Saw the first baptism in Knoxville
1814 – Matthew Hillsman was born. He would have been one of the three thousand present when his father John was baptized by John Rogers, a pioneer Baptist preacher, in August of 1825 when the first such event ever occurred in Knoxville, Tenn. John Hillsman, a native of Virginia, had also fought in the Revolutionary War, saw the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown in 1781, and heard Washington’s farewell address. Matthew was saved and baptized at nineteen and later ordained to preach. He helped plant the seeds which grew into the First Baptist Church of Chattanooga, Tenn. He pastored churches in Middle Tenn. His church in Murfeesboro sent out three missionaries to the foreign field. He died Oct. 2, 1892. [J.J. Burnett, Sketches of Tennessee’s Pioneer Baptist Preachers (Nashville: Marshall and Bruce Co., 1919), pp. 231, 32. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D.] Prepared by Dr. Greg Dixon
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