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A. D. Sears
Frontier Baptist Preacher
By John H. Spencer, 1885

     A. D. Sears labored at Bracken church, under the employ of the missionary board of Bracken Association, about two years. He was not pastor of the church, but did much to recover it from its disorder and confusion.

     Mr. Sears was of English ancestors, and was born in Fairfax county, Va., Jan. 1, 1804. He acquired a fair education. He was raised under deistical influences, and entertained a strong prejudice against religious people, holding the Baptists in especial contempt, on account of what he regarded their vulgar and indecent practice of immersion. He had never formed the habit of attending preaching. In 1823, he came to Kentucky, and settled in Bourbon county, where, in 1828, he married Miss Ann B. Bowie. By some means he was led to a close study of the Bible and was thereby led to Christ. He had never heard a Baptist preach. But getting hold of Andrew Fuller's

[p. 268]
Works, he found their teachings so fully in accord with his experience, and understanding of the New Testament, that he resolved to join the hitherto despised sect. On the 19th of July, 1838, he and his wife were baptized by Ryland T. Dillard, and became members of Davids Fork Baptist church in Fayette county. In 1839, he was licensed to exercise his gift. In February, 1840, he was ordained to the ministry, at Davids Fork, by R. T. Dillard, Edward Darnaby and Josiah Leak.

     He at once entered upon the work of his holy calling, and, during the next seven months, preached once a month at each of Georgetown and Forks of Elkhorn, (not being pastor at either place), and devoted the rest of his time to holding protracted meetings. In December, 1840, he moved to Flemingsburg, and was appointed missionary in the bounds of Bracken Association, in which capacity he labored with good success about two years. During the year 1840, he held meetings at Shelbyville, Burks Branch and South Benson, where large numbers were added to the churches. In July, 1842, he commenced a meeting with the First Baptist church in Louisville, which continued eight weeks, and during which he baptized 125 persons. The first of September following, he accepted the pastoral care of that church, and continued to serve it till July, 1849, when he resigned to take the general agency of the General Association. In July, 1850, he took charge of the church at Hopkinsville. Here he remained till the war came on, when he went South, where he preached at various places, and much of his time to the soldiers, many of whom he baptized. In the latter part of 1864, he attempted to return to Kentucky, but was prohibited by the military authorities. In January, 1866, he took charge of the church at Clarksville, Tennessee, where he still remains. Under his care the church has increased from 25 to 225 members, and has erected a house of worship at a cost of $25,000.

     Mr. Sears is now 80 years old, is an active and successful pastor, and, six years ago thought he could preach with less fatigue than he could thirty years before. May his useful life be long spared.


[John Henderson Spencer, A History of Kentucky Baptists, Volume I, 1885; reprint, CHR&A, 1984, pp. 267-8. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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