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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Isaac traveling west

Early Life and Family
Isaac Reed – also known as Isaac Hines Reed[1] – was born June 6, 1776 in Pendleton, Anderson County, South Carolina, the son of Nathaniel and Elizabeth Reed.[2] On September 17, 1797, while still living in South Carolina, Isaac married Elizabeth Harper. This couple sired at least eight children: William B. (1798 – 1863, m. Sarah Wright), John H. (d. before 6 Nov 1848, m. Nancy Louise Hines),[3] Samuel A. (b. ca. 1806 – d. ca. 1876, m. Hannah Hines), Margarete (1808 – 1856, m. William Roark), Elizabeth Reed (1812 – 1850, m. Hugh Shepherd), Isaac, Jr. (1814 – 1837, m. Pricilla Herrin), Frances “Frankie” (1821-1861, m. John Morris), and Mary (m. Awalt?, Sweatt?).[4] Isaac’s “Last Will and Testament” mentions all eight of these children.[5]

Two Isaac Reeds (spelled Read) are in Pendleton District, South Carolina in 1800. Isaac Read # 420 was enumerated in Pendleton District, South Carolina in 1800. His family consisted of one white male under 10, one white male 16 thru 25, one white female under 10, and one white female 16 thru 25, a total of four household members. Isaac Read #931 was also enumerated in Pendleton District, South Carolina in 1800. His family consisted of two white males under 10, one white male 16 thru 25, and one white female 16 thru 25, a total of four household members.

An Isaac Reed of Lincoln County bought land on Farris Creek of Elk River in Lincoln County, from William Polk of Wake County, North Carolina, May 29, 1811.[6]

An Isaac Reed was enumerated in Franklin County, Tennessee, August 7, 1820. This family consisted of one white male 26 to 44, one white female 26 to 44, one white female over 45, two white females 10 to 15, one white female under 10, two white males 18 to 25, one white male 16 to 18, and 2 two white males under 10. At this time, Isaac and Elizabeth had five sons and three daughters and owned two slaves, for a total in the census of eleven white persons and two slaves.

Isaac moved west in Tennesse before turning toward the old Southwest and Texas. Several sources suggest this, and the 1830 Henderson County, Tennessee census agree.s

A Mrs. Luttrell believed that Isaac Reed was in the western district when he started the Clear Creek Baptist Church in McNairy County, Tennessee.

The Clear Creek Church of Christ was constituted about the year 1827 or 1828 by Isaac Reed and Silas Grinder, a deacon in the church. Both of these men came from Williamson or Henderson County, Tenn, with about 11 charter members.[7]

Z. N. Morrell relates knowing him in the western district of Tennessee.

With Elder Reed I was personally acquainted, and labored with him in the western district of Tennessee. He there served as moderator of an association; many baptisms and large success attended his ministry there.[8]

Joseph Bodkin Link, probably depending on Z. N. Morrell as his source, wrote,

REV. ISAAC REED came from the western district of Tennessee and located nine miles north of Nacogdoches in 1834.[9]

William and Margaret Roark (Isaac’s son-in-law and daughter) were members of “The Baptist Church of Christ at Hurricane” in Henderson County, Tennessee, when they called for a letter of dismission in the fall of 1834. Samuel A. Reed was church clerk.

State of Tennessee Henderson County
The Baptist Church of Christ at Hurricane
To all to whome these presents may come Greeting
   Where as our beloved Brother and Sister William Roark and Margaret Roark his wife being about to remove from this place has applied to use for a Letter of Dismission – Therefore this is to certify that they are Members with us in full fellow Ship and good Standing and at their request is dismissd from us in order to Join any other Church of our faith and order
   Done in Church conference on Saturday before the first Lords day in September 1834.
Samuel A. Reed, C. clk.[10]

An Isaac Read was enumerated in Henderson County, Tennessee, in 1830. This family consisted of one white male 50 to 60, one white female 50 to 60, one white female 5 to 10, and one white male 15 to 20. At this time, Isaac and Elizabeth owned seven slaves, for a total in the census of eleven persons – four white persons and two slaves.[11] Another Isaac Read was enumerated in Henderson County that year, which may or may not be Isaac, Jr. This household consisted of one white male 30 to 40, one white female 20 to 30, three white females under 5, one white female 5 to 10, one white male under 5, one white male 10 to 15, and no slaves.[12] A John Read is on the same page with the senior Isaac, whose household consisted of one white male 20 to 30, one white female 20 to 30, one white female under 5, one white male under 5, one white male 15 to 20, and no slaves.[13] The other John Read is in the 40 to under 50 years age category, which would seem too old to be Isaac’s son.[14] The names William Read, Samuel Read, William Roark and Hugh Shepherd – sons and sons-in-law of Isaac – also show up in the 1830 Henderson County Census.[15]

Early Ministry
In 1808, Isaac Reed was ordained to the ministry. The Hopewell Baptist Church of Franklin County, Tennessee set apart Isaac Reed for the work of the ministry on March 19, 1808.  Beneath is the text of his ordination certificate (which has been preserved by one of his descendants in Texas):[16]

The State of Tennessee.
Franklin County.
Hopewell Baptist Church.
These are to certify that we being duly called as a Presbytery have examined into the character and call and qualifications of our Beloved Brother Isaac Read and with the consent of the Church to which he belongs have by prayer and imposition of hands set him apart of the work of the Ministry and he is hereby authorized to exercise himself in the several parts of the Ministerial function where he in the Providence of God may be called whether stately or occasionly.
Given under our hands this nineteenth day of March one thousand eight hundred and eight.
John Davis
Abraham Hargis
George Foster
Wm. Jennings[17]

Reed helped form the Boiling Fork Church on August 19, 1808, and apparently participated in constituting the Elk River Baptist Association. The Homecoming ’86 History of the Elk River Valley records the following item from an article by Betty A. Bridgewater in the Coffee County Historical Quarterly, Vol. XI, No. 2, 1980, pp. 1-3 and p. 12 – which in turn was taken from the history of the Elk River Association of Baptists that was printed in the Minutes of the 101st Annual Session of the Elk River Association (held at Elk River Church in Coffee County on September 11-12 1908).

An account of the Elk River Association of Baptists formed the 20th of August 1808:
On the 10th of October 1806, Bro. George Foster settled on the head of Elk River from the state of Kentucky. He formed the Hopewell Church in 1807. In the fall of 1807, Bethel Church on the south fork of Duck River was constituted by John Davis, James Walker, and George Foster; on 29 March 1808, Bethlahem Church was formed by the same men, and Boiling Fork Church on 19 August 1808 by Elder John Davis, Issac Reed, and George Foster. These four churches together with the Elk River Church met together by their delegates at Hopewell Meeting House on 19 August 1808. After services they were enrolled with George Foster and William Gotcher the delegates named from the Elk River Church. Other names noted which are familiar in pre-Coffee County records were Dutton Sweeten, John Lane, and Bro. William Keel. The following day the group of delegates agreed to unite and form an association, to be known as the “Elk River Association.”[18]

Elder Isaac Reed preached at Clear Creek Church in McNairy County circa 1831. Thomas Sanders, Sr. “united with God’s people at Clear Creek Baptist church, and was baptized by Elder Isaac Reed, when he was about fifty two years old.”[19]

Isaac Reed helped constitute at least the following Baptist Churches.[20]

Year     Date                 Name and Place
1808    August 19        Boiling Fork, Franklin County, Tennessee
1827    (circa)              Clear Creek, McNairy County, Tennessee
1838    May 6               Union (now Old North), Nacogdoches County, Texas
1839                            Buena Vista, Buena Vista near Timpson, Shelby County, Texas[21]
1843    Sept 23             Bethel, Reeds Settlement, Harrison (now Panola) County, Texas
                                                * Bethel Baptist Church (white) Clayton, Texas
                                                * Old Bethel Baptist Church (black) Clayton, Texas
1843                            Border, Harrison County, Texas perhaps in the Jonesville vicinity
1844                            Mount Olive (now Old Palestine), Cherokee County, Texas
1845    April 5             Macedonia, Harrison (now Panola) County, Texas
1845                            Eight-Mile (now Friendship) Harrison County, Texas

Isaac Reed participated in the constitution of at least three associations.

Year                             Name and Place
1821                            Mud Creek Association in Alabama[22]
1826                            Duck River Association in Tennessee
1843                            Sabine Association in Texas

Isaac Reed was ordained in March of 1808, and likely participated in the organization of the Elk River Association of Tennessee, but I have found no clear statement of that fact. It was formed August 20, 1808, one day after Isaac Reed helped found the Boiling Fork Church.[23]



[1] All older records I found give only “Isaac Reed,” but family historians/genealogists give his full name as Isaac Hines Reed. Some spell his given name as “Issac” – e.g. Remembering Two Baptist Pioneer Preachers of Texas, Della Tyler Key, Sidney F. Alford, Lubbock, TX: Dennis Brothers, 2009
[2] Some genealogists give the name of the mother of Isaac as Elizabeth, others as Hephzibah. The latter claim seems to be incorrectly based on his parents being Nathan Reed and Hephzibah Bateman of New England.
[3] Isaac’s will mentions “the heirs of my son John H. Reed,” suggesting John is already deceased by November 23, 1848. A legal notice in the West Tennessee Whig (Friday, January 18, 1850, p. 3) indicates John was deceased by November 6, 1848. The Henderson County Court appointed an administrator for his estate at that time. Perhaps Isaac did not know whether John is still living, since John did not move to Texas – or just that he did not know how many heirs John had and so did not name them. In the case of Isaac, Jr., the will specifically mentions he is deceased. The children of Isaac, Jr. are mentioned in the will – Abner, Samuel, Lemuel, James, and Keziah. The children of John are not named. John is John Harper Reed, born perhaps March 12, 1806 in Franklin County, Tennessee (according to some Reed family genealogists). Some also assert that John died October 1835 at Winchester, Franklin, Tennessee, but this is incorrect. John H. Reed lived and pastored churches in Henderson County after 1835. This John Reed married Nancy Louisa Hines. Find-A-Grave lists John H. Reed, Jr. at Mt. Bethel Cemetery in Panola County as their child. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/17859117/john-h_-reed
[4] An Edward Sweatt is listed on an 1850 Panola County agricultural schedule with many others in the Reed Settlement area – including John Morris, Elijah Allred, Stephen Allred, Samuel Pike, Purvince Williams, and Thomas Allison. “George Sweit” and “Edwin Sweit” are founding members of the Bethel Church in 1843 (Bethel Baptist Church, Church Bulletin, September 24, 1989).
[5] “Book A, Panola County Final Records and Estates,” as printed in East Texas Family Records, Vol. 7, No. 3, Fall 1983, pages 27-29. Some sources say the Mary Reed who married Henry Awalt was a daughter of Isaac Reed. Awalt was a charter member of Bethel Church. Other sources say she was a daughter of William B. Reed, therefore granddaughter of Isaac. According to birth dating based on censuses, Mary Awalt would be too old to be the daughter of William B. Reed. Since Mary Awalt is not mentioned in Isaac’s will, the latter is probably correct. On the other hand, the will at East Texas Family Records is a transcription, and perhaps “Awalt” was incorrectly transcribed as “Sweatt.”
[6] “Middle Tennessee Connections,” compiled by Dorothy Williams Potter, in The Middle Tennessee Journal of Genealogy & History, Volume XV, Number 2, Fall 2001, p. 59 (Lincoln County, Tennessee, Deed Book B, p. 4.)
[7] Clear Creek Missionary Baptist Church Minutes, 1827-1874, Transcribed by Nancy Wardlow Kennedy, 2004, p. 17. Silas Grider (rather than Grinder) can be found in the 1830 and 1840 Henderson County, Tennessee censuses.
[8] Flowers and Fruits from the Wilderness, Z. N. Morrell, Boston, MA: Gould and Lincoln, 1872, p. 185.
[9] Texas Historical and Biographical Magazine, J. B. Link, (Volume 1, 1891, as found in The Baptist Standard Bearer, Inc. Version 1.0, 2005).
[10] Transcription of handwritten document in the Sabine Baptist Association file, “The Texas Collection,” Baylor University.
[11] U. S. Federal Census, Henderson County, Tennessee, 1830, p. 85, on Ancestry.com.
[12] Ibid, p. 90.
[13] Ibid, p. 85.
[14] Ibid, p. 89.
[15] Ibid, pp. 77, 81, 104.
[16] Owned by Mrs. J. A. Knight of Conroe, Texas, a great-granddaughter, in 1923; Carroll, p. 119. Mrs. Knight had a notarized transcription of this certificate made in 1936, which copy resides in “The Texas Collection” at Baylor University’s archives. J. M. Carroll writes, “The first definite record we have of him is found in his ordination papers. In the possession of Mrs. J. A. Knight, of Conroe, Texas, is an old book—a copy of the New Testament—given to Elder Reed by a Mrs. Bullard of Harrison County, back in the thirties or forties. Under the sheepskin cover of that book is the original copy of Reed’s ordination paper. Mrs. Knight is a great-granddaughter of that early pioneer preacher.” A History of Texas Baptists (Dallas, TX: Baptist Standard Publishing Company, 1923, p. 119).
[17] This transcription attempts to follow the one in “The Texas Collection.” Others have made adaptations of punctuation, capitalization, spelling, and abbreviations.
[18] Homecoming ’86 History of the Elk River Valley (Pelham Valley) of Grundy County, TN, compiled by Arlene Partin Bean, Janelle Layne Coats, Manchester, TN: Beaver Press, 1986, pp. 100-101 | 
[19] Clear Creek was in McNairy County. The baptism occurred circa 1831, since Sanders died Sept 14 1848 at age 69 years. “Obituary Notices,” Tennessee Baptist (Nashville, Tennessee) Thursday, October 12, 1848, p. 3
[20] Bethel, Border, Macedonia, and Eight-Mile with Lemuel Herrin.
[21] This seems to be a traditional date passed down. I am not aware of any 19th-century records that demonstrate it.
[22] “This Association was organized on the third Saturday in November, A. D. 1821. Delegates from nine churches convened at Mud Creek meeting-house, Jackson County, Ala., and after a sermon had been delivered by Elder Isaac Reed from Joel, second chapter and part of first verse (“Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, sound an alarm in my holy mountain”), they chose Elder Isaac Read Moderator, and brother Josiah Cann Clerk.” – History of the Church of God, Cushing Biggs Hassell, Sylvester Hassell, Middletown, NY: Gilbert Beebe’s Sons, 1886, p. 887. In contrast, David Benedict gives its organization as 1825. This appears to be a misunderstanding of what Hosea Holcombe wrote in A History of the Rise and Progress of the Baptists in Alabama (Philadelphia, PA: King and Baird, 1840, pp. 291-292). Holcombe did not give their date of organization, but only gave their number of churches and members in 1825.
[23] Benedict dates Elk River to 1806, but this must be in error. Elk River’s minutes of 1901 state that the Boiling Fork Church was in the organization of the Elk River Association, and Boiling Fork did not exist in 1806. See A General History of the Baptist Denomination in America, David Benedict, New York, NY: Lewis Colby and Company, 1848, p. 803.

Monday, November 11, 2019

The order of repentance and faith

The sequential order of faith and repentance evidently makes a fun and fine debating point. Some of the debate is substantial, and other of it is peripheral.

All Campbellites and some Baptists put faith before repentance, citing that knowledge must come first before one came repent. “It’s just common sense,” they say. I am satisfied to be a simpleton in this regard. I accept the order that repentance and faith are placed in the scriptures rather than submit it to human logic for what must be first. Our Lord’s own preaching (e.g. Mark 1:15-16) places repentance before faith. In Matthew 21:32 and 2 Timothy 2:25 repentance is in order to believing and acknowledging the truth. One must also be careful to distinguish the belief of accepting facts that are truth, and the belief of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Cf. James 2:19. Often those who put faith before repentance only mean believing facts when they speak of faith.

These scriptures put repentance before faith:
  • Matthew 21:32 For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.
  • Mark 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
  • Acts 19:4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
  • Acts 20:21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • 2 Timothy 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
  • Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote, “There must be faith in general before you can repent, because if you do not believe certain things about God, you do not act upon it, and there is no repentance. But I am referring to faith in the special sense of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. In that case, repentance comes before faith and Paul puts them in that order: ‘Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.’”

“Why must repentance come first? Well, you will find that it always comes first in Scripture…Repentance is of necessity the first message, and it surely must be. It is Scriptural, yes, but Scripture also enables us to reason. Let me put it to you like this: Why should men and women believe on the Lord Jesus Christ? It is no use just asking them to believe in Christ. They are entitled to ask, ‘Why should I believe in Him?’ That is a perfectly fair question. And people do not see any need or necessity for believing in the Lord Jesus Christ if they do not know what repentance is. Of course, you may be inviting them to Christ as a helper, or as a friend, or as a healer of the body, but that is not Christian conversion. No, no, people must know why they must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Law is our schoolmaster (Gal 3:24) to bring us there, and the Law works repentance.”

Saving faith should not be reduced to a mere assent to correct facts. Beyond that, the repentance of faith and the faith of repentance are “inseparable graces” neither readily nor easily separated in a time sequence.

Repentance and Faith

The Campbellite reverses the order in which these two come. He puts faith before repentance. And with his views of faith as an intellectual assent, and of repentance as a mere outward reformation, this is natural. But to the Baptist, to whom repentance and faith strike far deeper, to whom they are inward and spiritual, not outward and mechanical, to whom they are intense exercises of the soul, not mere acts-to the Baptist it is an utter absurdity and an absolute impossibility that faith should come before repentance. I am talking, of course, about saving faith and saving repentance; repentance and faith in the plan of salvation. Without repentance, until the person has experienced a sorrow for his sins which has led to a change of mind, he will not want a Savior, he will feel no need of him. No one will send for a physician until he is sick, and realizes his sickness. But a stronger reason than this why repentance precedes faith is found in the fact that whenever in the New Testament the two are mentioned together the order is invariably repentance first, and faith second. This surely was no accident.
Edgar E. Folk, 1900

[Folk: “The word Campbellite is not intended to be used in this article in any offensive sense, but to designate the followers of Alexander Campbell, sometimes called Christians, or Disciples, or Reformers, or by various other names. The name Campbellite, however, is the only name by which they are universally recognized, and the only one without ambiguity.”]

Sunday, November 10, 2019

My Friend

An interesting poem I ran across, “My Friend,” by D. J. Higgins. It is built on the motif of the condemned blaming a Christian friend who never spoke of Jesus Christ to him. I do not believe people will stand before God and point fingers at others – each must answer for his or her own sins. This is nevertheless a way to make the point “you never mentioned him to me.” Are we really friends to our friends? Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.

My friend, I stand in judgment now,
And feel that you’re to blame somehow.
On this earth I walked with you day by day,
And never did you point the way.

You knew the Lord in truth and glory,
But never did you tell the story.
My knowledge then was very dim,
You could have led me safe to Him.

Though we lived together here on earth,
You never told me of your second birth.
And now I stand this day condemned,
Because you failed to mention Him.

You taught me many things, that’s true;
I called you friend and trusted you.
But now I learned, now it’s too late,
You could have kept me from this fate.

We walked by day and talked by night,
And yet you showed me not the light.
You let me live, love and die,
You knew I’d never live on high.

Yes, I called you “friend” in life,
And trusted you in joy and strife.
Yet in coming to this dreadful end,
I cannot now call you “my friend.”

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Paul was as zealous, and other quotes

The posting of quotes by human authors does not constitute agreement with either the quotes or their sources. (I try to confirm the sources that I give, but may miss on occasion; please verify when possible.)

"Paul was as zealous when a persecuting Saul, as when a preaching Paul." -- Daniel Parker

"What one generation believes, the next generation assumes, and the third generation denies." -- Heard

"I shall not deny the truth, because the Devil happened to tell it." -- Daniel Parker

"The saints have no extra credits." -- Martin Luther

"No man has the right to call into question anything God does." -- Jonas Sikes

"Sometimes we are sorry for what we have done, and sometimes we are only sorry that we got caught."

"There are three things that return not: the word spoken, the arrow sped, the opportunity lost." -- Rufus C. Burleson

"If you want to marry a good person, go where good people go." -- Curtis Owen

"Let not Christians be moved from a patient continuance in well doing by harsh criticisms from those who understand not." -- Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John

"A word of advice to my own heart and thine. Thou art a professor, and partaketh of all ordinances. Thou dost well; they are glorious privileges. But if thou hast not the blood of Christ at the root of thy profession, it will wither, and prove but painted pageantry to go to hell in." -- Thomas Wilcox

"Love that goes upward is worship; love that goes outward is affection; love that stoops is grace." -- Donald Barnhouse

"Humility and thankfulness sleep in the same bed. A thankless heart is a true companion of pride, while a humble heart is always befriended by gratitude. This is why you would always want beggars at your feast. The prim and proper turn up their noses at everything. But the beggars cheer for every dish." -- Charles Spurgeon, “The Great Banquet of Grace”

Friday, November 08, 2019

“Admirers of Campbell giving us trouble”

In his documentary history Flowers and Fruits from the Wilderness (page 189), Elder Z. N. Morrell wrote of early Baptist problems in East Texas.
While in the association and among the churches west of the Brazos the admirers of Alexander Campbell were giving us trouble, the brethren east of the Trinity were suffering sorely in consequence of the anti-missionary element.[i]
Morrell would continue by writing concerning the Sabine Baptist Association, “The anti-missionary and free-will elements, went off into small and separate organizations.” Further, he notes in the minutes of the Free Will Missionary Baptist Association of October 1850, “that it met with the Ayish Bayou church, in San Augustine County, Elder G. W. Slaughter as moderator.” Morrell makes no further mention of G. W. Slaughter. Nevertheless, Slaughter abandoned the “free-will elements” and became a leading minister and missionary in the Baptist State Convention of Texas.[ii]

Morrell seems unaware that “the admirers of Alexander Campbell were giving us trouble” in East Texas as well. However, that is exactly what was happening in Sabine and San Augustine counties. The leading men appear to be Peter Eldridge and G. W. Slaughter, though joined for a time with B. E. Lucas and B. F. Burroughs. At least Slaughter and Lucas were Methodists who had been converted to Baptist views on baptism. All four were members of the Jackson Masonic Lodge near Milam near Sabine County. Jesse Witt, a recent missionary arrival to San Augustine, sensed a problem.
In the spring of 1848 Benjamin F. Burroughs asked that Southern Baptist missionary Jesse Witt assist in ordaining Slaughter and two other men, J. B. Packer and R. Meador [or Meadow]. Witt initially consented and spent the night at Slaughter’s house along with Packer and Meador and examined them. The next morning he declared that he could take no part in the ordination, “saying to them almost with tears in his eyes, that they were as rotten in doctrine as rotten could be.” He did not mean to hurt their feelings and loved them dearly as Christians, but “went back to church and preached for them with great warmth and feeling.” Much to the surprise of the church and the whole county, Witt talked with them freely about their “Open public advocacy of apostasy and open communion,” and “told them he was conscientious in the matter, and could not participate in their ordination.” Since all the church members were unfamiliar with church rules they were critical of Witt because they knew no better at the time.[iii]
Strangely, Witt nevertheless spoke of the exclusion of the open communionists from the Sabine Association in a derogatory manner. He noted this gave the “antis” a majority to control the association.
I attended the meeting of the Sabine Association last week. This body was composed of churches, some of which  were missionary in sentiment, others anti-missionary, and some open communionists. The latter were excluded. This gave the anties a majority, who, forthwith declared non-fellowship with all missionaries, Masons, Sons of Temperance, &c., &c.[iv]
Witt was generally critical of East Texas churches, at least the ones with which he was familiar. He wrote, “I have not found one church, thus far, in a wholesome condition.” He found “errors in doctrine and disorder in practice.”[v] Doubtless, some of Witt’s criticisms of East Texas reflected his own prejudices. However, it will become abundantly clear that most Baptists found general disorder in the churches associated with the Eldridge-and-Slaughter faction. Eldridge and Slaughter almost united with the Campbell movement – even to the point of agreeing on “baptism for remission of sins.” At least this was the understanding of Restorationist William DeFee.
San Augustine County, Texas, July 22, 1847.
I have just returned from Shelby county, Texas—that notable place for wickedness, for “regulating,” and poisoning. Brother M. R. Withers, and myself preached on last Sunday, and we organized a church at Richard Hooper’s house. He has been a Baptist, his wife a Presbyterian; they both joined the church! The church is called Zion. It is the first Christian church ever organized in that county. We organized with 8 members—four males and four females. Several others have been immersed for the remission of sins—two on the same day. The following is the Constitution of the church, viz. –
“We, the Christians of the Church called Zion, have met together this day, the 18th of July, 1847, and give each other our hearts and hands, and all agree to take the Bible as the only infallible rule of faith and practice.”
We had a meeting twelve days ago, in Sabine county, with brothers Peter Eldridge and G.W. Slaughter, Baptist preachers, on union and creeds, and agreed to unite on “one Lord, one faith, one baptism for remission of sins.”
We want you to do all in your power to send a preacher well recommended, to set things in order. Much good might be done now in these parts.
                                      WILLIAM DEFEE.[vi]
B. F. Burroughs was carried away with the dissimulation. He later attributed his deliverance to J. R. Graves and The Baptist.
In a long and interesting private letter, Bro. B. F. Burroughs, of Leon county, Texas says he must ever thank God that The Baptist fell into his hands thirty-odd years ago, since by it he has steered clear of Campbellism, which had well nigh wrecked him.[vii]
Years earlier, in an obituary sent to The Tennessee Baptist in 1853, Burroughs explained that the Bethel Baptist Church in Sabine County, Texas in April 1850 “became in gross disorder, being lead away into the doctrines commonly known as ‘Campbellism,’ apostacy and free communion, by their pastor, Rev. Peter Eldridge, who left Barbour county, Ala., in disorder, but that fact was not known to the church then.”[viii] In May 1853, those who withdrew from Bethel Church went into the organization of the New Hope Baptist Church. What became of Bethel is unknown.

The “official” and predominant record cites the Sabine Baptist Association as “anti-missionary.” If by anti-missionary Primitive Baptist is meant, that is incorrect. If by anti-missionary the opposition to the Southern Baptist Convention and auxiliary societies of the day is understood, that is correct. The following of Eldridge and Slaughter at the time were “missionary,” as well as favoring membership in fraternal societies. In 1848, the Sabine Association ended their relationship with these preachers and churches. At the session meeting at the Hamilton Baptist Church in Shelby County in October 1848, the Hopewell and Hamilton churches brought an inquiry to the Association whether open communion would be tolerated. The Association answered:
Whereas, the Bethel Church, Sabine county, the Bayou and Milam churches, have adopted the practice of open communion, which we consider contrary to the word of God, and in direct opposition of the sentiments and practice of Baptists, and the Constitution of this Association—
     Resolved, That in conformity with the 5th Article of the Constitution of this Association, we withdraw from these churches, as heterodox in doctrine and practice.
This was followed by consideration of non-fellowship with Missionary Baptists, Free Masons, and Sons of Temperance – for all of which they declared non-fellowship.[ix]

The continuing agitations proved too much for the health of the Sabine Association, which, on recommendation of the Mt. Zion Church of Nacogdoches County, voted to dissolve at its 1849 session. Another Sabine Association – in Louisiana – but with ties back to the area of Eldridge and Slaughter, were fraught with concern over the baptisms performed by Eldridge and his “Campbellite” disciples. In their meeting in Sabine Parish in October 1854, the Big Sandy Creek Church queried:
Would it be legal for one of your churches to receive a member into fellowship, who having been baptized by Peter Eldridge, (now of Texas) or his followers, without re-baptism? Your committee, in regard to the above query, would respectfully state, that it would not be order, for we do not consider such to be really baptized, one essential element of baptism being wanting, viz: a legal administrator.  And we have reliable evidence, both from Georgia and Alabama, that he left those States in bad disorder; besides oral testimony, of his acknowledging it in this country, and he never having been restored.[x]
Despite these concerns, it is likely that the concerns became lost in the years – and that “Eldridge followers” who had been admirers of Alexander Campbell strewed their baptisms across Texas. According to Ellison, “Frontier historians James Cox and Zane Mason state that Slaughter organized more churches and ordained many deacons and more preachers than any other person in Texas.”[xi]

No longer should we think that “Z. N. Morrell and the Baptists in the West” were the only ones who had “the admirers of Alexander Campbell giving us trouble.”[xii] We anti-missionaries who some thought they were “suffering sorely in consequence of” can point the finger at the Campbellites too! We might even stick out our tongues at the “missionaries” as well. J


[ii] G. W.’s son, C. C. Slaughter, became a chief financier of Convention matters.
[iii]The East Texas Baptist World of George Webb Slaughter, 1844-1852,” by Ron Ellison, citing information from Texas Baptist & Herald, March 19, 1896, p. 9.
[iv] The Southern Baptist Missionary Journal, Vol. III, No. 8, January 1849, p. 187.
[v] The Southern Baptist Missionary Journal, Vol. III, No. 1, June 1848, p. 18. In an unique twist, Witt first wrote, “Open communion had been introduced into some churches and greatly disturbed their peace. I think the practice is measurably abandoned.”
[vi] The Millennial Harbinger, Series III, Vol. IV, Alexander Campbell & W. K. Pendleton, Bethany, VA: Printed by A. Campbell, 1847, p. 534.
[vii] The Baptist, Saturday, September 4, 1880, p. 6/198.
[viii] The Tennessee Baptist, Saturday, October 29, 1853, p. 4.
[ix] Minutes of the Sabine Baptist Association, held at the Hambleton Church, Shelby county, on Friday and Saturday before the third Lord’s day in October, 1848, p. 5.
[x] A History of the Baptists of Louisiana, Paxton, p. 396; See also The Tennessee Baptist, Saturday, December 2, 1854, p. 4. The report to The Tennessee Baptist states, “the following is a true copy of the report as handed into the Association from the committee on documents” and bears some minor differences from the text printed by Paxton. It also mentions that the report of the committee was “unanimously adopted.”
[xi]The East Texas Baptist World of George Webb Slaughter, 1844-1852,” p. 37. Though admitting he did not have full access to the facts, W. E. Paxton stated concerned the Sabine (Louisiana) Association report: “Our best authorities agree that the fact of his being an impostor and an excluded person, would not necessarily invalidate his acts if authorized by an orderly church.”
[xii] It seems in East Texas that those in the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement had a church organized before any Baptists, other than the Pilgrim Church brought from Illinois to Texas. The state historical marker at Antioch Church near San Augustine says that the Antioch Church of Christ began in 1836. “William P. DeFee, a medical doctor, arrived in Texas in 1833 and began preaching in homes. In 1836 he began this congregation. They met in a dirt-floored, log building on Rhoddy Anthony’s property. The name Antioch was chosen because the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. Anthony was selected elder and served for 50 years. About 1870 a new sanctuary was built on this land belonging to Stephen Passmore. The building served as a schoolhouse and community meeting place. This structure was completed in 1938.”