Thursday, March 07, 2019

William Hubbard (1809-circa 1882)

Biography/Obituary of Elder William Hubbard, whom A. N. Whitten described as “the old Cornfield Preacher” who studied at “Pinenut and Candle College,” from The Gospel Messenger (Volume 9, No. 4, April 1887, Butler, Georgia, pp. 161-164), by E. B. Bush of Colquitt, Georgia.


Elder Wm. Hubbard was born in South Carolina, on the 22d day of April, 1809. His parents, Jno. and Mary Hubbard, moved to Hall county, Ga., in 1818, bringing him with them, then a boy nine years of age. Elder Hubbard was raised to manhood, and married to his first wife, Margaret Morgan, in Hall county, in 1829, and from that union one son was born, who died in the late war, in Virginia. Elder Hubbard told the writer of his conviction for sin, which took place while he was witnessing the solemn service of feet washing in which his first wife — who was a member of the Baptist Church — was participating. After his conviction and deliverance, he joined the church called Liberty, in Lumpkin county, Ga., and was baptized by Elder James Whitten, on the fourth Sunday in June, 1831, and soon after was ordained to the ministry. 

In 1843 his wife died, and soon afterwards he was married to Miss Sarah A. Whitten, of Murray county, Ga., who still survives him; and of this union five children were born, only two of whom are living. At the time Elder Hubbard was ordained there were no so-called Missionary Baptists, but shortly afterwards the great question of foreign missions and the institutions of the day sprang up to the dividing of the Baptist denomination. And in this, as well as on all other questions which threatened the destruction of the church, he took the right side—that of the Primitive Church—and maintained it until the day of his death. In this great controversy public sentiment and prejudice ran so high that he was threatened by a mob; and on one occasion, when threatened at Valley Grove Church, in Murray county, a company of young men rode up by him, when he was nearing the church, with clubs in their hands, and saluted him very politely. They rode along together on horseback, and when they arrived at the church, he hitched his horse, and the young men hitched theirs close by his, and all went in the church together, he taking the stand and the young men taking seats near by. After services, a conference was held in which was considerable confusion and discussion on the mooted question of missions, etc. After conference the meeting adjourned, and he and the young men who sat by so attentively, rode away. Upon inquiry it was ascertained that these young men had heard that certain citizens, and perhaps some members of the church, who were favorable to the Arminian cause, intended to mob him, and his opinion was the Lord put it into the hearts and minds of these young men to protect him. This, however, was unknown to him until after it had happened. 

We feel that although an uneducated man, Elder Hubbard was one of God’s ministers. He had been preaching fifty-three years in the Primitive Baptist ranks without a charge against him, so far as is known by the writer, and having been called upon to fill the highest position within the gift of the churches. He was Moderator of several Associations during his ministerial career, including the Upatoie, Harmony, and in 1880, when the Flint River Association was constituted, as he had moved within their bounds, he joined that Association and was elected Moderator at its first session, which position he held with great satisfaction to the brethren, until the hand of affliction was laid upon him. He was taken ill while on a preaching tour, in Berrien county, Ga., in 1882, and had to return home, where he suffered for several weeks; and after he sufficiently recovered, he visited Brother J. A. Pickron, and while there relapsed and was again brought low by reason of an aggravation of the disease with which he had been suffering. In all his sickness—though being deprived in his last days of articulation—his mental faculties were as clear as when in health. One day while the writer, who was treating his case, was at dinner, he had a vision in open day light, with eyes wide open, in which he said all nature was changed, and it seemed to him as if he was in a perfect paradise. It seemed to him as if the glory of the Lord was shown to him in undescribable brightness— even the trees, houses, and everything else, shined brighter than gold or silver—and when I walked in the room where he was lying, he spoke and told me of what he had just seen. He bore his afflictions with great fortitude, and expressed himself as only waiting for the summons to come. Brother Hubbard leaves a widow and two children, together with a host of the brotherhood, to mourn his death. And well may we say to the bereaved they mourn not as those who have no hope; but to rejoice with the consolation of believing that our loss is his eternal gain. He can now, to all earthly appearances, hear the welcome news: Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joys of thy Lord. 

Brother Hubbard had been a faithful minister of the gospel fifty-three years. What a record! We feel the Lord has seen best, in his infinite wisdom, to take our brother from us for his good, and while it has thus pleased him to do so, there is a void in the hearts of the brethren which will be hard to fill. Brethren, pray that the good Lord may send us another minister who will have the gift of teaching as did Brother Hubbard, for we are in a desolate condition as to the ministry, and will be more so, as one and all the ministers in our immediate section, will soon move to Florida. 

Sister Hubbard, widow of our departed brother, still lives with her daughter, Sister Sarah A. Buckhalts, in Terrel county, Ga., and I hope that the brethren in that section, and all other sections, will see that her needs are supplied. Yours, in hope of eternal life, 

Colquitt, Ga. E. B. Bush.

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