Daniel Marshall was born of respectable and pious parents, in Windsor, Conn., in the year 1706. He was hopefully converted at the age of about twenty, and joined the Congregational church in his native place. Being naturally of an ardent temperament, he became a very zealous Christian, and, before he had been long a member of the church, he was chosen one of its Deacons. This office he held, discharging its duties with great fidelity, for about twenty years. During this time, he was ill easy cireumstances, and married and lost a wife, by whom he had one son. At the age of thirty-eight, he heard Whitefield preach, caught his glowing spirit, and fully believed, with many others, that the scenes which were then passing betokened the near approach of millenial glory. Not a small number, under the powerful influence of the moment, sold, or gave away, or abandoned, their earthly possessions, and, without purse or scrip, rushed up to the head of the Susquehanna, and settled in a place called Onnaquaggy, among the Mohawk Indians, with a view to their conversion to Christianity. Of this self-denying group was Mr. Marshall. It is not easy to conceive of greater sacrifices than he must have made, in taking his wife and three children from the bosom of civilized society, where they were surrounded with all the comforts of life, to live in a wilderness, in the midst of savages, and exposed to hardships and perils innumerable.
Mr. Marshall addressed himself to his missionary labours, with burning zeal, and not without considerable success. Several of the Indians gave evidence of receiving the Gospel in its power, while others were brought into a thoughtful and inquiring state of mind, which promised a favourable result. But, after residing there about eighteen months, and just as he began to witness the fruits of his labours, the breaking out of war among the savage tribes obliged him to withdraw, and seek another field. He now removed to a place in Pennsylvania, called Conegocheague; and, after a short residence there, took up his abode near Winchester, Va. Here he fell in with a Baptist church, belonging to the Philadelphia Association; and, being led to a particular examination of their faith and order, he became convinced that they were both scriptural, and, accordingly, both himself and his wife were shortly after baptized by immersion, and became members of this church. This occurred about the year 1754.
Mr. Marshall, who had hitherto laboured only as a private teacher and exhorter, was now licensed to preach; and his efforts, in this capacity, were, from the beginning, instrumental of bringing many to serious reflection. In his zeal to prosecute his ministry to the greatest advantage, he passed on from Virginia to a place called Hughwarry, in North Carolina, where large numbers were hopefully converted through his instrumentality. Encouraged by the success which attended his labours, as an itinerant preacher, he proceeded to Abbot's Creek, in the same State, where he
* Memoir by his son, Rev. Abraham Marshall. — Taylor's Lives of Virg. Bapt. Min. — Campbell's Georg. Bapt.
gathered a church, of which he was ordained Pastor, in the fifty-second year of his age, by his brothers-in-law, the Rev. Messrs. Henry Leadbetter and Shubael Stearns.* He seems, however, still to have performed much missionary labour, for it is stated that, "in one of his evangelical journeys into Virginia, he had the singular happiness to baptize Colonel Samuel Harriss, with whom he immediately afterwards made several tours, and preached and planted the Gospel in several places as far as James River." He resigned his charge at Abbot's Creek, after a few years, and, in the hope of increasing his usefulness, went still farther South, and settled on Beaver Creek, in South Carolina. Thence, after having accomplished an important work in gathering a large church, he removed to Horse Creek, about fifteen miles North of Augusta. Here also he laboured, for some time, with great success, and gave an impulse to several minds, which afterwards made themselves powerfully felt in the extension of the Gospel. From this place he occasionally made visits to the State of Georgia; and, on one of these occasions, while engaged in the devotional service at a public meeting, he was seized by a civil officer for preaching in the parish of St. Paul, and forced to give security for his appearance in Augusta, on the Monday following, to answer to the charge. The result of the trial was that he was ordered to come no more as a preacher into Georgia; but he simply replied, in the spirit of the Apostle, — "Whether it be right to obey God or man, judge ye." He pursued his course, regardless of this judicial decision, and, on the 1st of January, 1771, removed with his family to Kiokee, Ga., where he spent the remainder of his life. The next spring a church was formed there, which has been distinguished for its efficiency in various respects, and especially for having sent forth several excellent ministers.
The church, which was thus planted and cherished through Mr. Marshall's instrumentality, enjoyed an increasing degree of prosperity, until the commencement of the War of the Revolution, which, everywhere, proved most adverse to the success of evangelical labours. But this excellent man still kept at his work, as far as possible; and, in the midst of the most gloomy and appalling scenes, he was always on the alert to perform, up to the full measure of his ability, the duties of a Christian minister. As he was an open and earnest friend to the American cause, he was once made a prisoner and placed under a strong guard ; but, by permission of the
* Shubael Stearns was born in Boston, in the year 1706. He was a subject of the great revival in which Whitefield was so prominent, about the yenr 1740, and became connected with the body called Separates, in 1745. In 1751, he embraced the views of the Baptists; was immersed by Elder Wait Palmer, at Tolland, Conn.; and, on the 20th of May, of the same year, was ordained to the work of the ministry. After labouring for two or three years in New England, be went to the South, and preached for some time, first, in the Counties of Berkeley and Hampshire, Va., and then proceeded to Guilford County, N. C., where he made his permanent settlement. He commenced his labours here by building a house of worship, and constituting a church of sixteen members; and here he continued. preaching much in the surrounding cnnnirv. till the close of his life. He died on the 20th of November, 1771. Morgan Edwards writes thus concerning him: — "Mr. Stearns was a man of small stature, but of good natural parts, and sound judgment. Of learning he had but a little share, yet was pretty well acquainted with books. His voice was musical and strong, which he managed in such a manner as, one while, to make soft impressions on the heart, and fetch tears from the eyes in a mechanical way, and anon to shake the very nerves, and throw the animal system into tumults and perturbations. All the Separate Baptists copied after him in tones of voice and actions of body; and some few exceeded him. His character was indisputably good as a man, a Christian, and a preacher. In his eyes was something very penetrating — there seemed to be a meaning in every glance."
officers, he commenced praying and exhorting with so much earnestness that his enemies were soon more than willing to set him at liberty.
Mr. Marshall's zeal in his Master's cause kept him labouring after he was bowed by the infirmities of age, and almost up to the very day of his death. A few months before he died, rising in his pulpit, where he had so long instructed and exhorted his people with tearful solicitude, he said, — "I address you, my dear hearers, with a diffidence which arises from a failure of memory, and a general weakness of body and mind, common to my years; but I recollect he that holds out to the end shall be saved, and am resolved to finish my course in the cause of God." Accordingly, he attended public worship regularly, through a somewhat lingering decline, until the last Sabbath but one previous to his death; he attended family worship until the morning immediately preceding; and, in the near approach of death, he expressed the utmost confidence that he was about to come in possession of an eternal weight of glory. He died on the 2d of November, 1784, in the seventy-eighth year of his age. A Discourse was delivered on the occasion of his death by the Rev. Charles Bussey.
The maiden name of Mr. Marshall's first wife I have not been able to ascertain. His second wife, to whom he was married in 1748, was Martha Stearns, sister of the Rev. Shubael Stearns. The Georgia Analytical Repository, in referring to this lady, says, — "In fact it should not be concealed that his extraordinary success in the ministry is ascribable, in no small degree, to Mrs. Marshall's unwearied and zealous co-operation. Without the shadow of a usurped authority over the other sex, Mrs. Marshall, being a lady of good sense, singular piety, and surprising elocution, has, in countless instances, melted a whole concourse into tears, by her prayers and exhortations." By his second marriage, Mr. Marshall had "nine children, — seven sons and two daughters. One of his sons, Abraham, was, for many years, a highly respected and useful Baptist minister.
The prominent feature of Mr. Marshall's character, as developed in the history of his life, seems to have been a burning zeal for the salvation of his fellow-men. Without any extraordinary talents, or much intellectual culture, he made himself felt as an element of life and power in every community in which he mingled. It was manifest to all that love to Christ, and love to the souls of men, constituted his ruling passion; and though he might do some things of questionable prudence and propriety, his influence, on the whole, was felt to be at once salutary and powerful. Notwithstanding all the sacrifices that he made for the cause of Christ, he always had enough for the comfortable support of himself and his family, and, at his death, left behind him an estate of considerable value.
[From William B. Sprague, D. D., Editor, Annals of the American Baptist Pulpit, Volume VI, 1860, pp. 59-61. Document from Google Books. — Jim Duvall]
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