In the year 1805, the Scioto Association was first organized, and messengers from the incipient form of that body, called "A General Conference of a few Baptist Churches on the Scioto," were received at this year's session of the Miami Association, and a correspondence opened. How many churches composed that association at their organization does not appear;
but as after this year Old Chillicothe, Straight Creek and Bethlehem do not appear on the minutes of the Miami Association, it is probable that they united with that body.
In 1806,five new churches were added to the Miami Association, to-wit: Union, on Indian Creek, East Fork of Elkhorn, both in Indiana; Cedar Grove, near Brookville, Indiana, and King's Creek and Union, both of the Mad River country. King's Creek still continues a large and flourishing church. Total churches in 1806, 25 ; members 813; and three churches not counted and probably dismissed to unite with the Scioto Association.
In 1807, two churches, Mad River and Mount Happy, were added, and in answer to a question for advice contained in the letter of the Elkhorn Church, the association said: "We advise that caution be used by the churches that they do not admit among them those who hold the sentiment and use the practice of hereditary slavery; but yet that occasional communion from time to time be permitted, as brethren feel freedom." And in answer to another question from Union Church, on Indian Creek, "Whether the washing of saints' feet be an example left on record for the professed followers of Christ, to be continued in his church?" the association, after laying it over until this year, answered as follows: "We consider every church independent;
and if the church on Indian Creek. or any other one, agree among themselves on this point, it will not affect their fellowship with their sister churches."
In 1808, five new churches were received into the Association: viz.: Lawrenceburg, New Hope, Mount Bethel, Twin Creek and Salem, all in Indiana except Salem; the certain location of the latter I do not know.
The year 1809 was the first decade of this association, in which ten years the churches had increased from four to thirty-one, and members from 185 to 1,123; and five churches not included, to-wit: Caesar's Creek, Muddy Creek, Straight Creek, Bethlehem and Old Chillicothe, all of which, except the two first, do not afterward appear on the minutes, and probably united with the Scioto Association.
At this session the following eight churches were dismissed to form the White Water Association in Indiana Territory, to-wit: Dry Fork of White Water, East Fork of Elkhorn, Cedar Grove, Mount Happy, Lawrenceburg, New Hope, Mount Bethel and Twin.
In 1810, Bethel Church was added. This church still exists in connection with the anti-mission association. In two years after its organization Hezekiah Stites became their pastor; and has been continued such to this time, 1857. At this session a letter from the "Emancipating Baptist
Society or Association" was presented by Brother [David] Barrow for the purpose of opening a correspondence, but their request could not be complied with; and Elders Daniel Clark and Moses Frazee were appointed to bear a letter to them to be drawn up by Elder Frazee informing them of the reasons for not complying with their request. This was the second attempt made on the part of Kentucky Baptists to hold correspondence with the Miami Association; but the latter could not justify slavery so far as to correspond with those who held slaves in any manner, though avowedly, and no doubt sincerely advocates of gradual emancipation.
In 1811, two churches, Todd's Fork and Mill Creek, were added, the first in the eastern part of Warren, and the last in Colerain Township, Hamilton County. Both adhered to the anti-mission side, and the last lost its visibility several years since. At the same session six churches, to-wit: Big Beaver, Little Beaver, King's Creek, Mad River, Union and Bethel, all in the upper Little Miami and Mad River country, were dismissed, and formed the Mad River Association.
In 1812, Bethlehem Church was received. Elder Peter Poyner, was for many years its pastor. It was situated in Butler County, I think, but its precise location I do not know. The minutes show a church of that name years before, but I
presume it was a different one, and I think in Clermont County, at a place still called Bethel. The association, this year, recommended to the churches that the next 4th of July be observed "as a day of humiliation and thanksgiving."
In 1813, messengers from Straight Creek Association presented a letter, and requested union and correspondence, which were agreed to. From this statement in the minutes, it is presumed that the Straight Creek Association had been recently organized, but its strength and boundaries I do not know. It probably included Brown, Highland and Adams Counties as now laid off.
In 1814, there were three churches, added, viz.: Tapscott Meeting-house, west of Franklin, in Warren County, still existing in connection with the anti-mission party -- First Cincinnati and Stone Lick, in Clermont County. First Cincinnati is still known by the same name. It is a prosperous body with a good house of worship on Catharine Street. Total members of the association reported this year 1050, churches 26, and about 20 churches had been dismissed to form White Water, Scioto, Straight Creek and Mad River Associations.
Among the items of business at this session is one of importance, and I state it in the precise language and words of the records of the association - "The association received by one of their members the constitution of the American Missionary society, constituted for the purpose of
spreading the Gospel in heathen lands, and order the articles to be printed with the minutes this year, and do solicit the several churches to take the matter into serious consideration, and exert their efforts with oar brethren in other parts, bringing the proceeds of our liberality to the association next year, when proper persons shall be appointed to receive the name and forward it to the General Assembly at Philadelphia." Then follows on the same page of the records of the association, as also published in the minutes of this year, the "Constitution of the Baptist Missionary Society;" the preamble to which is in the following words as copied from the original records of the Miami Association - "We the delegates from missionary societies and other religious bodies of the Baptist denomination in various parts of the United States met in convention in the City of Philadelphia for the purpose of carrying into effect the benevolent intentions of our constituents, by organizing a plan for eliciting, combining and directing the energies of the whole denomination in one sacred effort for sending the glad tidings of salvation to the heathen and to the nations destitute of the pure Gospel light, do agree to the following rules or fundamental principles, viz.:
1st. This body shall be styled "The General Missionary Convention of the Baptist denomination
in the United States of America. for Foreign Missions."
2nd. "There shall be a triennial convention, hereafter held," etc. This was the first formal organization of a general missionary society among Baptists in the United States. From this constitution is was usually called the Triennial Convention, or Baptist General Convention. Now the proper name is "American Baptist Missionary Union." The proceedings and constitution thus recorded in the minutes of the Miami Association are signed by Richard Furman, President, and Thomas Baldwin, Secretary, names well known in Baptist history.
In 1815, three new churches were added, to-wit: Wolf Creek, some ten miles west of Dayton, and which has recently become extinct, East Fork of Little Miami, Clermont County, and West Mill Creek, Hamilton County, At this meeting it is stated in the records that "the first annual report of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions for the United States, was received," and "Elder John Mason was appointed corresponding secretary to correspond with said board." "On motion." It was also "agreed that we form ourselves into a society called a Domestic Missionary Society," and Elders Lee, Gard and Mason were chosen by ballot "to draft a constitution for said society, and present it to the next association." In 1816, eight churches were dismissed so form
the East Fork Association, viz: Duck Creek, Little Miami (same as Miami Island and now Miami), Clover Fork, Clough, Nine Mile, Union, on Indian Creek, Stone Lick, and East Fork of Little Miami -- and one church, Springfield, in Hamilton County was added.
The committee appointed the year before to draft a constitution for a missionary society reported, at this meeting, and the constitution thus reported was accepted. It is published in the minutes of that year, preceded by the circular letter of the association, both of which I copy, as many suppose that missions were unknown to the Miami Association until about the time of the division on this question in 1836. These early records, too, will show who it was that departed from the principles and practice of Regular Baptists, in the division of 1836, and about that time, throughout the country.
The Miami Baptist Association
To the Churches of Which it is Composed. Sends Christian Salutations:
"In the Lord -- as you will expect an address from us, at our annual meeting, in conformity
to our usual custom, we take pleasure in gratifying your reasonable expectations, and have chosen, for the basis of our epistle, the important subject of missionary establishments.
"When we take into consideration the state and, situation of mankind in general throughout the world it furnishes an extensive field for the Christian contemplation. Has not every Christian in this Gospel land the greatest reason to bless and adore Zion's King for having favored us above any nation on the earth; that he has not left us to roam the fields of nature without the advantages of civilization and education; but that we are highly favored of the Lord, in that we have the Gospel preached, in its purity, and have free access to the written revealed will of God, and every means necessary (agreeably to God's appointment) for the furtherance and advancement of the Gospel? Notwithstanding we are blessed in so peculiar a manner, there are thousands of the human race that are left in the wilds of nature on our frontiers with no other guide or direction than that of instinct, while many more who have the advantages of science among them are deprived of the blessings we enjoy, by their lots being cast in remote regions, where the blissful sound of salvation has but seldom, if ever, been proclaimed; in addition to these, there are almost innumerable multitudes who are led astray by the cunning artifices of fanatic teachers, who
go about to establish their own righteousness, which is calculated to allure the world in general and, if it were possible, to deceive the very elect. Ought we not, brethren, who are so distinguishably favored, to try to unite our energies and use every means within the compass of our power for the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom, by establishing institutions, and casting our mites for the support of missionaries, who are willing to go forth and proclaim the joyful sound of salvation to the heathen, or any of the human family who shall be destitute of a preached Gospel, whether saint or sinner.
"Who knows but the Lord will crown our attempts with success, in bringing sinners from darkness into light, and from the power of the anti-christian reign to the liberty of the true Gospel? Our brethren in many parts of the United States, and in Europe, have set us laudable examples and we have heard with inexpressible joy some of the success of their efforts. We have heard good news from Burmah, and that the Lord has blessed their labor in the conversion of some ignorant Hindoos, and our prayer is, that Zion's King may conduct their missions, and bless their efforts to the bringing of thousands of benighted inhabitants of the East to the true light and liberty of the Gospel.
"While our brethren in different climes are thus engaged in trying to promote the Redeemer's
cause and kingdom, shall we be idle, or shall we not rather unite our efforts and use every means in our power, and pray God to crown our attempts, to the bringing of thousands to the fold of Jesus; such as he will delight to own in the day when he maketh up his jewels?
"The promulgation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ ought to be the ruling object of every Christian who wishes his fellow-beings well, or who has the cause of Zion at his heart. When our Savior was on earth he sent forth his disciples to proclaim salvation to the dying world.
"The apostles, after his ascension, were zealously engaged in spreading the Gospel of their crucified Lord, and it appears that the labors of the apostles and their successors were blessed to the conversion of multitudes of the human family, and religion, while established on its true basis, flourished as far as the Gospel was proclaimed by those inspired teachers.
"But we have to lament that the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth has been permitted, for wise purposes, to retard the progress of the glorious Gospel; and had not God in his providence prevented it, would have obliterated the name of Christians from the face of the earth. But the Lord had a remnant that had not bowed to the image of Baal, and in his own due time, began to work their deliverance. He has placed his appointed means (to deliver his children from
under the tyrannic reign of Satan, and the anti-christian power) in the possession of his church, and when his appointed time arrives, the means will be blessed to the salvation of the bride, the Lamb's wife. We know not when, nor in what manner, the Lord designs to bring about his glorious work of grace; let us, therefore, exert our power and all the means in our possession, and look to the Lord to bless our endeavors.
"Dear Brethren, be instant at the throne of Grace, pray God that he may send us more laborers into the work of the ministry, for truly the harvest is great and the laborers few; and now may the God of all grace so reign, rule, and overrule all our efforts and attempts to do the will of our glorious Redeemer in that way that shall best redound to his own honor and glory."STEPHEN GARD, Moderator R. Ayres, Clerk. -----------------
"The Miami Baptist Domestic Missionary Society, realizing the situation that many of our fellow-creatures are in, who have seldom, if ever, heard the sound of the glorious Gospel, and who,
inhabiting these western frontiers, have not the advantage of Gospel light:
"We who profess to know the Lord and to love his truth, have felt it our indispensable duty, and have, therefore, by his grace made this feeble attempt, in this western part of the world, to form a missionary society, to throw in our mites for the promotion of so laudable and desirable a work. We, therefore, whose names are hereunto annexed, do cordially unite as a society for the purpose of promulgating the Gospel in these parts of our country where they are destitute of the word of life which we so richly enjoy; and do mutually agree to be governed by the following constitution, viz.:
"1st. This society shall be known by the name of the Miami Baptist Domestic Missionary Society.
"2nd. Its avowed object is to support Baptist missionaries, in preaching the Gospel in destitute places in this western country.
"3rd. The immediate management of this society shall be rested in a board consisting of a president, vice-president, recording and corresponding secretaries, treasurer, and nine directors, six of whom shalt form a quorum for business -- who are to be chosen by ballot, and continue in office until their successors are duly elected.
"4th. This society shall meet annually on the Saturday before the second Lord's day in June, at Lebanon, when and where officers of this board
shall be elected by a majority of the subscribers present. Any subscriber may vote by proxy, by producing satisfactory evidence to the board, that such proxy is duly authorized to give his vote.
"5th. The board of trustees shall also meet the second Saturday in November annually, but the president shall have power to call an extra meeting whenever he shall judge the interest of the society requires it, or whenever a meeting is requested by three of the trustees or directors.
"6th. The president shalt preside in all meetings of the board of this society, but in ease of his absence, the vice president stall fill his place, and discharge his duties.
"7th. It shall be the duty of the recording secretary, to attend all meetings of the board and society and faithful record their proceedings, in a suitable book, provided by the society which shall be open to their inspection at a1l times; he shall also register the subscribers' names.
"8th. The corresponding secretary shall open a correspondence with such societies, churches, or individuals, as he or the board may think proper, with a view to promote the object of this institution, and use all laudable means to gain subscribers to the same.
"9th. The treasurer shall faithfully keep the money paid into his hands and be ready, at any time, to deliver the whole, or any part thereof, to the order of the board of trustees. His book
shall ever be open to the inspection of any of the society, and sufficient security shall be required by the trustees for the money that shall be intrusted to his care; it shall also be his duty to be present at the annual meetings of the society, and to render an exact account of the state of the funds.
"10th. This society shall consist of all such persons as subscribe and pay one dollar, or more, into its treasury annually, and any subscriber may withdraw his name at pleasure.
"11th. No person shall hold an office in this society but members of the Baptist churches.
"12th. Any alteration may be made in this constitution, at the annual meeting of this society, by two-thirds of the members present."
The following ministers were messengers to and members of this association, and there does not appear to have been a dissenting voice to the adoption of the circular letter, or the constitution of the missionary society, above given: James Lee, Stephen Gard, James Abrams, William Robb, Wilson Thompson, Daniel Clark, David Layman, Hezekiah Stites, Peter Poyner, and Jacob Layman.
We have seen that the constitution of the missionary society, adopted at this session (1816), only provided for domestic missions, but at the associational meeting, in 1818, the fol1owing resolution was adopted.
"Resolved, That the association recommend to
the members of the missionary society, to alter, at their next annual meeting their Constitution, so as to embrace foreign as well as domestic missions."
At the meeting, in 1818, there is also this entry on their records: "Received the Constitution of the Ohio Baptist Education Society, which was read: and resolved, that this association approve of the measure, and request the churches to aid in the laudable undertaking, and direct Elder Jones to write an answer to said society." At the meeting of the association in 1819, in answer to a request from Sugar Creek Church, it was entered in their minutes, "This association advise the churches to become a board auxiliary to the Baptist Board of Foreign and Domestic Missions at Philadelphia." Elder G. Evans, an agent of the Baptist Board of Missions, at Philadelphia, was present, appointed to preach on Sabbath, and a collection was taken up for Foreign Missions as well as for the Indian Mission of Elder Isaac McCoy, then established near Fort Wayne. Afterward this mission moved to different points but sustained as long as the Indians remained east of the Mississippi. Since their remova1 west of the Mississippi, various other missions have been sustained among the Indians by Baptist societies. But Elder McCoy's, I think, was first among Baptists. It was located on the Wabash, near Lafayette, then near Fort Wayne, and afterward near Michigan City.
In 1819, Mount Pleasant Church, Butler County, was received into the association, and in 1820, Providence Church, Warren County. The first is connected with the anti-mission association -- the last has long since lost its visibility. In 1821, Mercer's Run Church was received. It was situated in the lower part of Greene County, consisted then of but 14 members, and existed but a few years.
At this association (1821) a resolution was offered "that this association recommend to the churches composing this body to form societies to co-operate with the Baptist General Convention of the United States," and was negatived. Here appears the first intimation of opposition to Foreign Missions, though nothing more appears than is gathered from the vote.
In 1822, two churches were received, viz.: Beulah and Lytle's Creek. The first was soon dissolved. The last, soon after, was removed to Wilmington, Clinton County, and still exists, though, from 1830, it was dropped from the association as having embraced Campbellism. But a Regular Baptist Church has been reorganized at Wilmington, and is known by the same name.
At this session a letter from Elder McCoy, of the Indian Mission, and one from the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions, were received. The last was ordered to be answered, but how, does not
appear, and the association decided "That under present existing circumstances, this association will not answer Brother McCoy's request, and that Elder Wilson Thompson write to Brother McCoy, and explain to him these circumstances." This is all that appears on the records, on these subjects, at this session.
[Transcribed and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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