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John Gano
By William Pratt
      The venerable John Gano, who spent the last sixteen years of his long, laborious, and useful life in Kentucky, from 1788 to 1804, when "he fell on sleep." His birthplace was Hopewell, N. J. He was probably educated at "Eaton Academy," the first Baptist institution of learning in America, and which gave to Brown University its first president, Rev. Dr. James Manning, in 1765. Elder Gano and Dr. Manning were brothers-in-law, having married sisters, the daughters of John Stites, of Hopewell, N. J.

      In June, 1762, the first Baptist church in New York was constituted on seventeen members from Scotch Plains, and Mr. Gano, who had served them in the old church, was elected as the pastor. He held the position for twenty-six eventful years. He entered the army as chaplain of Gen. Clinton's New York brigade. His fearless exposure to danger, and his devotion to the sick, and to the success of the war of Independence, which was shared by other Baptist ministers, led Gen. Washington to say, "Baptist chaplains were the most prominent and useful in the army." He was commissioned by the Philadelphia Association to visit the newly formed churches in Virginia and North Carolina during the wonderful work of grace in those parts, and he exercised a most wholesome and conservative influence.

      About the time he came to Kentucky the "Town Fork" church was constituted, in Lexington, and a house of worship was erected on what has been known for years as the "old Baptist Graveyard." This spot was abandoned after a few years, and a meeting-house was built on the old Frankfort road, some three miles from town, to suit the convenience of the most of the members who resided in the vicinity. John Gano was elected pastor, and continued so for ten years, when he became disabled by a broken shoulder and afterward by partial paralysis. Dr. Richard Furman, of South Carolina, said of him, "As a minister of Christ, he shone like a star of the first magnitude in the American church and moved in a widely extended field of action. For this office God had endowed him with a large portion of grace and excellent gifts. Resembling the sun, he rose in the church with morning brightness, advanced regularly to his station of meridian splendor, and then gently declined with mild effulgence, till he disappeared without a cloud to intercept his rays or obscure his glory."

[From Memorial Volume Containing the Papers and Addresses that were Delivered at the Jubilee of the Association of the General Association of Baptists, Louisville, 1888, "The Early Baptist Churches of Kentucky," By Wm. M. Pratt, D.D. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]



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