The following pages have been copied from a pamphlet written by Elder J.C. Austin and Woodrow Carter, entitled
The Genesis of the Baptists and Their Welsh Succession
The authors wish to acknowledge the special assistance given them by Brother Harold Blankenship, Route 6, Lafayette, who proof read and rendered a valuable assistance in preparing the material for the book. Also, Bro. Carter’s daughters, Joan Faye and June Gaye were very helpful in typing the material. Bro. Austin’s daughter, Mrs. Brenda Hiett was helpful in assisting her father with typing and in other ways.
And to all others who in any way contributed any thing to make this volume possible, they extend their heartfelt appreciation.
This volume is dedicated to the memory of our beloved brethren who labored so faithfully in the Master’s vineyard here in the midst of the Baptists of this section. To a large degree we may credit the ministry of these brethren and others, for there being the large number of Old Fashioned Missionary Baptist Churches in this area.
Elder C. B. Massy 1867-1957
Elder A. J. Sloan 1881-1957
Elder Calvin Gregory 1891-1957
Elder L. A. Stewart 1888-1956
Elder N. C. Fuqua 1885-1962
Elder R. O. Sanders 1886-1957
Elder William McDonald 1891-1959
Elder H. C. Oldham 1887-1943
“Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” Rev. 14:13
The writer is honored in being asked to write an introduction to “The Genesis of The Baptists and Their Welsh Succession,” by Brother Woodrow Carter and Bro. J. C. Austin.
This is the only book just like it to be found anywhere to the writer’s knowledge. This book should be in the library of every minister, Sunday School teacher, and student of the Bible and Church history.
Brother J. C. Austin, Route 4, Lafayette, Tennessee, is one of the leading preachers in this area. He is pastor of Antioch, Mace’s Hill and Sycamore Valley Missionary Baptist Churches. He has preached the doctrinal sermons before Enon Association for the past few years, and has served as Treasurer and assistant moderator of the Association. He is a staff writer for the “Baptist Progressor”.
Brother Austin is the author of the scriptural origin of the Church found in this volume.
Bro. Woodrow Carter, Route 4, Lafayette, is a member of Antioch Missionary Baptist church. Bro. Carter has been one of the closest students of Church history in the Upper Cumberland area for several years. The writer knows of no one person in the Macon County area who exceeds the knowledge of Church history that Bro. Carter has.
These two Brethren have taken time to combine their talents to give us this book that will be profitable to every sincere reader. The gathering of the facts in this book took many months of research and study on the part of the authors, but they are put at our fingertips and at a very reasonable price.
May God ever bless this book to His Honor and Glory and the on Going of His Cause and Kingdom.
Paul D. Oldham,
Pastor Lafayette Missionary Baptist Church
August 12, 1964
THE GENESIS OF THE BAPTISTS
By J. C. Austin
There are few subjects that there are as many false notions as there are on the church question.
It is not our purpose to go into the many different opinions that are advanced by the many different sects and individuals, but merely take the simple teachings of the scriptures which are the only authority on this great subject. II Tim. 3:16-17, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine for reproof for correction for instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be perfect thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
If every individual would lay aside all preconceived ideas and family traditions and pride and humbly submit to the teachings of the Bible, it would make a difference. Because of loose thinking and the neglect of Bible truth pertaining to the church, many hold erroneous views and place man made institutions on the level and even above the Lord’s church. The church is not to them the high and holy thing it ought to be. It is not to them the divine institution that towers high above all organizations of men. The popular idea is that one church is as good as another, without reference to whether or not it has Jesus Christ for founder and head.
It is my purpose to set forth in the following pages some of the grounds Biblically, and to show the reasonableness of the Baptist claim. As to the origin of the church, it has been in the world ever since it was founded, somewhere carrying on business for the Lord and will so remain until the end of the age.
Some hold to the idea that the church had its beginning back in the old scriptures; there are some types of the church, but not the church. Some hold to the idea that the church began on Pentecost, but there is not one scripture to sustain this theory. Many believe the church to be a great big invisible institution in which all the saved are member; this is also an erroneous doctrine. Any view different from the Prophets, Apostles, and our Lord is the wrong view.
Jesus organized and founded his church during the days of His personal ministry here on the earth out of material prepared by John the Baptist on a mountain above Jerusalem. The first members were the Twelve Apostles.
First, taking the Old Testament and prophets record which was under direct inspiration of God. “And in the days of these Kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, and the kingdom shall not be left to other people but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms and it shall stand forever.” Dan. 2:44. What does this verse of scripture teach? First, that the God of heaven was to set up a kingdom and it was not to be by the hands of man. This no doubt was to be the church kingdom. Some will say if God set it up, then it was not Christ. Let us read these scriptures. “And without controversy great is the mystery of Godliness, God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the spirit seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles believed on in the world, received up into glory.” I Tim. 3:16. “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God.” John 1:1 and in the fourteenth verse of this chapter, “And the word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” The work that Christ did while on earth was verily the work of God.
Second, that it shall never be destroyed, regardless of all opposing powers.
Third, and the kingdom shall not be left to other people. In other words, it is to be a government of its own having one law giver, Jesus Christ.
Fourth, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms. When the Lord set up his church it was at that time the kingdom. But when the first church was organized from this mother church it ceased to be the kingdom and it took both churches to make up the church kingdom. Therefore, it takes all the true churches to make up the church kingdom, and every one of the Lord’s churches can go back to some mother church that she was organized from. In view of these facts, Daniel’s prophecy is very plain pertaining to the kingdom breaking in pieces. When a number of brethren and sisters get their letters from some church or churches of the same faith and order and go out and organize an independent church, they can rightly be called a piece, part, or portion of this mother church or churches.
Fifth, And it shall stand forever, which simply means it will never go down in spite of the devil and all of his opposing powers. Also in Psalms 72:16, “There shall be a handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains, the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon and they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth.” We have here the few that were to be set in, or as the prophets say a handful which Webster’s dictionary says means a small quantity or number. Also Young’s Concordance gives about the same meaning, sheaf to illustrate this he gives Jer. 9:22 as the handful after the harvest man, which is a small amount. Using Psalms 72:16, he gives expansion, superabundance. The meaning no doubt is the church was to start with a small number and expand to the extent to become even more than enough to carry the gospel to all nations.
Next we have the designated location which is in the earth upon the top of the mountains. It also was to be a fruitful and flourishing institution. Isaiah 2:2-3, “And it shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains and shall be exalted above the hills and all nations shall flow unto it.” The last days spoken of in the Bible is having reference to the time Jesus came into the world until the end of it. The mountain of the Lord’s house simply means it was to be an exalted institution, established in the top of the mountains telling the location where it was to be set up. The Lord’s house is having reference to the church; let the Bible testify to this fact. Taking Paul in 1 Tim. 3:14-15, “These things write I unto thee hoping to come unto thee shortly, But if I tarry long that thou mayest know how thou oughest to behave thyself in the house of God which is the church of the living God the pillar and ground of the truth.”
MATERIAL FOR CHURCH
In order to build this house or any house, there must be material prepared. God saw to it that the material was prepared. Now beginning with prophecy, Malachi 3:1, “Behold I will send my messenger and he shall prepare the way before me.” John 1:6, “There was a man sent from God whose name was John.” Also speaking of this same man, Luke 1:17 “And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
We find in Luke 1: the conception and birth of John. “There appeared an angel unto Zacharias while he was burning incense in the temple and when Zacharias saw him he was troubled and fear fell upon him. But the angel said unto him, fear not Zacharias for thy prayer is heard and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son and thou shalt call his name John. But Zacharias disbelieved the angel and because he failed to believe these glad tidings, the angel told him he would be dumb and not able to speak until the day that these things shall be performed. So he was dumb as the angel said. He went home, or to his own house and Elizabeth conceived and hid herself five months. Now when her full time came that she should be delivered, she brought forth a son, and her neighbors and her cousins heard how the Lord had shown great mercy upon her and on the eight day they came to circumcise the child and they called his name Zacharias after the name of his father. And his mother answered, “not so, but he shall be called John.” And they made signs to his father how he would have him called and he asked for a writing table and wrote saying. “his name is John,” therefore named of the angel before he was ever conceived in the womb.
We read in Matt. 3:1-2, “In those days came John The Baptist preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying repent ye for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” We find at this time he was the Baptist and the only Baptist. Some say that John Baptist is his name, but that isn’t true. His name is John. Some say he was a Baptist because he baptized; also this isn’t true. He was a Baptist before he ever baptized anyone. Some ask how he became a Baptist, no one baptized him. God made Adam and Eve, and since that all have been born into the human family. God made the first Baptist. Since then all that ever has been or ever will be Baptists have had scriptural baptism, which is Baptist baptism and it is recognized from heaven and is from heaven; read Matt. 3:16, 17.
Matt. 3:1, “In those days came John the Baptist.” John was his name. This then tells us what he was. (Now quoting from J. H. Grime’s book on Why I am a Baptist, page 18. “Baptists have the only denominational name ever uttered by the mouth of the Lord.” Isaiah 62:2 says, “And thou shalt be called by a new name which the mouth of the Lord shall name.”) In Matt. 11:11, we have where the mouth of the Lord uttered this name, “Verily I say unto you among them that are born of woman, there hast not risen a greater than John the Baptist. Therefore, we proudly wear the name because it is the name the Lord gave us.
Some say that the Church of Christ is the name, which isn’t true. That is who she belongs to. Some say the Church of God. These two titles are used in the Bible in reference to ownership and not to name. Matt. 3:16, 17, “John prepared the material by preaching repentance and baptizing those who had repented and brought forth fruit, meet for repentance.” When a church fails to preach and practice repentance, it ceases to be a church. The Pharisees and Sadducees came to John’s baptism. Matt. 3:7, 8, 9 he said “Oh generations of vipers who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come, bring forth therefore fruits, meet for repentance and think not to say within yourself that you have Abraham to your father for I say unto you that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” If the modernists had been there, they would have baptized every one of those, for seemingly they are only interested in numbers and not in the souls of man. Not only did he prepare the material to go in the church, but we find also the head and founder, Jesus Christ, was baptized by this Baptist preacher.
In Matt. 3:13, 14, 15, 16, we find that after Jesus was baptized he was led up of the spirit into the wilderness and was tempted of the devil. After forty days he started on the mission that God gave him to do. He began to call and say, “follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” Matt. 4:19, Then a time came when something weighed heavily on our Lord, for we read in Luke 6:12, 13, “And it came to pass in those days that he went out into a mountain to pray and continued all night in prayer to God and when it was day he called unto him his disciples, and of them he chose twelve whom also he named Apostles.”
Now let us see if prophecy has not met, or been fulfilled here in this verse of scripture, Dan. 2:44 the God of Heaven or Jesus Christ himself was to set it up. Psa. 72:16, we have here the small number, to be exact, only twelve. Also in the earth upon the top of the mountain which is the exact location; Isa. 2:2, the last days which was during the personal ministry of Jesus Christ while here on earth. For further proof, Paul says in 1 Cor. 12:28, “And God hath set some in the church, first Apostles.” Therefore, the Apostles constituted the first members of the church. Mark 3:13, 15, “And he goeth up into a mountain and called unto him whom he would and they come unto him and he ordained twelve that they should be with him and that he should send them forth to preach and to have power to heal sickness and to cast out devils.” Then, follows the names that makes up the church roll.
A little later on, he gave this same group of Apostles the limited commission to go to the lost sheep of Israel, Matt. 10:16. Then in Matt. 26:20-30, he instituted the Lord’s Supper, or his supper to be kept in remembrance of him. No doubt this was given to the church because in the twentieth verse, it says he sat down with the Twelve Apostles. Also in the thirtieth verse at the conclusion of this service, and after they had sung a hymn, they went out into the Mount of Olives. Further proof that this was the church is Paul in Heb: 2:12, quoting from Psa. 22:22, saying, “I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praises unto thee.” This is the only place so far as I know where the scriptures says anything about the Lord singing in His church. Therefore the Twelve Apostles made up the church at that time.
Then after our Lord’s death and resurrection, he walked with his disciples for about forty days, then He gave the world wide commission. This was given to the eleven Apostles, for Judas had already hanged himself. Matt. 28:18-20. “And Jesus came and spake unto them saying, all power is given unto me in Heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore and teach all nations baptizing them in the name of the father and of the son and of the holy ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you and lo I am with you always even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
Surely the eleven apostles made up the church at that time. He was speaking to them as an organized body and not to individuals because they all died in process of time, but the church lives on. If his words failed in this that he would be with his church always even unto the end of the world.
Is it not possible then that all of His teachings have failed? All our hope would be in vain. But he has not failed in one word; therefore our hopes are steadfast because they are in a living Christ to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away reserved in Heaven for us.
JESUS FOUNDED VISIBLE CHURCH
To all who believe the New Testament to be the inspired word of God, Jesus once and for all settles the questions, Did Jesus set up or found the Church? And is it a visible institution?
In Matthew 16:18-19, Jesus himself makes these statements, “Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Some say that because the future tense is used here that the Lord had not formed his church. Notice, He did not say, I will be gin my church, it was already begun, when he said “I will build my Church.” His Church is still in the process of building, and as one human being has succeeded another through the ages into the present, so has there been a succession of true churches made after the divine pattern from that one founded by Jesus Christ, all through the ages and will be until the Lord comes again.
Jesus in Matt. 16:19, speaks to the Church of the keys, also of the binding and loosing. He is here teaching His church concerning the authority to receive members and also to exclude members.
We find that Jesus laid down the rule for dealing with the offender in Matthew 18:15-17, “If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the Church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican.”
If Christ’s words, mean anything at all in these scriptures, the Church is a local visible
institution, here on the earth carrying on business for the Lord. And as Jesus says in Mark 13:34, “The son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.”
Then when he gave the commission, he closed with these words, “And lo I am with you always even unto the end of the world,” Matt. 28:20.
Again he said, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, then shall the end come.” Matt. 24:14.
Paul says, “Unto him be glory in the Church, by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end.” Eph. 3:21.
The Baptists have a divine origin, they are constituted into a Church on a mountain above Jerusalem by the Son of God, himself, out of material made ready by John the Baptist. Therefore a Baptist Church.
We have several Churches in this section of the country that still hold true to the doctrine and practice essentially the same as the first Baptist Church.
May we always strive as we are admonished in Jude 3, “to earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the Saints.”
There could be much more produced on this subject, but this is sufficient proof for anyone who wants to take the Bible, as to the origin and continuity of the Baptist Church.
We send this forth with a prayer, trusting that this book will be helpful to all who read it.
Elder J. C. Austin,
A WELSH BAPTIST CHURCH SUCCESSION
FROM THE YEAR 63 TO THE 19th CENTURY
By Woodrow Carter,
Route 4, Lafayette, Tennessee
Quoting from the Orchard History Vol. 11, page 30 & 31.
It was about A. D. 57, that Paul arrived at Rome, where he remained a prisoner two whole years, PREACHING THE KINGDOM OF GOD. In this space of time the progress of the gospel was prodigious. In his letter to Philippi he tells that, “his bonds of Chnst were manifest in ALL THE PALACE, AND IN ALL OTHER PLACES.” If St. Paul visited Britian, it must have been after his liberation. Assertions have been, from on this point, “and when tradition’s voice has been, strong unvarying and continued,” which has been the case on this subject, and there is no opposing evidence, we are inclined to conclude he visited our shore in his labor of love. It has been supposed his stay was very short, and that on his reaching the continent, or Rome, he sent Evangelists to prosecute the work. Fox says, Simon was crucified among the barbarians, but this is legendary. Gildas seems to fix the introductions of the gospel into Britian about the period of the great revolt and defeat under Queen Boadicea, which took place in A. D. 61. He observes, “Christ the true son, afforded his rays-that is, the knowledge of his precepts- to this island, benumbled with extreme cold, having been at a great distance from the son: I do not mean the sun in the firmament, but the eternal son of heaven, about the end, as we know, of the reign of Tiberius Caesar. But many Evangelists came out of France about the year 63, and were the first successful planters of the gospel in this nation. The above considerations may serve to show us how easily the gospel might find its way into this remote province by emigrants, by soldiers, or evangelists. Early Christian writers equally assert that Britian was united in the beginning of the Christian era with the gospel. Clement of Rome, and Jerome, both speak of Paul having visited Britian. Tertullian positively asserts that those parts of Britian into which the Rome arms had never penetrated, were become subject to Christ. Eusebius endeavors to prove that the apostles had preached the gospel to the Romans, Persians, Indians, and to those which are called the British Isles. Theodoret maintains the same. Jeffery of Monmouth, (ch. 4), tells us that in this country Christianity flourished even from the apostolic days, and that a form of worship was delivered the Greek fathers make such frequent and great mention of the British Isles, their reception of the gospel, and to them by the apostles. Darteus (in cent. 1. for 37) says, the divine sense they had of the power thereof, that the churches were exactly constituted according to CHRIST’S PATTERN. G.H. Orchard, Published this history in Notting, England, June 30, 1856
Now Quoting from the History of THE WELSH BAPTIST by J. Davis published in Pittsburg, Pa., 1835. pages 178-179.
While the red horse of war prancing in Wanton fury on the banks of Britian, trampling on the full ripe blossoms of its youth, and in the glory of its strength-while the sleepless sword was extending its ravages, and while miseries were multiplying, without any prospect of a -suitable remedy, behold, the feet of them that bring good tidings of great joy, that publish peace and salvation, that say unto Zion thy God reigneth, advance toward the British isle. Yea, behold the heralds of the Redeemer, carrying in their hands the torch of everlasting truth, and in their hearts the zeal of the Lord of hosts, enter Wales, and commence their labors of love in Lianiltyd Vaw, in the vale of Glamorgan.
The names of the missionaries were Illtyd, Kyndaf, and Arwystly. While in Rome as prisoners of war, they were brought to the glorious liberty of the children of God, and became teachers of the Christian religion.
These missionaries of the cross became instrumental in turning many Britians from their ignorance to the knowledge of Christ; and Druids, not a few, became obedient to the faith.
The supposition that Paul preached the gospel in Britian is not altogether without foundation. About six years ago, 1829, a polished stone, of about eight feet in length, was found embosomed eight feet deep in the earth, near Llandilo Vawr, in Carmarthenshire, with this inscription upon it in the Welsh language: “Near this place has the -apostle Paul been preaching the gospel-A. D. 64.”
NOW FROM DAVIS’ HISTORY PAGES 19-20
Olchon, also is situated between mountains almost inaccessible. How many hundred years it had been inhabited by Baptists before William Erbury ever visited the place, we cannot tell. We have no account of him, or any other person, baptizing any before the time we know that there was a Baptist church there; that is in 1633. It is a -fact that cannot be controverted, that there were Baptists here at the commencement of the Reformation; and no man upon earth can tell when the church was formed, and who began to baptize in this little Piedmont. Whence came these Baptists? It is universally believed that it is the oldest church, but how old none can tell. We know that during the Reformation, in the reign of Charles the first, they had a minister named Howell Vaughan, quite a different sort of a Baptist from Erbury, Wroth, Vavasor Powell, and others, who were the great reformers, but had not reformed so far as they ought to have done, in the opinion of the Olchon Baptists. And that was not to be wondered at; for they had dissenters from the church of England, and probably brought some of her corruptions with them, but the mountain Baptists were not dissenters from that establishment. We know that the reformers were for mixed communion, but the Olchon Babtists received no such practices. In short, there were plain, strict, apostolical Baptists. They would have order and no confusion-the word of God their only rule. The, reformers, or the reformed Baptists who had been brought up in the established church, were for laying on of hands on the baptized, but these Baptists whom they found on the mountains of Wales were no advocates of it. As the Baptists of Piedmont were much disappointed in the reformation of Luther; so these appointed in the reformation of their Baptist brethren in Wales; not compromise matters with Austin. Indeed, they were so much like them, in many things too numerous to be mentioned, that they must have been a separate people, maintaining the order of the New Testament in every age and generation, from the year 63 to the present time.
Now quoting from Davis History of the Welsh Baptists page 83 – Olchon, was a regular Baptist church.
Olchon, where they generally met until the persecution when they had to draw towards the Black Mountains, and worship God under the canopy of heaven, as we have observed already. Several branches of this church have been formed in-to distinct churches, which has reduced her to narrow bounds, but still she abides as a mother among many daughters. Many were the trials through which she passed; many were the afflictions wherewith she was afflicted; and many and severe were the persecutions which she endured.
NOW QUOTING FROM DAVIS HISTORY OF THE WELSH BAPTISTS FROM PAGES 107-108. RHYDWILIM CHURCH CAME FROM OLCHON IN 1667
William Jones, an ejected minister, a prisoner for preaching the gospel of Christ, being convinced in the prison of Carmarthen, that believers’ baptism is the only baptism of the New Testament, as soon as he was liberated from the said prison, went immediately to Olchon, nearly one hundred miles, to be baptized. Returning to the neighborhood of Rhydwilim, (whence he was taken to prison in 1667,) in the warmest and most severe period of the bloody persecution, under that monster, (commonly called King Charles the second), he actually did baptize sixtynine persons in six weeks; which was the beginning of the Baptist church at that place. In a short time, eleven were added to them by baptism. On the 12th day of the 5th month, they were regularly formed into a church, by William Prichard, of Lianwenarth, and Thomas Watkins, of Olchon. On the 13th day of the same month, William Jones and Griffith Howell were chosen elders, and Morgan Ryttrerch, or Prittroe, and Llewellyn John, deacons.
NOW QUOTING FROM DAVIS HISTORY OF THE WELSH BAPTIST’S PAGES 72-73.
Welsh Tract came from Rhydwilim Church in the county Pembroke, South Wales.
Thomas Griffiths was born in 1646, in the parish of Llanfernach, county of Pembroke. He was baptized and be-came a member of the Church at Rhydwilim, in 1667. He resided at that time in the Parish of Melinau. He began to preach about the year 1683, and had to suffer his part of the dreadful persecution under Charles the second, for the space of eleven years. At first, the subject of his preaching were the perfections of the Deity, the beauty of creation, and man’s depravity and moral obligation: subjects which, however excell in themselves, and however well managed, are, nevertheless, not calculated to awaken the careless sinner from a state of carnal stupidity, any more than the thunders of Sinai and the damnation of hell. But when he directed the attention of his hearers to the lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world-to the incarnation, life, sufferings and death of Christ-his triumphant victory over the powers of hell, and His glorious resurrection from the grave-he often found himself so impressed, his heart so much warned and animated, attented with correspondent effects on his hearers, that the Spirit of God seemed to have descended with such astonishing energy, as to overpower all opposition, like a mighty torrent sweeping before it whatever comes in its way with irresistible force. In the year 1701, he and fifteen of the members of the church went to America in the same vessel. They formed themselves into a church at Milford, in the county of Pembroke, South Wales, and Thomas Griffiths became their pastor in the month of June, 1701. They embarked on board the ship James and Mary, and on the 8th day of September following, they landed at Philadelphia. The brethren there treated them courteously, and advised them to settle about Penepeck.
Thither they went, and there continued about a year and a half. During that time twentyone persons joined them, but finding it inconvenient to abide there, they purchased land in the county of Newcastle, and gave it the name of Welsh-tract, where they built a meeting house, and Thomas Griffiths labored among them as their pastor till he died on the 25th of July, 1725, aged 80 years. He was buried at Penepeck.
Reynold Howell, in a letter to Miles Harris, dated 1752, states, “that the Baptist church at Welsh-tract, under the pastoral care of Thomas Griffiths, was the first regularly formed church in the state of Pennsylvania.” In a letter from Samuel Jones to Caleb Evans, dated 1713, we are informed, “that T. Griffiths was of almost infinite service to the cause of Christ in that -region, not a man of popular talents.” Of the -fifteen that went over with him, two of them at least came up out of the fiery furnace of persecution. Griffith Nicholas and Jennet Davis.
NOW GENERAL HISTORY OF THE BAPTISTS BY DAVID BENEDICT, 1848 EDITION. PAGE 626.
Welsh Tract, in early times, held a respectable stand among the American Baptists; it was one of the five churches which formed the Philadelphia Association; its ministers were among the most active in all Baptist operations.
Baptist Encyclopedia, William Cathcart, 1883, page 1230:
Their principles soon spread in Delaware and into Pennsylvania and Maryland, and to Pedee River, S. C.
Henry C. Vedder says, ”the turning of the tide may be noted in the formation of the Welsh Tract Church, and the increase of its influence in the Philadelphia Association. The Baptists who came from Wales really determined the character of the Baptist denomination in America, and finally overcame the strong Arminian influence of New England. From 1742 the influence of the Philadelphia Association was paramount. Its missionary zeal was great; men closely connected with this body, and fully believing its Confession, became preachers of the gospel in New England, New York and the Carolinas. By the close of the century, the Calvinistic party was in the ascendency everywhere; it had completed its triumphs by the capture of the stronghold of Arminianism.
By the year 1800, forty-eight Associations had been organized among the Baptist churches of the United States, most of which were in a flourishing condition, active in evangelization, and powerfully promoting the unity, piety, and mutual acquaintance of the churches, systematizing their efforts and provoking one another to good works. They had proceeded, as we have seen, from a single center, the Philadelphia Association being the mother of them all.”
A History of the Baptists in the Middle States. By Henry C. Vedder published in Philadelphia in 1898, from pages 93-99-100.
Welsh-Neck Church was organized from Welsh Tract Church in the year 1737. This church was first called Pedee, from the circumstance of its being situated on the great Pedee River, 60 miles north of Georgetown; but when other branches were settled on the same river it became necessary to give this a more special name, and accordingly the compound name of WELSH-NECK was selected, which, descriptive of the people who founded the church, and of its local and peninsulated situation. This church originated in the following manner: In the year 1737, 30 members of the Welsh-Tract Church, which was then in the province of Pennsylvania, but now in the State of Delaware, arrived here, viz: James James, Esq., and wife and three sons, Philip, who was their minister, Abel, Daniel, and their wives. Daniel Devonald and wife, Thomas Evans and wife, one of the same name and his wife, John Jones and wife, three of the Harrys, Thomas, David and John and his wife, Samuel Wilds and wife, Samuel Evans and wife, Griffith Jones and wife, David and Thomas Jones and their wives. These thirty members, with their children and households, settled at a place called CATFISH, on Pedee River, but they soon removed about fifty miles higher up the same river, where they made a permanent settlement, and where they all, except James James, esq., who died at Catfish, were embodied into a church, January, 1738.
JAMES JAMES, ESQ., was the most distinguished of this company of emigrants, for he was the head of the party, and his son Philip became the pastor of the church. Of him, I can learn no more than he died at Catfish. His son Philip, the first pastor of the Welsh Neck Church, was born near Pennepeck, Pennsylvania, in 1701; he was ordained over the church in 1743, by Messrs. Chanler and Simmons, and died in 1753.
This company were all either native Welchmen or were the descendants of emigrants from that country, who had resided a while in Pennsylvania and Delaware before they emigrated to this southern location.
This was a substantial company of Baptist professors, and laid a foundation for a permanent and highly respectable community, which branched out in different directions. Which during the next century became the center from which thirty-eight Baptist Churches sprang, in the immediate vicinity.
Those Baptist baptized on profession of faith and repentance and they were Calvinistic in doctrine. This information was gathered from Baptist histories as follows:
WELSH BAPTIST HISTORY by J. Davis 1835, p. 125.
HISTORY OF THE BAPTIST by David Benedict 1848 edition, p. 704-705
HISTORY OF THE BAPTIST by Thomas Armitage 1886, P. 712-713
BAPTIST ENCYCLOPEDIA by William Cathcart 1883, p. 1231
David Benedict HISTORY OF THE BAPTIST 1820, p. 361
John Hightower, Alexander Devin and Joseph Logan were ministers of the Pedee River section of South Carolina. They also helped organize churches in South Carolina before they migrated to Southern Kentucky. According to the History of the South Carolina Baptist by Leath Townsend, pages 237-239-240.
I will now quote from the J. H. Spencer’s History of Kentucky Baptists vol. 1, from pages 322 to 325.
“The Kentucky Legislature had passed an act in 1795, by which a preemption right to two hundred acres of land was secured to each settler in the Green River country. This induced a large influx of immigrants from the southeast to settle in that region. Most of the early settlers along the southern border of the State were from the Carolinas. A settlement by people from these states was made on the waters of Drake’s Creek, in what are now Allen and Warren counties, as early as 1795. Among these were a number of Baptists, and two or three Baptist preachers. Here the first church in that part of Kentucky lying south of Green River, was founded.
Union church was located near the West Fork of Drake’s Creek, in Warren County. The preachers known to have settled early in that region were John Hightower, Alexander Devin and Joseph Logan. Some or all of these were probably the instruments in gathering this church. It was constituted sometime during the year 1796.
John Hightower was the first pastor of Union Church. He was an able and successful preacher, and a man of tireless zeal in the cause of his Master. He and Alexander Devin and Joseph Logan were instrumental in raising up most of the early churches in that region.
Mr. Hightower was a native of South Carolina, and spent the early years of his ministry in preaching among the Baptists of that state. In the year 1795, he and a number of others formed a settlement on the Middle Fork of Drake’s Creek in which is now Allen County. Here he spent the remainder of his days. As stated above, he and his fellow laborers gathered Union church in 1796. In 1798, he gathered Sulphur Spring church in Allen County, of which he became pastor. During the Great Revival, which began two years after this, his great zeal so carried him away that his feet were severely frost bitten. From this circumstance he was unable to walk for about a year. But as soon as he was able to sit in a chair, he made appointments for preaching at his house, and continued preaching with much fervor, sitting in his chair, till he was able to walk again. He was, badly crippled in his feet the remainder of his life, but continued to preach with zeal and faithfulness, till the Lord took him to himself, about the year 1823.
Alexander Devin was a co-laborer of Mr. Hightower in building up the first churches in Allen and Warren counties. He was also a strong doctrinal preacher, a man of fine talents and exerted a strong influence on society.
Mr. Devin was raised in South Carolina, where he spent some years in preaching the gospel. He came to Kentucky, and was one of the first settlers on the present territory of Allen county.
Joseph Logan was a native of Virginia. In young manhood, he moved to North Carolina, and married Annie Bias. Here also he obtained hope in Christ. He moved to South Carolina, where he was put into the ministry, and was, for some years, pastor of a church on Pedee River. The exact time of his coming to Kentucky is not known, but he aided in gathering Bethlehem, the second church formed in Allen County, Ky. This large old church, located two miles north of Scottsville, the county seat of Allen, was constituted by John Hightower, Alexander Devin and Joseph Logan, January 27, 1801, and Mr. Logan was immediately chosen its pastor.
I will give the charter members of Bethlehem Church from Spencer’s History Vol. II, page 532. Names of the following: James Atwood and his wife, Margaret, William Strait and his wife, Dorcas, William Thomas and his wife, Mary, Thomas Spillman and Polly Richey.
It was probably gathered by Joseph Logan and John Hightower. It was, at first, called the church on the head of Difficult, under which style it united with Green River Association, the same year it was constituted. At that time it numbered forty-eight members. The following year, it dismissed eight members, probably to go into the constitution of either Trammels Fork, or Lower Difficult, of which churches were constituted that year. In 1802, it was represented in Green River Association by Elder Joseph Logan (probably its pastor), William Strait, and William Thomas, and reported a membership of eighty-eight, thirty-two of whom had been received by experience and baptism, and twenty-one by letter, during the year. The church continued to prosper, under the preaching of Joseph Logan, John Hightower, Alexander Devin, Alexander Davidson and Samuel Greathouse.
Mt. Pleasant and Puncheon Camp, both constituted in 1804. Mt. Pleasant in Barren County. From this church Thomas Scrivner gathered Fountain Run church in 1829 and also Indian Creek in 1835. Spring Creek church was organized in 1849 from Puncheon Camp in Allen County and also Red Hill church was organized in 1925. For further information see J. H. Spencer’s HISTORY OF THE KENTUCKY BAPTISTS, Vol. I and II, published in 1885.
Now I will take up this trail of the Baptists again in Virginia from the Welsh Tract Church.
Mill Creek Church was constituted 1751 by Benjamin Miller, Samuel Heaton, Issac Sutton, David Thomas and John Gano. This was the first permanent Baptist influence in Virginia that were Regular Baptist by the Philadelphia Association. This Baptist influence spread through Va.
Rayland History of the Virginia Baptists pages 9-10; Benedict’s History, 1820 edition, pages 314-315; Benedict’s History, 1848 edition, page 643. Thomas Armitage’s History of the Baptists, page 727; Virginia Baptist Ministers, page 16, by James B. Taylor, 1838.
The First District Association composed wholly of Virginia Baptist churches was the Ketockton, organized Aug. 19, 1766. It comprised four churches, three of which had been dismissed from the Philadelphia Association-Baptist Encyclopedia, page 1195; Benedict’s History, 1848 edition, page 669.
The early Baptists of Kentucky were Welsh Baptists from Pennsylvania and Northern Virginia. From Benedict’s History of the Baptists pages 810-811. The church at Gilbert’s Creek was organized in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, under the pastoral charge of Lewis Craig, and removed in a colony to Glibert’s Creek, South of Kentucky River, according to Asplund, in 1783. At the close of 1785, there were three Associations, twelve churches, and thirteen ministers in Kentucky, and perhaps more. The ministers’ names, as recorded by Asplund were, Lewis Craig, Joseph Bledsoe, George S. Smith, Richard Cave, James Smith, James Rucker, Robert Elkin, John Taylor, William Taylor, James Tanner, John Bailey, Joseph Craig, and Ambrose Dudley.
“The Baptist emigration into this State was, in a great degree, from Virginia. A few families came from the Red Stone country in Western Pennsylvania, and a few more from New Jersey. This denomination was not only the earliest in preaching the gospel and forming churches, but for numbers and influence held the ascendancy for many years. It is still the most numerous, influential and wealthy denomination in the State.
“In 1785, the Baptists had become sufficiently numerous in Kentucky to form three Associations-the Elkhorn, in the region north of the Kentucky river, composed of three churches, Tate’s Creek, South Elkhorn, and Clear Creek.
The three churches organized in Kentucky in 1781 were all Calvinistic or the Regular Baptists. John T. Christian’s History of the Baptist. Page 291, Vol. II.
J.H. Spencer’s History of the Kentucky Baptist published in 1885. From Volume II, pages 7-8-9.
The Early Baptists in Middle Tennessee were from the Elkhorn Association of Kentucky.
NOW QUOTING FROM SPENCER’S HISTORY, FROM VOLUME I, PUBLISHED IN 1885-PAGE 570.
In every association, where a missionary enterprise was proposed, it met with universal favor. In the early period of the first churches, planted on the soil of Kentucky, missionaries were sent to the surrounding country. The oldest church in what was then called West (now middle) Tennessee, was constituted by Ambrose Dudley and John Taylor. These ministers, in 1791, traveled through a wilderness, on horseback, nearly two hundred miles, where they were constantly exposed to destruction by the Indians, to establish the Redeemer’s cause in this remote settlement. John Sutton and James Sutton were afterward sent, in turn, by Elkhorn Association, to minister to this church.
NOW FROM BENEDICT’S HISTORY OF THE BAPTIST’S,
1848 EDITION, PAGE 799.
The oldest church in this part of the state which maintained its existence, was formed at the mouth of Sulphur Fork River, in 1791. It was constituted by the assistance of elders Ambrose Dudley and John Taylor, from the Elkhorn Association, in Kentucky. These ministers, by the request of the brethren in this place, traveled not far from two hundred miles, mostly through a wilderness where they were continually exposed to be destroyed by the Indians.
This church at first was called Tennessee, now Red River; it united with the Elkhorn Association, where it continued until the Metro District Association was formed. This church remained alone in the wilderness, having no other within more than a hundred miles of it, until 1794, when that on White’s Creek, or New Bethel in Davidson County; Station Camp or El Bethel was organized about 1796.
In or about 1790, such men as Daniel Brown, Joseph Dorris, Nathan Dudley and John Taylor from Kentucky. The Baptist cause prospered and five churches were organized in a few years. From this came the first Baptist Association in Middle Tennessee.
Metro District Association was organized in 1796 by messengers from the following churches: Mouth of Sulphur Fork now Red River, White Creek now New Bethel, Head of Sulphur Fork, Middle Sulhpur Fork and Station Camp or El Bethel. In 1797 Metro District received Richland Creek, Mill Creek near Nashville.
Mouth of Sulphur Fork was at first located at Port Royal in the present Montgomery County eastward from what is now Clarksville. Its minutes say that it was organized July 25, 1791 by Ambrose Dudley and John Taylor. Later called Fort Meeting House and then Red River, it finally moved to Adams, Tennessee, where it still carries on for the Lord. This is from Early Tennessee Baptists’ History by O. W. Taylor, pages 98-99.
An arm was extended from El Bethel to Dixon’s Creek in the summer of 1799. From Benedict’s History of the Baptists, the 1848 edition, page 802.
The Dixon’s Creek church is the only one in this extensive community of which I have had any historical information; it was planted in 1800; its pastors, from the beginning, have been D. Burford, M. West, J. Buck, and Rev. John Wiseman, now in office; he assumed the pastoral care of this people in 1809; of course his pastorship has been almost forty years.
The foundation of this old establishment was laid while as yet the red men of the forest had hardly left the ground. This church stood alone in the wilderness for many years; her progress, however, was onward, and from her have been formed wholly, or is part, most of the sister communities with which she is now surrounded.
Deacon William Martin and a sister of his era are the only members now living who were in the original constitution. A letter of Wm. Martin, 1846. This is from Benedict’s History of the Baptists, 1848 edition, page 802.
The rest will be quoted from J. H. Grime’s History of the Middle Tennessee Baptists. Published in 1902, from page 357.
This old church sent out the following churches: Hogan’s Creek, 1810, Hillsdale 1817, Shady Grove 1846, GoodWill 1891, with perhaps others.
Grime’s History, page 338-Liberty Church in Macon county. It was organized from Hillsdale in 1822. This church has been called the mother of churches and preachers. Among the colonies sent out to form new ,churches we note the following:
Lafayette, 1849, Grime, page 362
Bethany, 1851, Grime, page 358
Union No. II, 1852, Grime, page 341
Enon, 1854, Grime, page 365
Antioch, 1874, Grime, page 368
The foregoing has been written to prove that most of the Baptist churches in this vicinity of Tennessee and Southern Kentucky can trace their succession back to the Welsh Baptists and from there back to Apostolic times. The information thus far has been taken from Baptist Historians.
Leaders of various religious denominations write in regard to Baptist Antiquity.
Mr. Alexander Campbell, in his debate with McCalla, on page 65, says: We can show, that from earliest times, there has existed a people, whom no man can number, that have earnestly and consistently contended for the true faith once delivered to the saints.” On page 378 he says: from the Apostolic Age to the present time, the sentiments of Baptists and their practice of baptism have had a continued chain of advocates and public monuments of their existence in every century can be produced.
Mr. Campbell, in his debate with Walker, page 262, says: “The Baptists can trace their origin to the apostolic times, and produce uneqivocal testimony of their existence in every century down to the present time.”
Mosheim declares that these Baptists existed “before the rise of Luther and Calvin, ” and before the dawn of the reformation,” and hence the idea that the Baptists originated with either Roger Williams or John Smith, is forever exploded by the testimony of this great Lutheran.
Professor John Clark Ridpath (Methodist), says: “I should not readily admit that there was a Baptist Church as far back as A. D. 100, though without doubt there were Baptists then, as all Christians were Baptists then.
Edinburg Encyclopedia (Presbyterian) says: “It must have already occurred to our readers that the Baptists are the same sect of Christians that were described as Anabaptist. Indeed this seems to have been their leading principles from the time of Tertullian to the present time.” Tertullian was born just fifty years after the death of the Apostle John.
THE SOUTHERN MESSENGER, the Catholic paper of Texas replying to a query of THE BAPTIST STANDARD, it said, in its issue of July 1, 1897: “If we speak of Baptist, we mean that sect known nowadays as Paptists with their present teachings and practices. But if by Baptist are understood all those sects of past ages which have, under various names, been opposed to the Catholic church, and which may have had one or the other teachings or practice in common with the present Baptists, then, of course, the Baptist sect may be traced back to Apostolic times, as sects there always have been.”
Cardinal Hosius, a learned Catholic, who was chairman of the Council of Trent, speaking of the Baptists, says: “If the truth of religion were to be judged of by the readiness and cheerfulness which a man of any sect shows in suffering, then the opinions and persuasions of NO SECT CAN BE TRUER OR SURER THAN TOSE OF THE ANABAPTISTS, since there have been none for THESE TWELVE HUNDRED YEARS PAST that have been more greviously punished.”
By Woodrow Carter, Route 4, Lafayette, Tenn.