There are two sections of ministers listed -- the first group was pastors of the church and the second group was those whom the church sent out as either ordained or licensed ministers. They are not in alphabetic order, but I am listing them in alphabetic order so you may see who are included in the sketches without searching the entire essay. jrd]
Allen, Elder Zachariah -- Baldwin, Elder Moses -- Battle, Elder Elisha -- Creath, Elder William -- Daniel, Elder Robert T. -- Harris, Elder Samuel -- King, Elder James -- Lester, Elder Henry -- Marsh, Elder Robert -- Montague, Elder John E. -- Picket, Elder Reuben -- Reed, Elder James -- Richards, Elder William -- Vass, Elder Thomas -- Walker, Elder Sanders -- Whitehead Elder William -- Worrell, Elder William B.
Biographical Sketches of the Pastors of
Grassy Creek Baptist Church
By Robert I. Devin
The author was anxious to present at least at least a brief outline of the lives and labors of all the ministers, who have been connected with Grassy Creek church, but several names, whose memory ought to be preserved, he has been compelled to leave out, because the needful information could not be obtained.
Much allowance must be made for a portion of the sketches which are given, on account of the scanty supply of materials out of which they were compiled.
The sketches of Elders Reed, Harris, Picket, Creath, and Richards, are mainly taken from Dr. Taylor's "Lives of the Virginia Baptist Ministers," with some changes and additions, and that of Elder Daniel is condensed, with some alterations, from the one given by Dr. Purefoy in his "History of the Sandy Creek Association."
Elder James Reed
Although it appears that Mr. Reed lived and died in the neighborhood of Grassy Creek, and sustained the pastorate of the church for nearly thirty years, yet, I have not been able to collect but little information concerning him, besides what is given by Semple, Taylor and Benedict. He was probably born in Edgecombe county, N. C., in 1726. In early life, he was the subject of much alarm, under the consciousness of his guilt, as a transgressor of the divine law, but he did not submit to the sway of the Prince of Peace until he was about thirty years of age. He was converted under the ministry of Rev. Daniel Marshall, and baptized by Elder Shubael Stearns about 1755 or '56. His spirit was stirred within him when he beheld the thousands around him exposed to ruin; and he at once lifted up his voice in simplicity and godly sincerity, proclaiming the gospel of Christ. Up to this period his opportunity for mental cultivation were very limited, but he assiduously applied himself to study, and under the instruction of his wife be became considerably improved. Although at the time of his entrance into the ministry he was in many respects unqualified to instruct in spiritual things, but as an evangelist he was very successful in winning souls to Christ. Indeed, his talent seems to have been peculiarly suited to this kind of labor. He traveled extensively, especially in the early part of his ministry, both in North Carolina and Virginia. In company with Elder Samuel Harris in one of his journeys, seventy-five, and in another, more than two hundred, were buried, by him, with Christ in baptism. He possessed a sanguine temperament, and in some things was enthusiastic -- disposed to regard his impressions as immediately from heaven. Elder Reed was the first pastor of Grassy Creek church, and continued in that relation, with the exception of two or three years, till declining age disqualified him for the active duties of the pastorate. He was instrumental in planting the church at Buffalo, Mecklenburg, county, Va., to whose oversight he was called at its organization in 1788, which position he occupied successfully for may years. His labors in building up the church were greatly blessed, and several extensive revivals were enjoyed under his ministry, and many precious souls converted to God and added to the Lord through his instrumentality. His death took place in 1798, in the seventy-second year of his age, having been more than forty years engaged in the ministry. His end was most triumphant -- willing to leave the world and expecting to be with Christ. His last words in departing were: "Do you not see the angels waiting to convey my soul to glory?"
Elder Samuel Harris
Elder Harris sustained the pastoral office with the Grassy Creek people for about three years -- that is, from 1770-1773. This distinguished minister of the gospel was unusually popular, and large crowd attended his meetings.
Col. Harris, as he was usually called, was born January the 12th, 1721, in the county of Hanover, Virginia, but in early life settled in Pittsylvania. Few men could boast of a more respectable parentage. His education, though not the most liberal, was very considerable for the customs of the day, and as he advanced in age, became a favorite with the people, as well as with the rulers. He was appointed Church Warden, Sheriff, a Justice of the Peace, Burgess for the county, Colonel of the Militia, Captain of Mayo Fort, and Commissary for the Fort and Army.
His conversion was effected under the ministry of two young and illiterate preachers by the name of Joseph and William Murphy, at that time commonly called the Murphy boys. This occurred in one of his official tours to visit the forts under his care. Soon after he was baptized by Elder Daniel Marshall in 1758, who was then on one of his missionary journeys into that region. He commenced his ministerial course during the year succeeding his connection with the church. All his worldly offices and honors, with their accompaniments, were disposed of in a very summary manner under the influence of his new impressions. And as he was a man of considerable wealth, he at once went out in his new and ardent vocation at his own cost; and for about thirty years he was a self-supported missionary in nearly all the then settled parts of Virginia, and in many parts of North Carolina.
For seven or eight years after he began the work of preaching the gospel, his labors were mostly confined to Pittsylvania and the neighboring counties. It is remarkable that during this time, while he preached the word and exercised the pastoral rule, he had not been authorized by the church of which he was a member to administer the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper. This delay was, doubtless, owing to some peculiarity of sentiment which he entertained relative to the ministerial office. He was ordained in 1769, and began to administer the ordinances. He was considered a great man and shone conspicuously as a luminary in the church; and like the sun in his strength, he passed through the State of Virginia, displaying the glory of his adorable Master, and spreading the light and heat to the consolation of thousands. His success as an evangelist was most astonishing. The gospel, preached by him, was attended by the Spirit of God, and made effectual in the conversion of many souls.
Perhaps few men of the eighteenth century contributed more to extend the truth and ordinances of the New Testament than Elder Harris. He was in almost all respects well qualified to secure attention of those who heard him. His manners were of the most winning sort. He scarcely ever went into a house without exhorting and praying for those he met there. As a doctrinal preacher, his talents were rather moderate, but at times he would display considerable ingenuity. His excellency consisted chiefly in addressing the heart, and perhaps even Whitefield did not surpass him in this respect. When animated himself, he seldom failed to animate his auditory.
His influence was dissevered extensive. He was called to preside at most of the Associations, and other meetings for business which he attended.
In the struggles that took place between the Baptists and the established church, he was also honored to take a very prominent part. He was not, however, required by his Master to sustain the same fiery persecutions, which were endured by some of his brethren. His influence in society previous to his conversion, as well as his naturally fearless spirit, contributed to his advantage. It is not intimated that no sacrifices were made, or trials suffered by this man of God. He gave up all for Christ. Being in easy circumstances when he embraced religion, he had not only devoted himself, but almost all his property to religious objects. He had begun a large new dwelling house, suitable to his former dignity, which he, as soon as it was finished, appropriated to the use of public worship, continuing to live in the old one. After maintaining his family in a very frugal manner, he distributed his surplus income to charitable purposes. He also suffered persecutions. He was once arrested in Culpepper county, Virginia, and carried into court as a disturber of the peace. In court a Capt. Williams vehemently accused him as a vagabond, a heretic, and a mover of sedition everywhere. Mr. Harris made his own defence. But the court ordered that he should not preach in the county again for the space of twelve months, or be committed to prison. Mr. H. told them that he lived two hundred miles from thence, and that it was not likely he should disturb them again in the course of one year. Upon this he was dismissed. From Culpepper he went down into Fauquier, and preached at Carter's Run. From thence he crossed the Blue Ridge and preached in Shenandoah. On his return he called at Capt. Thos. Clanahan's, in Culpepper county, where there was a meeting. While certain young ministers were preaching, the word of God began to burn in Col. Harris' heart. When they finished he arose and addressed the congregation: "I partly promised the devil a few days past at the court-house, that I would not preach in this county again in the term of a year. But the devil is a perfidious wretch, and covenants with him are not to be kept, therefore I will preach." He preached a lively, animating sermon. The court disturbed him no more.
On one occasion, in Orange county, Virginia, he was pulled down while he was preaching, and dragged about by the hair of the head, and sometimes by the leg. His friends rescued him. On another time he was knocked down by a rude fellow while he was preaching. But he was not dismayed by these or any other difficulties. He seemed never to have been appalled by the fear or the shame of man.
Respecting the last moments of this servant of Jesus Christ but little is known. For some time previous to his death he was seized with an attack of paralysis, from which he never entirely recovered. Though on this account his labors were much interrupted, he still continued, to the extent of his ability, to recommend to all around him the service of his Master. He was not willing to be an idler in the vineyard of the Lord. At length, after having seen more than three score years and ten, he took his departure about 1795, from this scene of toil and pain to receive a crown of life.
This sketch will be closed by one anecdote, which may serve to illustrate, to some extent, his entire consecration of heart and life to the service of God.
"A certain man owed him a sum of money which he actually needed to defray the expenses of his family. He requested the debtor to pay him in wheat, as he had a good crop by him; but the man replied that he did not intend to pay him until was sued. Mr. Harris left him, meditating: good God, said he to himself, what shall I do? Must I leave preaching to attend to law suit? Perhaps a thousand souls will perish in the mean time for the want of hearing of Jesus. No! I will not. Well, what will you do for yourself? What! I will sue him at the court of heaven.
"Shortly after this, Mr. H., passing by to a meeting, carried a receipt in full to the manís house and gave it to his servant, desiring him to give it to his master. On his return by the house, after meeting, the man hailed him at the gate and said, 'Mr. H. what did you mean by this receipt this morning?' Mr. H. replied, 'I meant just what I wrote.' 'Well, but I have not paid you,' answered the debtor. 'True,' said Mr. Harris, 'and I know also that you said you never would, unless the money came at the end of an execution; but sir, I sued you in the court of heaven, and Jesus has agreed to pay me. I have, therefore, given you a discharge!' This operated so effectually on the man's conscience that in a few days he prepared and sent to Mr. H. wheat enough to discharge the debt."
Elder Henry Lester
Elder Henry Lester officiated as pastor of Grassy Creek Church some two or three years, embracing the year 1789. He is said to have been a man of excellent character, an acceptable preacher, and a good pastor. The church records show that quite a number were baptized during his pastorate. He labored for a number of years in Charlotte county, Va., and was instrumental in gathering the church at Ash Camp, which was constituted in 1803. He became their first pastor, which relation he held till 1808, when he removed to the west.
The materials which I have been able to gather are too scanty to compile anything like a biographical sketch of Mr. Lester. He was doubtless a native of Virginia, but where or when he was born, where or when he died, &c., I have not been able to learn from any to whom I have applied for information. He is said to have been a man of remarkable personal appearance -- uncommonly large, well proportioned and corpulent.
Elder Thomas Vass
Elder Vass was among the earliest and most successful Baptist ministers of Granville county, N. C. The compiler, after making considerable effort to obtain information concerning his life and character, regrets his inability to give more than a very imperfect sketch; but he is not willing to pass over in silence one who devoted so many years of his life in preaching the gospel, and whose labors were so valuable in building up the Redeemer's kingdom among men.
But very little is known of his early life. He was born in King and Queen county, Va., about the year 1738, and entered the ministry before he came to North Carolina.
Elder Vass was twice married. By his first wife he had a number of children, but by his second marriage he had no issue.
At that time he embraced religion, or the circumstances of his conversion, or when he entered the ministry, cannot be definitely ascertained. Eld. Vass became the pastor of Grassy Creek church about 1790, which, excepting two years he continued to serve with zeal and efficiency until 1814, when the infirmities of old age made it necessary for him to resign the position. During his pastorate the church was generally in a prosperous condition, many refreshing seasons of grace were enjoyed, many souls were converted under his preaching, and many members were added to the church by baptism.
As a man, Elder Vass naturally possessed a strong and discriminating mind; and, without the advantages of literary cultivation he arose to a very respectable standing in the ministry. As a preacher, he was held in high esteem by the brethren as an able minister of the New Testament. He was well versed in the Scriptures, firm in his religious principles, and prompt in the discharge of his Christian duties. His discourses were of a doctrinal cast, but they were eminently practical in their tendency. He delighted to dwell on those truths which are most essential to be known. But, while he delighted to dwell on the sublime doctrines of Christianity, he also urged with earnest zeal prompt and unreserved obedience to all the precepts of the gospel. His religious views were sound and scriptural.
As a pastor, he was sincerely beloved by his church. He discharged the duties of the pastorate with fidelity and tenderness. In church government, as a disciplinarian, he had but few superiors. He would not allow irregularities or immoralities in the members to pass without notice or correction.
Elder Vass was a man of fine personal appearance -- large and well proportioned, weighing probably two hundred pounds -- very sociable and courteous in his manners. In the pulpit, his manner was solemn and dignified. His elocution was very good, with a voice of large compass and melody, which he controlled with considerable skill. He was naturally possessed of musical talent, which, having been cultivated, he employed with great effect in his public ministrations. One of his favorite hymns which he frequently sang, introductory to his pulpit exercise, was, "Blow ye the trumpet, blow," &c.
Concerning the last moments of this honored and devoted servant of Jesus, the writer can say but little. For several years previous to his death his labors in the ministry were much interrupted by feebleness and disease, the attendants of age. About the year 1818, Elder Vass, having lived beyond the ordinary term of human life, being more than eighty years of age, full of years and full of hope, took his departure from this sublunary scene, to enter upon the rest that remains to the people of God. His body was interred in the family burying-ground, near Mountain Creek church, there to sleep in sweet repose until the morning of the resurrection, when the trump of God shall awaken him to immortality.
Elder Reuben Picket
Mr. Picket was born in 1752, in the county of Faquier, in Virginia. In his 17th year his attention was awakened to eternal things, and after much disquietude of mind, he joyfully submitted to the righteousness of God. A short time after his conversion, he was baptized by Elder Samuel Harris, in the county of Orange, Virginia. His earliest efforts as a public teacher were made when he was not more than eighteen years of age. It might be justly regretted that the stores of knowledge were not then within his reach, and that his mind was not placed under suitable training. Such advantages would doubtless have been gladly improved by him; but at that early period, the facilities for obtaining education were exceedingly limited. With such opportunities as he did possess, he sought to qualify himself for usefulness. Such were his desires to do good, that through many difficulties, he urged his way to testify to his fellow-men the gospel of the grace of God. He found opportunities of exercising his gift in exhortation, and shortly after he began to preach. He was eminently successful in winning souls to Christ.
At this early period in his ministry, he felt a great desire to travel with Mr. Harris, but being poor and knowing that unless he followed some secular calling for support, his embarrassment would be great; this made him very unhappy for some time. Spreading his case before the Lord, this text came forcibly to his mind: "Go ye and preach the gospel, and lo I am with you alway." He immediately forsook all earthly employment, and traveled with Elder Harris, expecting to visit an Association in South Carolina. He was, however, detained by severe illness, and left by his brethren in a strange part of the world. His sufferings, both of body and mind, were extremely severe, but they were only the refinerís fire, purging off the dross, and leaving Mr. Picket, like tried gold, to shine with seven-fold more splendor. And after his recovery, he felt the smiles of God in a more abundant manner than he had ever before. He then commenced his ministerial travels in North Carolina and Virginia, disseminating evangelical truth in various directions. He was still only about twenty years of age. Young as he was, his talents were extensively useful. Many acknowledged him as the messenger of peace to their souls; and several churches were constituted through his instrumentality.
He had been the means of originating a church called Reedy Bottom, which was afterwards merged into Mayo, in Halifax county, Va., (now Bethel church, Person county, N.C.,) to whose oversight he was called at his ordination, which took place in 1772. He continued their pastor as long as he lived; and in this relation he was characterized by his activity and faithfulness. He was not, however, confined in his efforts to this congregation. He served Grassy Creek church as their spiritual guide, from 1805 to 1808, efficiently and profitably. Other churches were frequently visited, especially in seasons of difficulty and trial. He possessed a peculiar talent for binding together the hearts of his brethren, and preserving peace in the church. Among the people of God he was universally beloved. No man in Roanoke Association possessed such vast influence, and no one deserved it more. For many years in succession, he occupied the chair at their annual meetings, and always presided with dignity and to the satisfaction of all. His talents were not of the highest order, but they were of the useful kind. He addressed the hearts and sought to reach the conscience of his hearers. While he was not accustomed to astonish by the brilliancy of his thoughts, he rarely failed to produce a very deep and solemn effect. His appearance and manners were highly impressive. Elder Picket, in his person, was tall, rather slenderly built, of thin visage, of a pleasant countenance and very kind in his manners. Plainness of speech was the marked characteristic of his preaching. He was, in his latter years, subject to great depression of mind, arising from derangement of the nervous system, produced by serious injuries which he received by being over-turned in a gig. From this accident he suffered much, and being confined at home for a long time, was greatly depressed. Some endeavored to jest him out of this state, but he grew worse. Being visited by a minister (thought to be Elder John Kerr) he told him all his sorrows. He, entering into Picketís feelings, reproved those who had ridiculed him, told him that he was really afflicted, and then addressing himself to Picket, expressed great commiseration for his condition, told him that God alone could help him, and proposed that they should unite in prayer. During this exercise his soul was lifted up, his gloomy feelings left him, and he was filled with joy, which continued until his death, which took place Oct. 19th, 1823.
The memory of this man of God is embalmed in the hearts of hundreds of the lovers of truth.
_______________The subject of this sketch was born in Halifax county, North Carolina, about 1800. When he was some sixteen years of age he professed conversion and united with the Baptist church. His father being a very wicked man, was so enraged at his baptism that he whipped him most cruelly, which well nigh deprived him of his life. In mad fury he drove his bleeding, lacerated boy away from his dwelling upon the cold charities of a selfish world, to find a maintenance as best he could; but the youthful wanderer was guided by the unseen hand of Providence to the hospitable mansion of one who sympathized with suffering humanity, and whose pious heart moved with pity by the sorrows of an outcast stranger, and beneath whose friendly roof he found shelter and protection. Young Worrel, in his ramblings, made his way into Granville county, and at length came to Island Creek Meeting-house on one of the days for preaching. The church had not yet been regularly constituted, but stated services were maintained at that place, as a branch of Grassy Creek Church. After the services were closed, deacon Thomas Williams, having observed a youthful stranger in the congregation, sought an interview with him, and having learned something of his history, invited him to his home, which he thankfully accepted. He narrated to Mr. Williams the circumstances of his case, and showed him the still unhealed wounds, which he had received for Christ's sake. Mr. W. kindly extended to him the invitation to make his house his home, until he could find a more advantageous situation. Soon his generous patron became so favorably impressed by the evidence of piety and talent, which young Worrel exhibited, that he placed him at school(1) and boarded him gratuitously. During the year he began to exercise his gifts in public, which gave promise of eminent usefulness. Several persons were so favorably impressed with the young man that they proposed to join Mr. Williams in helping the struggling youth to obtain an education to prepare him the better to preach the everlasting gospel. He was continued at school two years longer, making his membership at Grassy Creek, the brethren materially aided him, and particularly the sisters, in furnishing him with clothing. Their gifts were worthily bestowed upon a pious, noble young man, who was preparing himself for great usefulness in the service of his Master.
Elder William B. Worrel
Mr. Worrel was ordained to the full work of the ministry about 1820. He became a pastor at Grassy Creek in 1821 and continued in that relation for several years, the Lord blessing his labors in the conversion of many souls to God, and adding many members to the church by baptism. In 1825 he preached at Midway, where his preaching was greatly blessed, and where he baptized quite a number. Elder W. was the first pastor at Island Creek Church, which was organized in 1820, with forty-two members from Grassy Creek. He probably filled that office ten years.
He was the means of originating the church at Hester's, to whose oversight he was called at its constitution, which took place in 1823. He continued to be their pastor for many years. He also served as pastor [at] the churches at Peach Tree, Maple Springs, Bear Swamp, and others. He preformed the duties of the pastorate faithfully and to the entire satisfaction of the brethren. The churches under his care were generally prosperous. They experienced many precious and profitable revivals. His preaching was blessed of God in the conversion of many souls, and numbers were added to the churches by baptism under his ministry. The extent of his usefulness in the Master's vineyard, eternity alone will disclose; but doubtless many will, in that great day, hail him with joy as their spiritual father, who shall shine forever as stars in the crown of his rejoicing.
As a Christian man, he was greatly beloved. His deep-toned piety, and unblemished character gave emphasis to his public ministrations. As a preacher he stood deservedly high among the brethren as an earnest, faithful minister of the New Testament. He was a man of positive convictions. What he believed to be the truth of God, he boldly and fearlessly proclaimed , regardless of the frowns or smiles of men. He was consecrated to the great work of preaching the gospel to the children of men. In his person as a man, he was of medium height, rather slenderly built, of pale countenance, commanding voice, full of tender pathos, good mind, respectable attainments, and deep feelings.
Concerning the last moments of this servant of God, the writer has not been able to obtain any accurate information. Elder W. died in the prime of life, in the midst of great usefulness, universally respected and lamented. His unblemished life and noble character had endeared him to all with whom he was acquainted. He died sometime about 1840, and was probably forty years of age.
[1. Mr. Worrel was put under the instruction of Rev. Mr. Worrel, a Presbyterian minister, who was then the Principal of a classified school at Williamsboro. He was so much pleased with the young man that he very generously taught him for three years without charge.]
Elder James King
The subject of this sketch was born in Surry county, Virginia, on the 6th of Sept. 1780. His parents were Randolph and Annie King, whose maiden name was Barker, of English descent and of high respectability.
When James was about five years old his parents died and he was made an orphan. After remaining several years in his native county in charge of a pious aunt, whose religious instructions made deep impressions on his infant mind which were never obliterated, he was removed to Granville county, N.C., and put in charge of Mr. Thomas Rix, a relative of intelligence and respectability. This was his home until he arrived at the age of sixteen years, when he was apprenticed for four years to a carpenter to learn the trade. At the age of twenty, having completed his term of apprenticeship, he went to work with energy, building houses, churches, &c., and soon laid the foundation for a competency; the dark cloud dispersed and the sun of prosperity shone upon his pathway. In 1802, he united in marriage with Miss Margaret, eldest daughter of Wm. Alexson of Granville, N. C., with whom he lived forty-one years, and by whom he had eight children, five of whom survived him, and one of that number is a Baptist minister. The companion of his youth and the mother of his children having died, he was again married to Mrs. Martha P. Holloway, with whom he lived sixteen years, when he was again made a widower, and so remained until his death, which took place Jan. 16th, 1870, in his 90th year.
About the year 1807, Mr. King was awakened to a sense of his awful danger as a sinner in the sight of God, and was led to inquire earnestly for the way of salvation. He wept and prayed, and prayed and wept, until he saw and felt that he could do nothing more, and then by divine grace he was enabled to give up all for Christ. The plan of salvation was made very clear to his view, and his joy in deliverance from sin was very great.
Mr. King united with the Presbyterians and became an esteemed elder in the church. After the lapse of some twelve or fifteen years, his attention was called by his wife to the question: whether the Scriptures authorize infant sprinkling or not? He thoroughly and carefully searched the New Testament through, time and again, for proof, but in vain. But on the other hand he was convinced that the Baptists were right; still he strove to quiet his conscience, and tried to remain satisfied without changing his church relations. But his love for Jesus and the obligation to obey him overbalanced every other consideration, and accordingly he determined to follow Jesus at all hazards. He united with the Baptist church at Bethel, Person county, N.C., in 1822, and was baptized by Elder Wm. Blair, of Pittsylvania county, Va. Bro. K. has often been heard to say, that "when I came out of the water, I left a heavy weight behind me."
Not long after his baptism he was licensed by the church to preach, and the next year the church called for his ordination. The Presbytery of the Flat River Association, in accordance with the request, met and ordained him to the full work of the gospel ministry in 1825 or '26.
Elder King fully and cordially embraced the sentiments held by the Regular Baptists respecting baptism, church polity, &c. In his doctrinal views he was, what may be termed, a moderate Calvinist. His education was limited, but by studying the Bible and religious books, and particularly Fuller's works, he acquired a fund of useful information. His easy and persuasive elocution, his affectionate and earnest manner, engaged the attention of his hearers, and had he enjoyed the advantages of a thorough education, he would doubtless have been one of the first preachers of his day.
Not long after his ordination he accepted the pastorate of the churches at Bethel, Grassy Creek and Hester's. Olive Branch was shortly afterwards constituted into a church, and he became its pastor, and continued in that relation until a few years before his death. Buffalo, Ephesus and Mount Zion enjoyed his labors as pastor, the two last named, with the addition of Mill Creek, were gathered and constituted under his ministry. All of these churches he served for a number of years, some for a longer and others for a shorter period. His preaching was greatly blessed in the edification of believers and in the conversion of sinners.
During his pastorate the churches at Bethel, Grassy Creek, Hester's, and Olive Branch, experienced a revival of religion and continued without much intermission for five years. About the year 1844, he accepted the care of Buffalo church. The church in a short time was revived, and upwards of one hundred members were added, sixty of whom Elder King baptized at one time in about thirty minutes. He traveled extensively during the early part of his ministry, preaching from place to place with much power, accomplishing great good in the Master's vineyard.
Elder K. baptized, during his ministry, 1,500 persons, preached 4,500 sermons, traveled 75,000 miles, and read the Bible through fourteen times.
This man of God labored for the good of souls and for the advancement of the Redeemer's cause, until he wore himself out preaching the gospel of Jesus, until, like corn that is fully ripe and ready for the garner, he bowed his head and gave up his ghost. He is gone to reap his reward. His labors are ended, his sorrows are over, and his tears wiped away. The great battle has been fought, and the victory forever won.
The memory of those who have devoted their lives to promote the welfare of our race, should not be allowed to sink into the black waters of oblivion. They should have a place in the grateful recollections of posterity. While the body of our venerable brother reposes in the dust, his name and deeds, as a herald of the cross, are still fresh and fragrant with many who have enjoyed and been benefited by his self denying labors.
Elder Moses Baldwin
This servant of God having been a pastor of grassy Creek church, is kindly remembered by the brethren who will be pleased to preserve a memorial of his character and labors as a minister of reconciliation. He now resides in Winton, Forsythe county, N.C., and is still actively engaged in the work of the ministry.
Bro. Baldwin was born in Richmond county, N.C., Dec. the 4th, 1825, and was the third child and eldest son of Osborn and Mary Baldwin.
He professed conversion in July 1845, and united with the church at Cedar Falls in October following. He was baptized by Elder Wm Lineberry, who was then the pastor of the church.
In September, 1849, he was licensed by the church to the gospel ministry, and in January, 1850, he went to Wake Forest College to study for the ministry, where he graduated with distinction in June, 1856. Immediately after his graduation, he was appointed Agent for the Baptist State Convention, in which capacity he labored until December, when, having been called to the pastorate of the church at Hilllboro, he resigned the Agency and entered upon the duties of his office as pastor. In 1856, he was ordained to the ministry by Elders Hooper, Wingate, McDowell, Brooks, Walters and Skinner. In 1858, he removed to Oxford and took charge of the church in that town. On the 21st of April, in the same year, Bro. B. was married to Miss Addie L. Transon, a lady well qualified to aid him in the great work to which God had called him. In 1859, having resigned his care of the Oxford church he moved into the country, and took charge of a classical school, and at the same time he also served as pastor the following churches namely: Hester's Mt. Zion, Amis Chapel and Grassy Creek. In November, 1861, he moved to Forsythe county, and became Principal of the Academy in Bethania, and likewise the pastor of Union Hill church in Davidson county, and Enon in Yadkin county. Bro. B. was instrumental in gathering the church at Mockville, the county seat of Davie. He was their pastor some five or six years. Besides the churches already mentioned, he has served as pastor for a number of years, Mt Gilead, Bear Creek, Eaton's, and is now serving the church at Red Bank, in Stokes county.
Soon after the close of the late war, he moved to East Bend, in Yadkin county, and took charge of the Academy at that place. The school was prosperous, and he taught successfully for a number of years and accomplished great good in promoting the educational interests of that region.
More than twelve years of Bro. Baldwin's life have been devoted to teaching, during which time he has taught a large number free of charge, and invariably gave tuition gratuitously to all young ministers who would avail themselves of the offer. The students whom he prepared for college usually stood high in their classes, and in the institutions which they attended. Many of his former students, in addition to those who became intelligent farmers, have taken, and are taking a high stand in the ministry, in medicine, and in law.
Bro. Baldwin is at this time (1880) engaged in putting into successful operation the High School of the Yadkin Association of Boonville, Yadkin county, N.C. He originated the idea, and is the prime mover in the enterprise. The brethren have put the Institution into his hands to manage its organization, and make it in all respects what its name implies, a School of High Grade.
Bro. Baldwin stands deservedly high as a good scholar, a good preacher, and a good educator of youth. May his useful life long be spared to labor for God and the welfare of mankind.
Elder Robert Henry Marsh
Elder Marsh takes high rank among the preachers of the Flat River Association as an able minister of the New Testament, ready for every good word and work. He is a man of broad mental culture, having enjoyed superior educational advantages. He graduated at the University of North Carolina, and afterwards studied Theology at Greenville, South Carolina.
Mr. R. H. Marsh, the youngest child of Robert and Lucy Marsh, was born on the 8th of November, 1837, in Chatham county, N.C. He was baptized October 2d, 1856, and licensed to preach the gospel March the 6th, 1859. His first sermon was delivered on the night of the 10th of April following, from Acts xvii:30, as a text. Two and a-half years afterwards he was ordained to the work of the Christian ministry. In the beginning of the late war the Governor of North Carolina appointed him to take charge of the 26th Regiment of State Troops as Chaplin. This position was held but a few months when he was superceded by a Confederate Chaplain.
In the Spring of 1862 he removed to Oxford, and devoted the rest of that year to teaching. The next year he became the pastor of Grassy Creek, Mountain Creek, Tally Ho and Concord churches. After having served the church at Grassy Creek satisfactorily and successfully for three years, it became necessary, in the providence of God, for him to return to his native county. While at Grassy Creek, Elder Marsh was esteemed "very highly in love for his work's sake." After an absence of three years, Elder M. was recalled to Granville. He has labored extensively, with a large measure of success, among the churches of the Flat River Association. Bro. M. was instrumental in gathering the church at Enon, whose oversight he has maintained ever since its organization, and under his ministry it has become one of the most efficient churches in the Association. He now resides in Oxford, and is actively engaged in the great work of preaching the gospel. May his days be many and full of usefulness.
[From Robert I. Devin, The History of Grassy Creek Baptist Church, 1880; rpt. 1977, pp. 103-135. -- jrd]