He served over seventy years in the ministry
Anderson Moffett was born in Fauquier County, Virginia on August 28, 1746. David Thomas who had come to Virginia originally from the old Philadelphia Baptist Association had planted the Broad Run Church in that County when Moffett was but a youth. Many of the Regular Baptists of Northern Virginia had caught their fire from Thomas who they often referred to as Old Father Thomas.” He fired their souls while establishing them in sound doctrine without quenching their evangelistic zeal. Moffett was converted at an early age and began to preach when he was 17. His age is not known when he was imprisoned in Culpeper. There is only verbal evidence that this happened because all of Anderson’s records were destroyed by fire when he was an aged man, and too weak to rewrite them. His nephew Judge W.W. Moffett gave testimony that his father told him personally of the account of his uncle Anderson Moffett’s jailing for not taking a license to preach, and gave the date as the latter half of 1885 or the first part of 1886. He gave this testimony on Dec. 21, 1923. His father showed him where the Culpeper jail stood. The Culpeper Baptist Church moved to a new location and still stood as of 1993. Moffett was imprisoned along with many other young preachers in that jail. He was there when someone attempted to suffocate them by burning an Indian pepper plant under the jail floor. This incident evidently did not affect his health. God gave Moffett over seventy years of ministry, ending in his 89th year after he had served Smith’s Creek Regular Baptist Church for over fifty years.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 355-56.
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First baptisms in the Shenandoah
1770 – A BAPTIST PREACHER IMPRISONED FOR PREACHING WITHOUT A LICENSE IN VIRGINIA IN 1770 – February 26, 1770, was the beginning of the three-month imprisonment of John Pickett, mentioned in the entry for January 14, in the Fauquier County, VA Order Book for 1766, pages 242 and 243. The prison was a two room log building 18’ long and 16’ wide, dovetailed, with layered wood of good mortar between each log. There was a brick wall between the rooms with a fireplace in each room, secured with grates above and below to prevent the prisoners from escaping up the chimney. The only ventilation was a window 12 inches square in each room. These colonial prisons were like ovens in the summer and freezers in the winter, certainly not “country clubs” of our day in comparison. Many of those early preachers lost their health from these conditions and never recovered their strength. The opposition of John Pickett was at times fierce. Some times when he would preach in a grove of trees in the Culpepper area the, Anglican Church parson would appear with his supporters, sit a few yards in front of Pickett, and take notes of what he considered to be false doctrine. The parson would call him a schismatic, a broacher of false doctrines, and one that held up damnable errors. This was done to hold him up to public scorn. Often it backfired, in that it caused people to be sympathetic toward Picket. At that time, many were disgusted with the state hirelings, among whom there were those of disrepute. Some who were attracted by this confrontation and debate were converted to Christ. After Pickett was released his zeal led him to continue his labors around Culpepper and over the Blue Ridge. It is reported that the first baptisms to take place in the Shenandoah, there were as many as fifty who followed there Lord in this ordinance.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 79.
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He preached through the prison grates
1744 – John Pickett was born. When he was grown he had a strong leaning toward gaming and sports of all kinds. He became a dancing master which took him to Pee Dee, North Carolina, from his home in King George County, Virginia, around 1764. Under the preaching of Josiah Murphy in N.C. in 1766, Pickett was converted to Christ and baptized. He then began to loathe the sports and pleasures that he once loved and wrote his parents of this change. Upon the death of his father, he returned to his home in Fauquier County, and finding his friends in spiritual darkness, he began pleading with them in private, and later began preaching to them in public. Josiah Murphy came and baptized a few, and later, Samuel Harriss and James Read came and baptized thirty-seven, and organized them into a church. Pickett became ordained May 27, 1772, and took the care of the church known as Carter’s Run. However there was much opposition. Once a mob broke into a meeting house, disrupted the service, and split to pieces the pulpit and communion table, while the magistrates issued their warrant. They seized John and took him to the Fauquier prison. He continued there for about three months, preaching through the grates, and admonishing as many as came to him, to repent and turn to God. Great numbers were awakened to their need of Christ under Pickett’s prison ministry.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon; adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 19-20.
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