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Rehoboth Mission Station, A-TO-KA P. O.
Choctaw Nation, West of Arkansas,
April 10, 1868.

Dear Baptist:
      The condition of the Creek Mission is so deplorable that I wish to call the attention of the churches in the States to it, praying Almighty God to revive the interest once manifested in that mission. Before the war there were four white missionaries and their wives laboring among the Creeks, assisted by thirteen native ordained preachers and a number of licentiates. There were fifteen constituted churches besides many out-stations, and a membership of nearly two thousand. The war drove Bro. Preston back to Georgia, Bro. Vandivere toTexas, and Bro. Buckner, after a long and hard struggle, a refugee to Texas. It demoralized and scattered the churches - many of the members were killed and died from exposure and want. Of one at least of the native ordained preachers, it may be sadly said, "and the last state of that man was worse than the first," while some others now living are tending to the same miserable end.

      But there were saved a large number of faithful disciples of Christ, who were permitted at the close of the war to return to their homes and reorganize some of the churches. A few faithful native pastors - elders - were also left. Yet these have not been sufficiently instructed in the principles as held by Baptists and taught in the New Testament. Errors have been committed; and some grievous and great. Among the most faithful and pious of these native elders is Bro. Wm. F. McIntosh, a feeble, sickly man, yet full of anxiety to see the churches among his people reorganized and prosperous. Among the exhorters or licentiate preachers is Ho-pith-le, a zealous, active, acceptable man. Elder McIntosh, because of his feeble health, could not travel and labor sufficiently to meet the demands made upon him for preaching and baptizing; so he very improperly, yet without intending to do wrong, commissioned Ho-pith-le to go out among the people and preach and baptize for him as his proxy. This Ho-pith-le did actually baptize more than two hundred Creeks, all as the proxy of Wm. F. McIntosh. Recently Ho-pith-le has been called to ordination, but after much discussion among the members of the presbytery, it was decided not to ordain him for fear these persons who had been baptized by him would suspect error, and well they might.

      Now, it may he asked. "What are you doing, Bro. M. to allow such irregularities to be committed in your mission? My mission work, since the war has been confined to the Choctaws and Chickasaws. The Creeks are more than one hundred miles north of this station. 1 knew nothing of the matter until recently, when it was reported to me by letter. I immediately advised that all those persons be baptized legally by a properly qualified administrator; that they are not baptized nor members of any church; that if any refuse to submit to a proper administration of the ordinance that their names be stricken from the church books; they need not be excluded, they are not yet members. * * * * That if Ho-pith-le is believed to be worthy that he be ordained, and he himself can then aid in doing his first work over.

* * * *

      Dear Southern brethren, the above sketch of facts, as they exist among the churches, ought to incite you to renew your interest in that once popular mission. Do not let it return to barbarism; do not lose all that has been gained in that field; too many lives have been yielded up on that field, too much toil - too many prayers and tears - too much sacrifice, to permit it to relapse into heathenism again. An intelligent and pious missionary is needed there, he should be sent at once - there should be no delay. I believe Bro. H. F. Buckner is the man, and that he ought to return; but if he thinks Providence is withholding him, another should be sought out immediately. The Creeks need teaching more than preaching. The churches and the native preachers need instruction of Bible, Baptist principles, rules and decorum; yes, - FAITH AND PRACTICE. That mission is an easier one to labor in than where I am; it will afford more joy, but the Spirit is forbidding me to desert this barren and unfruitful, yet miserably ignorant field, else I would start to-morrow to the scene of my former labors among the Creeks - the place rendered sacred by the grave of my sainted Nannie and our babe. There is a young brother now teaching school near Bro. Hogue's station who would consent to go if called upon and supported. I believe him to be eminently qualified - pious, intelligent, a hard student, sound Baptist, and acquainted with Indian customs, habits, etc. He is a single man, and a man of bone as well as brain. Nothing but the power of God can kill him, as a sojourn of several years in a Federal prison abundantly proves. His address is John W. Connelly, Armstrong Academy, Choctaw Nation.

      Dear brethren, please reflect upon this humble appeal in behalf of a once prosperous and popular mission, now totally neglected. The churches are as sheep without a shepherd - they need instruction, they need teaching more than preaching. Nor the churches only, but the word would be received as glad tidings by sinners too, as the labors of Ho-pith-le mentioned above demonstrated. Again I beg that you consider the condition, want, and claims of the Southern Creek Mission. God's Spirit has directed me to write this appeal, and to you, my brother, is it sent. Take due notice, and govern yourself accordingly.
      Unworthily, yours in Christ,
      J. S. Murrow.


[From The Baptist, Memphis, September 5, 1868, p. 5. CD edition. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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