Rev. John Lightfoot Waller, LL. D., was born in Woodford county, Kentucky, November 23, 1809, and died in Louisville, October 10, 1854. His education was obtained mainly at home. At the age of nineteen, and for seven years, from 1828 to 1835, he taught school in Jessamine county. He then became editor of the Baptist Banner, at Shelbyville; and when the Baptist, of Nashville, Tennessee, and the Western Pioneer, of Alton, Illinois, were merged in it, and the name changed to Baptist Banner and Western Pioneer, he continued the editor, in conjunction with the Rev. Drs. Howell and Peck. He was ordained to the ministry in 1840; resigned his editorship in 1841, to accept the general agency of the Kentucky Baptist General Association; succeeded his father in 1843, as pastor of the Glen's Creek church, for nine years.
In 1845 he commenced the publication of the Western Baptist Review, monthly, which he continued until his death - changing the title in 1849 to the Christian Repository, and in 1850 resuming his editorial charge of the Banner and Pioneer. He was instrumental in organizing the Bible Revision Association, with headquarters at Louisville - in which the Baptists of the Southern and Southwestern States united. In 1852 the degree of LL. D. was conferred upon him by Madison University. In 1849 - his only opportunity for political or State position or office, as the State Constitution prohibited ministers of the Gospel from a seat in the Legislature, etc. - he was a candidate in Woodford county, for the convention to revise or reform the State Constitution, and elected by two hundred and nineteen majority over Thomas F. Marshall, the popular orator, who espoused the gradual emancipation side.
Dr. Waller was famous and popular as a controversialist. In 1842-43, he held public debates on baptism with Rev. Nathan L. Rice, D. D., one at Georgetown and the other at Nicholasville; with Rev. John T. Hendrick, D. D., at Flemingsburg, and at Maysville with Rev. Robert C. Grundy, D. D. He subsequently debated on Universalism at Warsaw, Kentucky, with Rev. E. M. Pingree, of Cincinnati; this debate had a fine influence oh the community. He also published several controversial works - one on "Communion," and another on "Campbellism," and left the manuscript of a history of the Baptist Church in Kentucky, but it has never been published.
[From History of the Ohio Falls Cities and Their Counties, Volume 1, 1882, p. 376. Document from Google Books. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
Elder John L. Waller was a member of this Convention [the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, 1850], and made a pro-slavery speech, to the dissatisfaction of many of his brethren who opposed slavery. The United States Census of 1850 gave the population of Kentucky as 982,405 inhabitants of which 210,981 were slaves. [A History of Baptists in Kentucky, by Frank M. Masters, p. 295.]
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