Tag Archives: David Jones

127– May 06 – This Day in Baptist History Past

A Preacher, a Missionary and a Soldier
Philadelphia saved from the plague

One cannot peruse the minutes of the Philadelphia Baptist Association from 1707 to 1807 without often seeing the name David Jones. He was born May 12, 1736, and he experienced salvation and was baptized May 6, 1758, when he was just turning twenty-two years of age.
We gather from the records of an October meeting in 1772 that the early Baptist missionaries were thrust out by the Holy Spirit and provided for by the local churches according to the New Testament pattern at Antioch.
David Jones wrote several circular letters to the churches making up the Philadelphia Association.  These letters revealed the prevailing spiritual condition and welfare of the churches and country. Days of fasting and prayer were often requested. Jones in writing the letter in 1798 mentioned,
We have been once more prevented assembling in the City of Philadelphia by a dreadful visitation from God.           Whatever may be the natural cause of this complaint, no doubt SIN is the procuring cause; nor can we reasonably     expect a removal of the calamity without a suitable reformation among the inhabitants, for which we ought fervently to pray to God; and who knoweth but He may in His great mercy, graciously answer our supplications.
The minutes of 1800 record that the association met in Philadelphia. The eleventh entry states, “Conscious that the interposing Providence of God hath preserved the City of Philadelphia, during the present season, from the malignant fever, and caused the earth to bring forth her fruits more abundantly than for some years past, the Association set apart, and recommend, Thursday the 13th of November next, to be observed as a day of thanksgiving by all the churches in our connection.”

Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 184-185
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Valley ForgeWashington at

Valley Forge

The First Baptist Chaplain

1820 – FIRST BAPTIST CHAPLAIN TO THE AMERICAN MILITARY AND FIRST BAPTIST MISSIONARY TO THE INDIANS – David Jones died at age 84 on February 5, 1820.   He had been an author, pastor, missionary, medical doctor, and the first Baptist pastor ever to become a chaplain in the American Military who in 1776 was appointed to serve Col. St. Clair’s regiment. He also served under General Horatio Gates and General Anthony Wayne. He was highly trusted by Gen. Geo. Washington and preached to the troops at Valley Forge. He was raised in a hearty Welsh Baptist family, saved at an early age and trained at Hopewell Academy (America’s First Baptist academic facility) in N.J. He studied medicine but apparently was influenced by the life of David Brainerd among the Indians because while pastoring the Freehold Baptist Church in Monmouth County, N.J. he became the first Baptist missionary to the Indians in Ohio on two extended tours that consumed over a year. He became unpopular as he supported the cause of American freedom. In April 1775 he became pastor of the Great Valley Baptist Church in Chester County, PA. On July 20, 1775, after a day of fasting and prayer he preached to the Continental Army on the subject, “Defensive War in a Just Cause Sinless.” In 1776 he left his flock to serve the first of three tours with the American forces. He was at Ticonderoga, Morristown, and Brandywine.  He barely missed being killed at the Paoli Massacre, and he spent the winter at Valley Forge.  Gen. Howe offered a reward for his capture.  He was at Yorktown at the surrender of Cornwallis.  He used his medical skills as well as his weapons.  After the war he went with Gen. Wayne as Chaplain to the Indian War from 1794-96 and was there at the Treaty of Greenville.  It was said of him, “In danger – he knew no fear, in fervent patriotism he had no superiors and few equals, in the Revolutionary struggle, a tower of strength…as a Christian, above reproach.”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 49.

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December 13, 1772 – John Davis died, west of the Ohio River in Indian Territory, at the home of Dr. James McMachan. He had gone west with David Jones, a missionary to the Indians, hoping to regain his former vigor and health. The final resting place of Davis’s body is near Grave Creek, marked by a large black oak tree on which Jones cut with his tomahawk, besides the name and date, “He was the first white man to die in that part of the country.” Davis was born at Welsh Tract, Delaware in 1737. His father, from South Wales had been pastor of the Welsh Tract Baptist Church for over 20 years and his mother was the daughter of Elisha Thomas, who had been the second pastor of the Welsh Tract church. John graduated from the College of  Philadelphia in 1763. After his father’s death he became the pastor of the Welsh church by that time. Baptists in Massachusetts were suffering under strict laws. The Baptists appointed Pastor Davis to the “Committee of Grievances,” and he became their agent to represent them to the authorities. Backus said, “no tongue or pen could fully describe all the evils that were perpetrated under ‘the Act of Assembly’ passed in England in 1757, which was designed to give relief to the Baptists and Quakers. The oppression was especially troubling to Davis, who had come from the full religious liberty enjoyed by all denominations in Pennsylvania and Delaware. He was abused, ridiculed, and one time referred to publicly as a “little upstart gentleman.” A young gentleman he was, but he would not surrender. Dr. Benedict said of him, “His learning and zeal were adequate to any services to which he was called.”  At thirty-five his health failed.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 520-21.

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