Another itinerant missionary for the Philadelphia Association was the Reverend John Gano (1727-1798 [1803 - jrd]). He was born and reared in Hopewell, New Jersey. As a young man, he was appointed by the Association to travel through the South on a preaching mission. On his return north, he became pastor of the first Baptist church established in New York City. Its congregation had been gathered by Mr. Jeremiah Dodge, a member of the first Calvinistic Baptist church in New York Colony, which had come into existence in Fishkill, Dutchess County, about 1740. By 1753 a sufficient number were meeting in two homes in the city, one of which was Dodge's, to make it worth while to become a branch of the church at Scotch Plains, New Jersey. They occupied this status until 1762 when they were strong enough to constitute a church of their own with Gano as pastor. With the exception of eight years of service as a chaplain during the American Revolution, he devoted twent-six years to his pastorate there. Always he was a zealous preacher and a leader in the denomination. By 1780 there were ten Baptist churches in Dutchess County and its vicinity, all of which were members of the Philadelphia Association until they established their own Association in 1791. * * * * *
Although the Philadelphia Association became smaller as new associations were formed to include churches formerly within its membership, its influence increased as pastors and laymen who had been identified with its standards of faith and polity became a part of the newly organized bodies. For example, the Reverend John Gano, formerly of the Philadelphia Association, but later living in Kentucky, visited the recently organized Yadkins Association in the northwestern section of North Carolina in 1793 to prevail upon them to adopt more orderly methods of conducting their affairs. They had feared the loss of democratic control if they appointed a moderator. In time, Gano allayed their fears and helped them establish rules of order for their meetings. 1
1 Henry C. Vedder, A Short History of Baptists, 318.
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In 1767 New England Baptists, some of whom until then had been members of the Philadelphia Association, organized the Warren Association at Warren, Rhode Island. One of the chief purposes of this move was to strengthen their fight for religious liberty.2 Dr. Manning, president of Rhode Island College, his brother-in-law, the Reverend John Gano, from the Philadelphia Association, and the Reverend Isaac Backus, a prominent Baptist preacher in Massachusetts, were chiefly instrumental in its formation.3
2 William W. Sweet, Religion in Colonial America, 1942, p. 333.
3 Edward F. Humphrey, Nationalism and Religion in America: 1774-1789, 1924, p. 326.
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The Revolution was destructive to the churches, particularly the occupied areas about New York and Philadelphia and some poi in the South. For example, in New York City, the church of which the Reverend John Gano was pastor had only thirty-seven out of two hundred former members to greet him when he returned in 1784 from service as a chaplain in the Army. The meeting-house had been used by the British cavalry as a stable. It took two years to bring the membership back to its former size. 4
4 Henry C. Vedder, A History of the Baptists in the Middle States, 1898, pp. 29-30.
[From Robert G. Torbet, A History of the Baptists, revised, 1952. The footnote numbers are changed. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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