“One of the Leaders in the Fight for Liberty”
William Webber was born on August 15, 1747, to parents of moderate means and received only three years of formal education, and yet he was considered one of the spiritual fathers and pioneers of the gospel in Virginia. He became a carpenter and worked at that trade until he was converted to Jesus Christ under the preaching of John Waller and quickly became an exhorter.
Few men in Virginia suffered more persecutions than Webber. He was among those who preached through the grates of the Chesterfield County jail, spending three months there. In the same year of 1771 he was taken from the platform where he was preaching to the Middlesex County jail for forty-five days, where he, along with several others, preached twice a week, through the bars to those that would hear.
He was also roughly treated on many occasions. In spite of these things, the gospel prospered, and Baptist principles were embraced by many. Many strong and fruitful churches were planted such as the Powhatah church, out of which no less than fourteen preachers were called early in its history.
Early on , Webber became pastor of the Dover Church in Goochland County, VA, and in spite of his poor circumstances, he gave a great deal of time in his youth to preaching. But as his family grew, he found it necessary to limit his labors to his own area. Semple says, “He was very successful in turning many to righteousness; and in confirming the souls of his disciples. He was a man of sound and correct judgment…well versed in the scripture, and ingenious in defending them against error. He was one of the leaders to represent the Baptists in the fight for liberty.”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 335-36.
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