Many months since, through the medium of Elder William Vaughn, of Bloomfieid, Ky., we received the following sketch of a most worthy and successful minister of the gospel, for insertion in the Memorial. It was prepared by bro. W. V. Morris, a deacon of the church of which the subject of the memoir was pastor for many years, who knew him intimately. We had some personal acquaintance with brother Warder, have heard him preach, and knew him to be amongst the excellent of the earth, and an exemplary and successful preacher of the gospel. In personal, unaffected piety, purity and singleness of heart in the work of the ministry, zeal, and self-denial, firm-attachment to the doctrine of grace, and deep concern for the conversion of sinners, and the prosperity of Zion, few equalled, and none excelled this departed brother. - J. M. Peck, co-editor.
Elder Walter Warder was the fourth son of Joseph and Esther Warder. He was born in Fauquier county, state of Virginia, on the 13th December, 1787.
He emigrated to Kentucky with his father and family, in the fall of 1805, and settled in Barren county, about six miles east of Glasgow.
From a mere youth, he was noticed for his temperance, and prepossessing manners; - of quick and ardent temperament.
Previous to his leaving Virginia, but little attention had been paid to his education. After his removal to Kentucky, be taught a country school for one year, prior to his professing religion, and through that means, added something to his education, though still quite an imperfect English scholar. Consequently, at the period he entered, the ministry, his education was very imperfect. This fact he soon perceived, and diligently commenced, and successfully prosecuted, his studies, and soon became sufficiently acquainted with the structure of the English language to speak and write with a good degree of grammatical accuracy.
Biblical history claimed a share of his attention; and he soon became well informed on the subject of church history - particularly that of Baptist history.
His first awakening influences on the subject of religion, was, in the providence of God, brought about in the following manner:
Some short time after his arrival in Kentucky, his brother William was riding through a fallen timber in his father's neighborhood, which had been prostrated by a tornado, or hurricane, and such was the entire destruction of the trees, that it attracted his particular attention. And the reflection arose in his mind, "had I been here at the time this forest was levelled to the earth, I could not possibly have been saved from immediate death." The thought followed, which pierced his heart, "what would have become of my immortal soul?" From that time he saw and realized himself a guilty and condemned sinner before God. Such was his distress of mind, that he alighted from his horse, and, for the first time, fell upon his knees, beseeching God to have mercy upon him, and to pardon his sins, for the sake of Jesus Christ; and before he left the timber, it pleased the Lord to extend his tender mercies towards him, and to pardon his sins, and he went on his way home rejoicing. On reaching his father's house, he entered into conversation with his brother Walter, on the subject of religion, who was at that time addicted to many of the vices peculiar to youth - particularly that of profane swearing.
William did not let his brother know that he had found the Saviour precious to his soul, but proposed covenanting with him that - they would see the Lord. Walter became serious; and agreed with William to seek the salvation of his soul.
William immediately left Kentucky, for Virginia, on business for his father, where, he remained but a short time, and
again returned to Kentucky. When the brothers met, Walter was the first to declare what great things the Lord had done for his soul. They immediately offered themselves to "Dripping Spring" church, for membership, (some six miles from their residence,) then under the pastoral care of father Stockton, were received, and baptized by Elder Stockton - this occurrence was in 1806.* Walter continued a member of that church until the constitution of Mount Pisgah church, located in the immediate vicinity of his residence. He went into the constitution of that church in 1809, and was licensed to preach by Pisgah church, 23d September, 1809, and ordained to the ministry in that church by Elders Zachariah Emmerson, Jacob Lock, and Ralph Petty, on the 24th day of March, 1811.
After his ordination, he removed his membership to Dover church, in the same county, and continued the pastoral care of that church until his removal to Mays Lick, Mason county, Ky., in March, 1814.
During his pastoral labors there, that church was greatly strengthened, and his labors owned by the great Head of the church, in a revival under his ministry, in which many sinners were seals to his ministry.
At the commencement of his ministerial labors, his method of sermonizing was solemn and argumentative, and enforced by his daily example; manifesting deep and abiding feelings for the advancemant of the Redeemer's kingdom.
His mother made a profession of religion in Virginia, before the removal of the family to Kentucky, and his father some time after his conversion. They were both members of the Baptist church, and regarded as zealous, faithful members.
His parents had but little, if any, influence in training his thoughts to the subject of religion.
Walter was married in Barren county, on the 27th day of Dec, 1808, to. Mary Maddox, who was his cousin, and lived most happily with her to the period of her decease, on the 21st day of September, 1829. His second marriage, to Mrs. Elizabeth Debyns, occurred 15th December, 1830.
The leading facts contained in the foregoing statements, were principally obtained from his brother Joseph, who yet resides near Glasgow, Barren couuty, and all may be relied on as faithfully authentic.
In 1813, the church at Mays Lick, Mason county, Ky. and belonging to Bracken Association, called Elder Walter Warder to the pastoral charge, which he accepted the following February, removed his family, and entered on his labors. - He served that church half his time, and the residue was appropriated to neighboring churches.
From the time he was received as a member and pastor of the Mays Lick church, to the period of his death, he performed with great assiduity and success, the duties of his office, much beloved by the brethren, and respected by the community where he dwelt.
The church at Mays Lick continued him their pastor, by an annual, unanimous call, for the period of twenty-two years.
* William Warder became a successful, devoled minister of the gospel, in the Green River Country, Ky. We were personally acquainted with him, but have not the facts and dates to construct a memoir that would do justice to ihe memory of this excellent servant of the Lord Jesus. He was indeed a burning and shining light, and was successful in the conversion and baptism of many hundreds, and some very profligate men. In 1817, he was a delegate from the Kentucky Missionary Society to the Triennial Convention in Philadelphia. His colleague was the late Isaiah Hodgen, another of Kentucky's noblest sons in the ministry. They travelled the long journey on horseback, and on their return spent several weeks in Virginia, where their labors were owned of God, in an extensive revival of religion.
Will some of our correspondents in Kentucky prepare sketches of these beloved brethren for the Memorial? - J. M. Peck.
The church often expressed a desire for a larger portion than half his time, which was steadily and perseveringly refused, owing to the destitution of ministerial aid in a number of the neighboring churches; and indeed, he might almost have been regarded as the minister of the whole association, for he made it an invariable rule to visit and preach to every church of the association, at least once a year, and frequently oftener.
He was principally instrumental in planting the churches in Millersburg, Bourbon county; Carlisle, and Pleasant Spring churches, in Nicholas county; Bethel, in Fleming county, and Sardis, in Mason county.
The great field of his usefulness was at Mays Lick, and during the twenty-two years pastoral labors at that place, there was added to the fellowship of Mays Lick church one thousand and sixteen souls.
During the great revival of 1828, he baptized, within the bounds of the association, more than five hundred persons, who did not connect themselves with Mays Lick church. At the close of that associational year, the baptisms connected with Mays Lick church was four hundred and eighty-five - making the total number of baptisms by him for that year, about one thousand.
In the latter part of the fall of 1835, his health began to decline - to some extent caused by mental anxiety - but principally from over-exertion in his ministerial labors. During the following winter months, though in feeble health, he continued to fill all his appointments, and was often exposed to the inclemency of the weather, and spring opened upon him with a prostrated constitution, with little hope of a permanent restoration to health. He often returned from his meetings so much exhausted by his labor, that he would be compelled to take his bed - and often his family would try to persuade him not to fulfil his appointments; but the wishes of his friends, even when the weather was so bad that others whose health was good, would not willingly have exposed themselves to it, could not influence him to disappoint his congregations.
Two of his daughters were residing in the state of Missouri, whom he was anxious to visit, and as his health declined, his anxiety to see them seemed to increase. His wife had relatives there also, that she was anxious to visit.
He and his wife started to Missouri, on the 21st of March, 1836, - his health then very bad, and he so feeble that he could not sit up during the whole day. From the time of his leaving home, his health declined more rapidly, and at the sixth day of April, 1830, he died at Samuel Peppers', (a brother-in-law of his wife,) near Clarksville, Mo. He did not live to see his children. His disease was chronic inflammation of the stomach. He suffered constantly for some months, but his sufferings were not often very acute, until a few days before his death.
The church at Mays Lick, in October 1843, unanimously resolved on the removal of his remains from Missouri, and to re-inter them in the grave yard attached to the church, which was accomplished on the 9th day of December following, and the church have it in contemplation to erect a suitable monument over his remains, - not to his memory; for that can never die in the hearts of those who knew him - but as a testimony of respect.
[From The Baptist Memorial and Monthly Record, 1845, pp. 236-238. Document from Google Books On-line. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
More Baptist Biographies
Baptist History Homepage