Rev. John Gano became the pastor of this infant church [First Baptist Church, NYC] at the time of its constitution, and continued in office twenty-six years. From the period of Mr. Gano's settlement in New York, to the present time, this city has been a central point of operations for the denomination throughout a wide circuit around. Although the church was small and feeble compared with some of the older institutions in New England, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and some of the other colonies, yet it was in a central position, and Mr. Gano had, for many years, been favorably known as a man of superior talents, and of a somewhat apostolical enterprise. His missionary excursions to the southern colonies, under an appointment from the Philadelphia Association had been reported in their minutes, which had called the attention of the churches to this young divine, and soon he took a prominent stand in the denomination.
"During the whole of the revolutionary war, Elder Gano was a highly respected chaplain in the American Army. The last time he administered baptism before he entered the army, was on April 28, 1776; and the first time, after his return, was on September 4, 1784. He was pastor of this church about twenty-six years; when, in May, 1788, he removed to Kentucky. [p. 575.]
Mr. Gano was sent out by the Philadelphia Association, with general and indefinite lnsructions to travel in the southern States, &c. He, on his return, represeuted the melancholy condition of this people to the Association, who appointed Messrs. Miller and Vauhorn for the purpose of instructing and reforming them. Mr. Gano appears to have shaken the old foundation, and began the preparation of the materials, which Messrs. Miller aud Vanhorn organized into regular churches. This visit is thus described by Mr. Edwards: --
"Mr. Gano, on his arrival, sent to the ministers, requesting an interview with them, which they declined, and appointed a meeting among themselves to consult what to do. Mr. Gano hearing or it, went to their meeting, and addressed them in words to this effect. 'I have desired a visit from you, which, as a brother and a stranger, I had a right to expect, but as ye have refused, I give up my claim and am come to pay you a visit.' With that, he ascended into the pulpit and read for his text the following words: 'Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are ye?' This text he managed in such a manner as to make some afraid of him, and others ashamed of their shyness. Many were convinced of errors touching faith and conversion, and submitted to examination. One minister hearing this (who stood well with himself) went to be examined, and intimated to his people, he should return triumphant. Mr. Gano heard him out, and then turning to his companion, said, 'I profess, brother, this will not do: this man has the one thing needful to seek.' Upon which, the person examined hastened home, and upon being asked how he came off? replied, 'The Lord have merey upon you, for this northern minister has put a mene tekel upon me!'"
By the labors of Mr. Gano, and also of Messrs. Miller and Vanhorn, a great work was effected among this people, which consisted not merely in the important business of reforming their creed and purifying their churches, but also in reviving the power of godliness amongst the erroneous and lukewarm professors, and in the conviction and conversion of many others. [p. 682.]
_________________Near to this place, Rev. John Gano settled when he first removed to Kentucky.
City of Lexington
This old body [Elkhorn Association] is located principally in the counties of Woodford, Fayette, and Scott, in a central position with respect to the oldest settlements of the State.
John Taylor, A. Dudley, L. Craig, Jos. Redding, John Gano, John Sutton, Wm. Hickman, A. Easton, J. Gerard, W. Waller, J. Price, Wm. Marshall, D. Thompson, J. Wood, the two Dupuys, John and James, Joseph Rucker, Elijah Craig, and John Tanner were all the ordained ministers in the Elkhorn Association in 1790. [p. 813.]
[From David Benedict, A General History of the Baptist Denomination in America, 1848; reprint in 1977. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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