Barton W. Stone, formerly a Presbyterian, Thomas Campbell, and his brilliant son Alexander Campbell, started a movement within the Baptist ranks which split Baptist churches for twenty years before any formal division took place. Dr. B. F. Hall, a Baptist minister, held a meeting in Edenton. When it had been going a few days Thomas Meredith saw that it was leading our Baptist people out of the long cherished beliefs held by them. He entered his vigorous protest and thus put an end to the work.
Hall returned to Virginia and bided his time. The Baptist State Convention was to be held in Cartledge Creek in Richmond County in November, 1833. Thither it was practically certain Thomas Meredith would go. Hall sent a call to Thomas Campbell to come to his aid. They paused in the Dover Association, Virginia, on the way to North Carolina only to meet a decisive Waterloo with Dr. J. B. Jeter leading the Baptist forces. The split then took place in Virginia and the Disciples of Christ in that state became a separate body.
Timing it just as Thomas Meredith had left for the far distant convention, the two Baptist preachers, Hall and Campbell, entered Edenton, and called a meeting of the Baptist church. They expounded the way of the Lord as they saw it and won the church. By a large majority the church voted to follow the two men. It was a signal triumph. Edenton was the strategic center for the country north of Roanoke River and Albemarle Sound. From here it would be easy to work into the surrounding country and thus capture the entire territory for the new movement.
But a considerable jolt and a rather rude awakening was just ahead. Thomas Meredith returned, arriving November 16, 1833. He did some calling together and the people came to hear. Not to go into the story in detail, Hall left for Virginia and Kentucky after a brief stay in Edenton to see if he could gather together the fragments of his work. Thomas Campbell departed for more promising fields.
========[This is a segment from the essay on: "New Bern: Foster Mother of the Baptists of Eastern North Carolina" by Bernard Washington Spilman, in the Biblical Record, January 23, 1935, p. 10. The title is supplied. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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