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November 2012

The Life of John Gano, 1727-1804
Pastor-Evangelist of the Philadelphia Association.
By Terry Wolever, 2012

      Few Baptist ministers of his time had such a wide-ranging role in building up the churches in so many different sections of the country as John Gano. From the Middle Atlantic States of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania to Connecticut in New England and on into the Southern States of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia and finally westward into Kentucky, he seemed to leave a mark for good in whatever endeavor he engaged in or supported. He preached in a number of historic pulpits, ranging from the First Baptist Church of Philadelphia to the Kiokee Baptist Church in Georgia and was personally acquainted with many of the well-known Baptist figures of his day, North, South and West. And he had significant influence in leading Baptist Associations such as the Philadelphia, Warren, Charleston, Shaftsbury and Elkhorn. When evaluating the many preachers he had known over the years in the Philadelphia Association, Samuel Jones (1735-1814), possibly "the ablest and most trusted leader among the ministers of the Association," listed John Gano among the three foremost "burning and shining lights" in his day. Richard Furman (1755-1825), pastor of the First Baptist Church of Charleston, South Carolina, likewise believed that God had endowed Gano with "a large portion of grace, and with excellent gifts." And New England's pastor-historian Isaac Backus (1724-1806) wrote that Gano's preaching seemed to him to have been "as much admired as Mr. Whitefiel's." Such testimonials of former days regarding Gano's character and preaching are not uncommon. By whatever standard, he was an exceptional evangelical figure of the period.... My overall desire in this present work on John Gano, to borrow the words of a biographer of Whitefield, has been "to present him as much as possible in his own dress; and to use the facts of his life to excite and cherish his own spirit, so far as he had the spirit of Christ.". . . . . . from the Introduction to The Life of John Gano.

      Twelve appendixes cover information on John Gano's children, sermons, land deeds, diary and expense account for 1773-1774 and will, as well as a 28-page discussion on the strengths and weaknesses of the Gano family, evidence on the baptism of General George Washington by John Gano during the Revolutionary War, as presented by descendants and L. C. Barnes in a controversial 1926 paper.

704 pages, including over 35 illustrations (three in color), four maps and extensive indexes of persons, subjects, and churches.

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