Elder Donald Holmes
Early Kentucky Emancipation Baptist
Elder Donald Holmes, who was born in Resollas parish, North Britain, November 7, 1755; baptized in June, 1782, by elder John Taylor, in Shenandoah river, Virginia; thence he moved to Kentucky, and was ordained by elder Joseph Redding, at Green Creek, May 24, 1794.
Mr. Holmes became religious in the eighteenth year of his age, and joined the established church, and by them was sent into the Highlands to teach and catechize, or instruct the Papists in the principle of the Christian religion. His lot was cast on an island, about 20 miles long, where he had a large school. The inhabitants of this island would not allow him to explain the scriptures, but he would ask questions and instruct them the best way he could. The minister of the island was a drunkard and swearer, who said much against Mr. Holmes and turned the public voice against him also; but out of this dilemma the Lord delivered him, and he again got the approbation of the people. He stayed in this island upwards of two years; he then became a soldier in the king's army, and sailed for America; landed on Long-Island opposite to New York, September 17, 1778; thence to Virginia, March 4, 1784, and was taken in York-town the same year, October 17; thence escorted as a prisoner to Winchester, where a Mr. Thomas Buck is a worthy member of the Baptist society, and brother to the respectable colonel John Buck who now lives in Woodford, Kentucky. While Mr. Holmes was
in the employ of Mr. Buck, like other curious minded men, he employed much of his time in studying on critical points in divinity, and finally over-burdened his mind with the great doctrine of election, and ran into the extreme of universal redemption, and became a preacher in that order; but he only continued with them eleven months, in this time he got convinced that his system could not be supported by the bible, and he voluntarily withdrew from them. In a short time afterwards he moved to Kentucky, where he now resides. In 1789 he joined a Baptist church in Woodford county, who had elder John Taylor for their minister. Here he commenced preaching again, and has continued to be a man of firmness ever since. The most unfavorable trait in Mr. Holmes' character is his joining the Universalists, but were others as honest as he, in divulging what they secretly believe, they might appear worse.
Mr. Holmes is a man of almost uncommon honesty; he is a great letter writer, and an able divine. A number of his letters to myself and others now lie before me; I have not room to insert them here; it is a pity they should be lost, they would appear well in our public prints. To write an accurate history of this pious man's life, would swell my pamphlet to a volume.
Licking-Locust church, of which Mr. Holmes is a member; like himself was honest enough to profess their abhorrence to unmerited slavery, for which they were dropt out of the Bracken association, September 7, 1805. This church made an offer to those who left them (on account of being friendly to oppession) to occupy the same meeting-house, but they refused.
[From Carter Tarrant, History of the Baptised Ministers and Churches in Kentucky & Friends of Humanity, 1808, pp. 8-9. This document provided by Charles Tarrants, Delhi, New York. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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