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Shubael Stearns and Daniel Marshall
By John A. Broadus, 1875

      Shubael Stearns and Daniel Marshall were intimately associated in North Carolina, and are naturally spoken of together, though the former died three years ago. Shubael Stearns was born in Boston, in 1706, and under the influence of the Great Awakening, attached himself, in 1745, to the Congregationalist Separates, or New Lights, and began to preach. In 1751 he became a Baptist, in Connecticut, and after two or three years more, longing to carry the gospel to more destitute regions, he came with a small colony of brethren to Berkeley Co., Va. Here he was joined by Daniel Marshall, who was of the same age with him, and had also been a Congregationalist and a Separate in Connecticut. Believing that the second coming of Christ was certainly at hand, Marshall and others sold or abandoned their property, and hastening with destitute families to the headwaters of the Susquehanna, began to labor for the conversion of the Mohawk Indians. After eighteen months he was driven away by an Indian war, and went to Berkeley Co., Va., where finding a Baptist church, he examined and adopted their views, about 1754. He had married, while in Connecticut, the sister of Shubael Stearns, and the two became associated in Virginia, and soon sought together a still more destitute region in North Carolina, not far from Greensboro. Here they and their little colony taught the necessity of the new birth and the consciousness of conversion, with all the excited manner and holy whine, and the nervous trembling and wild screams among their hearers, which characterized the Congregationalist Separates in Connecticut. Though at first much ridiculed, they soon had great success, building up two churches of five hundred and six hundred members. Retaining their New England name of Separates, they called themselves "Separate Baptists," and these spread rapidly into Virginia and into Georgia, though destined, when their enthusiastic excesses should have been cooled down, to be absorbed, before the end of the eighteenth century, into the body of regular Baptists. Stearns died in North Carolina, but Marshall, ever looking out for new fields, came after a few years to Lexington District, in South Carolina, where he built up a church, and finally, three years before of which we speak, removed to Georgia, not far from Augusta, where he has already formed a considerable church. Among the unusual customs of the Separates, both Congregationalist and Baptist, was the practice of public prayer and exhortation by women; and in these exercises Marshall's wife is said to have been wonderfully impressive.


[From John A. Broadus, "The American Baptist Ministry of One Hundred Years Ago," The Baptist Quarterly, No. XI, 1875. jrd]

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