Baptist History Homepage

     Editor's note: John Gano is mentioned briefly in many sources. Some excerpts from this website's documents are listed; the Minutes of the Philadelphia Baptist Association, as well as other sources are included. This is not an essay; just a collection for your convenience. As additional references are located, they are added at the beginnning of the collection. The most recent addition of material was 2.2.10. - Jim Duvall

John Gano: Excerpts from Documents that Mention Him
* * * *

     John Gano preached the annual sermon for the Warren Baptist Association on Matthew 6:10, when they met at Middleborough in 1772.

     In 1774 Gano was elected Moderator of the Warren Association meeting at Medfield.

[From "A Compendium of the Minutes of the Warren Baptist Association from its Formation in 1767 to the year 1825."] - Posted 4.10.07

* * *

As Pastor in New York City

      Rev. John Gano, a clerical scholar of rare culture, pastor of the infant Baptist chuch prior to the war, had been a chaplain in the army, and upon returning to the city with the establishing of peace could find but thirty-seven of his two hundrd church-members. Their little house of worship had been used as a stable, but was soon repaired. Mr. Gano labored successfully in this field until 1788, when he resigned his charge and removed into the wilds of Kentucky. During his ministry he received into the church by baptism two hundred and ninety-seven persons. His successor was Rev. Benjamin Foster, who filled the pulpit ten years. The third pastor was Rev. William Collier. During the ministry of the latter the old structure was replaced by a new one, sixty-five feet by eighty, and the dedication srmon was preached in May, 1802, by Rev. Stephen Gano, of Providence, Rhode Island, the son of Rev. John Gano.
[From History of the City of New York: Its Origin, Rise and Progress By Mrs Burton Harrison and Martha Joanna Lamb, 1896, p. 284. - 1.10.07]
* * * *

Pastor of Morristown Baptist Church
      The first pastor, Rev. John Gano, took charge of the church in May, 1754, and continued his connection until 1757. By him six were added by baptism. During this term he made two visits to North Carolina, occupying several months in each visit, itinerating among the churches there, and laboring for the cause of Christ in that province. After his return from his second visit, he requested liberty of the church to remove and settle in that field of labor. They referred it to his own sense of duty, and much to their regret, on the 25th of September, 1757, he resigned the pastorate, and took his departure.
[From "Historical Sketch of the Baptist Church at Morristown, NJ.", by Edward Howell, the Clerk of the Church; from the Minutes of the North New Jersey Baptist Association Minutes, 1872.]
* * * *

John Gano at the Sandy Creek Association in North Carolina
[This was their second session.]
July, 1760

     At their next Association multitudes, both of friends and strangers, came, many from a great distance. The Rev. John Gano, from New England, was there. He was sent, it seems, to inquire into the state of these New Light Baptists. He was received by Stearns with great affection. But the young and illiterate preachers were afraid of him, and kept at a distance. They even refused to invite him into their Association. All this he bore patiently, sitting by while they transacted their business. He preached also every day. His preaching was in the Spirit of the Gospel. Their hearts were opened, so that before he left them they were greatly attached to him. So superior were Mr. Gano's talents for preaching that some of the young and unlearned preachers said they felt as if they never could undertake to preach again. This Association was also conducted in love, peace and harmony. When Mr. Gano returned to his own country, being asked what he thought of these Baptists, replied, that "doubtless the power of God was among them; that although they were rather immethodical, they certainly had the root of the matter at heart."

     Semple says in a footnote that he spent four years in the South [p. 66].

[Robert B. Semple, History of the Baptists in Virginia, 1894; reprint, 1972, pp. 65-66.]

* * * *

John Gano as Pastor at First Baptist Church, New York City
By Stephen H. Cone

     .... As their numbers and resources increased, they purchased ground in Gold Street, and erected a small meeting-house, which was opened on the 14th of March, 1760. In that year, brother John Gano, formerly Pastor of Morristown Church, New Jersey, preached for them several times, with great acceptance, and received a unanimous call to settle with them. He replied that he must finish his engagement with the First Church, Philadelphia, where he was then preaching; and must spend three months afterwards with the Yadkin Baptist Church, North Carolina, whence he had been driven by the outrages of the Cherokee Indians, in 1759; and then, he would be at liberty to accept their call. To this the Church agreed, and continued to depend upon visiting brethren to lead in public worship until June 19th, 1762, when twenty-seven members of Scotch Plains, having received previously letters of dismission, were publicly recognized as an independent Gospel Church. Brethren Miller and Gano conducted the religious exercises upon this interesting occasion; the latter was received into the fellowship of the Church, the same day upon the credit of his letter of dismission from the Yadkin Church, and entered immediately upon his pastoral charge. Many flocked together to hear him preach Christ crucified; in two or three years, the number of members exceeded two hundred; the meeting house was considerably enlarged, so as to measure fifty-two feet by forty two, and was then too small for the congregation.

     The ministry of brother Gano continued to be very acceptable and edifying. He was no common man. He was endowed with strong powers of mind, and had been blessed with a good education. In the pulpit he was animated and affectionate; sound and clear in his views of divine truth, and skillful in arresting and retaining the attention of his audience. He was easy in his manners, had great knowledge of men, and possessed uncommon tact in accommodating himself to times and places and circumstances, and yet never lose sight of his "high vocation." It was a saying of his -- we must always act in character -- and it was his happiness, by grace divine, uniformly to maintain the character of a faithful servant of the Most High God. But even with such a Pastor, the peace of the Church was occasionally disturbed. Three ministers from England, at different times endeavored to divide the Church -- they were Murray, Dawson, and Allen -- the last of whom, especially, caused them some trouble. Brother Gano wrote to England, "and obtained such an account of the man and his character at home," as destroyed his influence in New York, and he soon after removed from the city. The next difficulty worthy of note originated in a vote of the Church to sing from hymn books, instead of giving out the lines, as had previously been the custom. This change gave so much offence that fourteen took letters of dismission, and formed the Second Baptist Church, New York, and as such were publicly recognized on the 5th of June, 1770, by brethren Miller and Gano.

     The Church, however, continued to increase in number and influence until the war of the Revolution, during which period the members were every where scattered abroad. The ordinance of baptism was administered by the Pastor, April 28th, 1776, and not again until September 4th, 1784.

     John Gano was a firm patriot and a brave man. In the struggle for national existence and the establishment of civil and religious freedom, he could not but take active part. He removed his family to Connecticut, but determined to remain in the city himself until the enemy entered it. He was invited to become Chaplain to the Regiment commanded by Colonel Charles Webb, of Stamford, but declined the appointment. He, nevertheless, so far complied as to visit the Regiment every morning, and preach for them every Lord's day. He was anxious to remove the furniture from his dwelling, but his efforts were frustrated: the British shipping took possession of both the North and East Rivers, and he was obliged to retire precipitately to our camp. The enemy entered the city the next day, after a little skirmishing, and our troops were driven to Harlem -- then to Kings bridge -- and at last to White Plains, where Washington had collected a large part of his forces; and where, says brother Gano, "we had a warm, though partial battle; for probably not a third of either army was brought into action. My station, in time of action, I knew to be among, the surgeons; but in this battle I somehow got in the front of the Regiment; yet I durst not quit my place for fear of damping the spirits of the soldiers, or of bringing on myself an imputation of cowardice. Rather than do either, I chose to risk my fate." His soldierly bearing upon that occasion, in the presence of the enemy, elicited much praise from the officers in their after conversations, and greatly increased their respect for their Chaplain, whose personal courage had been so severely tested.

     Bro. Gano continued with Col. Webb's regiment until the period expired for which the men had enlisted, and they returned to their homes. He took this opportunity to visit his family, where he found a letter awaiting him from Col. Dubosque, then stationed at Fort Montgomery, on the North River. He immediately set out for the Colonel's quarters, and at the earnest solicitation of General James Clinton, with whom he there met, he accepted an appointment as Chaplain, and continued in the service until the close of the war. After the British evacuated New York, he returned to the city and collected together "about thirty-seven members of the church out of above two hundred." The meeting-house which was much disfigured, having been used as a store house and stable for horses, was repaired; public worship was resumed; "the Lord looked graciously upon his people, the congregation was large and attentive, and many were brought to bow the knee to King Jesus!" In two years the church again numbered more than two hundred members. In 1787, a proposition was made to Bro. Gano to remove to Kentucky, with the prospect of increasing his usefulness, and relieving himself from pecuniary embarrassments. He called a church meeting and laid before them the facts in the case: but he says "they treated it all as a chimera, and with all possible coolness left him to determine for himself." He immediately determined to go. As soon as his intention was made known, the church offered to raise his salary, and very affectionately urged him to tarry. He would gladly have complied with their wishes, but it was too late; he had entered into engagements which could not be broken. He continued to preach for the church until the 4th of May, 1788; in the afternoon of that day, he administered the Lord's Supper, and in the evening took his final leave of them in a very affecting discourse from Acts 15-29, Fare ye well!

      Bro. Gano arrived safely at Limestone [now Maysville], Ky. June 17th, 1788; he preached in, various parts of the state, principally at Frankfort, and for the Town Fork church, and finished his course Aug. 10th, 1804, in the 78th year of his age. The last sentiment he uttered, in the midst of his weeping family and friends was, his desire to depart and be with Jesus. The First Church, N. Y., has great cause of gratitude to the God of all grace for giving them John Gano as their first Pastor. His ministry was owned and blessed to the permanent establishment of our cause in this great commercial emporium; where for more than twenty-six years, this John the Baptist was a burning and a shining light.
[From Baptist Memorial and Monthly Record, February, 1846.]

* * * *

Excerpts from David Benedict, Baptist Historian

     .... "Having then a place for public worship, and their number being increased to 27, they solicited and obtained from the church at the Scotch Plains, a letter of dismission, bearing date the 12th of June, 1762; and on the 19th of the same month they were constituted a church, by the assistance of Elders Benjamin Miller and John Gano.

     "The doctrines in the belief and profession of which this church was constituted, and which she still maintains and professes are contained in the Baptist Confession of Faith, printed in London, in the year 1688."

     Rev. John Gano became the pastor of this infant church 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, 1781. He was pastor of this church about twenty-six years; when, in May, 1788, he removed to Kentucky." [p. 575.]


[John Gano's visits to North Carolina]

     These churches had an annual interview, or yearly meeting, in which they inspectcd or regulated the general concerns of their community. These people were all General Baptists, and those of them who emigrated from England, came out from that community there.

     Although this people maintained a strict adherence to baptist principles, so far as baptism was concerned, yet in process of time they fell into a loose and neglectful manner as to their rules of church discipline, and so continued until more Orthodox opinions and a more rigid economy in their ecclesiastical affairs were introduced among them, which took place about the year 1751, and was caused partly by the preaching of Robert Williams, of Welsh Neck, S. C., and partly by the conversation and efforts of a layman, commony called the sley-maker, whose name was William Wallis, but chiefly by the labors of Rev. John Gano, who visited them in the summer of 1754, and of Benjamin Miller, and Peter P. Vanhorn, who went amongst them some time in the year after. 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.]

John Gano and New Jersey

     A number of the eminent names in the denomination were born in New Jersey, though their ministry was chiefly in other parts of the land. Among them were John Gano, James Manning, and Hezekiah Smith.
[From The Baptist Memorial and Monthly Chronicle, May, 1842.]
* * * *

John Gano and the Philadelphia Baptist Association
     John Gano was a messenger to the Philadelphia Association in 1752, 1754, 1755 and 1763.
1763 -- A church at New York, minister, John Gano, was received in the Association. This church was constituted June 19, 1762. The number of constituents was twenty-seven, and these chiefly members of Scotch Plains. Now the number is forty-three. He was assigned to preach the Associational sermon in 1764 on "The Recovery of Man."
1764 -- Gano preached the Associational Sermon from Romans 11:7. He baptized 13 and his church's (New York City) membership was 57.
1765 -- "Ordered Mr. Gano and Mr. Jones to be at Coram Township of Brookhaven on Long Island, on November 1, to constitute a church, and to acknowledge them as a sister chruch in behalf of the Association." Baptized 20 persons.
1766 -- Baptized 37 persons.
1767 -- Baptized 17 persons.
1768 -- John Gano, Isaac Stelle and Benjamin Miller to visit the church at Stratfield, Connecticut about their withdrawing from the Association. Baptized 12.
1769 -- He was chosen a messenger to the Virginia Association. Baptized 1.
1770 -- Baptized 9.
1771 -- He was chosen Moderator of the Philadelphia Association.
1772 -- The 2nd Baptist Church in NYC requested admission into the Philadelphia Association. The FBC made objections because of difficulties between the two churches. Five pastors were chosen to meet with the two churches in November to resolve the problems. Baptized 20.
1773 -- He was chosen Moderator of the Association. Second BC still had obstacles for admission to the association. Three pastors were appointed to meet with the churches.
"The usefulness of a travelling minister on this continent appearing more manifest by trials, and Brother Morgan Edwards declining the office, it was agreed, that Brother John Gano be a messenger of the churches for this year; and that the treasurer do pay him the interest of the Association fund, to help defray his expenses."
John Gano and Wm. VanHorn to be messengers to the Warren Association.
John Gano to be messenger to Southern Associations. Baptized 13.
1774 -- John Gano to give report of his travels to the Southland. Second BC was admitted to the association. It was motioned Gano be paid for his travels the previous year. Gano and William Rogers to be messengers to Warren Association. He baptized 3 persons.
1775 -- He was chosen Moderator of the Association. He was chosen to write the general (Circular) letter for 1776. He and Samuel Jones were chosen to be messengers to the Warren and Rhode Island Associations. Baptized 1.
1776 -- Because of the Revolutionary War he did not attend or write the Circular Letter. None baptized.
1777 -- No reports from the churches because of the war. He was serving as a chaplain in the war. The FBC, NYC church disbanded because of the war.
1783 -- "After sermon, Brother John Gano, being first received as a member, was chosen moderator." There was no report from his church.
1784 -- "The circular letter, written by Brother John Gano, was presented and read." The title was "Effectual Calling." None baptized.
1785 -- He was chosen a messenger to the Charleston Association. He was chosen to preach the Introductory sermon the following year. Baptized 55.
His son, Stephen, was also listed as a messenger to the Association from the NYC church, that year and the year following.
1786 -- "According to appointment, Brother John Gano opened the Association with a very suitable discourse, from 1 Tim. iv.1: 'Now, the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, givng heed to seducing spirits and the doctrines of devils.'" Baptized none.
1787 -- Baptized 29. -- This was the last year that John Gano was aligned with the Philadelphia Association. The FBC, NYC membership was 192.
[From the Minutes of the above years.]
* * *

[Elkhorn Association -- City of Lexington]

     Near to this place, Rev. John Gano settled when he first removed to Kentucky.

     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, Ambrose Dudley, Lewis Craig, Joseph Redding, John Gano, John Sutton, Wm. Hickman, Austin Easton, J. Gerard, William Waller, Joseph 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; rpt. 1977.]

* * * *

John Gano and The Elkhorn Baptist Association (KY)
Elected Moderator of the 1788 Session.
Elected Moderator of the May, 1789 Session.
Preached the Introductory Sermon for the May 1789 Session.
Elected Moderator for the August, 1791 Session.
Preached the Introductory Sermon for the August, 1791 Session.
Elected Moderator for the September, 1791 Session (Special Session). A difficulty with Elijah Craig was dealt with.
Elected Moderator for the August, 1792 Session.
Elected Moderator for the August, 1793 Session.
In 1795, he helped answer a "Query, from Town Fork, now more than two years ago under consideration --
What is the origin and divine authority of an Association? The use and extent of its power? The principles on which admission into, or rejection from it are justifiable?
Jno. Gano, Jos. Redding, and Francis Dunlavy, were appointed to answer it.
Answer. The divine authority of an Association are the commands in God's word, for Christians to assemble together in His name, for worship and counsel, and union to Christ and one another; and that its use is for mutual edification and assistance; to cultivate uniformity of sentiments in principle and practice; and that its power is to regulate and govern itself as a body, and give such advice to the Churches as may be for their peace. And that any Church, who agrees to the principles on which we ourselves are united, ought to be admitted; and any Church, who openly oppose these principles, ought to be rejected."
1796 -- Gano preached the Introductory Sermon for the May Session held at Town Fork, from Psalm cxxxiii:1: "Brethren dwelling together in unity."
1798 -- John Gano preached the Introductory for the last time, from the text 2d Peter i:15: "Moreover I will endeavor that ye may be able, after my decease, to have these things always in remembrance."
In 1801, the association "appointed a Committee to receive the bounty of the Churches for the benefit of our aged brethren, J. Gano, D. Thomas, and J. Sutton, as an indication of our love and care for them in their old age; and it is recommended to the Churches to make frequent contributions, and send them to the Committee, who are to distribute the same as to them may appear right; and render an account to the Association, what they have received, and from whom, and how they have distributed the same."
John Gano appointed to preach the Introductory Sermon for 1802 Session. He was unable to do so and Joseph Redding preached as the chosen alternate.
1804 A notice is agreed to be inserted in the minutes of "the death of our aged and beloved brother, John Gano, who departed this life August 9, 1804, aged nearly 80 years. He lived and died an ornament to religion."

[From Elkhorn Baptist Association Minutes for the year indicated]
* * * *

John Gano at the Salem Baptist Association (KY)

     At Coxes Creek, October 3, 1789, "The introductory sermon was preached by the Reverend John Ganoe (Gano) from the 6th verse of the 15th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles."
[From Salem Association of Baptists,]
* * * *

John Gano and the First Baptist Church in Northwest Territory (Ohio)

     The First Baptist Church in Ohio was constituted by the aid of the Rev. Stephen Gano, afterward of Providence, Rhode Island, on the 20th of January, 1790, at the house of Benjamin Davis, in Columbia, five miles above the present site of Cincinnati. This was on Saturday, and immediately after organizing the church, then consisting of nine persons, viz.; Benjamin Davis, Mary Davis, Isaac Ferris, Jonah Reynolds, Elizabeth Ferris, Amy Reynolds, John Ferris, John S. Gano. and Thomas C. Wade, Isaac Ferris was appointed Deacon, and John S. Gano, Clerk. The door of the church was then opened, and Elijah Stite, Rhoda Stites, and Sarah Ferris were received on experience and baptized by Dr. Gano on the next day. Thomas Sloo, a member of Dr. Gano's church in New York City, and who had come out West with Dr. Stephen Gano, were present. Both Mr. Sloo and Dr. John Gano afterward moved to Kentucky.
[From A. H. Dunlevy, The History of the Miami Baptist Association, 1869, Chapter 2.]
* * *

John Gano and the First Government in Kentucky
     The coming of John Gano was indeed a blessing. It was very fitting upon the sitting of the first Legislature of Kentucky, in Lexington, Monday, June 4, 1792, he was chosen chaplain of both houses.
[From John T. Christian, History of the Baptists, Vol 2, p. 293.]
* * * *

Comments on John Gano
By Wm. M. Pratt, D. D.
     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.

[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.]

* * *

John Gano and the Forks of Elkhorn Baptist Church
      Apparently the church believed their "former rules of Acting" (conducting their business affairs) were not sufficient. They sought John Gano to assist them in establishing rules of conduct for the church. The entries describing this matter are in the following church records:
2nd Saturday in October 1803 the Church met & after Divine Worship proceeded to business
Bro. Sam'l Price Motion'd that Bro. Jno. Gano be appointed to form rules for the Examination of the Church, The Church agreed to the Motion -- Bro. Jas. Haydon Motion'd that our former rules of Acting by Majority be dispenc'd of at the admission of the above rules -- After some arguments the motion was withdrawn.

2nd. Saturday in November 1803 the Church met and after Divine Worship proceeded to business ---
1st. The Church requested that the rules formed by Bro. John Gano for the Examination of the Church be read which was done -- The Church agreed that the following Bre'n James Haydon, Baker Ewing & Jessey Vawter be appointed as a Committee to Inspect and revise those rules against our next Church Meeting

In December 1803, the church did not publish new rules for governance, but a Confession of Faith: "as demonstration of our profession have agreed to record the following Articles Viz,
1st We believe the scriptures of the old and new Testament to be the Infallible word of God, and the only rule of faith and practice
2ndly We believe in one self Existing God, and that there is three persons in the divine Essence or nature phraised in the Bible, by, God the Father, God the Son, & God the holy Spirit, and yet these three are but one God, not admitting of a Priority or Seniority, in the Godhead or Essence
3rdly We believe in the doctrine of the fall of man, the depravity of human nature, the Inability of the Creature, to recover it's self to life
4thly. We believe in the doctrine of Sovereign Grace, Justification by the righteousness of Christ alone, final preseverance of the Saints, resurrection of the dead and a General Judgment
5thly We believe the Joys of the righteous and punishment of the Wicked will be Eternal
6thly, We believe Baptism and the Lords Supper are ordinance of Jesus Christ and that Believers are the Subjects of these Ordinances and the true mode of Baptism is by Immersion
It is also agreed by the Church that any Member or Members not agreeing with the Confession as now Established may upon Application have letters of Dismission"
[From W. W. Sweet, editor, Religion on the Amercian Frontier: The Baptists, "Records of The Forks of Elkhorn Baptist Church, 1800-1820," 1931, pp. 301-302.]

* * * *

Kentucky Baptist Historian J. H. Spencer Comments on John Gano

John H. Spencer, comparing Baptist preachers with those of other denominations, says,
"John Gano and David Thomas were, to say the least, the equals of any Presbyterian preacher of their generation in Kentucky." [p. 494.]

Speaking of John Gano, a Baptist preacher, David Rice, the early Kentucky Presbyterian missionary and historian, wrote in his Memoirs, p. 316: "I heard him with great avidity and satisfaction. He appeared to preach the gospel in its native simplicity with honest intention to promote the glory of God and the good of men. He preached in the neighborhood a second and third time, and still in the same spirit. To me he appeared as one of the ancient Puritans risen from the dead." [p. 495.]

After remaining a short time at Washington [KY, near Maysville], Mr. Gano moved to the neighborhood of Lexington, and became pastor of Town Fork church. Here he became the co-laborer of Craig, Taylor, Hickman, Dudley, and others of that noble band that were in Kentucky before him. Among these brethren who recognized him as a father in the gospel, he labored with faithfulness and efficiency, about ten years, when, in 1798, he had his shoulder broken by a fall from his horse. Before he recovered from this, he had a paralytic stroke, which deprived him of the power of speech. From this he so far recovered as to be able to preach. During the "Great Revival," it is said, he preached in an "astonishing manner." While Elkhorn Association was much agitated by the appearance of Arianism in some of the churches, about the year 1803, Mr. Gano was carried to Lexington, and assisted into the pulpit, where he preached a masterly discourse on the Deity of Christ, which was thought to have a salutary effect in checking the spread of that baleful heresy. [p. 126.]

[Cited in J. H. Spencer, A History of Kentucky Baptists, Volume I, 1885; rpt. 1984.]

* * * *

William Hickman Comments on John Gano
"... and I baptized one member; the next month I baptized another; brother James McQuade stood by me from the first, was my singing clerk; a little after brother Gano baptized him and two or three others. . . .

" ... my dear brother Gano though in a debilitated state, like old Jacob caning (leaning?) on the top of his staff, spoke at the water, and I baptized her in the name of the holy Trinity."
[Autobiography, 1828, pp. 17, 19.]

* * * *

     John Gano died on August 10th, 1804, in the 78th year of his life. The Elkhorn Baptist Association made the following statement:
"At North Elkhorn, the 2d Saturday in August, 1804.
     Agreed, To insert in the minutes the death of our beloved brother, John Gano, who departed this life August 9, 1804, in about his 80th year. He lived and died an ornament to religion."

* * * *

The Gano grave marker at the Frankfort (KY) Cemetery:

[The inscription is typed below for easier reading. The Ganos are buried beside the frontier Baptist preacher William Hickman. This picture was furnished by Jerry Evans of Shepherdsville, KY.]

Sacred to the Memory of

      who departed this life						who departed this life
      August 10, A. D. 1804 					        April 22, A. D. 1792
      in the 78th year of his age.				        in the 57th year of her age.

Of Huguenot descent. John was born July 22, 1727 in
Hopewell, New Jersey, to Daniel and Sarah Britton Gano.

After his conversion, he was baptized and united with the Baptist church
at Hopewell. His call to preach the gospel came while he was plowing a field.
Among the texts that took hold of his mind was: "... woe is unto me, if I preach
not the Gospel!" I Corinthians 9:16. He was ordained May 29, 1754, at Hopewell
and for fifty years plowed the eternal fields of the souls of men. As a minister
of Christ, he shone like a star of the first magnitude in the American churches,
and moved in a widely extended field of action.

The churches he pastored include:
Morristown Baptist Church - New Jersey 1755-1757
Jersey Baptist Church - North Carolina 1757-1760
First Baptist Church - New York City 1762-1788
Town Fork Baptist Church - Kentucky 1788-1798

During the Revolution, his services to his country were conscpicious.
He entered the army as Chaplain to General Clinton's New York Brigade.
"In the fierce conflict on Chatterton's Hill, when he saw more than
half the army flying from the sound of cannon, others abandoning
their pieces without firing a shot, and a brave band and of six hundred
maintaining a conflict with the whole British army, being filled with
chivalrous and patriotic sympathy for the valiant men who refused to
run, he could not resist the strong desire to share their perils, and he
eagerly pushed to the front." Of his conduct, Gano said, "My station in
time of action I knew to be with the surgeons, but in this battle I somehow
got in the front of the regiment, yet I durst not quit my place for fear of
dampening the spirits of the soldiers or of bringing on myself the
imputation of cowardice."

Also during the Revolution, his friend, General George Washington,
demanded the ordinance of immersion at his hands, to which he consented.
On April 19, 1783, when Washington proclaimed peace, he called upon his
friend, John Gano, who offered a prayer of thanksgiving to the Almighty
Ruler of the world. He lived to a good old age; saw his posterity
multiplying around him; his country independent and happy; and
the church for which he had laboured, advancing; and thus he closed
his eyes in peace; his heart expanding with the sublime hope of
immortality and heavenly bliss.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

[Marker placed by the Baptist History Preservation Society.]

More on John Gano
Baptist History Homepage