His brilliance was revealed early
William Staughton was born in Coventry, England, on Jan. 4, 1770. His brilliance was revealed early when at the age of twelve he published poems in Goldsmith’s Animated Nature. He was saved early in life, and baptized by Rev. Samuel Pearce of Birmingham. In 1792 he graduated from Bristol Baptist College, and while a student attended the organizational meeting of the first modern-day missionary agency in the world. Though still a youth, he sat in the company of men like William Carey and Andrew fuller. He pastored briefly in Northampton, and then sailed to America in 1793. Richard Furman requested that he serve as pastor of the Baptist church in Georgetown, S.C., where he remained briefly. Ordained on June 17, 1797, he served two churches in New Jersey. He assisted in founding a seminary and continued his studies. From 1805 to 1823, he served as pastor of the First Baptist Church of Philadelphia and later the Sanson St. Baptist Church of that city. During that period he also served as the principle of a Baptist Theological institution. He also served as corresponding secretary of the American Baptist Board of foreign Missions. In 1823 he was appointed the first President as first president of Columbian College in Washington in Washington, D.C. He sent his library ahead in anticipation of the move but he never made it. He became ill and passed into the presence of the Lord on Dec. 12, 1829.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. IIII: Cummins /, pp. 7-8.
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His brilliance was revealed early
Some of these pastors were former slaves
The Ogeechee Baptist Church was formed in Savannah, Georgia on Jan. 02, 1803 with 250 members which was the third black Baptist church instituted in America. The first black Baptist church in America was the First African Baptist Church of Savannah, the results of the ministry of Abraham Marshall and Jesse Peter ((black), who instituted the Kiokee Baptist Church in Appling, GA. The pastor at Savannah was George Lisle (black), who eventually went as a missionary to Jamaica. Some of these pastors were former slaves, like Lisle and John Jasper who had been given freedom by their masters. However, when Rev. Henry Cunningham was called to the First African Baptist Church of Philadelphia (the sixth black church in America), his master wouldn’t release him. Henry had been a deacon in the 2nd Baptist church in Savannah (black) and later served as its pastor before being called to the Philadelphia church. Some members asked his master to let him go north to raise money to purchase his freedom but his master refused without surety, but there was no way that Henry could provide such a sum. But thank God, two faithful members of 2nd church, who were free-born, stepped forward and gave themselves into servitude as surety for Henry. The money was raised, the men were released and joined their beloved pastor in Philadelphia and formed the nucleus of the First African Baptist Church in Philadelphia. “Greater love hath no man than this…”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. IIII: Cummins /, pp. 3-4.
A long and arduous ministry of over forty years
December 05, 1792 – Joseph Smedley was born in Westmoreland County, England. This is where he professed Christ and became a member of a Baptist church. After emigrating to the U.S., he applied to the Fifth Baptist Church of Philadelphia for membership, and a committee was appointed to investigate the matter and report to the church. Upon investigation, they discovered that he had been excluded by a church in England, and they would need time to determine the facts. On Aug. 23, 1834, in the absence of a letter, they decided to receive him into the church based on his confession of his Christian experience and on his approval of the church’s confession of faith and discipline. It shows the importance Baptist churches placed on church membership. The following month Smedley requested a letter of dismission in order to go west, where under the advisory counsel of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions and the employment of the U.S. Government, he became a teacher and missionary among the Indians. During this time his wife Mary Radcliff died in July of 1836 and left him in the care of seven children. In spite of this loss, he continued his ministry among the Choctaws, Creeks and Cherokees in an area of 80 miles west of Ft. Smith along the Arkansas and Canadian rivers. Smedley organized the first black Baptist church in Ft. Smith in 1856. He continued his missionary work, but the Civil War greatly curtailed his ministry. After the outbreak of hostilities, he was able to make only occasional visits to his churches. After a long and arduous ministry of over forty years, Smedley died on Aug. 27, 1877.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 507-08.