One of the best loved and most highly respected citizens of Warren county [KY] is the Christian patriarch, Rev. Mordecai F. Ham. He lives in his comfortable but unpretentious home in the country near Bowling Green. His impression countenance and splendid form, though manifesting the feebleness of age, make him a venerable and conspicuous figure in the meetings of the district associations in this section of the State. He still serves as pastor of country churches and preaches with wondrous power. He was born in Allen county, April 30, 1816. His parents were William and Jennie (Williams) Ham, natives of Spartanburgh county, South Carolina, who came to Kentucky early in this century and located on Trammell's Creek in what is now Allen county. The son, Mordecai, was one of eleven children born to these parents, and one of nine who lived to the age of maturity.
He early showed a taste for books and was a diligent student and omnivorous reader, and so in spite of indifferent school advantages and scarcity and cost of books, acquired a good English education with some knowledge also of the "dead languages." The scenes and labors of farm life furnished occasion for the development of characteristics afterward highly useful to him as a minister of the Gospel. His imaginative faculty and love of nature, his settled views of the dignity of labor and the seriousness of life all contributed to qualify him for a place of usefulness. He married on November 24, 1836, Elizabeth J. Dearing, daughter of William and Sarah (Neal) Dearing, who had moved from their native State of Virginia to Kentucky in the time of the pioneer settlers of Warren (now Allen) county, Ky. His spiritual birthday was February 19, 1837, and in March following he united with the Baptist church. Feeling impelled by the Holy Spirit to preach the Gospel, he was ordained to the ministry in March, 1843. Since that time he has preached with uninterrupted fervor and great success to the present day. He has baptized over two thousand converts, and estimates that over three thousand have been added to the churches under his ministry.
An interesting incident is worthy of mention in this connection. The people of Bowling Green often refer to a wonderful revival at the First Baptist church some ten or twelve years ago. An effort had been made to get some evangelist or preacher of special power and reputation as a revivalist to hold a meeting. At last disappointed in these efforts, it was determined to hold a series of meetings in which the preaching should be done by Dr. J. M. Pendleton and "Old Father Ham," as the subject of this sketch was familiarly called. These two venerable servants of God, the one a resident of Bowling Green, the other living in the country about three or four miles from the city, both well and favorably known to everybody, preached alternately day after day and night after night to great congregations. The meeting was one of marvelous power. Scores and scores of people were gloriously converted, and at the close of the meeting when the large number of happy converts had been baptized, it was the unanimous verdict that this had been one of the most glorious and remarkable revivals in the history of the church.
[From The Baptist Argus, October 17, 1898, p.1. Transcribed and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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