[Editor's note: This chapter consists of biographies of pastors in early southern Ohio. It is the longest chapter in the book. These bios are not in alphabetic order in the essay so the names of the men mentioned in this article are given here in alphabetical order to help you locate them. This essay is divided into two parts. - Jim Duvall]
Abrams, James -- Bascom, William -- Blodget, John -- Boyd, Elder John -- Bradley, Joshua -- Bruce, William -- Bryant, Daniel -- Burnet, David S. -- Carman, Elder Joshua -- Challen, James -- Childers, Thomas -- Clark, Elder Daniel -- Clark, Elder John -- Corbly, John -- Corwin, Matthias -- Cory, Nathan -- Cotrel, Lemuel -- Crane, Cyrus -- Ferris, Ezra -- Grigg, Elder Jacob -- Gutridge, Elder John -- Hildreth, George -- Hutchins, Moses -- Jones, Elder David -- Jones, James -- Jones, William -- Lee, Elder James -- Lemon, Jacob -- Lynd, Samuel W. -- Mason, Elder John -- Moore, John L. -- Muggeridge, H. -- Mulford, Jacob -- Patterson, Dr. George -- Poyner, Peter -- Riley, Jared -- Robb, William -- Robinson, D. S. -- Slack, Joshua -- Smith, Hezekiah -- Smith, Elder John -- Smith, Elder Peter -- Soward, John -- Stites, Benjamin -- Stites, Hezekiah -- Sutton, James -- Thomas, John -- Thompson, Elder Wilson -- Tibbets, Nathaniel -- Tyner, William -- Waters, A. -- Wilson, Amos -- Witham, Morris.
[The footnotes are placed at the end of the chapter as Endnotes.]
The History of the Miami Baptist Association
by A. H. Dunlevy
The following list of the names of pastors in the Miami Association up to 1836, with the places at which they preached, the death of such as are known to be deceased, and places of residence of such as are living, it was supposed would be an acceptable part of this history:
Elder JOHN SMITH, the first permanent pastor of the First Baptist Church in Ohio, or the Northwestern Territory, was a Virginian by birth and education. He was a man of a vigorous mind, and though without a liberal education, by great industry, soon acquired a good degree of general information and a respectable knowledge of letters. He was a man of unusually fine appearance, of easy and agreeable manners, and a natural orator. His voice was remarkable for its power and compass as well as for its peculiar sweetness. As out-door preaching was common in his day, when there were few meeting-houses, his voice was admirably adapted for such service, and I have heard it said he could be distinctly heard in preaching on these occasions at the distance of half a mile.
His pleasing and popular manners, as well as preaching talent, led to his entrance into public life. He was returned as one of the members of the Territorial Legislature for the Northwestern Territory in February, 1799, and on the organization of a State government in 1802, he was chosen a member of the Constitutional Convention, and by the first Legislature of Ohio was elected one of the Senators of the State in Congress. In the Senate he became acquainted with Aaron Burr, the then Vice-President and presiding officer of that body. Thomas Jefferson was then President, and John Smith, who was a warm
Republican, as then distinguished from Federalist, and had been a great advocate of his election, became a favorite with him. The president made him quite a confidant on the subject of our relations with Spain, out of which difficulties were soon expected to arise. The truth, no doubt; was that Spain owned the country at the mouth of the Mississippi, known as Louisiana and Florida, and our government wished by some means to possess all or a good part of it. John Smith, as a contractor for the supply of the United States troops west of the Alleghanies [sic], had occasionally visited the forts on the Mississippi, and had also, for the purpose of getting some supplies, visited New Orleans and some other places in the Spanish dominions. Jefferson, aware of this fact, had advised with him as to the friendly disposition of the inhabitants of the country toward the United States, and on one occasion, in the summer of 1805, as Smith stated, and of the truth of which there is no doubt, had induced him to visit New Orleans and other places in the South, and ascertain with more certainty what the principal public functionaries and inhabitants generally would think of annexation to the United States. He had made this beginning, and found the governor, inferior officers, and inhabitants generally, not only friendly to, but anxious for annexation. This was reported to Jefferson at the December session of Congress, 1805. Soon after a warlike message
against Spain was sent confidentially to Congress. The fact of such a message being sent soon leaked out, however, and the country for a year or more was in expectation of war very soon, with Spain. But negotiations succeeded soon after, and war was prevented.
In the autumn of the next year, Colonel Burr visited the West, and having been acquainted with Senator Smith, in the Senate, called on him at Cincinnati. Smith was a real Virginian, with all their warm hospitality, and, as a matter of course, invited Barr to make his house, his home during his stay. Here he remained some ten days, and left for Kentucky. At this time, early in October, 1806, there were comparatively slight rumors of Burr's movements being hostile to the union, and Senator Smith, from his disposition to think the best of all men until proof to the contrary, could not give any ear to these whispers. Besides, Burr was so fair and plausible as well as insinuating in his address, that he removed every suspicion from the minds of those who listened to him. Smith therefore considered the rumors afloat without foundation, and from his nature would not desert one whom he thought unjustly impeached. This friendly treatment of Burr was construed into connection with him in his plan, whatever it was, though even that could never, until this day, be certainly determined.
A few individuals, of very bad character, at
Cincinnati, who had themselves been intimate with Burr, and several of whom it was believed had been fully committed to his plans, when the clamor became great, withdrew their familiarity with Burr and, to screen themselves, joined in accusing Smith of connection with him. Party political strife at that time ran high and at Cincinnati a secret organization was formed, and oaths of inviolable privacy were taken. The crimination of Senator Smith originated with this secret society. Its members were the principal witnesses against him, and refused, on his trial, to answer any questions except such as they pleased, and as they supposed, no doubt, would afford evidence against him.
After Burr left Cincinnati for Lexington, these rumors against him increasing, Senator Smith, on the 23d of October, wrote to Burr: "I beg leave to inform you that we have in this quarter various reports prejudicial to your character. It is believed by many that your design is to dismember the Union. Although I do not believe that you have any such design, yet I must confess, from the mystery and rapidity of your movements, that I have fears, let your object be what it may, that the tranquillity [sic] of the country will be interrupted unless, it be candidly disclosed, which I solicit, and to which I presume you will have no objections." To this letter Burr promptly replied on the 26th of October. After denying most emphatically
that he had any intentions against the integrity of the Union, and that any attempt to effect such a separation by force would be as ridiculous as vain; that all the armies of France could not effect such a separation," he adds, "I have no political views whatever. Those which I entertained some months ago, and which I communicated to you, are abandoned. Having bought of Col. Lynch 400,000 acres of land on the Wachita, I propose to send thither this fall a number of settlers, as many as well can go and labor a certain time, to be paid in land and found provisions for the time they labor - perhaps one year. Messrs. J. Breckenridge, Adair and Fowler, have separately informed me it was the strong desire of the administration that American settlers should go into that quarter, and that I could not do a thing more grateful to the government. I have some other views which are personal merely, and which I shall have no objection to state to you personally, but which I do not deem it necessary to publish. If these projects could in any way affect the interests of the United States, it would be beneficially; yet I acknowledge that no public considerations have led me to this speculation, but merely the interest and comfort of myself and friends."
On, the 14th day of December, 1806, the proclamation of President Jefferson reached Cincinnati, declaring the opinion that Burr's movements were hostile to the country, and calling aid of all to
arrest and suppress them. From that moment Senator Smith, supposing, as he dec1ared at the time, that the President had much more information than he had on the subject, exerted himself in every possible way to arrest the expedition. The keeper of the arsenal at Newport, Ky., refusing to deliver arms to volunteer companies who offered their services to the government, Smith prevailed upon him, by entering into bonds with security in $10,000 to indemnify the keeper of the arms, in delivering as many as could be spared or were required, and in every way from that time Smith gave every aid he could to arrest Burr's movements.
In August, 1807, bills of indictment for treason and misdemeanor were found in the Circuit Court of Virginia against Burr, Smith, and several others. Burr was afterwards tried and acquitted, and the prosecution of Smith and others abandoned. In the mean time, on the 27th of November, 1807, a resolution was offered by John Quincy Adams, then a member of the Senate of the United States, "to inquire whether it be compatible with the honor and privileges of this house that John Smith, a Senator from the State of Ohio, be permitted longer to have a seat therein." Adams had recently become a member of the Republican, then the Jefferson party, and no doubt, from a weakness incident to the greatest men, felt it incumbent on him to show his allegiance to the [R]epublican
administration. This he could not better do than to be active in sympathizing with his hostility to every person intimate with Burr. I doubt not, too, that he labored under prejudices toward John Smith, as a Baptist. He frequently, in his subsequent life, exhibited such a feeling against Roger Williams, the Baptist pioneer of New England.
On the 3lst of December, 1807, Adams, as chairman of the committee under this resolution of inquiry, made a long report distinguished as assuming that the Senate was not bound by any rules of investigation, on motions to expel, which were recognized in the courts of justice, but that only such evidence as raised a strong presumption of guilt was necessary. At this time Burr had been acquitted and nolle prosequis had been entered on the bills against Smith and others. Of course the guilt of Burr or any of the others could not be established on legal grounds, and it became necessary to assume, first, that Burr's expedition was treasonable contrary to the decision of the court at Richmond; and next, that a connection with this treasonable design could be established against others, so far as necessary to satisfy the Senate, by evidence insufficient to convict any of them in a court of law. This rule left Smith at the mercy of his enemies, and every act of his, in his intercourse with Burr whether friendly or hostile, was construed to establish his connection with him. Even his exertions
to arrest Burr's expedition after the arrival of the President's proclamation, were considered the highest evidence of guilt, though it was also admitted, by at least one member of the Senate who argued the case, that had he manifested indifference and stood idle after Jefferson's proclamation, that too would have been still stronger proof of his criminality; so that whatever Smith did, under this mode of proof and trial, only afforded evidence against him. Jefferson was bent on the destruction of all who showed countenance to Burr, and suspicion of intimacy being the ground of conviction, there was no hope of escape. Rumor, fear and prejudice had magnified every thing into evidence overwhelming. The administration took advantage of this, and though on the final vote Smith was not expelled by a constitutional majority, yet so many voted against him, that he at once resigned his seat. It was a party vote. The friends of Jefferson - those who belonged to the [R]epublican party of that day - perhaps without exception, voted in favor of his expulsion, while the other members of the Senate could see no evidence of guilt, and voted against Mr. Adam's resolution. Senator Smith was not only ably defended by counsel, but by the most talented members of the Senate. Hillhouse of Connecticut. Giles of Virginia, and Pope of Kentucky, made most able speeches, dissecting
the evidence produced against Smith, and showing that laying aside the evidence of Smith's first and principal accusers, whom he had shown were not only unworthy of credit, but had themselves been very intimate with Burr until the rumors of his treasonable designs became rife, there was no proof of any improper intimacy with Burr, whatever might have been the object of the latter.
It is also worthy of remark, and shows how little reliance can be placed in the most distinguished politicians, as to their estimate of what is or is not patriotism or treason, that Senator Smith was condemned for a mere suspicion of being concerned with Burr in an attempt to invade Mexico, and revolutionize a part of it at least, if not annex it to the United States. At this day, 1856, members of that Senate have openly avowed their connection with an expedition, fitted out in this country, to invade, revolutionize and annex Cuba, a part of that same kingdom on which Aaron Burr had probably fixed his eyes; but now, such an effort is not only innocent but praiseworthy and patriotic, with a large portion of the people of the United States. In this way too, Texas was revolutionized and annexed, the very thing, in all probability, which Burr intended, and the principal actor in that revolution has been highly honored by the administration and now holds a seat in that very
Senate from which it was attempted to expel Smith, for a suspicion of favoring that which has since been considered to be laudable and patriotic. *
Though these charges against Mr. Smith had not been sustained, either in the Senate, by a constitutional majority, or before the court at
* The following notice of Mr. Smith is from Burnett's Notes on the Northwestern Territory, 2d ed. pp. 294-5. Judge Burnett was well acquainted with Mr. Smith; a shrewd observer, and belonging to the opposite party in policies from Mr. Smith, he cannot be accused of partiality. Speaking of the first Territorial Assembly, of which Mr. Smith was a member, he says:
"John Smith, of Hamilton County, was scarcely excelled by any member of either House, in native talent and mental energy. He felt very sensibly the want of an early education, yet the vigor of his intellect was such as measurably to overcome that difficulty. His ambition to excel, urged him to constant application, and soon raised him to a fair standing among the talented and influential leaders of the day. In 1803, he represented the State in the Senate of the United States, and stood high in the confidence of Mr. Jefferson. Subsequently, however, his intimacy with Colonel Burr put an end to all intercourse between him and Mr. Jefferson. When the Colonel was on a tour through the Western country in 1806, he spent a week or two in Cincinnati. Mr. Smith was then a Senator, and had been a member of that body when Mr. Burr presided in it as Vice-President of the United States. He therefore very naturally invited him to his house, and tendered to him its hospitality during his stay in the place. "This act of respect and kindness dictated by a generous spirit, was relied on as evidence that he was a partisan of the Colonel, and engaged in his project. A number of persons [continued on next page]
Richmond; and although those who had best and longest known him did not believe he was guilty of any thing more than indiscretion in treating Burr with civility and giving too easy an ear to his plausible pretenses, yet the public mind had been greatly excited against Burr, and any suspicion of even friendship for him was enough to destroy any man's reputation. This prejudice fell on Mr. Smith with more destructiveness on account of his being a Christian minister. Besides this, his extensive business operations had compelled
* then residing in Cincinnati, who were in constant and intimate intercourse with Burr, and who were universally believed to be engaged in his undertaking, whatever it might have been, deserted him as soon as the storm began to gather. Some of them figured in the trial at Richmond, in 1807, as patriots of spotless purity. When the Governor of Ohio made his communication to the Legislature on the subject, which was the commencement of the military movement, familiarily called at that day, 'The Burr War,' it was amusing to see those men who had been so recently the most devoted attendants on the Colonel, and the most vocal in his praise denouncing him as a traitor, and tendering their services to the Governor of the State, to arrest the culprit and bring him to justice. Mr. Smith was a firm, consistent man, not easily alarmed. He solomnly affirmed his belief that Colonel Burr was not engaged in any project injurious to the country, and refused to join in the out-cry against him, or to aid in the measures that were taken to procure his arrest. The consequence was, he was denounced himself, and a bill of indictment found against him, which, however, was abandoned without any attempt to bring him to trial."
him to solicit credit, and he was still more involved by the great expense he had been put to in collecting evidence and making his defense before the Senate. The confidence of his creditors, which had been unlimited, was now withdrawn, and he was pressed for all the claims against him at once. This he could not immediately meet. His property therefore was seized, and in a great measure sacrificed to pay his debts, and he soon removed to St. Francisville, Louisiana, in the neighborhood where he had many years before purchased a tract of land. There he continued to live from about the spring of 1808, to his death in 1824, in great obscurity, taking no part in public affairs, and for several years without any connection with the Church. But he could not live at peace without preaching, and while his reputation was so clouded with the charges which had been made against him, he did not feel it worth his while to attempt to preach. But from exhorting, first the slaves in his neighborhood and then congregations of white people, he afterwards resumed the preaching of that Gospel which had ever been dear to him, and from which he derived his only consolation in all the troubles and persecutions to which he had been subjected.
His removal to a Southern climate probably brought sickness upon his family. Several of them died in a few years after he reached St.
Francisville - and afterwards his companion and wife, for whom he always had the most tender affection. This seemed to be the severest stoke in his chequered [sic] life. He felt his loss deeply; but this affliction came not alone. An only daughter whom he had left in Ohio, in the last stages of consumption, attempted to reach her parents, and with her mother to leave her three children for protection, when she should be called away, which she knew must be soon, died on her passage down the river nearly at the same time with Mrs. Smith. Thus misfortunes and afflictions gathered about him with unusual frequency and severity; yet was he able to stay himself on his God. As the tempest gathered about him in darker and darker hues, be clung with stronger and stronger faith to that Ark of safety which could bear him up amid the dark waters which surrounded him. That Ark was Christ, the Savior. To him he fled for refuge amid the windy storm and tempest, and was safe. He continued to preach the Gospel with greater zeal, from year to year, and at last was taken sick suddenly on his return home from preaching at one of his stations, in l824, and died after a short illness, at St. Francisville, Louisiana.
Thus ended the mortal career of the first pastor of this First Church of the great Northwestern Territory. He was a remarkable man in many respects. His native talents were uncommon
- talents which fitted him for every place, and rendered him everywhere distinguished. In his person, and in his bearing and demeanor, there was ever an air of dignity. He was a natural orator. His flow of language was free and pure; his elocution clear and distinct; his voice peculiarly pleasant and of great compass; and his action natural and graceful. As a preacher, he commanded great respect and attention from all; and to the experienced Christian his sermons were spiritual feasts. I speak from the impressions I received from many of his early neighbors at Columbia, some members of his church, and others not connected with any church, and, so far as I know, such was their uniform testimony.
But John Smith yielded to the fascination of fame and was led from one step to another, farther and farther from his pledge to preach the Gospel, to which he had felt, and always believed, he had been specially called. He had many misgivings as to his course, when he took his seat in the Senate of the United States, and these were strengthened by letters from an endeared wife urging him to abandon political life and again assume the humble pastorate of the church where he had so many evidences of being blessed in his work. The terrible persecution which followed on the charge of connection with Burr, though believed to be entirely groundless by those who knew him best, seemed to his friends, if not to himself, to be a
judgment against him for his unfaithfulness to that work of preaching the Gospel, which he had in early youth espoused.
Added to this charge of connection with Burr, his enemies have been industrious in heaping upon his memory other delinquencies and even many years after his decease they have been increased in number and malignity. In a late work, purporting to contain the life, character and services of the Hon. Thomas Morris, late of the United States Senate, deceased, Smith is represented, on the authority of one Judge Pollock, of Clermont County, Ohio, as "first in the log-rolling, first in the horse-race, and first in the pulpit; and, as clandestinely leaving the country in 1807." With those acquainted with Judge Pollock, a wag, this statement would have little weight, but these are now few. There are, however, some living who contradict every charge of the kind, and bear testimony to the uniform Christian bearing and behavior of John Smith in every condition and sphere of life. One of these is John Webb, of Newtown, Hamilton County, a man of irreproachable character, who knew Smith well from the time he first came to Columbia until he left. In a letter to me, dated 1856, he says: "I was acquainted with John Smith from the time he first came to Columbia until he left, and that personally. All that time I heard him preach. I have been with him at log-rollings, house-raisings and
barn-raisings, and have worked for him and with him, and never saw anything in his deportment but what I thought correct. It was impossible for any one to hear him and be with him and not love him." To the same import is a letter from Dr. Ezra Ferris, of Lawrenceburg, Indiana, dated November 5th, 1856. Dr. Ferris came to Columbia in 1789, was present, though a boy, at the constitution of the Columbia Church, and knew John Smith from that time until he left Cincinnati, in 1807, or 1808. He says: "I lived with my father, a near neighbor to him (Smith), and felt almost as much at home in his house as my father's, and knew he was very reserved in his character, as a Christian in his family, and feel persuaded he never visited a horse-race, neither did he approve of such sport. And until his enemies began their persecutions against him on Burr's account, few men in the sphere in which he moved were more exemplary." And as to the charge of fleeing the country in dishonor, Dr. Ferris says in the same letter - "It was a matter of public notoriety that he was going when he went."*
* Since this sketch was written, the Rev. B. F. Morris, author of his father's biography, above referred to, has admitted to me that he had been misled by Judge Pollock's statement, which he had given; that he knew nothing of Pollock; had no idea that he was a wag and infidel who took pleasure in ridiculing all religion, and regrets the quotion of his remark as doing Smith injustice.
I have not stopped here but have pursued my inquiries as to John Smith's deportment after he left Cincinnati, and settled near St. Francisville, Louisiana, and find, without any contradiction, that though humbled by persecution, on account of supposed friendship for, and connection with Burr, yet he ever maintained his Christian deportment, and in his family and to his neighbors recommended the Bible truths and precepts as worthy of all acceptation. For a time John Smith resided in the family of the father of Mrs. Challen, wife of the Rev. James Challen, now of Philadelphia, while Mrs. C. was a young girl. Afterwards Mrs. C. remained a near neighbor to Mr. Smith until his death, and her testimony is the same with that of John Webb and Dr. Ferris, as to his Christian deportment at all times and under the most trying afflictions. Though on account of the persecutions which followed him, and the public rumors of his connection with Burr, he for a number of years withdrew from the church, yet afterwards he felt himself so strongly called upon to preach again, that he sought a restoration, which was readily granted, and the last few years of his life were devoted zealously and successfully to preaching the same gospel which he had proclaimed in his early career. Having in his intercourse with the South acquired a knowledge of the Spanish language which enabled him to speak it with considerable
ease, he once attempted to make a missionary tour through a part of Texas, but he found the intolerance of Catholicism an effectual barrier to any successful effort to preach in that country. In addition to all this, I have the assurance of a brother Eastman, communicated to Dr. Ezra Ferris, that during the last three months of Mr. Smith's life he traveled with him, and that Elder Smith was entirely devoted to his work of preaching. Elder Smith, after traveling some time with this early Baptist missionary, suddenly complained of being unwell, and left him for home, where he was taken down and died in a few days, as he understood, in the triumph of strong faith.
I have thus given a longer account of Elder Smith than may appear to many necessary. But as he was a Pioneer Baptist preacher of great distinction; first in the church, and then in the political world, and afterwards became the object of a relentless, and, as all those who best knew him considered, an unfounded persecution. I thought it proper to bestow particular notice upon him. Of his trial before the United States Senate I can only give a brief outline. Those who wish to examine it more particularly may consult the published annals of the first session of the Tenth Congress. But to form a proper estimate of the merits of the charges against John Smith, it is necessary that his persecutors - those who brought the first charges against him, should
be known and their characters and conduct weighed against those who still retained their confidence in Smith, notwithstanding the charges of his accusers. The disparity was great, and their testimony as opposite as their characters.
Elder Smith's great error was in leaving the pulpit - first but for a time as he supposed, but gradually he was drawn further and further into the vortex of worldly business and ambition, until he found himself overwhelmed with a storm which he could neither escape nor control. To this terrible mistake he attributed all his misfortunes. In a letter to the Columbia, Lebanon and probably other churches, where many of his early brethren and acquaintances had their membership, written about 1819, he fully confessed this great error, and expressed deep penitence on account of it - but denying all criminal designs against his country - and desiring once more to return to the church, and be permitted again to preach that gospel which had been his only permanent solace in all his trials, persecutions and afflictions. In answer to this letter, I have been assured the Columbia, then Duck Creek, Church most heartily and gladly accepted his assurance of penitence and restored him to their confidence. This letter returned John Smith to the church, and though before this he had often preached in a private way to his neighbors and among the slaves in the vicinity, he now publicly proclaimed
the gospel to several churches, through a considerable district around St. Francisville, as long as he lived, and in 1824 returned home sick from a preaching tour, never more to rise from his couch.
We insert here an extract from a letter of Mrs. E. Challen, of Philadelphia, to Mrs. Mary Gano, giving an account of the last years of Elder Smith. Mrs. C. lived in the immediate neighborhood of Elder Smith, from the time he reached St. Francisville, Louisiana, until his death — and part of the time Elder Smith lived in her father's family:
"A Mr. Taylor, of Cincinnati. published a little work entitled 'The Victim of Intrigue,' which gave a correct history of his (John Smith's) life. But I rejoice to say his last days were his best days. His return to the fold from which he had long strayed was accompanied with bitter repentance and deep humility. He felt himself unworthy the honor of proclaiming the gospel again, but was constrained to attempt it, first among the poor blacks, with whom he was very acceptable. I presume he was the first Protestant who went to Texas with the intention of preaching. But, I think, the Catholics did not suffer him to speak at all; but he was not to be hindered. He set out with the determination of redeeming the time he had lost, and was indefatigable in his endeavors to do good. Indeed, I must do him the justice to say this always seemed to be
his aim. When in our family he always tried to teach us the way to heaven, but we were all in hot pursuit of the pleasures of this life, and gave little heed to his instructions, till his wife — who was a most excellent woman — came to live with us. Though not what we call a zealous Christian, she was very consistent — of a meek and quiet spirit. She opened her mouth with wisdom, and in her tongue was the law of kindness. She bore with our youthful follies and participated in our amusements, especially novel reading, which occupied a great portion of our time, but not to the exclusion of more solid literature. Indeed, when Mr. Smith was there, we had a regular school. He gave me my first lessons in Geography, Astronomy, and Chemistry. The Spanish language, which he learned himself, he taught to us. My brother David perfected himself in it, so far as to be able to translate it correctly, which proved of great service to him when he practiced law in New Orleans. Their sojourn in our family was a blessing to us all. We had little need of seeking pleasure from home while we had their society, and that of their sons. Their deaths seemed the principal means of his perfect recovery from his wanderings. Never have I known a more friendly and attached family, and never have I seen more unreserved submission when they were taken away. The first one that died was named Louis. He and his father had taken a trip to Pensacola,
and on his return he was seized with yellow fever, which proved fatal in a few hours. His father was not aware of his danger, though he was not insensible to it himself, remarking to some around, while his father was out of the room a few moments, that 'he felt himself dying, but could not bear to mention it to his father,' adding 'he will know it soon enough.' When the poor afflicted parent returned home he seemed to be completely subdued in spirit. "Pity me, oh my friends, for the hand of God has touched me," were his first words on entering, and at family worship be read the twenty-ninth of Job. This was a favorite portion of the Scriptures. He frequently read from Psalms, and those passages that he read in such a touching tone of voice are still very dear to me. He was a most beautiful reader, and a fine speaker, though, like many others, he got too loud and vociferous as he proceeded. This used to annoy his wife very much as she was of a very nervous temperament, and easily affected with noise. Though of very opposite characters they lived in great harmony and affection. When absent, he wrote every spare moment in the most lover-like style. I have often heard him regret not having followed her advice which would have prevented all misfortunes. She strongly opposed his leaving the ministry of the word to engage in political life. He had preserved her letters addressed to him at Washington,
begging him to return to his duty as a parent, in assisting her to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. No doubt it added tenfold to his sorrow when they were so suddenly snatched away. Mrs. Smith and my mother were on a visit to an old friend, and while they were gone (only two days) her youngest son, John, was taken so ill that the doctor sent for her; but he was insensible when she arrived, and expired almost immediately. She repeated Job's words: 'The lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord,' closed his eyes in death, and went composedly and got his grave clothes ready. It was a great comfort to her that in their last conversation, the night before she left the house, he had avowed a fixed determination to lead a new life. There had been for some time a decided change in his temper, which was naturally violent, though always kind and affectionate, especially to his mother whom he almost worshiped, as they all did. All of our neighbors loved and respected her, and solicited her visits. She was not fond of society and went sometimes, but always returned expressing her greater satisfaction in my mother's company. They loved each other as sisters, and contributed very much to each other's happiness. When she died it made a great blank in my mother's affections which no one else could fill. When mother found she was dying she asked
her if she was aware of it. For a moment she seemed naturally shocked and startled: but recovering herself immediately, said: "No, I did not know it; but it is what we must all come to. 'Jesus, Master, receive thy servant.'" She lingered on much longer than we expected, but said little. We were all watching her, but, overpowered with sorrow and fatigue, fell asleep. I was awakened by her speaking to me, and felt as though those words of the Savior in a like situation were addressed to me: 'What, could you not watch with me one hour?' I slept no more that night.
"I regretted very much that I was denied the privilege of being with my beloved old friend in his last moments. Though not more than a quarter of a mile off, he was taken so violently, that he was obliged to stop at a Dr. Balfour's, who was also a preacher, but being absent until a short time before his death, he was unable to render him any aid. His remains were brought to our house, and laid beside his wife's and sons'. How often have I visited those graves, and rejoiced in the indissoluble union between the Savior and his members." Elder JAMES LEE was one of the pioneer Baptist ministers of the Miami Association, and, deserves a much fuller notice than I can give for want of a better knowledge of him and his history. I
refer to him now in connection with the Mimai Island Church, which was the second church constituted in the Miami Association, and of which Elder Lee was pastor from 1799 to 1801. He was by birth a Virginian, and was raised to manhood without any education, being scarcely able to read at his majority, and until near that period of life had never heard a sermon. The circumstances of his conversion I cannot give; but soon after he was licensed to preach, having then moved to some part of Kentucky, he made an exploring tour to the Miami country, and called on Elder John Smith, at Columbia. This was in 1793, and on Saturday evening. On Sabbath morning, as he accompanied Elder Smith to meeting, he happened to say something that led the latter to believe he was a minister, and though dressed in his traveling suit in which he had traversed the wilderness some weeks, and therefore dirty, if not ragged, he was pressed strongly by the pastor to preach. With much reluctance, and after many apologies for his condition, etc., he consented. Though at this time scarcely able to read intelligibly, his sermon surprised and even astonished the audience. There was a power in it which evidently did not proceed from that untutored man, and a richness of Christian experience which had not been acquired from books or sermons. In the evening he preached again at the house of John Ferris, one
of the pioneers of the Columbia Church, and the same evident marks of spiritual light and guidance attended his sermon here. From this time, until 1818, Elder Lee was a leading spirit and prominent minister in the Miami Association. He was naturally an orator, but there was a pathos and earnest solemnity in his discourses which no mere power of oratory could give him. His sermons were generally distinguished for three things: the richness and depth of his experience, the delight with which he spoke of the rest and glory which remain for the people of God, and ease with which he transported the pious mind from earthly to heavenly things, so that they seemed a present reality; and, thirdly, the power with which he made the threatening of God's wrath against the stubborn and rebellious sinner, to affect the impenitent. Often they literally trembled in their seats under his preaching, and many thereby were made to flee from the wrath to come. He preached while at Miami Island Church, a part of the time at Carpenter's Run, and a part to a church on the south side of the Ohio, in Kentucky. His labors were everywhere blessed.
In 1802, he was called as pastor to the Elk Creek Church. There he remained most of the time, and preached to that and other churches in the neighborhood, until 1818. In that year he removed with his family to Crawfordsville, Indiana,
and soon after died at a good old age. The particulars of his death are not known, except that be died peacefully, as he had for many years lived in the full assurance of faith. As a token of love and respect for him in the Miami Association, the following resolution was adopted and ordered to be placed on the minutes of their meeting, in September, 1819: "This association deeply lament the loss of their much esteemed Father in the Gospel, Elder James Lee, who has been removed (we trust) from the church militant to the church triumphant. But this association does rejoice in being informed, beyond any possible doubt, that our aged and faithful brother departed this life full in the faith of the doctrine he long labored to inculcate - salvation through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, according to the eternal love of the Father in the predestination, calling, justification and glorification of the church chosen in time before the world was.
ELDER PETER SMITH -- Though Elder Peter Smith was last connected with Beaver Creek Church, some six miles northwest of Xenia, yet as he was the second regular pastor of the First or Columbia Church, I notice him here. Elder Smith was a native of New Jersey. His parents were members of the Baptist Church at Piscataway, New Jersey, and when quite a lad he united
with the church there; and soon after manifested a desire to preach. He was, therefore, placed at a school, at New Hope, under the care of the Rev. Isaac Eaton. This was the only school then known as a Baptist school, in the United States, and here it is said the project of the college at Providence, Rhode island, was first suggested. Afterwards he went through a theological course of study, under the instruction of the Rev. Samuel Jones, of Lower Dublin, near Philadelphia, to whom many early Baptist ministers in this country were indebted for their preparation for the ministry. Elder Smith began to preach about the beginning of the Revolutionary War, and intended to remain in Jersey, where he married, but finding the troubles of the war constantly embarrassing him, he removed his family to Georgia, where he remained and preached until 1800. He, in that year, removed to Columbia, and on John Smith's resignation, about that time, he was chosen pastor of the Columbia Church, and remained such until 1804. In 1805 he removed to Beaver Creek and became pastor of the church there, where he remained, until his death, about 1814, as near as recollected.
Elder Peter Smith was an efficient and successful preacher, of more than ordinary talents, though in his delivery there was something rather unpleasant to those not accustomed to hearing him.
In the year 1801 he baptized about 130 into the fellowship of the church at Duck Creek. His education and general information were far in advance of most Baptist preachers of his day. He ever bore the reputation of a good man and warm-hearted Christian, and was devoted to the work of the ministry. He left one son, Rev. Hezekiah Smith, now of Shelby County, Indiana, and long a pastor in the association, and two daughters.
ELDER JOHN CLARK, was for about eighteen months, from the autumn of 1814, to the spring of 1816, pastor of the Duck Creek Church. I refer to him here, as several others connected with this church, at an early day, will be noticed as pastors of other churches, where most of them labored, and where most of them closed their days and ministry. Elder Clark, about 1816, removed to Illinois, where I have only been enabled to learn, that he labored with zeal and success for some years, and until his death. Even the place of his labors, or precise length, in Illinois, I have failed to ascertain.
ELDER DAVID JONES was one of the young men whom the Duck Creek Church licensed to preach, at an early day. He was a poor young man, who emigrated from Wales, about 1805, with Judge Hughs, as afterwards called, long known in
Hamilton County, and at one time Associate Judge. Young Jones was an orphan boy, who had been raised by a pious aunt in Wales to manhood, and then had intelligence and energy to emigrate to the United States, where he knew there was a better chance for a poor laboring man to get through the world, than in his native land. He paid the expense of his voyage, after he arrived, in labor for his kind friend, Judge Hughs, who had assisted him in crossing the Atlantic and coming to the West. Afterwards he hired as a common laborer with John Ferris, in the vicinity of Duck Creek Church, while Elder William Jones, also from Wales, was pastor. Though a pious and exemplary young man, raised in a Pedobaptist church, he soon after attending Elder William Jones' preaching, became dissatisfied with infant sprinkling, and united with the Duck Creek Church. He was soon after licensed to preach, and I well remember he spoke the English language with so much of the Welsh brogue as scarcely to be intelligible to me. But he soon convinced all who became acquainted with him, that he possessed more than ordinary talents. On account of his promise of usefulness and want of education, Elder Ezra Ferris, who recently died at Lawrenceburg, Indiana, and who was teaching a school at Lebanon, generously proffered him a home, books and tuition, free of charge.
He here remained some one or two years, and applied himself indefatigably to study. In 1810 he accepted a call from the Beaver Creek Church, and was soon after ordained by Elders Smith and Ferris. After remaining here for a short time, and to the satisfaction of the church, Elder Peter Smith received a letter from Dr. Jones, of Lower Dublin, near Philadelphia, requesting him, if he knew of any pious young men, that were preachers, and who had the talents to improve, but lacked the means of obtaining an education, to send them to him. Elder Smith at once urged Elder David Jones to accept this offer, and immediately he left for Lower Dublin. There he was received in Dr. Jones' family, and under his tuition David Jones became quite an eminent scholar and divine. He not only passed the usual theological course, but became a good Hebrew, Greek, and Latin scholar. He was afterwards, for a time, pastor of a church in Frankford, Pennsylvania, then in Newark, New Jersey, where be continued to preach with great success, until a short time after the death of Dr. Samuel Jones. After Dr. Jones' pulpit had been filled for a short time by Dr. Joshua Slack, formerly of Cincinnati, Elder David Jones was called to the pastorate of Dr. Jones' Church. But he did not long continue. In the prime of life, and in the midst of his usefulness and reputation as a learned, able and successful minister of the Gospel, he was attacked with a
cancer of the throat, and died about the year 1830. His labors at Lower Dublin continued for some six or seven years, and when called to his rest he left a memory embalmed with the purest fragrance of love and veneration.
PASTORS OF CARPENTER'S RUN CHURCH
This church, though the third organized in the Miami Valley, never enjoyed for any great length of time the regular labors of a pastor. In 1800, and 1801, one John Soward, or Seward, preached to them, but he turned out very badly. Though of good family, respectable education, and well connected by marriage, yet he soon became a victim of that fell destroyer, intemperance -- lived in disgrace, and died at an early age. As the use of intoxicating drinks was then very general, the victims of this desolation were often found among the class of men who had property, and means of indulgence, which poorer men had not; and the early history of Ohio afforded many sad spectacles of men of talent and influence becoming a prey to that love of ardent spirits, which still ruins tens of thousands in our country every year. That taste for intoxicating spirits, when once firmly established, is ungovernable, and hence I cannot but in charity believe, that many good men, especially in times past, when the use of ardent spirits was supposed not only innocent, but necessary to health, have unintentionally,
and almost unconsciously, fallen irrecoverably into the snare of intemperance from which they were never able to rescue themselves.
In 1803, Elder Gard, so long afterwards pastor at Elk Creek Church, preached for a short time,not a year it is believed, for this church. About 1811, Cyrus Crane was licensed by this church, and afterwards was ordained to the work of the ministry, and was pastor of this church until 1826, with the exception of about one year (1814), in which Abraham Griffiths seems to have been pastor. After this time the church does not appear to have existed. Of Elder Griffiths, I know nothing. Elder Crane, though a man of little pretensions and humble talents, was a very exemplary man, and esteemed a real disciple of the Lord Jesus. He died, I think, about the time this church lost its visibility. His death, and the removal of the family of Richard Ayres, the elder, the founder of this church, left them no strength. Mount Carmel Church, in the association at that time, and whose place of worship is but a short distance south of the old site of Carpenter's Run Meeting-house, has since taken the place of this pioneer church.
ELDER JOHN MASON, as one of the early pioneer Baptist ministers in the Northwest Territory, deserves a notice here. He was a brother of
Elder John Smith's wife, a Virginian by birth and education. Elder Mason was a man of natural parts, and though his opportunities of intellectual improvement in Virginia, at that early day, were not great, he was a man of general information and respectable education. Through his ministry, he was distinguished for his correct and strictly orthodox theology. He not unfrequently, therefore, detected departures of every shade from the acknowledged standards of Baptist faith and practice. As a speaker his voice was good, his manner natural and easy, and his language pure and chaste. On the whole he was an attractive preacher. Possessing a warm, generous and affectionate heart, his sermons were distinguished for the evidence of deep sympathy for the moral and spiritual prosperity of his hearers.
Elder Mason preached at the First Church in Columbia, at a very early day. He was present at the organization of the first Association. This was in October, 1798. He was appointed to preach on Sabbath, and, also, on a committee with John Smith, Joshua Carman and Francis Dunlevy, to prepare some articles of order to be observed in these associations. In 1804 he was appointed to write the circular letter, and superintend the printing of the minutes. But not until 1806, does he appear on the minutes as one of the delegates, and then was pastor of Sugar Creek Church, where he remained many years; but in 1823 a
difficulty took place in that church which led to his removal, in 1824, to Indiana, somewhere in the bounds of the White Water Association. The difficulty originated in Elder Mason's dissent from the doctrines and views expressed in a small volume written by Elder Wilson Thompson, and published in 1801, entitled SIMPLE TRUTH. The doctrines of this book Elder Mason, no doubt, condemned in the pulpit, as unscriptural; and as Elder Thompson had many devoted friends in that church, this denunciation of his book caused great dissatisfaction with them. The difference grew into an open rupture in that body, and in 1823 the friends of each presented distinct letters, both claiming to be the church. The larger part of the church adhered to Elder Mason and his views, but the association, under the undue influence as was generally believed by those disinterested, of Elder Thompson, in that body, decided the majority should unite with the minority. This not only gave dissatisfaction to the majority in Sugar Creek Church, but great offense to several other churches, as afterwards expressed in their letters. The Sugar Creek Church, from that time to the present, has been divided, forming two churches since 1836; the Mason party adhering to the friends of missions, the other to the anti-missions. Some think this was the beginning of the anti-mission movement in 1836. But there were other causes which preceded the general
movement which have been noticed in previous pages. This was one of the incidents of a more wide-spread influence, and, no doubt, hastened the split in the Miami Association, though without this difficulty at Sugar Creek, that division must soon have come.
Of Elder Mason's life and labors after he left and settled in Indiana, I know but very little. He died about 1835, when he obtained a good old age. ELDER MOSES FRAZEE was also a pioneer preacher. His name first appears in the records of the association in 1801, as the pastor and messenger for Poplar Fork Church. This church was in Clermont County, near Williamsburg, and still exists in connection with the Anti-Mission party. As early as 1808, Elder Frazee became pastor of Little Miami, or Miami Island Church, and remained such until that church united, in 1816, with the East Fork Association. He soon after removed to the Mad River country, and preached there successfully, and with great zeal, until his death, about 1840, in the 79th year of his age. Elder Frazee was in many respects a remarkable man. He possessed great energy of mind and body. He was ever plain, open, candid, and to one unacquainted with him he appeared unjustifiably abrupt and blunt. Though he possessed nothing more than a plain, self acquired English
education, he was esteemed an able preacher wherever he went; and a most excellent man and exemplary Christian. With him, like many a pioneer Baptist preacher, the Bible was the book, and the only book, frequently, from whence they derived their theological views, and which alone they acknowledged as authoritative. With the Bible, Old and New Testaments, Father Frazee was familiar, and these were the rich fountains of spiritual knowledge from which he drew so copiously in his sermons, and which flowed so bountifully to every thirsty soul who heard him. It is the testimony of one who long and intimately knew him, and was in every respect competent to judge, in a letter to me, in relation to Father Frazee, "He was one of the best men and preachers I ever knew."
ELDER JOSHUA CARMAN was another of the pioneers in the Northwest Territory. He, too, was present at the General Conference, in 1798, at which the Miami Association was organized, and was there, apparently, as a messenger from an association of Emancipation Baptists in Nelson County, Kentucky, who solicited union as a part of the Miami Association, or, at least, correspondence with them. Such letter of correspondence was on that occasion prepared and sent to the Nelson County brethren, by the hands of Elder Carman. He then resided in Kentucky,
though, I think, a native of Virginia. He was one of the first avowed advocates for the universal abolition of slavery, and, I have understood, attended the first meeting to organize the Miami Association, with a view, principally, to prevent the newly organized association from holding any correspondence with slaveholders. He, however, moved to the Northwestern Territory in 1801. In 1802, he became pastor of Middle Run Church, six or eight miles southwest of the present site of Xenia, Greene County, where he remained, I think, until his death, as near as I can recollect, about 1840, in a good old age. From age and isolated situation, living on a farm, near no leading road, Elder Carman mingled little with society for a number of years before his death. In his more youthful days he used to travel and preach much in the new settlements, by which he was surrounded on every side. The Baptists of the Miami Valley were then familiar with him, and no preacher, I think, was ever more cordially received. There was in his very countenance something peculiarly pleasant, which at once gave a favorable impression that was increased by acquaintance. He was an easy, fluent and pleasant speaker, and bore the reputation generally of an able and efficient pulpit orator. When I heard him I was too young to judge of the matter of his sermons. I only recollect that his manner, voice and language were highly pleasing, and always
commanded great attention. Dr. Ezra Ferris, who was older, and heard him when he first came to this State, in 1801, in a letter to me last fall, says: "He (Elder Carman) preached at Duck Creek the morning I was baptized, and made me wonder how sinners could possibly stay away from Christ. I thought, for the time, his sermon was worth all I had ever heard before. I often heard him afterwards, and was always pleased with his preaching."
If I am not much mistaken in my recollection, the secret of Elder Carman's power in preaching is alluded to in the above extract: He delighted to dwell on the love of God to sinners as manifested by the gift of Jesus Christ, that whosoever believeth on him shall be saved. I have some recollection of a difference, on some points of doctrine, in later years of Elder Carman's preaching, with some of his brethren in the ministry, but cannot give them with any accuracy. They consisted however of those usual differences between middle and higher Calvinism, and such like, but not interfering with Christian esteem and regard. ELDER JOHN GUTRIDGE was the first Baptist preacher in the upper Mad River country, and may be noticed here. He was born in Washington. Mason County. Kentucky, as early as July 23, 1776. His opportunities of acquiring an education,
at that place, in so early a day, were of course very limited, and he owed most of his moral instruction, if not literary, to a pious mother. He married when a little over nineteen, a Miss Margaret Parkinson, of Washington, Kentucky, and who is still living at Fairfield, Greene County, Ohio (1856), at an advanced age, but enjoying all her strength of mind and memory. Soon after Elder Gutridge's marriage, he moved across the Ohio and settled in what is now Brown County.
About this time, Elder Gutridge was brought to see and feel himself a great and helpless sinner, and that without a change of heart he must be forever lost; but not until 1801 did he find peace in believing. This was under the preaching of one Elder Hiram Curry, by whom be was baptized in the Ohio River soon after, near, and, I presume, in fellowship with, Brook Church, three miles above Maysville. In 1805, he removed to Champaign County, Ohio, with his father’s family, and settled on King's Creek, north of Urbana. In 1806, he, with others, feeling their destitution without a church, procured an Elder John Thomas to organize a church there. This was the beginning of King's Creek Church, which has so long been the leading Baptist church in the Mad River country. It was then composed of but eight members, including Elder Gutridge and wife.
Soon after the constitution of this church, Elder Gutridge began to exhort, and in 1807 was licensed to preach. He remained within the bounds of the King's Creek Church and preached to them until 1818, when he removed to Zanesville, Logan County, and then preached for Tharpe's Run, Mill Creek, Stony Creek, as well as King's Creek, churches until 1826. He Then moved back to Champaign, and preached for Nettle Creek, Staunton, Bethel, and King's Creek churches till 1828, when he removed to Fairfield, Greene County, nine miles east of Dayton, and there preached for the Fairfield, Bethel, Stillwater, and another church, the name of which I cannot learn, until August 22, 1829, when his work being done, he fell asleep in Jesus, aged 53 years and 28 days.
I have been particular in giving the field of Elder Gutridge's labors, to show how much was performed by the pioneer preachers of this State. To realize this more fully, it must be borne in mind, that all was then a wilderness, and the pastor's journeyings must all be performed on horseback or on foot, through a wilderness, with nothing often but traces for roads, and in the winter and spring the whole country was frequently deluged with water, and always at that season exceedingly muddy and full of swamps; yet, in this state of the country, Elder Gutridge preached to three or four churches at a time. This necessarily
greatly increased the labor of travel, at that day, at times, a difficult matter, as streams and swamps were without bridges.
Elder Gutridge was a most useful man. Though he had no pretensions to literature or science, he was a man of solid sense, had made the Bible his vade mecum, and by its instructions, under the influence of that spirit which first awakened him to see his lost condition by nature, he made a very acceptable preacher, as may plainly be seen by the calls for his service by so many churches at the same time. ELDER JACOB GRIGG appears as a visiting minister in the records of 1804, and, with Elders J. Sutton, John Mason, J. Sackett, W. Herbert, and _____ Russ, was invited to a seat and to aid in counsel. Of the three last I know nothing more. Elder Grigg, about the beginning of this year came to Lebanon and opened a classical school where he continued, preaching generally on Sabbaths, until the fall of 1807. He had a brother who preceded him at Lebanon, the late John Grigg, and no doubt this fact directed his course here from Kentucky, where he had for some years before lived. Elder Grigg was born in Cornwall, England, June 19,1769; was educated at the Baptist Academy at Bristol, then under the charge of Dr. John Ryland, for whom he bore a most affectionate
memory, and after whom he named his eldest son. On the completion of the course of his study he was ordained, and soon sent as a missionary to Sierra Leone, in Africa. There he remained some eighteen months, laboring to promote the interests of the benighted inhabitants. In attempting to ascertain, more satisfactorily, the true condition, customs and language of the natives, that be might more efficiently adapt his labors to their necessities, he made frequent journeys through the country, sometimes on foot, and on some occasions to the distance of two hundred miles. But his health soon failed under the intense heat of the climate and his over-exertion, and compelled him to desist. He sailed for America after eighteen months' labor, and landed at Norfolk, Virginia, in 1797. Here he preached with success for some time, but how long I cannot learn, and was, while here, married. His wife was a Miss Littledike, who accompanied him in his migrations afterwards as long as he lived, and survived him several years.
Having contracted the habit of wandering, as his family thought, in his missionary life, he moved from Norfolk to Wilmington, North Carolina, from thence to Kentucky, and then to Lebanon, Ohio, as above noticed. At each place he taught as well as preached. He had a great love for teaching, and possessed, in no ordinary degree, the peculiar talent, as well as qualification
for that business. In his school, in Lebanon, some of our most distinguished citizens were first brought out and evinced the talents which they afterwards displayed. From Lebanon, about 1807, he removed to Richmond, Virginia, at the earnest solicitation of his wife's widowed mother, then Mrs. Anna Goodwin, having been twice left a widow. After staying here, and, as I have understood, teaching a large school for some years, he moved to Pennsylvania, settling at Holmesburg, ten miles north of Philadelphia. Here he preached and taught two years more; when he was invited to take charge of a church in the city, soon after its organization, called the New Market Street Baptist Church. After he was called to this church, they built a new house, on the corner-stone of which his name, as pastor, was inscribed. Here he labored with uncommon energy: and probably by overwork laid the foundation of a distressing nervous disease which soon followed. His eldest daughter, Mrs. Anna G. Burr, now of Missouri, was then required to keep a record of his daily labors, and furnishes me with one day, as follows: "Baptized fourteen persons; preached morning and afternoon, then married three couples. Administered the sacrament of the Lord's Supper; on returning home, found three other couples waiting. Married them, and thus closed the labors of that one day." This, however, was an unusual and extreme case; but
the record shows great energy and activity in the discharge of daily duties at this time, 1819. For a short time after the death of Dr. Samuel Jones, as noticed in the sketch of Elder David Jones, Elder Grigg officiated in his pulpit at South Dublin in the suburbs of Philadelphia, but the precise time, or how long, I can not state.
But here, as I must give a faithful sketch of those whom I notice, as deceased ministers of the Miami Association, I mention with regret a time of Elder Grigg's apparent contradiction of his whole former life. Depressing disease, as his family supposed the result of over-exertion, added to other domestic afflictions, led to the use of stimulating liquors, which had been prescribed by his physician, and affording temporary relief. As the custom was then universal, in all circles, whether professors of religion or not, to make use of these, in the family as well as in social visits, it is not strange that Elder Grigg should make use of them, especially in his sickness and troubles; but the practice begat the habit, which increased until, to the great mortification of his friends, his character was lost, and all his usefulness apparently forever destroyed. I am assured, however, that in these times a perceptible aberration of mind usually preceded, sometimes for days, his yielding to the destructive indu1gence. From this fact, we may charitably hope, that the habit of indulgence in ardent spirits was rather the result
of aberration of the mind, than the cause of it. But even during this dark night of Elder Grigg's life, I have the assurance of one who waited upon him in this terrible sickness, that he then often mourned over it in the depths of sorrow and self-abasement of spirit. But, I rejoice that Elder Griggs life did not end - that his sun did not set, in this dark cloud. By the blessing of God he was enabled to burst the fetters which had for a time bound him, and to arise from this abyss of humiliation and devote himself anew to the service of his Redeemer. To him that precious promise was most manifestly fulfilled: "Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down." Rescued from the arm of the destroyer, Elder Grigg became an ardent advocate and an active and efficient supporter of the cause of temperance. For some time he traveled much and lectured on this subject.
For a short period before his death, Elder Grigg acted as agent for Columbia College, Washington City, and, while thus employed, he took sick and died at the house of a friend in Virginia, September 27, 1835, in the sixty-seventh year of his age, and the forty-seventh of his ministry. His last hours were spent from home, and the circumstances of his death are unknown, but one who had the best opportunity of knowing him during the last few years of his life, says to me: "Though I am ignorant of his frame of mind at the time
of his decease, from my knowledge of his integrity of purpose and steadfast faith in Christ, I think I have good grounds for believing that 'all was well with him.'"
Thus ended the checkered life of Elder Grigg — a life varied with great changes of place and circumstances. There were some periods of flattering prosperity in the course of his eventful journey, but most of his path was darkened by adversity in various forms of poverty, sickness, and frequent domestic afflictions. None but a man of indomitable energy and activity could have endured what he did, and accomplished what he achieved, under the pressure of so many and varied trials. ELDER DANIEL CLARK was a native of Pennsylvania, and licensed to preach in the Whitely Church, but at what time I do not know. He moved to Columbia in 1790, the spring after the constitution of the First Church, and not long after Elder John Smith was called to the pastorate. The latter being detained in Pennsylvania, settling his affairs for a year after his call. Elder Clark was invited to preach to the church until Elder Smith reached Columbia. This he did; and so acceptably, that after Elder Smith took charge of the church in 1791, Elder Clark was retained as assistant pastor for several years. In September, 1792, as before noticed, Elder Clark was ordained
at Columbia, Rev. Dr. John Gano assisting Elder Smith on the occasion. This was the first ordination of a minister in all the Northwestern Territory. After remaining at Columbia until after the peace, and such time as he could safely settle on a farm in the interior, in 1797, Elder Clark removed to a little tract of land purchased by him, about four miles northeast of Lebanon, as now known, then, a perfect wilderness all around him. The Clear Creek Church, seven miles north of Lebanon was constituted about that time, and for a short period, at first, was under the care of Elder James Sutton; but soon after Elder Clark took charge of this church and organized a branch of it at Turtle Creek, now Lebanon. He continued to preach at these places alternately, until 1803, when the Turtle Creek branch was constituted into an independent church - and then, to the latter as long as he was able to preach. About 1820, then upward of seventy-five years of age, and living some five miles from the place of worship, his strength was not sufficient for the discharge of all the duties of pastor, and the church called Elder Wilson Thompson, then preaching at Pleasant Run Church, near the north of Hamilton County, as assistant pastor at Lebanon. Elder Clark preached occasionally for several years after, sitting, as I remember, during the delivery of his last sermons. He gradually declined until
1834, when he fell asleep in Jesus, in the ninetieth year of his age.
In the church at Lebanon from the time of its first organization even as a branch, in 1798, until their deaths, there were three rather remarkable men, agreeing in the strong points of their character, but differing somewhat in others. These may be considered the strong pillars of this church amid many trying storms in its earlier career, and I choose to name them jointly here in this connection with the Lebanon Church. These individuals were Elder Clark himself, Judge Francis Dunlevy, and Judge Matthias Corwin. The first about seven years older than the two last, who were nearly of the same age, and all of them in the prime of life. They were alike in possessing original and independent minds, which never received anything without sufficient evidence, but with such evidence received any truth however unpopular, and therefore opposed to individual preferment. They were alike, too, in unyielding integrity and honesty of purpose, which never for a moment gave way to popular outcry or artful seductions of temporary policy or of designing men. They seemed to have an intuitive perception of the interior of men, however plausible their professions and external deportment for the time. This decision of character, often rejecting temporary schemes and expediency which seemed to most
others to promise nothing but good, gave to each of them apparent harshness of temper and arbitrary assumption of decisive authority in matters not exclusively under their jurisdiction. But when they were well-known and understood, nothing was farther from the character of either. They were liberal in sentiment where they could be without sacrificing principle; and never were men more truly tender, affectionate and kind. They all lived in harmony in the same church for thirty years, entertaining during all that time the most unbounded confidence in, and respect for, each other.
With these three men in the Lebanon Church she remained unmoved and unshaken by the great excitement which everywhere existed around her in the early part of her career, first from the New Light revival of 1801, and some years succeeding; then from Shakerism, which sprung up in the neighborhood a few years after. The first carried off every member of the Presbyterian church at Turtle Creek, constituted about the same time with the Baptist, with two or three exceptions; while not one member of the Baptist church here was affected by it. So of Shakerism. It did not touch the Baptist churches, though in its influence, it should be remarked, it was almost exclusively confined, at first, to the New Light Church; but afterwards made inroads into other churches to some extent.
Elder Clark possessed little human learning. As a pulpit orator, though not particularly attractive, he was always acceptable as a preacher. His sermons were plain expositions of Scripture, illustrated and confirmed by frequent and ready quotations from the Bible. With this book, and with this alone, excepting, perhaps, "Pilgrim's Progress," Elder Clark was familiar. His excellence consisted in showing, in a way that made every one feel, man's total depravity by nature and his inability himself to remedy his condition. In doing this he did not refer so much to out-breaking wickedness in men's lives, but seemed to penetrate the very secrets of the heart and expose that pride, selfishness, and irreconciliation to God which belong to all by nature, in so clear a manner as to make his hearers oftentimes see themselves as they never had before. Having thus convinced of sin and guilt, he had prepared the way to exhibit Christ as his only hope. In his deportment Elder Clark was grave and dignified; and his very countenance indicated uncommon solemnity. In his society one could not but be impressed with the conviction that the momentous concerns of eternity were ever in his thoughts. He seldom indulged in levity, and though social in his disposition, and fond of good society, he generally gave to the conversation, on these occasions, a religious or moral bearing. His life, conduct, and uniform deportment in the
varied scenes of his history, commanded the respect and confidence of all, whether they regarded religion or not; and I recollect to have heard a man of the world wholly, who had known Elder Clark even from early manhood, declare "that he was the only real honest man he had ever known; who could be seduced by no temptation however strong," and then gave incidents in his life which he considered full proof of his position. His long pastoral charge at Lebanon, though marked by few, if any, revivals, was attended with regular additions; and in thirty years of his charge here there were very few cases, comparatively, of discipline.
Elder Clark left a widow who survived him and died at an age over ninety, and a family of children. No one of them, the sons at least, seem to have inherited his mantle, unless it be a grandson, Elder Lewis Osborn, for some years past of Mt. Sterling, Illinois, who was licensed to preach in the Lebanon Church about 1838, and has long since been ordained, and preached in various places as an acceptable minister.
=====[End of part one.]=====
[From A. H. Dunlevy, A History of Miami Baptist Association, 1868, pp. 95-147. Transcribed and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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