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Griffin's History: Chapter 1-History of the Church up to the Reformation Benjamin Griffin
Griffin's History: Chapter 2-The European Baptists Benjamin Griffin
Griffin's History: Chapter 3-Doctrine of the Church Benjamin Griffin
Griffin's History: Chapter 4-Andrew Fuller on the Atonement Benjamin Griffin
Griffin's History: Chapter 5-Modern Missions Benjamin Griffin
Griffin's History: Chapter 6-The Hindos Benjamin Griffin
Griffin's History: Chapter 7-Africa Benjamin Griffin
Griffin's History: Chapter 8-West Indies Benjamin Griffin
Griffin's History: Chapter 9-Polynesia Benjamin Griffin
Griffin's History: Chapter 10-America Benjamin Griffin
Griffin's History: Chapter 11-Strong Place Church, Brooklyn Benjamin Griffin
Griffin's History: Chapter 12-Baptists in Mississippi Benjamin Griffin
Griffin's History: Chapter 13-The Missippi Association Benjamin Griffin
Griffin's History: Chapter 14-The Pearl River Association Benjamin Griffin
Griffin's History: Chapter 15-The Union Association Benjamin Griffin
Griffin's History: Chapter 16-The Yallobusha Association Benjamin Griffin
Griffin's History: Chapter 17-The Primitive Baptist Association Benjamin Griffin
Griffin's History: Chapter 18-The Lusascoona Regular Baptist Association Benjamin Griffin
Griffin's History: Chapter 19-The Tallhatchie Association Benjamin Griffin
Griffin's History: Chapter 20-The Noxubee Association Benjamin Griffin
Griffin's History: Chapter 21-The Bethany Association Benjamin Griffin
Griffin's History: Chapter 22-Benedict's History Benjamin Griffin
Griffin's History: Chapter 23-Concluding Remarks Benjamin Griffin
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  • David Benedict  ( 24 items )

    Fifty Years Among The Baptists

    by David Benedict


    CHAPTER 1 — Prefatory Remarks. — Five Decades, or Periods of Ten Years Each. — My Travels and Extensive Acquaintance with Baptist Ministers in Early Times. — Summary View of the Baptists about 1800. — No Periodicals. — Old Baptist Magazine. — Mite Societies. — But Few Educated Ministers. — Rise of Benevolent Institutions.

    CHAPTER 2 — A Brief Account of My Early Efforts for the Collection of Materials for a General History of the Baptists in all Ages and Countries. — Baptist Ministers of Distinction in the Different States.

    CHAPTER 3 — Biographical Sketches of a Few of the Ministers Mentioned in the Preceding Chapter. — Stillman, Baldwin, Gano, Sharp, Cornell, Stanford, Parkinson, Williams, Staughton, Rogers, Jones, J. Richards, J. Healey, Furman, Bottaford, Fuller, Marshall, Mercer.

    CHAPTER 4 — On Extempore Preaching. — The Support and the Neglect of Ministers. — Comments on their Various Habits and Conditions.

    CHAPTER 5 — Missionary and Other Agencies. — Houses of Worship.

    CHAPTER 6 — On the Changes in Baptist Customs in the Course of Fifty Years. — In Church Affairs. — Associations.

    CHAPTER 7 — On the Popular Prejudices Against the Baptists in Former Times. — Their Unwise Policy in Some Things. — Baptist Publishers. — No Baptist Press. — Old-Fashioned Pulpits. — Modern Platforms.



    CHAPTER 8 — Judson and Rice Become Baptists. — The Triennial Convention. — The Missionary Union. — Rice Becomes an Agent. — The Columbian College, Difficulties About Missionary Money. — Death of Rice.

    CHAPTER 9 — The Early Correspondence of Mr. Rice Pertaining to the Foreign Mission Cause, and My First Acquaintance with Him. — Surprising Changes Throughout a Large Part of the Baptist Denomination on the Subject of Missions. — The Anti-Mission Party. Mr. Rice’s Correspondence with Marshman and Judson in India. — Letters and Journals of Mr. Hough. — On the Hindoos, by Mr. Ward. — Languages of the East.

    CHAPTER 10 — New Phases in the Doctrinal Creed of the Baptists. — The Fuller System Comes into Vogue. — On the Changes which Followed.

    CHAPTER 11 — Unitarianism among the American Baptists. — My Investigation of the System. — My Conferences with Some of our Men who Adopted it. — Also with Dr. Kirkland of Harvard University, Dr. Freeman of Boston and others. — General Remarks on the System. — My Conclusions against it.

    CHAPTER 12 — On Customs now Generally Abolished, which Prevailed More or Less among the Baptists in Former Times; as Laying On of Hands. — Washing Feet. — Devoting Children. — Ruling Elders.— Decline in the Use of Brother and Sister, and Elder. — Seven Deacons the Gospel Number for a Full-Grown Church.



    CHAPTER 13 — Quiet Condition of the Baptists Generally. — Agitations about Free-masonry and Southern Slavery. — The Troubles which Followed. — The Division of Churches. — The Removals of Ministers. — The Name of Stayshort Applied to Many.

    CHAPTER 14 — The Old Triennial Convention. — The Meeting in New York in 1826. — The Board Removed to Boston. — The Columbian College. — The Home Missionary Society Formed. — Dr. Going. — Dr. Peck. — State Conventions.

    CHAPTER 15 — The Manner of Settling Ministers in Former Times, and of Supporting them. — Imperfect Support of them. — Revivals. — New Measures.



    CHAPTER 16 — A New Baptist Register, by I. M. Allin. — A List of Small Literary Institutions. — Manual Labor Schools.— American and Foreign Bible Society.

    CHAPTER 17 — The Southern Baptist Convention Formed. — The Causes which Led to this Measure. — New Methods of Conducting Associations. — Comments on the Agency System.

    CHAPTER 18 — The Old Triennial Convention Assumes the Name of the Baptist Missionary Union. — Diversities Between the Two Bodies. — Some Objectionable Things. — Too Little Freedom for Speakers. — TooLittle Time. — Too Many Young Speakers Take the Floor, Too Often. — Too Long.

    CHAPTER 19 — Some Account of My Publications. — Old Baptist History. — By Whom Published. — Difficulties in Circulating it by the War. — Other Works. — All Religions. — Interview with Leading Men of all Parties. — The Shakers of New Lebanon.

    CHAPTER 20 — Authorship Continued. — Interviews with Catholics in Boston and Elsewhere. — With Scotch Seceders. — The Lutherans and Others in New York. — With the Moravians. — The Result of these Visitations. — My Last Baptist History. — Post Office Matters.

    CHAPTER 21 — Authorship Continued. — My Compendium of Ecclesiastical History. — Motives for Undertaking the Work, to Make a Book for the People; To Give the Framework of Church History; To Bring out More Fully and Favorably the History of the Donatists and Other Reputed Heretics. — On the Term Puritan. — Miscellaneous Matters.



    CHAPTER 22 — Changes in Meeting-House Fixings and Comforts. — Changes in Church Music. — Organs. — Titles of Ministers. — My Efforts for Ministerial Education. — With Others.

    CHAPTER 23 — A Review of all Collegiate Institutions among the Baptists in the United States. — A Review of their Theological Seminaries. — Theological Departments in Connection with our Universities and Colleges, to a Needful Extent, Recommended in Preference to Separate Schools.

    CHAPTER 24 — On Religious Newspapers in this Country and among the Baptists. — Difficulties at First. — Too Numerous at Times. — Their Secular Character. — First Sunday School. — On the Rise and Management of our Benevolent Institutions. — On the Death of Correspondents and Familiar Friends.

  • Nichols-Holder Debate  ( 19 items )





    Gus Nichols and J. D. Holder first met in debate at Tallassee, Alabama, in 1944. At the close of that debate, Mr. Nichols' moderator, Rex Turner (now President of the Alabama Christian College in Montgomery) suggested publicly that the debate should be repeated and committed to record for publication.

    A rumor was circulated among the Primitive Baptist people near Medina, Tennessee, in 1948 that the church of Christ would not debate with them. Hence a challenge, signed by the elders of the Medina church of Christ, was sent to the nearby Primitive Baptist Church, calling for a discussion of their differences. This challenge was accepted, and the Primitive Baptists endorsed J. D. Holder as their representative. Gus Nichols was selected to represent the church of Christ.

    A year passed before the propositions were agreed upon and signed by both speakers. The date (September 11-14, 1950) was mutually agreed to, and due announcements were made.

    The first session was held at the church of Christ building. But due to the overflow crowd (which filled not only the church building, but also a tent in the church yard) it was necessary to obtain larger quarters. Permission to use the school gymnasium was refused, but an open packing-shed was secured for the last three nights. It was estimated that more than two thousand people were present for some sessions.

  • All Other Writers  ( 42 items )
  • Elder R.A. Biggs  ( 9 items )

    Written by Elder Biggs, shortly before his death in 1915: I was born in Rusk County, Texas, June 2, 1849. My father, B. F. Biggs, was a native of Tennessee. My mother's maiden name was Alsa Jane Starr. She was a native of Illinois. My father was a farmer. I grew up during the War Between the States, and consequently had no opportunity to receive an education. Never attended school but very little, only enough to learn to read and spell imperfectly. I worked on the farm and took care of the family during the War.

    In my nineteenth year, I was married to Miss Kisiah Crauley, a native of Alabama. In the winter of 1867, we moved to Collin County, Texas, where we lived for eight years. Here I first saw myself a sinner in the sight of God. For two years I labored under a great burden of sin and guilt, trying every effort I could for relief; but like the woman we read of in the Bible who spent all she had with physicians, got no relief until she came in touch with the Savior. So I seemed to grow worse and nothing I did brought me any relief until one day in the month of March 1870, as I plowed along in the field in dark despair and under a heavy burden of sin and guilt praying to God to be merciful to me, a sinner.

    This was my condition as near as I can describe it. I did not see how God could remain just and save such a sinner as I was. The next thing I realized I was singing the song, "Jesus Thou art the Sinner's Friend." My burden of guilt that had rested so heavily upon me for the past two years was gone. I was happy and rejoiced in the hope of the glory of God, and for the first time was enabled by an eye of faith to see, as I humbly trust, how God could be just and save a poor sinner like me. My sins had been transferred to Jesus and he had borne them in his own body on the cross for me. And now righteousness was made over to me, and God, for His sake, had forgiven me my sins. So I realized that I had peace with God through Jesus, who loved me and gave himself for me. So I could sing with the poet "E'er since by faith I saw the stream thy flowing wounds supply, redeeming love has been and shall be till I die."

    In May following (1870) I presented myself to Orchard Gap Church in Collin County, and after relating my little hope to them, was received and baptized by Elder J. E. Dethrage. For awhile I felt easy and greatly enjoyed our meetings, but ere long that burning desire of my heart to tell others what a precious Savior I had found became a burden to me that I could not throw off. I was poor, imperfect and so unfit for such a high and holy calling that I could not be reconciled to it; so I thought I would move to other parts and perhaps get rid of this burden.

    In 1876, we moved to Erath County, Texas, but that burning desire and burden to speak in His great name followed me here. In July 1877, I took my first text and tried for about an hour to tell the people some of the wonderful works of God in the salvation of sinners, From this time on I had regular appointments, and the brethren and sisters gave me great encouragement, so I pressed on as best I could.

    About this time Damascus Church was organized in Erath County and wife and I became members of it, and in the winter of 1879, this church called for my ordination. It was with great reluctance that I submitted. In January 1880, I was ordained by this church by a presbytery composed of Elders W. S. Harris and F. London. Was soon called to the care of this church and other churches, and up to 1896 I served four churches most of the time.

    In the spring of 1881, I lost my wife by death, leaving me with five little children, the oldest a boy about ten years old, and the youngest an infant girl. A neighbor lady took my youngest children and took care of them for me while the three little boys stayed at home and finished our little crop. The following winter, 1881, I was married to a Mrs. Sarah E. Hackler, whose maiden name was McGee. She was a native of Texas.

    Up to 1900, I kept a record of all my ministerial work, but after my health gave way, I paid no further attention to theft. Up to 1900, I had tried to preach 1,623 times since being ordained, assisted in the organization of 10 churches, assisted in the ordination of 8 ministers and 15 deacons, baptized 170 persons, and married 55 couples. Since the above date, I have assisted in the ordination of several, baptized some 25 or 30, and married several couples, but have no record of the number.

    In all my serving of churches none of them have had any serious trouble, most of them have prospered and built up in number, and I have enjoyed their services, The brethren, sisters and friends have been good to me, and have borne with my many short comings, imperfections and weaknesses, and have manifested that they have enjoyed my feeble efforts in trying to preach to them. I have tried as best I could to read and search the Scriptures for the truth contained in them, and not for the purpose of trying to bolster up some pet hobby, or vain speculations or theory of some man. I have tried to avoid hobbies and vain speculations, and have tried the best I could to present the truth of the Bible on doctrine, experience, and practical godliness. To what extent I have succeeded, those I have tried to serve are the judges.

    Note from David Montgomery: Elder Biggs was a man of deep humility and wisdom. His labor for the peace of the Baptists in Texas in the early 1900’s was significant and far-reaching. He was held in great respect by all that knew him. He has many descendants in the Primitive Baptist Church, including my dear wife who is his great great granddaughter. Elder Biggs died at Santa Anna, Coleman County, Texas on June 1, 1915.

  • Elder Farris A.Chick  ( 6 items )
  • Elder John Clark  ( 7 items )
  • Elder R.W. Cothern  ( 20 items )

    From the "Land of Enchantment" the State of New Mexico, Brother Cothern is one of the most endearing writers I have ever read. His gift of expression and use of allegory reinforced the lessons he taught and drove them forcefully into the reader's mind. I am happy to present this little collection of his writings. -DM

  • Elder William H. Crouse  ( 8 items )
  • Elder John R. Daily  ( 16 items )
  • Elder Tolbert S. Dalton  ( 24 items )

    Elder Tolbert S. Dalton, of Front Royal, Virginia, was called "a man of undaunted physical and moral courage." he was born in Tennessee, and served the Confederacy in the Civil War, and rose to the rank of major. He was an ordained minister for 62 years. He was the editor of the periodical "Zion's Advocate" and when it was merged with "The Gospel Messenger" He served as associate editor of that paper. He was known far and wide among the Primitive Baptists and was greatly respected for his wisdom, and his profound ability of expressing so fitting, the points that were on his mind.

    He was a very able writer and minister. We hope to include many of his writings on this page.


  • Elder W. R. Daniels, Jr.  ( 7 items )

    Elder Wesley Richard "Dickie" Daniels, Jr., was born in Luling, Texas June 18, 1933. He is the eldest of four children born to W. R. and Ruby (Berry) Daniels. He graduated from Luling High School in 1951. His secular education also include Durham's Business School and Devry's Technical Institute. He joined Bethel Primitive Church and was baptized by Elder S. A. Nite in August 1951. He was married to Crystal Edna Johnson of Moulton, Texas the 4th of June 1954. To their union one daughter and three sons were born.

    In 1956 Elder Daniels felt the call to preach and in 1957 began to speak publicly in the name of the Lord.

    Elder Daniels was ordained by Bethel Primitive Baptist Church of McMahan, Texas in October 1959. He served Bethel Church for 28 years (Feb 1960 to Feb 1988.) In addition to the Bethel church, Elder Daniels also pastored congregations in Florence, Quemado, Austin, Gonzales, and Nixon, Texas during this period. He served as moderator of the Southwest Texas Association from July 1969 to July 1975.

    In October 1959 Elder Daniels began a small electronics business in Luling which he operated for 26 years. Since that time, he has been able to give all of his time to the work of the ministry.

    After resigning the care of Bethel church in February 1988, Elder Daniels interest was turned to his home community of Luling, Texas. He began preaching at a local funeral home on Sunday evenings, and after a few months labor was able to reorganize the Luling Primitive Baptist Church (which had ceased meeting) in June of 1988. He was called to pastor the church at its reconstitution and has faithfully served until the present.

    Elder Daniels has traveled extensively among the Primitive Baptist throughout his 40 years in the ministry. He has been blessed to travel and preach among our people in the Philippine Islands, and has been instrumental in the growth and strengthening of the churches in that land. His efforts have been primarily centered in the island of Mindanao and he has assisted in the constitution of several churches, the ordination of elders and deacons, and in baptizing converts in that land.

    Elder Daniels has been an example for many in his ministry which in recent years has been marked by a clear commitment to labor in the field that God has placed him in. He has not sought after reputation or prestige, but has selflessly committed himself to study, prayer, and preaching the gospel.

    Much of Elder Daniels time in recent years has been dedicated to writing and documenting his studies and sharing the wisdom that God has given him. I am thankful that Elder Daniels has consented to placing his writings on this website, and hope that his insight will be as much a blessing to you as it has been to me and to countless others who have looked to Brother Daniels for wisdom, instruction and counsel.

    In Christ,

    Joseph Weyel

  • Elder Moses Denman  ( 102 items )
  • Elder Silas Durand  ( 35 items )

    From Pittman's Biographical Sketches:

    Elder Silas H. Durand, of Southampton, Pa., was born in Bradford County, Pa. on June 5, 1833 and was the eleventh in a family of fourteen children. His childhood and early youth were spent on his father's farm. In his eighteenth, year, he began teaching, and in 1858 entered the law office of Hon. H. P. Wright, of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., for the purpose of studying law. In 1860 he was admitted to the bar, and entered upon what promised to be a very successful business career. In May, 1864 he received a hope of eternal life, and was the following month received into the fellowship of the Old School Baptist Church of Middletown and Wallkill, and was baptized by Elder Gilbert Beebe. After a short visit at his father's home, he returned to Wilkes-Barre, fully expecting to continue the practice of his profession as a life work. But the things of the Kingdom pressed with such weight upon his mind, that he was led to mention this in a letter to Elder Beebe, who at once told him the church had thought he had been called of God to preach, and were only waiting for him to know it. On September 4, 1864, he was licensed and on November following he closed his legal work, and in December was ordained to the full work of the ministry. His first Work was traveling among the churches, doing the work of an evangelist for about three years. After this he served at one time six churches that were widely separated from each other, traveling about 16,000 miles a year in the work July 5, 1882, he was married to Miss Clarice E. Pusey, a member of the church at Hartford, Md. April 12, 1884, he accepted a call to the church at Southampton, Pa., and moved there September following. He was also pastor of a church in Salisbury, Md., and one in South River, N. J. In 1867 Elder Durand published "The Trial of Job," a very clear exposition of the truth as taught in that remarkable Bible narrative, and later a volume of "Meditations on Portions of the Word." In connection with his sister, Miss Bessie Durand, he published Reminiscences and Letters of Mary Parker, which became a very acceptable source of revenue to her in her last years, as well as a source of comfort and spiritual help to the large number who read it. In collaboration with Elder P. G. Lester of Floyd, Va., he edited a Hymn and Tune Book for use in Primitive Baptist Churches, which has been adopted by a great number of them, and quite generally regarded as acceptable. Elder Durand was a lovely man, an able preacher, fluent writer and bold defender of salvation by grace. He was a highly esteemed gift to the church, and his labor of love and devotion to the cause of truth greatly was appreciated by his brethren.

  • Elder William Everett  ( 1 items )

    Elder Everett was born May 8, 1930 in Martin County, N.C. Elder Everett married the former Lennie McGuire in Sept. 14, 1952. He was ordained in 1969 at the Falls of Tar River PB Church, Rocky Mount, NC. Churches pastored: Skewarkey PB, Muddy Creek PB, and Norfolk PB. His secular profession was a Funeral Director. He was also a Korean War naval veteran. Elder Everett is also know as the Author of the historical novel "Coolmore."

    Elder Everett and wife, both orphaned at an early age in different sections of N.C., were raised in Masonic Orphanage at Oxford, N.C. Elder Everett's wife was a Registered Nurse and Certified Diabetes Educator.

    Both memberships as of 2-26-1999 is Healthy Plains PB Church, Wilson County, NC. Moved by letter from Falls of Tar River PB Church, Rocky Mount, N.C. Presently associate pastor Healthy Plains PB Church.

    First attended a PB church at request of a relative to reacquaint myself with distant relatives I had been separated from, and scarcely knew. The Robersonville PB Church was in view of my birth place. The singing I heard and the belief I heard mysteriously stimulated me to search for what I had never desired--religion.

  • Elder John Fisher  ( 20 items )

    Elder John H. Fisher of Graham, Texas, was born 1860 in Texas. At the age of fifteen he realized a sweet joy in hearing the words, "Trust in the Lord," spoken in his heart and mind. At the time he could not call it a hope but found comfort in it later. When about nineteen years of age he united with the Missionary or New School Baptists, attended one of their seminaries and began preaching for them. But after a few years he left them and united with the Primitive or Old School Baptists in Kentucky. He pastored several churches in the western part of Texas but spent most of his time serving the Mt. Zion Primitive Baptist Church, near Graham, Texas.

    Elder Fisher wrote the books, "My Reasons for Leaving the Missionary Baptists.", and "A Treatise on the Book of Revelation," and numerous scriptural articles and pamphlets. He founded the religious periodical, "The Primitive Baptist Review" which was later changed to "The Banner of Peace."

    Elder Fisher left a large supply of wonderful articles defending the truths of the Holy Scriptures. Please return as these works come online.

  • Elder William Fristoe  ( 10 items )

    From Hassell's History: Elder William Fristoe was born in Stafford County, Va., in 1748, and died in 1828. He was a strong predestinarian, and vigorously condemned Arminian doctrines and methods. Though not versed in the learning of the schools, he had uncommon natural and spiritual abilities. For sixty years he was an earnest, solemn, laborious minister of Christ, serving from three to five churches monthly, one being forty and another seventy miles from his residence, at a period when almost all riding was on horseback, and when most of the country was a wilderness. He was a man of extraordinary scriptural knowledge, and of unblemished character, and adorned the doctrine of God his Savior.

  • Elder Bernard Gowens  ( 2 items )

    Elder H. Bernard Gowens, of Friona, Texas, was born in Crosbyton, Crosby County, Texas, on April 29, 1934.

    He is the son of the late Elder Sylvester B. Gowens and Minnie B. Gowens. As of June 1999, his mother is yet living at the age of 96. He was ordained to the full work of the Gospel Ministry at the Muleshoe Church on September 15, 1968. For several years, he served as pastor of the Primitive Baptist Churches at Muleshoe, Texas and Tucumcari, New Mexico. For some seven years, he filled regular monthly appointments at the Perryton, Texas Church. He has served as pastor of the Fairview Church of Clovis, New Mexico from 1972 to the present.

    On September 17, 1957, he married M. Lynn McBride. Three sons were born to this union, David, Michael, and Daniel, all of which are members of the Church. Bernard Gowens is a retired Certified Public Accountant having served in that profession for some 38 years.

  • Elder Lee Hanks  ( 27 items )

    Elder Lee Hanks was born in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, on June 13, 1861. His parents were not members of the Primitive Baptist Church, but were honest and morally upright people. The effects of the war between the states devastated the Hanks' family and left them in poverty.

    After a prolonged illness, Elder Hanks father died in 1869 leaving the young Lee Hanks to an afflicted mother without means of support. Elder Hanks was cast out as an orphan and was forced to rely upon charity and hard work to sustain him.

    (for a more detailed account of Elder Hanks early life, please read his Conflicts of an Orphan)

    Elder Hanks was baptized into fellowship with the Primitive Baptists at the early age of 16, and was ordained in 1881. His ministry prospered for 69 years during which time Elder Hanks traveled extensively, and was blessed with one of the most influential ministries among our people. He baptized in excess of 1000 individuals, and assisted in the constitution of many churches. He was a father in the ministry to such noted pastors as Elder J.A. Monsees, and was a friend and confidant of men such as Elder Sylvester Hassell, Elder J. H. Oliphant, Elder R.H. Pittman, and numerous others.

    In 1936, Elder Pittman said of Elder Hanks:

    "Eld. Hanks has been greatly blessed of God as an humble and faithful minister. Joined the church when a poor lad and baptized in another man's clothes. An orphan living in another man's house and working for his daily bread. No friend to send him to school, but blessed with a sound mind he accumulated a great store of knowledge and has for many years been one of our most useful ministers and fluent writers. He has been a laborer for peace and good-will and has earned the peacemaker's reward. He is not perfect,--has made mistakes along the way, but his blunders have been upon the side of a constructive ministry rather than a destructive one. He has not been a church divider, a destructive critic, nor a man of malice. In malice he is a child, but in understanding he is a man. And he has been a church-builder and has baptized a great number of persons,--some of them ministers and people from other denominations. God bless and uphold him and when he is called up higher may our dear Lord send more such laborers into His harvest."

    Elder Hanks was indeed blessed in the last years of his ministry as much as in the first. He was an active writer until the time of his death, and we are blessed today with a vast store of his thoughts, studies, and meditations from which to learn.

    Elder Hanks lived and labored in a time of great trouble among our people. He was instrumental in standing against those who departed under the leadership of the Kirklands and Todd at the turn of the 20th century. He also helped to define and establish the line of division between our people and the "so called" Absoluter churches.

    In spite of the contention that existed among our people, Elder Hanks was always recognized and respected for his peaceful demeanor and willingness to find common ground with his fellow servants. It was his love for Christ and the people of God that characterized his ministry, and has caused his name to be remembered even to this day.

    The hours that I have spent researching Elder Hanks' writings, and preparing the pages of this site have been among the most enjoyable of my life. This truly was a man of God, whose heart was filled with the love of Jesus Christ. I pray that the love manifest in these pages will fill the hearts of all who read them, that we might rejoice with Elder Hanks in the love of a sovereign and saving God.

    In Christian Love,

    Joseph Weyel

  • Elder Sylvester Hassell  ( 134 items )

    God has blessed the Primitive Baptist Church with a rich heritage. In the years since the 1832 Black Rock Address, there have been hundreds of able ministers of the gospel who have committed their thoughts to writing. There has been no greater gift in this field of labor than Elder Sylvester Hassell.

    We dedicate this page to the memory of his life of faithful service to God. It is our hope that some of his writings contained at this site might help you in your walk, as you draw nearer to the great God that Hassell so diligently preached.

    For more than 50 years, Elder Hassell sought diligently to serve his Lord in every field to which he was beckoned. He preached the gospel from his home country of North Carolina, to the churches of God in Maine, and as far west as Texas. Over 1000 articles from his pen were published and distributed among God's people, and each of them provides valuable insight to the student of God's word.

    One of Hassell's earliest, and no doubt best known, works is "THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH OF GOD, From Creation to A.D. 1885."

    Below, you will find links to the some of the editorial writings of Elder Hassell. Very soon, we hope to have the entire "History of the Church of God" in electronic format, along with more of his articles. Please return to this page as these works come online.

  • Elder Joseph R. Holder  ( 113 items )

    I was born on July 10, 1941, at Thrasher, Mississippi. Although I had no deep religious convictions until I was about twelve years old, I always respected the churches and people for their desire to follow Bible patterns.

    At about thirteen years of age, I attended New Hope Church near Booneville, Mississippi, where I saw a young lady submit to the ordinance of baptism. A heavy burden descended on me, which I could not escape nor satisfy. Shortly thereafter, I heard my uncle, Elder J. D. Holder, preach a touching sermon on the afflictions of David. After going to bed that night, I felt another burden -- this time to speak in the Lord's name. Relief came only when I sat up in bed and preached out to myself the thoughts on my mind regarding David. This burden did not return until after I was baptized.

    The burden to take up my cross in the Church became progressively heavier, and I felt more overwhelmed with fears than ever, until in December of 1955, I was baptized by Elder J. D. Holder, my uncle.

    In February of 1956 I was asked to open the services at my home Church, Sardis. My efforts seemed weak and unprofitable, but I felt a blessing in making them, and the Lord's people who heard me were kind and encouraging, which gave me much strength. In May of 1958 I was ordained to the ministry. For the next few years I preached at the Churches near home and made a few trips among Primitive Baptists in other areas, but as time passed I began to feel that the Lord had a ministry for me in some other location. The love and kindness of the people in Mississippi made me feel a sense of sadness at the thought of leaving them but I continued to feel that conviction. I traveled from Maryland to Florida to Texas, but I could not feel that I had found my place. In 1961 I made a trip to northern California where I met some wonderful Primitive Baptists. Shortly thereafter, I moved to that area where I labored primarily at the Church in Ceres.

    I had not been there long until I met my wife Sandra. A desire for the Ceres Church and proximity to Sandra's parents were strong, but I still felt sad at having left my people in Mississippi. I thought I could go back and be satisfied, but soon the Lord began to stir my nest, and I realized that I must follow the leadership of the Spirit, regardless of where it led me. That Fall Sandra and I (we were married on July 7, 1962) moved back to California. I felt many doubts about myself, but I could not be satisfied until I followed the sense of leadership I felt. We settled in southern California, where I found a job and began serving Churches in the area.

    The Lord has blessed us with three daughters and a happy home, for which I feel extremely thankful.

  • Elder Michael Ivey  ( 9 items )
  • Joseph Ivimey  ( 8 items )

    JOSEPH IVIMEY (1773-1830)

    From The Baptist Encyclopedia, 1881: Joseph Ivimey was born at Ringwood, Hampshire, England, May 22, 1773. When a youth he was convicted of sin, and a gospel hope first entered his heart through the stanza,--

    "In the world of endless ruin
    It shall never once be said,
    There’s a soul that perished suing
    For the Saviour’s promised aid."

    This hope was soon after confirmed, so that he could regard the Saviour as his. He was baptized Sept. 16, 1790. He was ordained pastor of the Eagle Street church, Red Lion Square, London, Jan. 16, 1805. His labors were attended with great success. He was gifted with much energy, with an unusual power of gaining and keeping information, and with fearless faithfulness in proclaiming the whole truth of God. He had the happiness of baptizing his own father and mother. His father was seventy years of age at the time of his immersion, and only partook of the Lord’s Supper once after he was received into the church.

    Mr. Ivimey wrote a life of John Bunyan, which enjoyed considerable popularity, and "A History of the English Baptists," in four octavo volumes, the last two of which were published in 1830. This history is invaluable. It is only seldom for sale, and when it can be purchased it is held at a high price. He was also the author of other works.
    Mr. Ivimey closed his useful life Feb. 8, 1834. A little before his departure he said,--

    "Not a wave of trouble rolls
    Across my peaceful breast."

  • Elder John Leland  ( 2 items )

    John Leland was born on May 14, 1754, in Grafton, Massachusetts. He describes his father as a Presbyterian and his mother as a separate new-light Christian. He was baptized in June of 1774 by Elder Noah Alden. Leland joined the Baptist Church in Bellingham, Massachusetts in 1775. He left for Virginia around 1775/1776, and ministered there until 1791, when he returned to Massachusetts.

    A well-known secular incident in Leland's life was The Mammoth Cheese. The people of Cheshire, Massachusetts made and sent a giant cheese to President Thomas Jefferson. Leland took the cheese from Cheshire to Washington, D. C., and presented it to President Jefferson on January 1, 1802. While there, Leland was even invited to preach to the Congress and the president. Of this incident he wrote, "In November, 1801, I journeyed to the south, as far as Washington, in charge of a cheese, sent to President Jefferson. Notwithstanding my trust, I preached all the way there and on my return. I had large congregations; let in part by curiosity to hear the Mammoth Priest, as I was called."

    Leland died on January 14, 1841 in Cheshire, Massachusetts, six days after preaching his last sermon. His tombstone reads, "Here lies the body of John Leland, who labored 67 years to promote piety and vindicate the civil and religious rights of all men."

  • Elder Samuel B.Luckett  ( 5 items )
  • Elder William M. Mitchell  ( 87 items )

    Elder William M. Mitchell , of Opelika, Alabama, was born in 1819 and passed from this life in 1901. He was one of the most able and spiritual writers the Primitive Baptists have ever known. He had a deep love for the truth and wrote of it fearlessly for many years. He preached the Gospel for almost 60 years and served as associate editor of the "Gospel Messenger". His legacy lives on to the present generation and his writings are still teaching the truth he so loved.

    Below you will find links to the some of the editorial writings of Elder Mitchell.

  • Elder David Montgomery  ( 36 items )

    David Blair Montgomery was born May 11, 1959 in San Marcos, Texas. He is  the second son of Elder Hugh and Sister Nettie (Fannin) Montgomery. He was baptized at the age of fourteen by my father at Littlevine Church in Austin, Texas.

    Elder Montgomery writes: In my late teens, my interest in the church increased and I began to read my Bible, ask questions, and listen to the brethren in their Bible discussions. In addition, I began to sit on the front pew so as to concentrate on the sermons better. Soon, it came to the point that I was asked to introduce services, which I did with much fear and trembling. The ministers that were influential to me in those early days were my father, my grandfather (Elder J. M. Fannin), Jesse Bass, Dickie Daniels, Bill Walden, Weldon Walker, J. P. Dale and J. A. Rowell, Jr.

    When my older brother Mike was ordained to the ministry in 1983, I was very proud of him. I felt that the Lord had called him to preach and that He had faithfully followed that call. I, on the other hand, was more than content to remain unnoticed in the background. At the ordination, one of the Deacons put his arm around me and said, "Well, now Mike is ordained, and you are next." That was a shocking thought, as I had never considered myself ever being a preacher. I was too shy--just let me stay in the shadows--I was more than happy there. Yet, it was not long after, that I began to speak more frequently.

    In 1985, I married Robbie Collins of Muleshoe, Texas. She has been a great help and encouragement to me. I consider her my greatest help outside of the Holy Spirit. Her wisdom and gentle spirit have been a tremendous blessing in my ministry. We have been blessed with four boys: Nathan, Benjamin, Matthew and Samuel.

    In 1986, I was ordained at the Littlevine Church in Austin, Texas. My father and Elder Bill Walden delivered the charge, Elder Mike Montgomery offered the prayer, and Elder J. P. Dale interrogated. Elders in the presbytery were: Hugh Montgomery, Mike Montgomery, Clifford Gowens, Steve Wilkinson, Bill Walden, W. R. Daniels, Jr. J. P. Dale, Clyde Farmer, George Johnson, Weldon Walker, J. A. Rowell, Jr., Dale Turner, Jr., Boyd Chambers, Larry Housenfluke, and G. H. Crain.

    As of this writing, I have served churches in Harlingen, San Antonio, and Fredericksburg, all in the State of Texas.

  • Elder Mike Montgomery  ( 13 items )

    Elder Michael Lawrence Montgomery was born July 27, 1957 in San Marcos, Texas. He is the oldest son of Elder Hugh and Nettie (Fannin) Montgomery. He was baptized at the age of ten by his grandfather, Elder J. M. Fannin, at the Salem Church in Wichita Falls, Texas. In 1983, he married the former Judy Elaine Sandage of Donaldson, Arkansas. To this union two children were born: Daniel Lawrence, and Caitlin Elaine. In 1983, Brother Mike was ordained to the ministry at the Littlevine Church in Austin, Texas

    ELDER MONTOMERY WRITES: I have always loved God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Loving Primitive Baptist parents raised me in the Church. I have always loved the Church. I joined when I was ten years old, a week after I heard a Primitive Baptist preacher preach on water baptism. I can’t remember his name or the place where I heard that sermon, but I’ll never forget how his preaching affected me. I had never felt such conviction like that. I vowed to the Lord to join at my home Church the next Sunday, and I did. From that point on, I have never regretted being a member of the Lord’s church.

    It was about the time I joined the Church when I was ten years old when I first felt the call to preach. Of course, I never told anyone about my feelings and was in no wise ready at that time to speak from the pulpit. I knew very little of our beliefs.  All I knew was that I loved the Church and that I had a feeling that someday I would preach. I kept my feelings to myself. I don't ever remember speaking of them to anyone. As I progressed in age, my interest in the Church also progressed. I enjoyed going with my father to his appointments, some of which were a couple hundred miles from our home in Lampasas, Texas. My first attempt to speak publicly in the Church was at the age of seventeen at a fifth Sunday meeting in Quemado, Texas. I'll never forget how I was told that I was to open services for Elder Hulan Bass and the effect it had on me. I opened services many times after that but they would be classified as just "giving a talk" yet, from the time of my experience in Quemado, I never doubted that I was called to preach. I was ordained when I was twenty-three.

    My ministry started in the Hill Country of Texas. I have been pastor of Churches in Harlingen, Corpus Christi, Corsicana, and Fort Worth, all in the Sate in Texas.

  • Elder J.S. Newman  ( 53 items )

    Elder Joseph Sylvester Newman, of Glen Rose, Texas. This gifted brother is an example of what the grace of God in the life and heart of a wild, reckless sinner does. He was born September 23, 1851, and for fifteen years was a cow-boy on the plains of the West. At seventeen he was married to Miss Mirandy Siemon, convicted of sin and received a hope in Jesus about, 1880, and when he joined the church in Gonzales County, Texas, three years later, and was baptized by Elder J. W. Baker,. he could scarcely read and write. Up to the present time he has held about fifty public discussions with representatives of various denominations, and is a strong debater and gifted speaker. He has never studied anything in the preparation of his debates except the Bible, church histories and the meaning of words. Soon after uniting with the church he was made deacon, but the church soon discovered his gift and in 1886, he was ordained by Elders J. G. Curington and J. W. Baker. He has since spent the most of his time traveling and preaching and the Lord has blessed his labors. He has baptized about five hundred persons. His preaching is Jesus, all the way through. In regard to his own feelings and interest in the sure salvation of Jesus for all his people Elder Newman writes, "I want it printed that generations to come may read, that if I am saved it will be a poor undeserving sinner saved by grace occasionally."

  • Elder E.J. Norman  ( 2 items )

    Written by Elder Norman in “The New Mexico Baptist Monitor,” February 1961: I was born to the marriage union of Wilson and Fannie Norman, September 18, 1886, in Bell Co., Texas, near the town of Killeen.

    In December of 1903 my father moved the family to Runnels County, Texas. Inasmuch as my life has been in the shadows and the pales of the Primitive Baptist Church I shall closely confine this writing to its scenes and experiences.

    On one cool crispy morning the third Sunday in May, my father, mother, and five little boys cuddled into the old wagon, trotting down the road before sun-up, the distance of twenty-five miles to Old Little Vine Church. By eleven o'clock we drove into the churchyard, covered with wagons, buggies, and surreys. The pulpit had just been occupied by the dignity, solemnity and spiritual essence in the person of old Elder I. N. Lewis. The vale of solemnity dropped the scene of the entire place throughout that long morning. Then the opening of new relationships and acquaintances stamped a lifelong epoch on my heart that is to this good day heaven’s delight to me.

    In a few weeks or months after this, amidst the pioneering adventures of a new settled country, our neighbor died. Father and mother decided they, with their children, should attend the funeral a graveside service. Nothing possessed my mind or thoughts through the services until they began to sing the song to view the body. It was the song containing the words "I'm going home to die no more." To my childish mind those words were coming out of that casket. It is so vivid and fresh to my mind to this good day. As I walked to view that body, placing both hands on it, I paused! Heaven with all its splendor and glory to a barefoot boy, said in tones that I could understand, “Where could you go if that was you?" There is the beginning of my experience of God dealing with me. That expression has not faded in my mind and memory to this good day.

    I united with the Primitive Baptist at Valley Creek Church in Runnels Co. on Friday, P.M. before the first Sunday in September 1909. I was baptized the next morning by Elder T. A. Dunn. I forcibly felt a deep sense of duty to read and study in the Bible then, even as yet my mind was tenderly directed to the beautiful types and shadows of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was in the midst of my studies and mediations that while one day lying on mother's couch after reading an article in the Baptist Trumpet of the labors and affliction of ministry, I was in deep solemnity extending my sympathy to our ministers of that day, and Heaven spoke to me again, not in audible tones, but in language I could understand, "You must preach the gospel of our Savior." My immediate response to that command, and impression was that I turned my face to the wall and wept extensively from the great shock of the burden that fell on my heart. My entire afternoon of labor in the field was a siege of tears. It followed me everywhere I went. I endeavored to conform my school work to my impressions, but to no avail. In my late teens and young manhood the burden was not so intense only when some of my close associates seemed to want to intimate it to me. I thought at times I could eventually dismiss it entirely.

    In the early part of 1915 my father and mother moved the family to Crosby County, Texas. I thought at times that move would entirely eliminate the impression from my mind. But in the year of 1918 it was bounding in full force, so I concluded that I would just quietly, unofficially separate my life from the whole matter. I moved or went to Fannin County, Texas, and quietly and cunningly weeded out any association with Primitive Baptist. But many and almost every Sunday afternoon I would sit on the back door step of the home where I lived and worked, reading, studying, and meditating my only companion, joy and friend, my precious old Bible.

    In August 1926, at Loop, Gaines County, Texas, I preached my first discourse that could in any sense be called a discourse. I was ordained to the ministry the 4th Sunday in May 1927. I was called to the care of the churches in Wellington Church and Childress. In December 1929, I moved to the North Plains, Morse, Texas. I served the church there, at Dalhart, Texas and at Forgan, Oklahoma.

    NOTE: Ethrich Jackson Norman passed this life on Oct. 21, 1966

  • Elder James H. Oliphant  ( 136 items )

    Elder J. H. Oliphant of Crawfordsville, Indiana, was one of the most useful and able ministers that ever bore the name of Primitive Baptist. Indeed, few men have ever lived that have penned or published to the world the glorious doctrine of salvation by grace with more beauty and in all its fullness. One whose life has been a splendid example of true piety, sober mindedness, spotless integrity, and devoted service. 

    He was a very prolific writer who penned several books and was a contributing editor for several periodicals. He was noted for his clear, logical and concise style of writing. His books and articles are still read and coveted by people today.

  • Elder Saint A. Paine  ( 2 items )

    Elder Saint A. Paine was born in Tennessee, April 3, 1874. Came to Texas in 1889. He received a hope in Christ at age 15 years and joined the church in July 1896. He was baptized by Elder J. G. Webb. He was ordained to the gospel ministry in 1897 and proved himself to be a true gospel minister up to the time of his death, November 1, 1910 at his home in Dublin, Texas.

    Upon his death, Elder W. H. Richards (a close friend of Elder Paine) said of him, "His death caused a sadness over the Baptists of the West such as never been experienced among them before. I have often remarked that I did not think he would live long. He was such a brilliant gift. I thought that he was doing his work fast. I considered him the ablest man among the Baptists in the defense of the doctrine."

    Elder Paine left a large supply of wonderful articles defending the truths of the Holy Scriptures. Please return as these works come online.

  • Elder Daniel Parker  ( 6 items )

    Elder Daniel Parker established the first Baptist church in the State of Texas in 1833. Elder Parker, as we should know, believed in the doctrine of "Two-Seedism." We shall not deal with his doctrinal inconsistencies, but rather, let us consider his historical significance. Below are the very writings we could obtain.

  • Elder R.H. Pittman  ( 7 items )

    Written by Elder A. L. Harrison: It has been said, "The true value of life consists in the opportunity that it gives us to live well and die well." Such was the life of our dear beloved Elder R. H. Pittman, of Luray, Va., distinguished author, publisher, and prominent minister of the Primitive Baptist Church, who died on March 14, 1941.

    Reden Herbert Pittman was born in Edgecombe County, North Carolina, August 20, 1870, the son of R. E. Pittman, and Sarah (Pitt) Pittman, and was of English descent. When he was a child he had the greatest respect for Christian people, and often had seasons of seriousness about religion. His mother and father taught him the sacredness of religious service, and he loved the songs the Baptist sang. While yet a child he was stricken with fever, and thought much about death and was afraid, it seemed that some horrible monster had him in possession holding him over a pit. He felt he was falling; crying for help, when at once he realized deliverance, but could not tell how it came. After awhile, he again felt a terrible fear of death, and where he would go. He began to pray to God with hopes that He would hear his prayers, and save him, as he felt like he was a poor sinner and knew God was a great Saviour. He was made to trust in Him and to believe His promises to help the helpless; that He knew all about him and had some purpose in his life: that he would not die, until that purpose was fulfilled. The burden of sin and fear of dying gradually left him. He felt happy with a hope in the Lord Jesus Christ, so went before the Primitive Baptist Church, called Hopeland, in Whitakers N. C., and asked for a home among them. He was received and baptized by Elder A. J. Moore the next day, January 1, 1893. He was licensed to preach in August 1893, and ordained in 1900.

    Brother Pittman was married November 11, 1896, to Miss Eunice Elizabeth Barnes, who survives him, and who was an inspiration and helpmeet for him. To this union five children were born.

    Brother Pittman was the editor of the Advocate and Messenger from 1920 until his demise, having bought the Zion’s Advocate from Sister J. G. Wiltshire in 1919, and a short time later the Gospel Messenger from Elder Sylvester Hassell, and the Messenger of Truth from Elder F. P. Branscome, which he combined, and through its pages proclaimed the doctrine of Salvation by Grace.

  • Elder Lemuel Potter  ( 37 items )
  • Elder J.H.Purifoy  ( 12 items )

    From Pittman's Biographical Sketches:

    Elder J. H. Purifoy , of Snow Hill, Alabama, began preaching when about thirty-eight years old, served as pastor of churches five years, and as an evangelist about thirteen years, devoting his whole time to it. he traveled and preached through all southern and middle states and a portion of Canada and Michigan. While serving churches in pastoral work, he supported himself and family by his own labor, but as an evangelist, the voluntary contribution of brethren and friends afforded him and his family ample support, so that he lacked nothing in temporal things. He graduated in medicine from the Jefferson medical College in Pennsylvania, and immediately began the practice of medicine in his home village. He enlisted in the Confederate (States) Army, in 1861, and was assigned to duty as surgeon in the 44th Alabama Regiment, filling his post to the close of the war with perfect satisfaction to all concerned. Returning home at the close of the war he resumed the practice of medicine at his native village and soon became one of the most popular practitioners in his section in all his section of the state, during all of which he was an active church member. After a few years he gave up the practice of medicine and gave himself to the ministry until his health broke. In every relationship of life, Dr. Purifoy was a notable faithful man. As a physician, he was prompt, wise, sympathetic, and merciful; as a soldier, he was brave, loyal, and kind; as a husband and father he was passionately fond of his family and provided for them well; as a preacher, he was sound in doctrine, loyal to the book, clear in statements, fervent in the Spirit, and deeply reverent in his demeanor.

  • Elder Gregg M. Thompson  ( 29 items )

    Elder G. M. Thompson, was born April 20, 1811, in Cape Girardeau Coun­ty. Mo. His father, Elder Wilson Thompson, was one of the greatest preachers of the age in which be lived. and like his gifted son, his fame lives after him, for his name is known and honored wherever the Primitive Bap­tists are found. While the subject of this sketch was yet a babe his father removed from Missouri to the state of Kentucky, and after a short residence there, he moved to Ohio, where he spent his youth. From Ohio he moved to Fayette County, Ind., where he lived and labored the most of his life.

    Elder Thompson traveled more miles and preached more sermons than any minister living or dead.” No doubt that statement spoke the truth, for during sixty years in storm and snow, in good and ill health, he devotedly fol­lowed the Lord's calling,, often preaching twice a day for months at a time. The numbers baptized by him into the church,if gathered together would be a mighty host marshaled for the army of the Peaceful King. He labored not only in the pulpit, but also with the pen. He has published several books all filled with the faith that possessed his soul. He was a strong man in every sense of the word, and his pure and reproachless spirit is an example worthy of imitation. He died as he had lived. At the very last, while speechless friends were hovering about his bed, he spoke and said: “Turn me, turn me.” Some one bowed to help turn his body in the bed, but he quickly interrupted say­ing. “No, no; turn me to the Cross of Christ!” These were the last words he ever spoke.

  • Elder Wilson Thompson  ( 54 items )

    Elder Wilson Thompson, (1788-1866), a native of Hillsborough, Ky., is regarded as the ablest Primitive Baptist minister that ever lived in the United States. He was of an old Bap­tist family, of English, Welsh, Scotch, Irish and German descent. He had re­ligious impressions from his earliest recollections; and, during the first twelve years of his life, without any instruction from any person or book, be became a thorough graduate in Arminian, Pharisaical or natural relig­ion—"getting religion” himself by his own resolutions and exertions, idol­izing “the Sabbath,” attaining perfec­tion in the flesh, assured that he was bound for heaven, despising the peo­ple of God, as far below himself in religious knowledge and attainments; then “falling from grace,” “taking his fill of sin,” then afterwards terrified anew by natural convictions, going to work again with more zeal than ever to ingratiate himself into the favor of God, repenting and praying more, and doing more good works until he felt he was sinless and resolved he never would commit another sin. He rested in the persuasion of his own right­eousness, with which he believed God was well pleased. While in his thirtieth year he went to see Elder James Lee baptize some candidates, among others, a small slender girl, named Mary Grigg, who afterward became Elder Thompson’s wife; and, while this girl was being led into the water, suddenly all nature seemed to him to be overspread with a dark, heavy, angry, threatening gloom, and he felt like one forsaken of God and man, the most loathsome and guilty wretch that ever lived on earth, utter­ly corrupt without and within, and justly exposed to the everlasting wrath of an infinitely holy God. He left the company and the water in despair, and sought a deep ravine in the wood, expecting there to die alone. For three days and nights he continued in such gloom that he did not seem to have one hopeful thought of his salvation, and, while his heart was all the time pleading for mercy, if mercy were possible,, he did not dare to make a formal prayer, because feel­ing it impossible for a holy God to pardon such a sinner as himself. Still he would seek the woods, fall on his knees, close his eyes, and make con­fession of his sinfulness and of God’s justice in his condemnation. While thus engaged, on the fourth day, he was startled three times by the sud­den appearance of a glittering bright­ness, visible only when his eyes were closed, and each time increasing in brilliancy, so that at last in amaze­ment he sprang to his feet, opened his eyes, and saw all nature glittering with the glory of God. He was com­pletely captivated with the scene, the gloom and the burden of sin were gone; but he soon began to be trou­bled because his trouble had left him, and never once thought of this being conversion. After many seasons of re­joicings, doubts and fears, he united with the church in 1801 and was baptized by Elder Jns. Lee. When raised from the water he felt a strong desire to speak of the glorious plan of salva­tion, but remaining silent in lan­guage, he burst into tears and came out of the water weeping like a child. For many years he resisted the im­pressions to preach, feeling he would rather die than expose his ignorance in this public way. He was so troubled in mind and lost so much sleep and appetite that his parents feared he would commit suicide and had him to sleep in the room with them. One night after all had retired, and the fire had burned down. a shadowy form seemed to approach him, and say, “I know your trouble, and your great desire to know what you should do ; and I have come to tell you. Read the sixth and tenth chapters of Matthew, and to every sentence, answer, "I am the man," and you will soon come to know your duty.” This was done and said three times. He believed that the appear­ance was not literal, but a vision (Acts 2:17-18), He was soon licensed to preach. His first text, February, 1810, was John x:2, 3; and was or­dained January, 1812, by Elders Stephen Stilley and John Tanner. He was about this time led to the then Territory of Missouri where be bap­tized some four or five hundred per­sons. From Missouri he moved to Leb­anon, Ohio, and In 1834 moved to Fay­ette County, Ind., and became pastor of churches in the White Water Asso­ciation. During the year of 1843 there were two hundred and forty-seven per­sons that joined the churches of this association. While residing in Indi­ana he made extensive tours of preaching in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Ken­tucky, Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia; and his ministerial gifts and Christian virtues shone with starry brilliancy. Elder Thompson was the author of several books and pam­phlets, among them “Simple Truth!,” “Triumphs of Truth,” “An Address to the Baptists of the United States,” in 1850, and his “Autobiography.” He was a strong writer, able debater and powerful pulpit orator.  

  • Elder S.N. Redford  ( 13 items )

    Elder S. N. Redford was born November 20, 1872, in Washington County, Texas, the son of Elder B. F. Redford and Sarah Jane Redford. He moved, with his father and sister (his mother having passed away a few years before) to Valley Spring, Llano County, Texas in 1883, where he grew to manhood. On November 12, 1895, he was married to Henrietta Elizabeth Milton. He joined the church at Valley Springs February 1896; made his first attempt to preach in March 1899; and was ordained to the full work of the ministry, July 1900, at the Twenty-Third Session of Friendship Association convening at Valley Springs. Elders S. R. Woods, P. T. Watson, B. F. Redford, and Deacons J. R. Clark, N. R. Jeffrey and S. S. Redford sat as a presbytery for the ordination.

    During his fifty years in the ministry, Elder Redford traveled widely over the country, as well as pastured churches locally. Following his father in 1923, he served Valley Springs Church as pastor for twenty four years. A gifted writer, he wrote extensively for Baptist papers. Although a very able preacher, he was an humble man with an open mind, qualities which endeared him the more to the Baptists.

  • Elder John R. Respess  ( 37 items )

    Elder John R. Respess lived most of his life in Butler, Georgia. In R. H. Pittman's Biography of Ministers, it says of him "As a pupil in his early school days, he was bright and studious and graduated at the University of Georgia, admitted to the bar, with every promise of success in his chosen profession of Law. Some years afterward he was deeply exercised in mind about his spiritual condition, and was given a hope in the Savior, united with Ebenezer church and was soon ordained.".

    Elder W.C. Cleveland wrote of him, "He graduated with distinction at Franklin College, the University of the state, in the class of several of Georgia's noted sons. He returned home and was soon admitted to the Bar with the intention, and the ability to do so, of hewing out for himself fame and fortune in the things of this life, and soon took, as a young lawyer, the front rank, with every indication of a bright future in his profession. But God willed with him otherwise. He had for him a nobler and a better usefulness, one which victory is won through suffering and sacrifice. But in so calling him to a different field of labor, it was at no expense of the great natural abilities which He had already endowed him; in fact through the Spirit's power, they were strengthened, utilized, and constantly grew, thereby making his life more and more useful to the children of men. Many a man possessed of his natural and spiritual abilities, would soon forgotten his high calling, and become vain and proud, especially when added to these gifts, was the love and admiration of all who knew him."

    Elder Sylvester Hassell wrote, "I never knew a wiser, humbler, gentler, more unselfish, more Christ-like person than dear Brother Respess. He was more willing to be trampled on by the whole church if thereby the name of Christ could be exalted. If his enemies spoke evil of him, he would say 'perhaps it is so, perhaps it is so.' ---- and he would speak well of them. If they deeply injured and wronged him, he would astonish me by ascribing them the most charitable motives."

    Elder Respess wrote one book, "Naaman the Syrian." He was the founder and was for 15 years, the editor of "The Gospel Messenger" which was one of the greatest religious papers ever published. It was sold to Sylvester Hassell after Elder Respess's death in 1895. Today it is known as the "Advocate and Messenger". The Messenger, under Respess, was a very intelligent, scholarly and edifying periodical.

  • Elder Ephraim Rittenhouse  ( 9 items )

    Elder Rittenhouse, of Delaware, served several churches in Delaware and Maryland for over forty years. He had a very large private correspondence besides writing a great number of letters for publication on almost every subject that could be thought of. Very few of our ministers have written so much as he did. He possessed a special gift in the manner of writing comforting, encouraging letters. Few such gifts have been bestowed on the church.

    Elder Rittenhouse was regarded as one of our most able ministers, one whose preaching was always interesting and instructive, a man of good judgement and wise counsel. It is regrettable that our present generation has hardly heard or read of him. We hope to re-introduce this dear servant of Jesus Christ.

    Below you will find links to the some of the editorial writings of Elder Rittenhouse. We hope to have a large collection of his writings on this page.

  • Sis. R. Anna Phillips  ( 43 items )

    From "Pittman's Biographies"

    "Rebecca Anna Phillips, of Macon, Ga. originally united with the Missionary or New School Baptist Church, with whom she remained about eight years and then joined the Primitive or Old School Baptist Church. This was a great trial of her life and about the year 1875 she wrote her 'Experience and Reasons For Leaving the Missionary and Uniting With the Primitive Baptist.' The first edition of 3000 copies were in a few months entirely exhausted. After much solicitation, she was induced to revise and enlarge this work., and it was, in 1901, published under the title of 'Led By A Way I Knew Not.' Sister Phillips was for many years, corresponding Editress of 'Zion's Landmark,' published by Elder P. D. Gold, at Wilson, N.C. She was known as a deep, instructive and spiritual writer. Truly she was a teacher sent of the Lord. "


The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.