelphia. 

On the 9th of June, 1807, the Bev. Moses Hoge, of Shepherds- 
town, Virginia, was unanimously chosen to succeed Mr. Alexander 
. in the Presidency in the College. The members of Hanover Pres- 
bytery, in urging him to accept the office, laid before him their 
desires and prospects for a Theological Seminary ; and their expec- 
tations that he should unite that office with the Presidency of the 
College. And this last consideration weighed decisively with him 
in accepting the Presidency of the College. The collection of 
funds went on slowly. In February, 1808, Mr. Bice writes to Mr. 
Alexander — "The embargo has completely stopped all collections 
for the Theological school. The last year was a time of such 
scarcity that many of the most judicious friends of the institution 
advised us to wait until the present crop should be sold before we 
urged the payment of the money. And now we must wait till the 
embargo is taken off. The whole success of the scheme depends 
upon the activity of one or two individuals. The whole energy of 
the Presbytery, I fear, will never be exerted in its favor. The 
truth is, as a body, we are deplorably deficient in public spirit." 

In April, an agreement was made with the Trustees of the Col- 
lege, by which the funds and other property of the Theological 
school should be held by the Trustees of the College, on condition 
— that the books transferred, and those thereafter purchased, — be 
used according to the direction of Presbytery — the funds to be 
safely vested, and the interest only to be used in the purchase of 


books, the education of poor and pious youths for the gospel minis- 
try, and the support of a teacher of Theology; "and when the 
funds, given by said Presbytery, shall be sufficient to employ a 
teacher of Theology, for the instruction of such poor and pious 
youths, their teacher shall be such person as shall be recommended 
by the Presbytery, and approved by the Trustees of the College." 
And in October, the Committee on the Library and School, ap- 
pointed in 1806, reported — " that on this recommendation the Rev. 
Moses Hoge had been elected by the Trustees of Hampden Sidney 
College, teacher of Theology in the Theological school." 

In 1807, Mr. Alexander was Moderator of the Assembly. Ac- 
cording to custom he opened the Assembly of 1808. From the text 
— " Seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church," he set 
forth the advantage of training young men, preparing for the gospel 
ministry, in a well arrranged theological school. In 1809, an over- 
ture came up from the Presbytery of Philadelphia — " for the esta- 
blishment of a theological school." The question sent down to the 
Presbyteries, was, Should there be one school for the whole church ? 
— or should there be two in places to accommodate North and 
South ? — or should there be a school in each Synod ? In 1810, the 
votes were, 10 Presbyteries were for one school, 10 for Sy nodical 
schools, 6 for none at present, and some sent no report. The Assem- 
bly proceeded to establish one. This was located in Princeton, and 
in 1812, the prime mover in the matter, Mr. Alexander, was chosen 
Professor of Didactic and Polemic Theology. All the advantages 
he had anticipated from a seminary, were, before his death, more 
than realized in this. He saw also, in Prince Edward, an institution 
rising, under his friends, Hoge and Rice, such as had never entered 
their imaginings, when the ministers of Hanover collected their few 
books, and planned their extensive course of study, and called the 
attention of the church. 

The opening of the Assembly, of 1810, devolved upon Drury Lacy. 
Not finding it convenient to attend, he prevailed upon his neighbor, 
Mr. Rice, a delegate from Hanover Presbytery, to be his proxy. 
The sermon delivered on the occasion, — says Dr. Alexander to Mr. 
Maxwell, — " proved to be a most seasonable one, for the two parties 
in the Presbyterian Church, at that time, seemed ready to come to 
an open rupture. The discourse itself contained nothing very strik- 
ing or remarkable ; but it was delivered with so much of the spirit 
of meek benevolence, and breathed so entirely the love of peace, that 
it operated as oil upon the troubled waters. From this time Mr. 
Rice became a favorite with the public, and the reputation he now 
acquired was never forfeited, but continued to increase as long as he 
lived." Soon after his return from that Assembly, he writes to his 
friend Alexander — " I feel myself, since my last journey, less tied to 
the spot on which I live, than I did before ; or rather, I feel more 
ready to go wherever the providence of God may open a door for 
greater usefulness, in the church, than appears to be open before me 
here. I am now quite reconciled to your living in Philadelphia. I 

308 bice's influence on rev. drury lacy. 

am zealously engaged in the study of Hebrew this summer. I am 
determined to master it if possible. Would I could get a Syriac 
New Testament, such as yours." By means of his friend Alexander, 
he- obtained Mill, Wetstein, Trommius, the Syriac New Testament, 
and other desired books. We are ready to wonder what hours he 
found for study, with his school, and his extensive charge. _ It would 
seem almost impossible that he should become intimate with books, 
were his library ever so large. His thirst for knowledge was excited 
by his visit to Philadelphia. And the rare opportunities for study, 
possessed by those brethren, whose congregations sustained them, by 
a competent salary, suggested the first thought that, he could ever 
leave the place of his labor. Clinging to his native State, he looked 
around to find a place in the " Ancient Dominion," where he might- 
have full liberty to preach, and to study in preparation for it, as he 
thought became a minister. But he commenced a new, vigorous, and 
extensive study, in the place where he was, in the midst of labors 
most abundant. 

An anecdote related by Dr. William Morton, illustrates the power 
of his example upon Drury Lacy. " Having been his pupil for seve- 
ral years, and well knowing his habits, (Mr. Lacy's,) I am prepared to 
understand why he sometimes so signally failed. When I was his 
pupil, I think he scarcely read fifty pages in a year, besides in his 
Bible and school books. As I was a small boy, and his wife's 
nephew, he concealed nothing from me, indeed he concealed from 
nobody. I knew his preparation for preaching. It consisted in 
choosing his text, and turning over the leaves of Brown's Concord- 
ance for a little while ; he would then walk about his yard or house 
in profound, and sometimes apparently rapturous contemplation, and 
draw things, new and old, from his capacious and noble mind. He 
seemed to have no idea of the business of a literary man ; but to 
have fallen into the error then, and now, too common, that a man is 
educated, upon .getting through the college course. I do not believe 
he ever read the newspapers. With all his fine powers, he must 
have totally failed, but for his habit of deep meditation, and his glo- 
rious moral talents, — worth far more than all others, — which ranked 
him eminently among the children of nature and of God. Not many 
years before his death, which took place, Dec. 6th, 1815, in his 
frank, open manner, he asked me if I did not think he had improved 
in preaching within the last five years. I answered, I thought his 
recent sermons immeasurably surpassed his former ones. Well, 
says he, I will tell you how it has occurred. I owe it all to Jack 
Bice. Do you think when he first came before the world, as a 
preacher and writer, I was not mean enough to feel rivalry, and to 
envy him, on account of the interest which he excited. But I was 
deeply mortified when I caught myself at it, and concluded I had 
much better imitate his laborious efforts to do good, than envy his 
success. I went to work, and for five years have been at hard study, 
— for me ; — think I am well rewarded ; thank and love Jack Rice; 
and wonder how I could have spent my early life with so little study. 


This venerable man was removed from earth, just when he began to 
develop uncommon powers, which bad long lain dormant, and when 
he appeared to me to be more rapidly improving than any young 
man 1 ever knew. I think the grade of intellectual powers allotted 
to him has been placed too low." 

Mr. Lacy made some short visits to the city of Richmond, and 
preached to those citizens, who felt in some degree, the importance 
of regular ministrations in the Presbyterian mode, in the business 
part of the city. His thrilling appeals vibrated the hearts of men 
religiously educated in another country, and touched the feelings of 
those who had, in this, grown up under pious instruction. Other 
preachers visited them, and encouraged the building of a house of 
worship near Rockett's. Mr. Rice, on a missionary excursion, visited 
the city. In 1810 they began to talk about him as a proper person 
to preach statedly in Richmond. In 1811 propositions were made 
to him for his removal to the city. A classical school, and a sub- 
scription for ministerial services were proposed ; from these con- 
joined, it was supposed he would receive an ample support for his 
family. Mr. Rice decided that the duties devolving upon a minister 
in Richmond, especially at that juncture, would require the time and 
talents of a well furnished man, wholly devoted to the work of preach- 
ing the gospel. If necessity were laid upon him to teach school in 
conjunction with his ministerial duties, he preferred the situation in 
Charlotte. The proposition for removal was renewed in terms he 
thought proper to accept ; and he hastened to bring all his engage- 
ments to a close in readiness for his removal. 

Making preparations to remove to Richmond, Mr. Rice looked 
around upon his Presbytery with love, encouragement and deep 
solemnity. Changing, passing away, renewing, were seen on every 
hand, and seemed to forbid the idea of having the semblance of rest 
here on earth. Since he had entered upon the ministry, death had 
done its work. Waddell, the eloquent, had fallen asleep, Sept. 7th, 
1806 ; M'Robert, the ardent minister, Oct. 8th, 1807 ; Irwin, the 
polite and classic, April 7th, 1809 ; Tompkins, received from the 
Baptist Church, went down to the grave in the prime of life, July 
20th, 1806 ; Lumpkin, a young man of great promise, licensed in 
18U8, suddenly terminated his course while preparations were making 
for his ordination at I). S., Albemarle ; and Grigsby, the fellow-stu- 
dent and missionary with Alexander, ceased from his warnings and 
exhortations in Noriolk, Oct. 6th, 1810. Three old, and three young 
ministers had ended their labors. Some had left the bounds of the 
Piesbytery, called to other positions in the church. Calhoon had 
gone to the valley, to be pastor of Staunton and Brown's Meeting- 
ilouse, May, 1805 ; there he labored, and found his grave in ad- 
vanced years ; Alexander had left the college November, 1806, for 
Philadelphia ; Todd had gone from the congregations of his father 
in (ioocnland and Louisa, to Kentucky. Nine had gone from the 
little band of laborers with whom he had associated. 

There had also been additions. Speece had returned from Balti- 


more Presbytery, Oct., 1805; Dr. Hoge had succeeded to the presi- 
dency of the college, Oct., 1807 ; Mr. Rend had withdrawn from 
the Republican Methodists, and sought connexion with the friends 
of his youth, Sept., 1809 ; Legrand, the generous and kind, had re- 
moved from Cedar Creek and Opecquon, in Frederick, and was living 
in Charlotte ; W. S. Reid, a candidate from "Winchester Presbytery, 
had presided over the college, and was pastor of Concord, April, 
1810 ; John Hendren, from Lexington Presbytery, was made pas- 
tor in Amherst, Oct., 1810 ; J. D. Logan over Providence and Bird, 
in 1811 ; and Kennon, an evangelist, for Brunnswick, only too 

Of those that were members when he first was united to the Pres- 
bytery, there remained Mitchel, in Bedford, a county dear to Rice 
as his 'birth-place ; Mitchel, hale, active and of a missionary spirit, 
in advancing years ; Turner, the colleague of Mitchel, growing 
more charming in his resistless eloquence ; Lacy, the noble, the 
simple-hearted, the trumpet-tongued ; and Lyle, the staid, the clas- 
sic, the wise counsellor ; Robinson, the ardent, the impassioned, in 
Albemarle. These five, with himself and the seven that had come 
in, formed the Presbytery of thirteen. His removal of his pastoral 
connexions to Richmond did not affect his Presbyterial relations. 



"Winchester, from being a small village for the convenience of 
the frontier settlements, in the Valley of Virginia, soon arose to be 
a town of note by its relative position and inherent advantages. 
The Scotch-Irish and the German emigrants made up the population, 
and became the mechanics and merchants for a large and beautiful 
country. For a long time the German population predominated. 
The Irish Presbyterian families were connected with the Opecquon 
Church, situated about three miles south from the village. For their 
special advantage Mr. Legrand, soon after his removal to the valley, 
began to hold religious services in the village. As the congrega- 
tion increased, and the number of families on the north and east of 
the village wishing to attend church there were multiplied, a stone 
meeting-house was built in the eastern part of the town, on the ridge, 
ornamented with two other church buildings, for the use of the Ger- 
man population. 

The congregation required more service than could be given by 
the pastor of Cedar Creek and Opecquon, unless the congregations 
should be greatly curtailed in their privileges. The supply of Win- 
chester became a fruitful source of difficulty. Should Mr. Legrand 


appropriate every other Sabbath to the village, or should some other 
minister be sought for the congregation there in conjunction with 
some adjoining neighborhood on the north ? The difficulties in the 
way of a harmonious arrangement seemed to increase by discussion. 
Differences in religious opinions were developed ; some adhered to 
Mr. Legrand's sentiments on the subject of revival and experimental 
religion ; and some thought he was approaching enthusiasm, if not 
actually a devotee. A man by the name of Caldwell visited Win- 
chester. Orthodox in his creed, popular in his pulpit address, gen- 
tlemanly in his manners, and pleasant in his intercourse with his 
fellow-men, he soon had a strong party in his favor. His professed 
views of experimental religion differed somewhat from the standard 
raised by Legrand. The adherents of these two men suffered them- 
selves to be hurried to extremes, and to manifest tempers not in 
accordance w T ith their own professions. 

In the midst of the commotions, and after unsuccessful efforts by 
the Presbytery to quiet the storm, a proposition was made, that both 
parties should drop their favorites, and all their disputes, and unite 
in a call to Mr. Hill. To the unexpected request from the congre- 
gation to make them a visit, with a view to settlement, Mr. Hill 
spent a few days in Winchester, and made a decision he supposed 
final, and against himself, that he would come on one condition, that 
of entire unanimity in the call. To his surprise, such an invitation 
was sent after him ; and he felt himself under obligations to give a 
favorable answer. In a short time he removed his family, and in 
1800 commenced his residence in Winchester. With some intervals, 
Winchester was his place of residence for more than half a century. 
In the passage of these years he experienced the full variety of 
ministerial life, its excitements, its reverses, its successes, its sor- 
rows and its joys. In Winchester was a field, unchosen, selected for 
him, appropriate for his energy, enterprise and zeal and pulpit 
powers. He could not have desired a better. Here too was a cru- 
cible to refine the imperfections he so bitterly lamented ; he must 
master his fiery spirit or be an unhappy man. He knew that he 
that ruleth himself is greater than he that taketh a city ; and that 
he, that could govern a city, must first govern himself. There were 
families in his charge that would love him for his occasional propen- 
sity to merriment and social humor ; and there were others that 
would delight in the extreme of his passionate excitements on reli- 
gion, for tney loved to revel on the confines of enthusiasm. There 
were some that admired his bold spirit, which, like Peter, would meet 
with the sword him that came with the sword ; and others were 
charmed with the spirit with which he could bow to the humble and 
lowly, and the outcast in their distress. All appreciated his pulpit 
performances. His sermons came warm from his heart and warmed 
every one that heard. His congregation were all united in him, 
some admiring him for his real excellencies, and some for the very 
things over wilich he in private mourned. 

Inis position had advantages and disadvantages. The congrega- 


tion, finding their principal bond of union in their attachment to 
their pastor, undesignedly, and yet necessarily, devolved a great 
amount of labor upon Mr. Hill. No one else might take the lead ; 
all others were too high, or too low, too hot, or too cold, too cer- 
tainly wrong in something for the rest to follow. Y» r o to the un- 
happy wight that rose in rebellion ; he was levelled with a blow, and 
all rejoiced in his fall. If there be enjoyment in power, in all-pre- 
vailing influence, Mr. Hill had it in Winchester, for many years, as 
he went out and came in before his people. He was the foremost 
man in religious actions, in the estimation of his charge, and stood 
second to no one among the other denominations. Like Baxter, he 
left no memoranda of his labors ; and there are no journals, or 
diaries, or letters, that have come to light, from which might be 
gathered the delicate shadings of the picture of his public or do- 
mestic life for the first fifteen or sixteen years of his residence in 
Yfinchester. Till about the close of this period he did not give all 
his Sabbaths to the village. The increase of the congregation in 
town, and the settlement of other ministers that occupied his old 
places of preaching, as Mr. Kennon at Berryville, and Mr. Matthews 
in Jefferson County, induced Mr. Hill to listen to the wishes of the 
people and confine his labors on the Sabbath to Winchester. 

lie was much employed in classical and female schools. At first 
he was united with that much loved man, Christian Streit of the 
Lutheran Church, in a large classical school. Then for a time with 
Mrs. Nichols in a female school. And finally for a series of years 
m conducting a large female school on his single responsibility, 
liis success in teaching was great. Incidents illustrating his skill 
in discipline, and his power to impress great truths upon the hearts 
and memories of his pupils, might be gathered to fill a volume. 
Tne majority of his pupils have passed away from this world of trial, 
and have met their teacher before the throne of Him, who judges 
righteously and measures the due reward. There was a time when 
i\ir. iliii would meet a joyous welcome, in hundreds of families, in 
memory of school days, in which he acted the most conspicuous 
part, and played it too well ever to be forgotten. 

The lovely things in Mr. Hill's character, his manly generosity, 
his sociabiity, his warmth of friendship, and his admiration of the 
great and the good, in the past and the present — were fully appre- 
ciated in Winchester, accompanied as they w T ere with strict attention 
to his duties as a minister, lie passed through that gloomy period 
in the history of the country, when infidelity claimed to be the 
guardian of .Liberty. Youth were taught to vindicate their inde- 
pendence by dociimng the authority of the Bible, and their manli- 
ness by refusing to bow their conscience to the word of God. He 
saw the time, wncn he could look over Winchester, and not find one 
young man known to bow the knee in prayer to (xod. He saw the 
umo, when among the professional and educated men, lie knew of 
but one, ^Yho hold to the faith of his pious ancestry. He saw the 
time when biienee, on the subject of experimental religion according 


to his own creed, reigned in the polished circles, or Unitnrianism 
struggled for entrance. "Have you seen this," said a Judge who 
afterwards died firm in the faith — "have you seen this?" referring 
to a tract on Unitarianism — " it is very clever ;" — " rather hard 
to beat." At this time of sadness, his pulpit was entered by some 
wild and foolish boys, on a wager laid to provoke each other's bravery, 
and the Bible sadly mutilated, — and Judge White, in warning his 
own young son, uttered the memorable words, " Those young men 
can never prosper — no man that openly insults the Bible in a 
Christian community will ever prosper;" one of the Judge's abid- 
ing decisions. 

In this period, and amid those things, in a dispute on the subject 
whether the Presbyterian Church did not desire the aid of the law, 
for her advantage, in obtaining salaries for her ministers, the insin- 
uation of his want of courage was made, in the assertion, — that 
Mr. Hill's coat protected him. " Gentlemen need not trouble them- 
selves about my coat," was his quick reply; and that reply gained 
him the deference of a large circle in Frederick County. " The 
parson has pluck, — I wonder if he would fight?" — "If you wish 
to know what he will do, assault him." Undoubtedly in some cases 
he would have fought manfully if attacked ; and in others he would 
have folded his arms upon his breast. His resistance depended on 
many circumstances, other than his bravery. 

lie belic\ed in revivals. He came into the church in the midst 
of a memorable one. He desired revivals, as he believed the church 
would die without them. For a series of years he was not blessed 
with anything that might be called a revival in Winchester. The 
Key. Daniel Baker, 1). I)., now T so universally known in the church, 
while preparing for the ministry, assisted Mr. Hill in his school. 
His wonderful lalent to interest people on the subject of religion, 
first showed itself in Winchester, when Mr. Hill was absent transact- 
ing some business cast of the Ridge, and left Mr. Baker to conduct 
religious meetings in the evenings, with those who might choose to 
attend. On his return, Mr. Hill found a great many young people 
encjuiring what they should do to be saved. And in due time a 
goodly number were gathered into the church of Christ. From this 
time onward, revivals of a greater or less extent were enjoyed by 
his congregation winle he coniinued their pastor. His prudence, dis- 
cretion, and firmness, were fully exercised in conducting these 
revivals. The tendency to enthusiasm on the one hand, and for- 
mality on the other, hedged him in to a very narrow path. If ho 
should give himself up, as he desired, like Legrand, and as he had 
done in his youthful dajs, to the full influence of religious excite- 
ment, he mignt carry some too far, and might repel others ; should 
he greatly restrain himself, he might dishearten the godly and 
queueh tue smoking liax, and give occasion to the enemy to blas- 
pheme. In ali the awakenings or revivals with which his congrega- 
tion was visited, Mr. Hili, aceordiirj; to the habit of his early life in 
Cumberland, Prince Edward, and Charlotte, cheerfully united with 


preachers and people of other denominations in religious exercises, 
expressing an earnest desire that the blessing might spread. 

Mr. Hill's co-presbyters at the time of his early residence in Win- 
chester were, Nash Legrand, Moses Hoge, William Williamson, and 
John Lyle. These were all good men and true to their Lord. Mr. 
Legrand could not be passed by in the first series of Sketches of 

William Williamson was a Scotchman, and obtained his literary 
education in his native land. Upon application of the gentlemen 
of Dr. Waddell's congregation, in Lancaster County, for a teacher, 
he came to America and taught in the families of the Gordons and 
others for a series of years. Becoming acquainted, on a visit to the 
Valley, with Mr. Hill and others, he was introduced to Presbytery, 
and passing his trials with honor, was licensed on the 12th of Octo- 
ber, 1792, and to meet the demands of the churches he was ordained 
in 1793. He for a time resided near Gordonsville, in the neighbor- 
hood of Dr. Waddell in his blindness, and preached in the adjoining 
congregations. Domestic afflictions induced him to remove to the 
valley of the Shenandoah, that he might be near his child deprived 
of its young and beautiful mother, and under the care of its grand- 
mother. He took his position in Warren County, near Front Royal, 
and his charge bordered to the south and west, on the congregations of 
Legrand. A man of great bodily activity, and greater endurance, 
of a warm heart and vigorous mind, he preached with fervor and 
hopeful success. He thought little of the labor " of riding forty 
miles a day and preaching once or twice." In a few years he was 
induced to remove to Loudon County, to set up a classical school 
near Middleburg, and to preach in the counties of Loudon and 
Fauquier, whenever he might find opportunity. Sustaining himself 
with a numerous family by the proceeds of his school, and the con- 
tributions of the congregations to which he preached, he gathered 
churches in those two counties, and continued active and laborious 
in the cause of the gospel till about his eightieth year. Infirmity 
compelled him to put off the harness. 

With no great thrilling events in his life, beyond ordinary 
preachers, his course abounded with those interesting events and 
providences that diversify and cheer the minister's path, try his 
heart, and build him up in the faith. In his school he was very 
successful, training up some eminent men in political, civil, and 
military life. In his ministry God gave him success in many trying 
circumstances, and enabled dim to cast the seeds of life widely over 
a country, where they took root and brought forth fruit to eternal 
life. From his residence near Middleburg, a radius of some forty 
miles, having the Blue Hidge for its base, sweeping round, would 
embrace the general field of his labor ; and all around in this region 
were people to bless God for his ministry, though all that were bene- 
fited by his labors did not ultimately belong to his church. 

He was always considered a strong man, either in the pulpit or 


the church judicatories. He understood and believed, and defended 
the Presbyterian creed. He baptized the little infant of a mother 
that had died in the faith ; and lived to see that baptized child the 
first to make a profession of faith, in a neighborhood where the 
means of grace were hardly known. He mingled argument and ex- 
hortation in his sermons with peculiar facility. His face naturally 
stern, became severe in his age, except when the excitement of some 
great truth, or some benevolent effort, lighted it up with vivacity 
and kindness. The thoughtless and gay called him — "old Sour;" 
and yet one of them, probably the very one that gave the name, 
often said — " I do believe if I could have old Sour to live near me, 
he would get me into heaven ; he sets his face like a flint, and then 
if he don't give it to us ; if I had him to live near me, I do believe 
he would get me into heaven." The ablest men in the community 
that listened to Mr. Williamson, and most of them did, felt that he, 
in point of intellect and information, was their peer. 

He had not time to write his sermons. He could arrange and 
remember his arrangement. His mind acted both with readiness 
and vigor. His voice was strong, his enunciation bold, and under 
excitement his action was vehement. His sermons were never dull — 
often overpowering. On the text from Elijah's address, " Choose 
ye this day whom ye will serve" — from which he often preached — 
he was overwhelming. A man might well have heard that sermon 
more than once, and not feel his interest abate. The charge, " Go 
not from this door till you have made your choice!" would thrill 
the stoutest heart. In argument, he excelled all men in his Pres- 
bytery ; in strength of style and expression, he had no superior. 
After a life of great usefulness, he died calmly in his eighty-fourth 
year. He never sought prominence, and was peculiarly fond of 
domestic life. His greatest ambition appears to have been useful- 
ness in the ministry. 

Moses Hoge, the nearest neighbor of Mr. Hill, while residing in 
Charlestown, held his position at the lower end of the valley, till 
about the year 1807, and has a full record in other pages of these 

John Lyle, that preached in Hampshire County, was born in 
Rockbridge County. He was a soldier in the expedition to Point 
Pleasant, and took part in the battle with the Shawanees. He com- 
menced preparation for the ministry late in life, was taken under 
the care of Presbytery July 30th, 1791, and completed his studies 
at Liberty Hall, under Mr. Graham. He pursued his theological 
studies with Archibald Alexander, and for a time was his only com- 
panion ; Grigsby and Matthew Lyle, and Poage and Campbell, were 
afterwards added. His trials were passed, part of them at the same 
time with Mr. Alexander and his fellow-students. He was licensed 
at New Monmouth April 29th, 1791. Under the direction of the 
commission of the Virginia Synod, to whose care he was recom- 


mended, by Presbytery, liis appointment bearing date October 6th, 
1791, at Winchester, he travelled " on the waters of the Potomac, 
Jackson's River, Green Brier and Roanoke, until our next meeting." 
Being pleased with the prospects in Hampshire County, he listened 
to the invitation from the residents on Patterson's Creek and the 
Potomac, and took his residence among them. On Saturday, the 
30th of November, 1793, he was ordained in Springfield, one of 
his preaching places, and his permanent residence till his death. 
A Mr. Campbell, from Pennsylvania, preached the ordination ser- 
mon. Messrs. Hoge and Legrand were present, and took part in 
the communion and in the preaching, which was continued for some 
days with much interest. 

Mr. Lyle had a wide range through the mountains of Hampshire, 
and along the water courses, and had seals of his ministry scattered 
throughout the county. For some years he taught a school, in 
Springfield, of great celebrity. He was married to a sister of Rev. 
Joseph Glass, and grand-daughter of the emigrant from Ireland, 
Samuel Glass, whose monument stands in Opecquon burying-ground, 
near Winchester, and whose descendants are numerous in Virginia, 
Kentucky and Indiana. Mr. Lyle was called from his labors in 
1807, leaving a widow and a large family of young children, and lies 
buried in Springfield. The family, in a few years, were removed to 
Kentucky ; and his sons have not been unknown in the church. 

For a few years, these laborious men went on, each in his course, 
assisting each other, spending and being spent. First, the health of 
Mr. Legrand began to fail ; his domestic afflictions, from sickness and 
death, and his great labors as a minister, were too much for his 
strength. He sought relief in vain, in various journeyings in Vir- 
ginia, and in Kentucky, on a visit to that numerous company of 
emigrants from his charge, that was spreading out in that flourish- 
ing State, and finally resigned his charge, and removed to Hanover 
Presbytery. Moses Hoge listened to the invitation from Hampden 
Sidney College, and in the year 1807 removed from Shepherds- 
town. William Williamson, about this time, removed to Loudon 
County, but was still a member of Winchester Presbytery. Mr. 
Hill now stood first in the Presbytery as a popular preacher. Young 
men came in to occupy the churches. Joseph Glass settled at 
Gerardstown, Berkeley County ; Mr. Samuel B. Wilson commenced 
his labors in Fredericksburg ; Mr. Mines in Leesburg ; John Mat- 
thews, afterwards Professor of Theology at New Albany, removed 
from North Carolina to Berkeley County ; and Mr. James Black 
took the places in Hampshire vacated by the death of John Lyle, 
and John B. Hoge went to Martinsburg. These men worked in 
harmony for a series of years, and enjoyed a comforting success in 
their ministry. 

In looking over the congregation in Winchester, in the year 1817, 
the prospects were more pieasing than at any previous period. Old 
and fierce prejudices had been, in part, buried in the grave, and in 


part were weakening with age, and in part yielding to the genial 
influence of gospel benevolence. The late additions to the church 
were full of promise : the congregation had appropriated the entire 
services of their pastor. Winchester was a seat of the Chancery 
Court ; and in and around her were gathered a constellation of legal 
abilities, not surpassed by the talents and acquirements of the 
capital of the State. Along the western bills that skirt the town, 
were seated Judges White, Holmes and Carr ; and here were the 
two pre-eminent clerks, Lee and Tidball ; and the members of the 
bar, the two brothers Magill, and Tucker and Powell, each eminent 
in their profession and their social relations ; and then the two 
leading physicians, Baldwin and Conrad. The families of all these 
were occasional hearers, a part were connected with the congrega- 
tion, and some of the members adorned the church with which they 
were connected. 

Mr. Hill encouraged his congregation to take part in elevating 
his Alma Mater, under the auspices of Dr. Hoge, and to assist Dr. 
Rice in founding the Union Theological Seminary, whose interests, 
as director, he carefully watched over for years. In the American 
Bible Society and its auxiliary, or rather one of its forming bodies, 
the Frederick County Bible Society, the Colonization Society, the 
Tract Society, and the Foreign Missionary Society, he took an active 
part, being familiar with them from the besxinmns;, and aiding in 
their formation. In the education of youno; men for the ministry, 
he was forward of most men of his day. The example of his early 
patroness, Mrs. Bead, afterwards Legrand, the wife and widow of 
two of his early friends, was always before him ; and the memory 
of the benevolent efforts of his beloved instructor, Smith, in lead- 
ing young men into the ministry, was always exciting him ; and the 
calls for ministerial services, that came upon him from every side, 
urged him on, and he sought out proper persons to be educated for 
the ministry : and if they were poor, he gathered funds for their 
support. Many are dead, and many are living, whose progress to 
the ministry was aided by his counsels and his purse. 

Mr. Hill was never fond of close logical discussion of doctrines 
in the pulpit, unless it were in relation to the Divinity and advocacy 
of Christ. And, even about these, he thought the plain, full an- 
nouncement, with illustrations, sufficient. He declined to press very 
far, or very frequently, the doctrines of election, and the imputa- 
tion of Adam s sin and of Christ's righteousness. He thought that 
the subjects of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and repentance 
towards God, urged in gospel terms, and with illustrations, together 
with the promises and warnings to promote holy living, were better 
calculated to do good than the stronger and more abstruse doctrines 
of the Bible. He believed the sinner's call is from Cod- — that 
God's spirit gives life to the sinner's soul in a way not explained in 
Scripture; bat truly the spirit acts: --that God had multitudes of 
agents to iniluence men, but the giving spiritual life was his own 
work. He saw, he felt, he deplored, the deep depravity of the 


human heart; and had no hope that it could be purified but by the 
spirit of God and the blood of Christ. 

One intimate with his family in the summer of 1818, thus de- 
scribes him when in the height of his influence and the full tide of 
domestic enjoyments. " Mr. Hill excited my admiration, and Mrs. 
Hill my love. He had the most fire and ardor by constitution, she 
the most perseverance. He possessed the keenest sagacity, she the 
most common sense ; he the most discernment, she the most pru- 
dence ; he had the best knowledge of human nature, she made the 
best use of what she had ; his piety was most striking, hers the 
most constant ; his zeal like a flame sometimes raging, sometimes 
dying away, hers like the steady flame on the altar of the taber- 
nacle. In the family both were in their peculiar way charming ; in 
conversation he was very spirited, often provoking a smile and 
laughter, quick in repartee and full of anecdote, she gentle, cheer- 
ful, sociable, and winning in her manners. It seemed impossible to 
live with them and not love them. 

"Mr. Hill preached without notes. His words might be printed, 
but his tones could not. However good his sermon in the delivery, 
it would appear less impressive in print. He stormed the soul 
through the passions, and overawed the judgment by the force of 
his appeals. He never excelled in argument made up of a long train 
of consecutive particulars. His arguments were short and rapid. 
His views of things were vivid, though sometimes not distinct ; his 
gush of feeling overwhelming, though not always entirely free from 
modifying circumstances. When awaked by some important sub- 
ject, by some powerful impulsive circumstance, he was irresistible 
in his address ; and however divided the audience might be at first, 
there was likely to be but one sentiment in the conclusion. In 
public bodies and in private circles, by his powerful appeals to the 
strong passions, by his wit and humor, by his confident and some- 
times his persuasively yielding manner, Mr. Hill would make his 
hearers feel that what was uttered by him was the voice of their 
own heart and judgment, perhaps in sweeter terms than they had 
ever before heard. Sometimes he would bear down, with that un- 
expected force of manner, and voice, and sentiment, that would 
sweep away doubts and arguments ; and confound and alarm by his 
impetuosity, and the vividness of his caricature. The hearer would 
seem to himself to have got new views of the subject, and be 
ashamed to express anything to the contrary. " 

" Hr. Hill's influence this summer was at its height ; and its extent 
can hardly be measured. It reached every congregation in Presby- 
tery, every minister, and multitudes of persons scattered over the 
State ; and in Synod his influence was not small." At this time 
Mr. Hill enjoyed as much domestic happiness as falls to the lot of 
mortals. He had reared two daughters, a son and perhaps a daughter 
had passed away in infancy. The two daughters were reproductions 
of their parents, the one with the characteristics of the father, and 
the other of the mother. One was married and lived in Winchester ; 

REV. JOHN H. RICE, D. D. 319 

the other remained at home. A large circle of acquaintances fully 
believed that the almost doting fondness of the parents for that 
daughter was not misplaced. In the bloom and beauty of maiden- 
hood, her cheerful spirit was refined by the deep sense of religion 
she cherished, from the time of the revival, under the teaching of 
Mr. Baker. Her winning manners more surely captivating by the 
perceptible cast of sedateness her religion wrought into her bearing; 
and her cheerful simplicity found its way to the strong hold of the 
affections. The parents rejoiced in their child, their earthly treasure, 
the gift of God, the hopeful child of Christ." 

" They all sang with spirit ; Mr. Hill with the silver trumpet's 
voice, and Mrs. Hill and Elizabeth with sweetness and tenderness. 
Newton's Hymns were sometimes sung, in that domestic circle, in 
tones and manner to have delighted that old saint himself. The 
social worship of morning and evening was one of the exquisite 
charms of the family. The hymn — "Jesus, let thy pitying eye 
call back a wandering sheep," sung by the three, in the twilight of 
a summer's evening, opened the fountain of tears in the distressed 
heart of one that now lives and preaches the gospel of Christ." 



Mr. Rice removed from Charlotte to the capital of the State in 
May, 1812. Richmond was then in the transition state, passing 
from the village-like separation of its parts to the compactness of a 
city. Shockoe hill was slowly descending, and Rockets coming up, 
to meet at the market. Main street was seeking the removal of the 
precipitous bank, that limited her extension beyond where the 
American House now stands. Council Chamber hill was condemned 
to be dissevered ; and the ravines and small pines on Capitol hill, 
and the famous "frog pond" on Shockoe were seeing their last days. 
Trade and traffic were carried on at Rockets, around the market, 
and between the Dock and the Basin, then in a state of formation. 

The merchants and shipmasters and mechanics lived in and 
around the places of business ; and around them that mixed com- 
pany that assembles at places of trade. The law, and politics, and 
fashion, and wealth, were seated on the eminences overlooking the 
river, circling round from Gamble's hill, along Shochoe, Council 
Chamber and Church, to Richmond hill, that once aspired to be the 
site of the city. Manchester, on the hills, on the southern side of 
the river, in trade, and wealth, and enterprise, rivalled the city on 
the northern banks, with expectation to form an essential part of 
the great emporium around the falls. Richmond had become the 

320 REV. JOHN II. RICE, D. D. 

capital of the State simply from the advantage of her position. At 
the time of the selection, many villages along the rivers, below the 
head of tide water, now in ruins, were her superior in traffic. 
Wealth and fashion followed politics, and clustered around the new 
capital, as they had done, from the infancy of the Ancient Dominion, 
at Williamsburg ; and the trade of the country, following the cur- 
rent of feeling, forsook the ancient marts and seated itself at the 
falls of the James. The enterprise of the merchant, foremost in 
laying the foundation of cities, came here last, and dug away the 
hills, filled the ravines, paved the streets, bridged the waters ; and 
finally, stretching out into the plains and building princely palaces 
beyond the hills, encircled the fashion and splendor of the Old Do- 
minion, and made the city one in refinement and enterprise. The 
residences of merchants and shipmasters in 1812, became, in forty 
years, the warehouses of the increasing city. 

Some of these enterprising men had been trained religiously in 
Ireland and Scotland, and some had grown up under the successors 
of Davies. In their early engagements in Richmond, in the strife 
for competence and for wealth, the obligations and blessings of the 
gospel were in a measure forgotten. With prosperity in business, 
however, the thoughts of other days and other things came up in 
sad remembrance. The claims of religion, never denied, were now 
acknowledged, and men began to think of preparation for a better 
world. The thoughts of many hearts slowly found expression ; and 
men that could not frame their words to say to their neighbors — 
"Unless a man be born a^ain he cannot see the kingdom of God," 
could yet say, we ought to have a place of public worship, and a 
regular minister of the gospel near our families and in the midst of 
our business. 

The Synod of Virginia, from time to time, sent missionaries to the 
scattered Presbyterian families in the counties near the city, and 
these sometimes visited the citv and preached. The Rev. John D. 
Blair, nephew of the famous Samuel Blair, of Fogg's Manor, was 
pastor of the church in Hanover, and residing on Shockoe hill, 
preached once in two weeks in the capitol, and sustained himself by 
teaching a classical school. Mr. Buchannan, an Episcopal clergy- 
man, occupied the capital the other Sabbaths in alternation. Those 
on the hills, inclined to Presbyterianism or Episcopacy, attended 
worship under the ministrations of these two gentlemen. There was 
no Presbyterian church building in the city, and the Episcopal 
church on Richmond hill was seldom occupied. The audiences at 
the capitol were not large ; few came up from the business parts of 
the city ; the fashion and the trade had not begun to go to the house 
of God together. 

The Rev. Drury Lacy, on a visit to the city of a few days, made 
a deep impression by his powerful sermons. His heart was moved 
in him, like Paul's at Athens. The people asked for a minister, and 
Mr. Lacy directed their attention to Mr. Rice. In 1811, Jesse H. 
Turner, a missionary of Synod, son of James Turner, of Bedford, 


preached in the city about three months, with great acceptation. 
The people in Petersburg, in a similar condition with those in the 
business part of Richmond, were greatly interested in a son of Mr. 
Graham, of Lexington, and mourned his early death. Clement 
Read and his son-in-law, Charles Kennon, had made circuits through 
the counties of Lunenberg, Amelia, Nottaway, Dinwiddie, and 
Brunswick, preaching the gospel with great effect. There was a 
call for Presbyterian ministers from Petersburg to the Roanoke, 
and from Richmond to the Blue Ridge. 

While negotiations were in progress to procure the removal of 
Mr. Rice to Richmond, an event occurred, on the night of the 26th 
of December, 1811, that thrilled all hearts in the land with unut- 
terable sympathy — the burning of the theatre in Richmond, with 
the sudden destruction of much of the loveliness and intelligence of 
the land. The families seated on the hills were a polished, refined, 
sociable, pleasure-loving community, gathered from the different 
counties, because, from time immemorial, the wealth, and fashion, 
and beauty of Virginia had assembled at the capital, particularly at 
the time of the sessions of the General Assembly. The theatre was 
one, and but one, of their occasional enjoyments, and not the one 
of the highest refinement. An old-fashioned Virginia dining party, 
select in its company, unlimited in its elegant preparations, was 
unbounded in its refined indulgence of the appetite, and the delicate 
attentions of social intercourse. Here was the display of taste in 
dress, elegance in manners, powers of conversation, and every 
accomplishment that adorns society. The theatre was a promis- 
cuous gathering for a few hours, less attractive than the dining or 
dancing party, but one of the round of pleasures that occupied the 
time of the fashionable and the wealthy. It did not control society ; 
it w r as one of the luxuries of the season, that gave variety to the 
succession of pleasures. 

On that fatal night, the benefit of an admired actor enlisted the 
feelings of the community. Mr. Smith Governor of the State, 
Venable president of the Bank of Virginia, Botts an eminent law- 
yer, members of the Assembly, matronly ladies, fascinating belles, 
blooming girls, officers of the army and navy, men and youth from 
the city and the country, were collected in one splendid group, such 
as a theatre seldom sees. Alas, that such a gathering should be for 
death ! a most terrible death ! An order was given about the light. 
The boy that held the strings objected — " that it would set the 
scenery on fire." The order was repeated. The boy obeyed. And 
immediately the theatre was in flames. From that moment every 
occurrence that can be gathered from the recollection of the frantic 
beholders, and the bewildered memories of those rescued from the 
flames, forms a part of the great drama of one act, ending so speedily 
in the immolation of seventy-two individuals, the flower of Richmond 
and the State. What a morning dawned on the 27th of December ! 
Families knew sadly their bereavement, but in the mass of human 
cinders could not distinguish their dead. Of necessity there was a 

322 REV. JOHN H. RICE, D D. 

common burial. The mourning was universal. Fortuity was denied. 
God's providence was acknowledged in the concurrence of circum- 
stances preceding the catastrophe. 

The gallantry, and heroism, and blind fatality of that suffering night 
have never been surpassed. And never perhaps has the sudden de- 
struction of men, women, and children, in one overwhelming ruin, 
produced a greater moral effect. All classes of community bowed 
down before the Lord. Christians were moved to efforts of kindness 
and love, that the gospel might be preached abundantly in Richmond. 
In the vigorous exertions made for the spiritual welfare of this busy, 
pleasure-loving, but now serious city, all Christian denominations 
took a part. The voice of God was sounding loud, — " Seek ye the 
Lord while he may be found, and call ye upon him while he is near," 
— and the people were answering — " Thy face, Lord, will we seek," 
The city had been thoughtless, and without God, but in her pleasure 
and her trade she had not become degraded. 

Of this event, Mr. Rice writes to Mr. Judith Randolph, Jan. 1st, 
" I heard the melancholy event Sabbath, just as I was going into 
the Court-House to preach. It made such an impression on my 
mind that I could not resist the impulse to lay aside the text on 
which I intended to preach, and to deliver an extempore discourse, 
from Isaiah 40th, and 6th, — 'And the voice said, Cry. And he 
said, what shall I cry? All flesh is grass.' Happy would it be 
for us could we constantly realize this, and live as if every year and 
every day were to be our last." 

Again, on the 17th, to the same — " You will be surprised to hear 
that Mr. Lyle and I expect to have the pleasure of taking breakfast 
with you next Tuesday morning, on our way to Richmond. Some 
of my friends there have so earnestly solicited me to go down since 
the late awful visitation of Providence on that place, that I had not 
the heart to refuse, I am most anxious that so much distress should 
not be suffered in vain. If my friends there think that iffy poor 
labors will probably be useful in this way, ought I not to go at their 
call, and depend on the promised aid of the Spirit ? I will mention 
to you in confidence, that the people of Richmond, who had applied 
to me to remove to that place, persevere in their application, and are 
resolved to carry their request to Presbytery ; and I have informed 
them that, if the Presbytery should advise my removal, that I 
will go." 

A call was handed in to Presbytery at Red Oak, Brunswick, 
March 13, 1812. Mr. Rice earnestly desired the opinion of the 
brethren on his removal. The Presbytery declined giving any advice, 
and left Mr. Rice to choose between his position in Charlotte and n 
residence in Richmond. On the next day he declared his accept- 
ance ; and the pastoral relation with the church of Cub Creek was 
dissolved. On the 4th Sabbath of April he preached his farewell 
sermon to his friends in Charlotte, from the words of Paul, Acts 
20th, 23d — " And now, Brethren, I commend you to God, and the 
word of his grace." As he left the pulpit, the congregation crowded 


round him weeping. The colored people waited for him at the door, 
bathed his hands in tears, and with many exclamations of attachment 
and sorrow, bid him farewell. Some followed him along the road, 
unwilling to take their eyes from their preacher, though departing. 
On Friday before the 2d Sabbath of May, he reached Richmond, 
and was entertained by Mr. Wm. S. Smith, at Olney. On Sabbath 
he preached in the Masons' Hall, from — "And I am sure that when 
I come unto you I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the 
gospel of Christ." To his friend, Dr. Alexander, of Princeton, he 
writes, on the 14th of the month — " You will perceive, by the date 
of this letter, that I have changed my place of residence. We arrived 
here on Friday last, I mean to continue here till Providence directs 
our removal to some other place. The breaking up in Charlotte was 
a very severe trial, neither the people nor I knew, until parting time 
came, how much we loved one another. We parted in the warmest 
friendship ; and I hope that the affection of my dear people, for so 
I must call them, for me will continue, as I am sure that mine will 
for them. I was received very cordially by the people, and preached 
twice last Sabbath to a very large audience. The people generally 
were very attentive, and not a few considerably affected. I was 
surprised to observe the very great numbers who attend church in 
this place. Every house of worship was crowded ; and I was told 
that not less than five hundred went away from the Masons' Hall, 
where I preached, unable to find seats. 1 have proposed to several 
to establish a Christian library in the city. The proposition meets 
with much acceptance, and I hope to be able to tell you, in my next, 
how many subscribers we shall probably obtain. If this plan suc- 
ceeds, my next effort will be to establish a Bible Society. Of the 
success of such an undertaking I am not able to form the least con- 
jecture ; but I am adopting some measures to ascertain the extent 
of the want of Bibles here, which I fear is exceedingly great, con- 
sidering the population. 

" The spirit of religious enquiry is, I am convinced, extending its 
influence considerably in several parts of old Virginia. Mr. Speece 
has been urging me vehemently to undertake the editorship of a 
periodical work having something of the form of a Magazine. His 
plan is to publish, once in two weeks, a sheet containing sixteen 8vo 
pages, to be devoted to the cause of truth and piety. 1 believe that 
such a thing, if well conducted, would meet with very considerable 
encouragement, and if I could engage the assistance of a few of my 
brethren, I would willingly make an experiment of the matter. I 
have been to see Mr. Blair since I came to town. He received me 
in a friendly way, and assured me of his disposition to cultivate a 
spirit of brotherly love. On my part I feel the same temper, and I 
hope that everything will go on very harmoniously. 

"Iara afraid the good people here will find it hard to pay for the 
completion of their church. It is now sheeted in. The shingles, 
flooring plank, and pews, are all in readiness ; but their fund is 
exhausted, and they will be very much pestered to raise a sufficiency 

324 BEV. JOHN H. RICE, D. D. 

for their purpose. Will not the brethren afford us aid ? Will not 
the people to the north assist us ? The Methodists have built a new 
church here, and expect to pay for it in part in that way. An agent 
went on very lately from this place to solicit aid, and two days ago 
he forwarded from Baltimore six hundred and forty dollars for the 
church." This building was the second church building erected by 
the Methodists in Eichmond. The first was near the old market. 
This was on Shockoe Hill, near the new market, and has given 
place to the centenary church building. 

All classes in Richmond received Mr. Rice kindly. The public 
mind was drawn to religion by strong sympathies. Its principles 
were discussed ; its forms and practice were eagerly enquired after ; 
and able ministers were listened to with attention. Mr. Rice was 
well suited to the wants of the people. Truthfulness and kindness 
beamed from his countenance, sparkled from his eye, and fell from 
his smiling lips. His arguments and illustrations from Scripture 
were with power equal to their simplicity. His very ungracefulness 
of gesture commended his sincerity. He uttered no reproaches on 
Richmond. The words of our Saviour were with him — " or those 
on whom the towers in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye they 
were sinners above all men that dwelt at Jerusalem ? I tell you 
nay, but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." It was 
soon evident that no one room in the city would accommodate the 
congregations that would assemble. Of necessity a number of 
houses of worship were to be erected in the city. And very natur- 
ally the different denominations made exertions for their own accom- 

Soon after reaching Richmond, Mr. and Mrs. Rice received a 
kind invitation to the dwelling of Mr. John Parkhil], a hardware 
merchant, at the sign of the Golden Key, on Main street, at the 
corner below the street leading to Mayo's bridge. It was customary 
then for the merchants to live in handsomely furnished rooms over 
the store. Mr. Parkhill was lonely in his dwelling, having lately 
been deprived of his young and lovely wife about a year after their 
marriage. Unwilling to alter his domestic arrangements, he cheer- 
fully received the minister and his wife to his house, to make part 
of the family. In this house the people first called to see their min- 
ister. Mr. Parkhill was an active and judicious helper in the con- 
gregation from the first. A polished, well educated Irishman, he 
knew how to appreciate the family that lodged under his roof; and 
under the instructions of Mr. Rice became a devoted Christian. 
Among his countrymen to whom he introduced his pastor was Mr. 
Alexander Fulton, who became a fast friend. This gentleman 
was married to a daughter of William Mayo, of Powhatan, had his 
residence at Mount Erin, near his father-in-law and the city, and 
received Mr. Rice with generous hospitality as often as he could 
secure a visit. 

After a summer most agreeably passed with Mr. Parkhill, Mr. 
Rice commenced housekeeping on Braddock's Hill, near to Rockets. 

EEV. JOHN H. RICE, D. D. 325 

His intimacy with the excellent people there was greatly increased ; 
and the Wednesday night meetings then commenced, usually held 
at the house of Mrs. Young, were continued during his residence in 
Richmond. He had for a neighbor Mr. David I. Burr, and 
greatly prized his friendship ; and in after years set a high value on 
his services as an elder. 

The Presbytery of Hanover convened in Richmond, Friday, Oct. 
16th, 181*.!, Messrs; Moses Hoge, James Mitchel, Conrad Speece, 
John H. Rice, William S. Reid, and Joseph Logan ; with the elders, 
Charles Allen, George Watt, and John Forbes. Dr. Hoge opened 
the services in the new meeting-house with a sermon from Genesis 
28 : 1(3, 17, "And Jacob awoke out of his sleep, and said, surely the 
Lord is in this place, and I knew it. And he was afraid, and said, 
how dreadful is this place, it is none other but the house of God, 
and this is the gate of heaven;" and after sermon was chosen 
Moderator. " Presbytery was informed that a congregation had 
been organized in the city of Richmond, under the title of the 
Presbyterian church in the city of Richmond, that said congregation 
requested to be received under the care of Presbytery; and also 
requested that the Rev. John H. Rice, who had for some time sup- 
plied the congregation, might be installed their pastor." Benjamin 
H. Rice was received from Orange Presbytery, with a view to be- 
come pastor in Petersburg; Samuel D. Hoge, son of the Moderator, 
passed some of his trials as candidate ; and Daniel Baker, the 
domestic missionary, received attention as alumnus. 

On Monday, October 19th, the installation services were per- 
formed, Mr. Speece preached from the words — '*So thou, son of 
man, i have set thee as a watchman." The feeling of the congre- 
gation was highly excited. Other installations have been witnessed 
in Richmond of great interest, but never such a day. Th