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Rev. Jacob Manly Cantey Breaker, D. D.
By J. B. Link, 1892

Rev. Jacob Manly Cantey Breaker, D. D. was born in Kershaw district, near Camden, South Carolina, July 25, 1824. He was the youngest son of L. F. Breaker, who was a merchant in Camden, and had a plantation and summer residence fourteen miles from the city. He (the father) was born in Germany, and came with his parents to America when about 8 years old. The name was probably Precher originally, and changed to Breaker.

L. F. Breaker was a deacon in the church at Camden, and being zealous and ever ready to work and speak for the Master, was licensed to preach; but never announced himself as a preacher. He gloried in being a strict and true Baptist.

He removed with his family to Key West, Florida, in 1828, when his son, J. M. C., was a little less than four years old. Here the latter remained with his parents until April, 1840, when he was sent to Camden, S.C., in order to enjoy better school facilities, and be placed under better social influences. At Camden he lived for a time with his cousin, Rev. C. M. Breaker, pastor of the Baptist church there, by whom he was baptized June 14, 1840. Soon after this, his mind became deeply exercised on the question of the proper business of
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life. Though so young, only a little more than 16 years old and only a few months a member of the church, he could not resist the conviction that he must devote his life to the ministry.

With some assistance, he entered the Furman Literary and Theological Institute, near Winnsboro, S. C., January 1, 1841, where he remained five years and a half, graduating in June, 1846. Having been since January, 1846, assistant pastor of the church at Chesterville, he removed to that place, and was there ordained, July 5, 1846, Revs. J. C. Furman, E. Fant and W. Nolan being the presbytery. During this year he devoted much of his time to mission work, in York and Chester districts, and at its close accepted the call of the Baptist church at Greenville, S. C. Here, October 11, 1848, he was married to Miss Emma J. Juhan, who had recently graduated at the Barhamville Collegiate Institute, near Columbia. She was a relative of Dr. W. B. Johnson, of Edgefield, and of Dr. Geo. Howe, of Columbia. He had baptized her during her visit to Greenville, in vacation, the year before. Thirty-nine in all were baptized during his two years' pastorate at Greenville.

In January, 1849, he accepted the pastorate of the church at Newbern, N. C., and two years later became principal of the Newbern Female Seminary, which he held for the next two years. After a pastorate of one year at Grahamville, he accepted the pastorate of the church at Beaufort, S. C., January 1, 1854, succeeding Rev. Robert Fuller, who a few years before succeeded his uncle, Dr. Richard Fuller, then of Baltimore. His pastorate at Beaufort continued six years, and was in a high degree satisfactory and successful. It was here that he baptized 223 persons, mostly colored, at one time, and in 65 minutes, a fact which was noticed and published in many secular as well as religious papers throughout the country, under the heading, "A Long Controversy Settled," alluding to the proof thus furnished of the ease with which the 3000 could have been immersed by the 12 Apostles on the day of Pentecost. Here he wrote. his "Prize Essay on Communion," which won the prize of $100 from the Southwestern Publishing House, of J. R. Graves & Co., a book which has brought a number of Pedobaptists into the Baptist fold, and made many Baptists strong in faith. Here, too, he wrote and published a good many articles on the Revision of the English Bible, and his address on "Objections to Revision Answered," delivered in Louisville, Ky., just before the meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, in May, 1857, and afterwards published as a tract. Elaborate articles were also published in the Christian Review about this time, "A Review of Whateley's Future State," the "Import of Ekklesia," and "The Scriptural Qualifications for the Administrator of Baptism," which was published also in pamphlet form.

But pleasant as was his field at Beaufort, and much as he regretted to decline the earnest entreaties of the church, to remain with them "for life," a sense of
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duty compelled him to accept the call of the church at Columbia, at the close of 1859, as offering a larger field of usefulness. Here he found a new and elegant church edifice, to the erection of which the late and lamented Dr. J. P. Boyce, a former pastor, contributed $10,000, also the co-operation of Dr. J. S. Reynolds, of the State University, and his former teacher in the Seminary, and several of the professors in the Arsenal, or State Military Institute, two of whom he baptized. Among the fruits of his ministry there was the now much esteemed Rev. A. W. Lamar, D.D., late of Omaha, Neb., and recently called to Galveston, Texas, then a cadet in the Military Institute at Columbia.

At the beginning of his second year in Columbia the war came on, and a large number of persons went to Columbia, as refugees from Charleston and other parts of the State. This brought some noble co-workers, among them Hon. Jas. Tupper, a prominent lawyer in Charleston, and an ever-ready and efficient helper in the church, prayer-meeting and Sunday-school. Among those whom the pastor buried with Christ in baptism was the son-in-law of Mr. Tupper, and also a lieutenant in the army, who, in full uniform, and accompanied by his wife, put on Christ in baptism. Here, too, judge J. B. O'Neall, Chief Justice of the State, and a devoted Baptist, often worshiped, and was ever ready to "speak a word for Jesus." During this pastorate a great revival occurred at the Saluda Cotton Factory, three miles from Columbia, where, in a little more than two years, sixty-six of the employees were baptized, forming a branch of the Columbia church. But the burning of Columbia, by the Federal army, near the close of the war in 1865, terminated Mr. Breaker's six years pastorate there. He was also Secretary of South Carolina State Convention, several years during this time. In the summer of 1865, he removed his family to Laurens District, where he had been preaching once a month during the last year of the war, and whence he obtained the most of his supplies during that trying time.

In January, 1866, he became pastor at Spartanburg, S. C. Here he remained two years, and baptized his oldest son, now Manly J. Breaker, D.D., pastor at Moberly, Mo. Near the close of 1867, his attention was called to what was deemed a much needed and promising work in St. Louis, Mo.; that of gathering into a church organization the scattered Southern element, many of whom had withdrawn or been excluded from the several Baptist churches, for political causes during the war. Encouraged by letters from leading pastors in St. Louis, Mr. Breaker removed with his family to that city in January, 1868. He met good friends there, one especially, in Deacon Wm. Page, of the Second Baptist church, who, anxious to further the proposed work, contributed $500 to his support, until definite arrangements could be made for that purpose. He commenced services at the Park Avenue church, a good brick building, bought by the Baptist Church Extension Union from the Presbyterians. A large Mission Sunday-school was held there, conducted by members of several
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Baptist churches. After a few weeks' labor about twenty professed conversion, and requested baptism. As no church had yet been constituted there, a committee of brethren, chiefly from the Second and Third churches, met for the examination of the candidates, which being satisfactory, they were baptized by Mr. Breaker. Soon after this the Park Avenue Baptist church was organized, of which he was chosen pastor, which position he resigned the following year to accept the pastorate of the church at Liberty, Mo., the seat of William Jewell College.

While the main object of the movement in St. Louis failed, in addition to the goodly number, forty-eight, brought to Christ and into the church through his labors there, Mr. Breaker's work was especially helpful towards re-uniting and consolidating the divided Baptists of Missouri just after the war.

His pastorate at Liberty, though in many respects highly gratifying, was rendered unsatisfactory by the opposition of a few of the old members to instrumental music in the church. On this account he was induced to resign at the end of the year, and accept the call of the First Baptist church at St. Joseph, Mo. His ministry at Liberty resulted in eleven accessions to the church by baptism, chiefly from among the students of the college. The opposition to instrumental music in that church has long since ceased.

Mr. Breaker's pastorate at St. Joseph continued a little more than six years, and resulted in about 100 additions to the church by baptism. One of the leading features was his delivery of 16 lectures, on consecutive Sunday nights, on Romanism, examining in the light of Scripture, reason and history, all its distinctive doctrines and practices. The lectures were published in the city papers at their own request, and they may yet be published in book form. There is need for some such convenient hand-book on Romanism.

It was while in St. Joseph, in June, 1875, that Mr. Breaker received from LaGrange College, Mo., the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity. In March, 1877, he visited Houston, Texas, by request, and soon received and accepted the call of the First church to become their pastor, which position he held for nearly ten years, resigning at the end of 1886. The church, which had been without a regular pastor for a year or more, was in a divided condition, with a dilapidated church edifice, and with but little expectation of getting a better one for many years to come. The pastor's attention and efforts were largely directed to this one object, until it was accomplished, which was only a short time before his resignation. The plan of the new church, which is considered a model of completeness and elegance was drawn by the pastor, and adopted in almost every particular by the architect and the church. One hundred and thirty-four were baptized during this pastorate.
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When Dr. Breaker resigned, a large number of members got letters of dismission, and organized the Olivet Baptist church, of which he became the pastor. They were disappointed in not being able to secure a suitable hall for public worship, and Dr. Breaker did not wish to engage in building again so soon, and no one else could well fill his place. He therefore advised a suspension of church services, and, needing rest, got leave of absence, and made a visit to California, leaving Houston the last of December, 1887. Soon after arriving in California, with much regret, he tendered to the Olivet church his resignation, advising their dissolution, under the circumstances, and their union with some existing church whose fellowship they could enjoy, which was accordingly done.

After spending a month or more in visiting different parts of California, he accepted the call of the First church at Oakland, to act as temporary pastor, during the three or four months absence of Dr. Gray, the pastor, and Mr. Hobart, his assistant, in their tour of Europe and Palestine. At the end of this service, which was mutually very satisfactory, Dr. Breaker accepted a call, for the rest of the year, to the pastoral charge of the church at Ukia. Not feeling satisfied so far from their old homes and children, which was especially true of Mrs. Breaker, he declined the call of the church for the next year, and returned to Texas early in January, 1889.

On visiting Marshall, he received and accepted the call of the church, and entered upon his duties as pastor Feb. 13, 1889. This is still his home, and a field in which he finds congenial and appreciative co-operation. Within about three years 31 have been added to the church by baptism. The plan of a new and attractive church edifice has been drawn by the pastor, and adopted by the church, to take the place of the old one, on the large and beautiful church lot.

Though now quite well matured in years, Dr. Breaker has still all the physical and mental vigor and energy of youth, and, with most excellent health, has the prospect of years of continued activity in the cause of Christ and truth. While much interested in all enterprises looking to the advancement of religion and sound culture, at home and abroad, his prevailing disposition is retiring, and his chosen field of labor is that of home, the study and the pulpit. His private library, chiefly theological, is perhaps the largest in Texas. Up to the present time, he has baptized over 1690 persons, including all of his eight children, married 305 couples, and performed 491 funeral services.

[J. B. Link, editor, Texas Historical and Biographical Magazine, Volume 2, 1892, pp. 154-158. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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