The first winter in Kentucky, I took shelter in Lewis Craig's station, on Gilbert's Creek, south of Kentucky River, where my wife had some relations - soon after, my son Ben was born - whether from the many frights, my wife took on the journey, or some other cause, is unknown - but when there was a call for a midwife, the alarm was such to her, that she went perfectly out of her reason, with violent convulsive fits which continued about twenty four hours, in which time she was delivered, but to this day does not know that Ben is her son, but from circumstances and information. This with other things much embittered Kentucky to me; through this alarming crisis, the life of my wife was so despaired of, that all hope was gone, though I sent for a physician, every thing appeared so hopeless, that he soon left the place despairing of any relief, but when all human aid failed, God Himself afforded help, and she was restored, and nothing of the kind has ever attended her since in similar cases. The first opportunity I had I gave my membership to the Church at Gilberts Creek - this had been one of the travelling Churches from Virginia to Kentucky - Lewis Craig, with a great number of the members of his church in Spotsylvania had moved to Kentucky, as I have been told, they were constituted, when they started, and was an organized Church on the road - wherever they stoped [sic] they were a house keeping at once; just before I got to Kentucky, Craig with a number of others had left Gi1berts Creek, and moved to South Elkhorn and set up a Church there - the remnant left of Gilberts Creek, kept up Church order - it was this remnant I united with, among them was George Smith, commonly called Stokes Smith, a valuable preacher - Richard Cave, then an ordained Minister - William Cave, who afterwards became a very good preacher and many other valuable members. I found with the
clerk of Gilbert's Creek Church, the old Church book from Spotsylvania, that was of about twenty years standing. It is probable the clerk of that old Church in Virginia, had brought that book with him to Kentucky; I was much amused at times in looking over the records of this old book - the curiosity of their decisions, a mere cap border or garments, cut in any but a plain style, was matter of complaint and expulsion - one I remember was entered by a preacher against sister such a one, for delusion, without any other explanation. This delusion whatever it might be, cost this sister her membership - all this manifested the great zeal the Baptists had in early times against the appearance of sin - it has also taught me ever since, the great care Churches should take in their records, that nothing foolish should be committed to record, or at least the whole made so explicit that after ages may understand it, and not be compelled to use them as the books of curious arts by putting them into the fire. This George S. Smith was a man of great respectability as a man, and much of a doctrinal preacher, simplicity and plainness attended his whole course - his preaching operated but sparingly on the passions of his hearers, for though his voice was strong and sonorous, yet lacking that soft melody, as a Gibbeonite in the house of God, he was better calculated to hew wood than to draw water - He continued preaching on with zeal and usefulness, for about twenty years in Kentucky, and died in the Pastoral care of a large Church in Jessamine county called Mount pleasant.
A temporary stay of about seven months, at Gilbert's Creek, I moved to the north side of the Kentucky River, about two miles from John Craig's station, on Clear Creek, now Woodford county; soon after, George Stokes Smith and chief of the members at Gilbert's Creek also moved to the north side of Kentucky; and a separate Baptist church being set up at Gilbert's Creek by Joseph Bledsoe, the old
Church became dissolved And the separate Baptists chiefly took possession of the south side of the Kentucky River - I now moved to Woodford count, in the summer of 1784 and rather than go into the fort settled on my own land, with no family between me and the Indian towns, and in the height of war, but we were not long in much danger, for the next winter the people settled out so that we soon began to hold night meetings, at our little cabins in the woods, our Sunday preaching was uniformly at the station, I now began to reflect seriously on my situation; for some time we had to pack com forty miles, and then send a mile to grind at a hand mill, before we could get bread; as to meat, it must come from the woods, and myself no hunter; I would at times go out with hunters and they with the common generosity of hunters would admit me to share in the profits so far as meat went, soon after I settled in my little cabin (sixteen feet square, with no floor but the natural earth, without table, bedstead, or stool) I found that an old buck had his lodge a few hundred steps from my cabin among the nettles, high as a man's shoulders, and interlocked with peavines; those nettles, the next winter we found very useful, in getting the lint, and with the help of Buffaloe wool, made good clothing for our black people - however, I went many mornings to visit this old buck lodge, hoping to get a shot at him. I could some times see him but had not the skill to get hold of him - but I at length got a fIfe at him and accidentally shot him through the heart, this was a greater treat to my family than the largest bullock I have ever killed since, for he was large and very fat. Embarrassed as my worldly circumstances were, the face of things as to religion gave me more pain of mind; there were a number of Baptists scattered about, but we all seemed cold as death - every body had so much to do that religion was scarcely talked of, even on Sundays, all our meetings seemed only the name of the thing, with but little of
the spirit of devotion - In short, we were such strangers to each other, that confidence was lacking for want of more acquaintance, and our common calls were such that we had no time to become acquainted - Kentucky felt to me now, as the Quails did to the Hebrews, who ate of them till they were loathsome and returned back through their noses. There was but one Church now on the north side of Kentucky [River], and this was south Elkhorn, where Lewis Craig had the pastoral care; Perhaps in the month of August 1784 I became a member of south Elkhorn Church where I was brought under the pastoral care of Lewis Craig, who was now in the prime of life, as to the gospel ministry, of the age of between forty and fifty. Mr. Craig is yet living and about eighty three years old, he is one of the old gospel veterans in Virginia, who often suffered imprisonment there for the crime of preaching repentance to sinners.
[From John Taylor, A History of Ten Baptist Churches, 1823; reprint, 1968, pp. 41-44. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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