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James D. Black
By J. H. Spencer, 1885

     James D. Black was the most successful pastor Stamping Ground has ever had. He was called to that position, in January, 1838, and resigned it in March, 1867, in these words "I hereby resign the charge of your church, which I have had for thirty years. Brethren, be careful, and do not fall out by the way." He was among the most zealous, energetic, faithful, and successful preachers, that ever labored among the Baptists of Kentucky.

     James D. Black was born in Virginia, June 24, 1794. He came with his parents to Kentucky, in 1807. His early education was very limited. He was converted to God, at the age of about fifteen years, and was baptized into the fellowship of Dry Run church in Scott county, by Joseph Redding. He was raised up to the ministry, in Long Lick church in Scott county. He was pastor, at different times, of some sixteen churches in Kentucky, besides preaching to several in Missouri, while residing in that State. He was a student and a laborer. He went to school, and was in a grammar class with his son, E. H. Black, when he was past forty years of age, and, by the aid of a Greek grammar, learned to read the New Testament in Greek, after he was fifty.

     He was laboring in a series of revivals, during a great portion of his ministry. He served one year as a missionary of Elkhorn Association. At the close of the year, he made the following report: "During the year, your agent has attended twenty protracted meetings, 323 have been received for baptism, at those meetings. He has baptized 261, himself, chiefly at the churches of his charge. He has preached 351 discourses, and has been engaged 121 days in actual service to this Association." He baptized about 500 in one year. During his pastorate at Stamping Ground, he baptized over 1,000 into the fellowship of that church. He kept no account of the number he baptized during his ministry, but said, during his last illness, he could not think he had immersed less than 5,000.


[p. 320]
     He quitted the scenes of his labors, May 30, 1871. His last words were, "Jesus! Oh my son, how precious." His remains lie beneath where stood the old pulpit which he occupied so long and successfully at Stamping Ground. That he was a good man, many living witnesses testify; that he was a great man, his works bear record.

[From J. H. Spencer, A History of Kentucky Baptists, 1885, pp. 319-320.]

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Comments on the Life of Pastor J. D. Black
History of Great Crossing Baptist Church
Scott County, KY

      "James D. Black was pastor of the Stamping Ground Baptist Church for thirty years. During that time he baptized into its fel­lowship over one thousand persons. At the separation of pastor and people, connected for so many eventful years, the church passed some beautiful and touching resolutions relative to Bro. Black and his services. As I sat near the bed of this venerable servant of God several days ago, who now lingers on the river side ready to cross over, to meet that noble generation gone before, he alluded to many of the joyous old times in the Stamping Ground Church with deep agitation. I but speak the common sentiment of this church when I say that the Stamping Ground Baptist Church owes more to the services of James D. Black than to those of any other man, living or dead." [p.60.]

      "On June 1st [1871] Elder James D. Black, after more than a year of great suffering and deprivation, was permitted by our Heaven­ly Father to depart and forever be at rest. Though Bro. Black not in name a member of our Church we always claimed him such — wherever he was we considered him ours too. For thirty years he was our faithful efficient devoted and beloved Pastor and we cherish his memory as fondly and lovingly as if he had been such at his death. We beg you dear brethren to bear with us while we offer what we consider a deserved tribute to the memmory of a departed minister . . . . Such, brethren, was our departed Brother Black. His funeral was preached here on the second of June by Rev. Henry McDonald from the 23rd Psalm. Six ministers bore his remains from the church to the grave near by." [p. 61.]

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[From J. W. Singer, Church Clerk, A History of the Baptist Church at the Stamping Ground, KY, 1795- ; revised 1970, pp. 60, 61. — Jim Duvall]


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