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History of the Ketocton Association-Preface PDF Print E-mail
Written by William Fristoe   




Constitution  ---  Progress and Increase  ---  the Intention in associating  ---  the Doctrines holden by her  ---  reasons for the names of regular and separate Baptists  ---  an Account of the Death of sundries  ---  the Constitution and Order of Churches  ---  the manner of administering Baptism  ---  of the Ordination of Ministers  ---  bounds of the Association  ---  the Doctrines preached  ---  providing for the Ministry --- annual Meetings --- the number of Ministers --- of Persecution --- the Mode of Redress --- of circular letters --- Objections to the Baptists replied to --- of good Works --- and of her Civil Policy.


Minister of the Gospel

Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the Towers thereof --- Mark ye well her Bulwarks, consider her palaces: that ye may tell it to the Generation following.
Psalm 48—12, 13 verse.




IT has appeared of a long time, an incumbent duty to transmit to posterity what has  transpired in our day, respecting the success the preaching of the gospel has been attended with, and the happy change that has taken place in turning many from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God. The inhabitants within the bounds of this Association, prior to the Baptist preachers coming among them, were in a state of great ignorance respecting the vitals of religion; nothing or very little said about the fallen, guilty and depraved state of mankind; of the necessity of regeneration -of redemption by Jesus Christ - pardon of sin by His blood -of justification by His righteousness -of receiving at present an earnest of the heavenly inheritance -and the final exaltation, and glorification of the bride, the Lamb's wife -and such like important subjects.

The blessing (through divine goodness) was reserved for our day, it being the set time to visit Zion, and a wonderful time it was, when the day spring from on high visited us, an Almighty and irresistible arm made bare, and a people called out of the world by rich, free, irresistible and unfrusterable grace; wonderful indeed, that so barren a desert should become a fruitful field; the minds of many that were blind, made to see, and tongues that were dumb, stimulated to adore and praise the riches of divine grace. I n a little time a number of congregational churches were constituted -so mightily grew the word of the Lord and prevailed.

The attentive Reader will easily discover that the following history, is not only a statement of facts, but of sentiment likewise. As we were surrounded with sects holding different tenets, it appeared the more necessary that we should be the more clear and expressive of ours; for honest men have nothing to fear in giving an account of themselves -therefore the following may be called a sentimental history. In the following pages the Reader will be informed of the different species of persecution the Baptists had to encounter, and the measures pursued by them for redressing their grievances, and securing their just rights.

Should defects appear in the following work, it need not be wondered at, for the author is no scholar, nor affects learning, and in the course of his life never made any notes, nor kept any journal -neither has he been supplied with any from any other hand, only the little aid from our associational records, the production has been principally from recollection, and the little strength of his own judgment; but apologies are vain -the work will speak for itself. Should the relation of the work of grace among us, the religious sentiments holden by us, carry conviction to the heart of any, it will be an ample compensation for our trouble; or should the account given of our hardships and persecutions, aid others under like circumstances, it will be a great good done. Hoping this little book may be of use to mankind, and to the manifest glory of God, it is sent into the world under the patronage of the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.

FROM the best information we can gather, the first Baptist Preacher that settled within the bounds of this association, was Elder John Garrard, in Berkeley County, Virginia, between the years 1750 and 1755, but being interrupted by the ravages of the Indians, he removed below the Blue Ridge, and for some length of time lived in Loudoun County. His labors in the ministry being blest there, a church was gathered in, and when constituted, was called Ketocton Baptist Church. Times growing more peaceable, Elder Garrard returned to Berkeley County, and the pastoral care of the church at Ketocton, devolved on Elder John Marks. The latter continued his ministry within the limits of that church until his death.

The second Baptist church was constituted on Mill Creek, Berkeley county, called for distinction Mill Creek Church. Elder John Garrard exercised the pastoral care over this church.

A third church was constituted in Shenandoah County, called Smith’s Creek Church. Elder John Alderson pastor of said church.

Some of the members that composed these churches, emigrated from the Eastern States, and some were baptized in Virginia. The three preachers above cited, came from the Eastern States.

The churches above, when constituted, joined the Philadelphia Baptist Association, being of the same religious sentiments.

About this time, Elder David Thomas, on his travels from Pennsylvania, called in at Mill Creek, and took from thence a tour to Broad Run, in Fauquier County, and settled. Here we deem it our duty to inform the reader, how the overruling hand of Providence directs events, when the purposes of divine grace are to be accomplished. Prior to David Thomas’ coming among them, God had been pleased to operate by His Spirit on the hearts of some individuals, and engage them in seeking the salvation of their souls, though they were not favored with the external ministry of the gospel; these few being filled with apprehensions of future misery, and hearing that the Gospel was preached in Berkeley County by the people called New Lights, two men from the neighborhood of Broad Run set out and traveled about sixty miles across rough mountains. When they arrived there, they were much gratified and their expectations answered; the doctrine of salvation through a crucified Jesus, was sweeter than honey to the natural taste -the word of the Lord was precious in those days. These same men at their second going, related their experience, and were baptized, at which time they met with Elder Thomas, and prevailed on him to go with them; and by this means the Gospel light shone in Fauquier and the adjacent Counties, where ignorance and superstition had long prevailed.

The preaching of the Gospel by Elder Thomas was attended with great success, and in a short time a church was constituted, Elder Thomas, pastor, who, after spending the prime of his life in preaching the Gospel of Christ, principally within the bounds of this association, removed to Kentucky, leaving many witnesses behind of his distinguished usefulness as a preacher of the Gospel, whose fruitful mind, improved by close study, and aided by a supernatural influence, enabled him in his public ministry to preach powerful, edifying and comfortably, so that the saints were fed with marrow and fatness -and in his turn, a son of thunder, who could well discharge the artillery of Sinai, and exhibit the divine law to the arousing and alarming of many a poor sinner. He was a great patriot, and took an active part in our national revolution. From every consideration his absence has been a great loss to his acquaintance.

The formation or constitution of Ketocton Association, the four churches before named, lying remote from Philadelphia, and the inconveniences arising from an annual attendance, inclined them to petition to that of Philadelphia for a dismission, in order to form a distinct and separate association in Virginia. Their request was granted, and in August the 19th, in the year of our Lord, 1766, these four churches met by letter and messenger, in order to transact business that might be conducive to the interest of religion and glory of God. The number belonging to the four churches at this time, was 142.

The place of the association was at Ketocton Meeting-House, Loudoun County, State of Virginia; and as the association met at this place the first time, it has retained the name of the Ketocton Association ever since. The messengers being met, they began to form regulations as an associated body, and became organized as follows:

First, proceeded to a choice of Moderator and Clerk, by a majority.

Second. It shall rest with the Moderator to state subjects or questions that are to be investigated in the association, and call for the vote.

Thirdly. To reprove any member acting disorderly during their sitting.

Fourthly. Any member speaking, shall direct his speech to the Moderator.

Fifthly. That no member shall be allowed to speak on the same subject more than twice, without leave of the association.

Sixthly. That no member during his speaking is to use language offensive to any other member .

Seventhly. That all questions shall be decided by a majority.

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