Tag Archives: Indians

The Day Congress Approved Religious Missionaries


On or around this day in 1778, the Oneida Indians offer assistance to George Washington’s troops, then quartered for the winter at Valley Forge. One Oneida woman, in particular, really went above and beyond the call of duty!

The Oneidas were one of the few tribes to openly declare their support for Americans during the Revolution. The tribe was part of the Six Nations Confederacy. Most of those tribes sided with the British, but the Oneidas sided with the Patriots. In large part, their allegiance can be credited to the work of an American missionary, the Reverend Samuel Kirkland. He was good and kind to them, and they respected him. Kirkland’s efforts were important! Indeed, early in the war, Washington wrote to Congress, soliciting assistance for Kirkland’s missionary and peacekeeping efforts.

“[Reverend Kirkland] can need no particular Recommendation from me,” Washington wrote, “But as he now wishes to have the Affairs of his Mission & publick Employ put upon some suitable Footing, I cannot but intimate my Sense of the Importance of his Station, & the great Advantages which have & may result to the United Colonies from his Situation being made respectable. All Accounts agree that much of the favourable Disposition shewn by the Indians may be ascribed to his Labour & Influence.”

Congress was receptive to the idea and approved funds for Kirkland’s efforts to “promote the happiness of the Indians, and attach them to these colonies.”

The Oneidas were also doubtless influenced by other factors. For instance, an earlier boundary negotiation had not gone well for the Oneidas. Perhaps they were wondering if the British would respect their sovereignty. It’s not like the British had a great track record of respecting the American colonists, either!

The Oneidas heard that Washington’s army was having a tough time at Valley Forge. It was cold! They lacked sufficient clothing and food. Diseases wreaked havoc. Washington wrote of this time: “To see Men without Cloathes to cover their nakedness, without Blankets to lay on, without Shoes, by which their Marches might be traced by the Blood from their feet, and almost as often without Provisions as with; Marching through frost and Snow . . . is a mark of patience and obedience which in my opinion can scarce be parallel’d.”

The Oneidas decided to help. A group of tribe members, including a woman named Polly Cooper, set off toward Valley Forge. They brought as many as 600 baskets of corn with them. Once they arrived, Polly showed the Continentals how to cook the corn. The process of cooking white corn, making it edible for human consumption, was pretty different from the yellow corn that Americans normally ate. Polly endured the rest of the winter at Valley Forge with the American army, cooking for them and nursing sick soldiers.

According to oral legend, Polly would not accept payment for her services. However, the soldiers were so grateful that they gave her a black shawl. In some versions of the story, the soldiers themselves bought the shawl. In others, Martha Washington herself gave the shawl to Polly. The Oneidas still keep that shawl as a treasured artifact, to this day.

The Oneidas helped the American effort at other points during the war, too. Naturally, those are stories for another day. wink emoticon

Yes, obviously, the relationship between Americans and Indian tribes has had difficulties. But there were good moments, too. Shouldn’t we remember both the good and the bad, to get a balanced picture of our founding?

If you enjoyed this post, please don’t forget to “like” and SHARE. Our schools and media don’t always teach our own history! Let’s do it ourselves.

Gentle reminder: History posts are copyright © 2013-2016 by Tara Ross. I appreciate it when you use the Facebook “share” feature instead of cutting/pasting.

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Daniel Boone died September 26, 1820

Daniel Boone died September 26, 1820

Daniel BooneAmerican Minute with Bill Federer

Daniel Boone served with George Washington in 1755 during the French and Indian War, under British General Edward Braddock.

In 1765, Daniel Boone explored Florida.

He once exclaimed:

“I can’t say I was ever lost, but I was bewildered once for three days.”

In 1767, Daniel Boone, whose Quaker family had pioneered North Carolina’s Yadkin River Valley, began to explore Kentucky.

In 1769, Boone traveled through the Cumberland Gap in the mountains and spent two years hunting and trapping in eastern Kentucky with his friend, John Stewart. Indians captured and separated them, and, unfortunately, Boone eventually found John Stewart’s body shot dead.

In 1773, Daniel Boone and Captain William Russell were ordered by Virginia’s Governor, Lord Dunmore, to settle an area called Castle Woods.

Boone’s 17-year-old son, James, and Captain Russell’s 17-year-old son, Henry, were bringing supplies to Castle Woods when they were ambushed by Indians and brutally massacred. Lord Dunmore wrote:

“In the past year, 1773, the Indians killed…a very promising young man…in one of the back countries…Captain William Russell…was the first that discovered the dismal spectacle of the dead body of his son, mangled in horrible manner.”

Captain William Russell left Daniel Boone in charge of Moore’s Fort in lower Castle Woods from 1773-1775.

When the Revolution began, Lord Dunmore fled and Patrick Henry was elected the first American Governor of Virginia. A fort named him, Fort Patrick Henry, was where Daniel Boone set off from in 1775 to survey Kentucky for the Pennsylvania Company.

Daniel Boone erected a fort on the Kentucky River, which he named Boonesboro.

On July 14, 1776, Boone’s daughter Jemima and her teenage friends, Fanny and Betsy Callaway, decided to leave the confines of Boonesboro and were captured by Shawnee Indians.

Boone and his men caught up with them two days later, ambushed the Indians while they were stopped for a meal, and rescued the girls. James Fenimore Cooper drew from this incident in writing his classic book, The Last of the Mohicans (1826).

On April 24, 1777, Shawnee Indians were recruited by the British Governor of Canada to attack Boonesboro. Led by Chief Blackfish, the attack was repelled, though Daniel Boone was shot in the leg.

As Shawnees destroyed cattle and crops, food supplies running low and settlers needed salt to preserve meat.

In January 1778, having recovered from his wound, Boone led a party to get salt from Licking River. They were captured by Chief Blackfish’s warriors, some taken to Chilicothe, and others to near Detroit.

Boone and his men were made to run the gauntlet, as the Indian custom was to adopt prisoners into their tribe to replace fallen warriors. Boone was given the name, Sheltowee (Big Turtle).

On June 16, 1778, Boone learned that Chief Blackfish planned to attack Boonesboro. Boone escaped and raced 160 miles in five days, on horseback, then on foot, to warn the settlement.

Beginning September 7, 1778, Boone successfully repelled the ten-day siege by Chief Blackfish’s warriors.

In the autumn of 1779, Boone led another party of immigrants to Boonesboro, among whom, according to tradition, was the family of Abraham Lincoln’s grandfather.

Daniel Boone joined General George Rogers Clark’s invasion of Ohio, fighting the Battle of Piqua on August 7, 1780.

In October, 1780, Daniel Boone was hunting with his brother, Edward, when Shawnee Indians attacked. They cut off Edward’s head and took it back as a trophy.

Boone was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in the Fayette County militia, November 1780.

In April 1781, Boone was elected as to Virginia’s General Assembly, and as he traveled to Richmond to take his seat, British dragoons under Colonel Banastre Tarleton captured him near Charlottesville.

The British released Boone on parole, and not long after Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown in October 1781.

Boone returned to Kentucky, and though Cornwallis had surrendered, some British continued to fight.

One of the last battles of the Revolution took place, August 19, 1782. In the Battle of Blue Licks, fighting hand-to-hand against 50 British Loyalists and 300 Indians, Daniel Boone’s son Israel was shot in the neck and killed.

In November 1782, Daniel Boone was a part of the last major campaign of the war with Clark’s expedition into Ohio.

In 1782, Boone was elected sheriff of Fayette County. He bought land in Kentucky but lost it due to poorly prepared titles.

Boone left Kentucky in 1799 and bought land in the Spanish Territory of Missouri, west of the Mississippi River.

When Spain transferred this land to France, and France sold it to the United States as the Louisiana Purchase, 1803, Boone lost his title to this land too.

A special act of Congress gave him back his land just six years before his death.

When the War of 1812 started, Daniel Boone volunteered for duty but was turned down due to his age of 78.

Daniel Boone was known to have a habit of taking the Bible with him on hunting expeditions, often reading it to others around the campfire.

Daniel Boone and his wife Rebecca had all of their ten children baptized.

Daniel Boone died SEPTEMBER 26, 1820, and was buried in the Old Bryan Farm graveyard. His remains were moved to Kentucky’s Frankfort Cemetery, though some claim the wrong bones were moved. Hazel Atterbury Spraker wrote in The Boone Family (1982, page 578):

“Daniel was buried near the body of his wife, in a cemetery established in 1803 by David Bryan, upon the bank of a small stream called Teuque Creek about one and one-half miles southeast of the present site of the town of Marthasville in Warren County, Missouri, it being at that time the only Protestant cemetery North of the Missouri River.”

In The Works of Theodore Roosevelt, Vol. IX-The Winning of the West-An account of the exploration and settlement of our country from the Alleghanies to the Pacific (NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, National Edition, 1926, p. 43), Theodore Roosevelt wrote:

“Boone…occupied quite a prominent position, and served as a Representative in the Virginia legislature, while his fame as a hunter and explorer was now spread abroad in the United States, and even Europe.

To travelers and newcomers generally, he was always pointed out as the first discoverer of Kentucky; and, being modest, self-contained, and self-reliant, he always impressed them favorably…

Boone’s creed in matters of morality and religion was as simple and straightforward as his own character.

Late in life he wrote to one of his kinsfolk (sister-in-law, Sarah Boone, October 17, 1816):

‘The religion I have is to love and fear God, believe in Jesus Christ, do all the good to my neighbor, and myself that I can, do as little harm as I can help, and trust on God’s mercy for the rest.’

The old pioneer always kept the respect of red men and white, of friend and foe, for he acted according to his belief.”

A direct descendent of Daniel Boone is the award-winning actor and singer, Pat Boone.

Bill FedererThe Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.

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A “Talk” to the Cherokee Nation August 29, 1796

George Washington and IndiansAmerican Minute with Bill Federer

In 1754, Colonel George Washington built Fort Necessity on Great Meadows, after a successful attack on the French in May.

While encamped at Great Meadows, he received a letter from his brother Lawrence’s father-in-law, Mr. William Fairfax:

“I will not doubt your having public prayers in the camp, especially when the Indian families are your guests, that they, seeing your plain manner of worship, may have their curiosity excited to be informed why we do not use the ceremonies of the French,

which being well explained to their understandings, will more and more dispose them to receive our baptism, and unite in strict bonds of cordial friendship.”

On May 12, 1779, General George Washington was visited at his Middle Brook military encampment by the Chiefs of the Delaware Indian tribe.

They had brought three youths to be trained in the American schools. Washington assured them:

“Brothers: I am glad you have brought three of the Children of your principal Chiefs to be educated with us. I am sure Congress will open the Arms of love to them, and will look upon them as their own Children, and will have them educated accordingly.

This is a great mark of your confidence and of your desire to preserve the friendship between the Two Nations to the end of time, and to become One people with your Brethren of the United States….”

Washington continued:

“You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are.

Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise intention; and to tie the knot of friendship and union so fast, that nothing shall ever be able to loose it…

And I pray God He may make your Nation wise and strong.”

After George Washington retired from being General of the Continental Army, he wrote from Mount Vernon to the President of the Continental Congress, February 8, 1785:

“Toward the latter part of the year 1783, I was honored with a letter from the Countess of Huntington, briefly reciting her benevolent intention of spreading Christianity among the Tribes of Indians inhabiting our Western Territory;

and expressing a desire of my advice and assistance to carry this charitable design into execution.

I wrote her Ladyship…that I would give every aid in my power, consistent with the ease and tranquility, to which I meant to devote the remainder of my life, to carry her plan into effect…

Her Ladyship has spoken so feelingly and sensibly, on the religious and benevolent purposes of the plan, that no language of which I am possessed, can add aught to enforce her observations.”

President Washington addressed Congress, November 6, 1792:

“Laws will expire during the present session. Among these, that which regulates trade…with the Indian tribes…

Your common deliberations…will, I trust, be productive…to our constituents…by conciliating more and more their ultimate suffrage…and confirm their attachment to that Constitution…upon which, under Divine Providence, materially depend…their happiness.”

On AUGUST 29, 1796, from the city of Philadelphia, President George Washington dictated a “Talk” to the Cherokee Nation:

“Beloved Cherokees: The wise men of the United States meet once a year, to consider what will be for the good of all their people…

I have thought that a meeting of your wise men once or twice a year would be alike useful to you…

I now send my best wishes to the Cherokees, and pray the Great Spirit to preserve them.”

Bill FedererThe Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.


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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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242 – Aug. 30 – This Day in Baptist History Past


The Creeks Reject Christ


1838 – James O. Mason was ordained to the gospel ministry, and after training at the Hamilton Literary and Theological Institution at Hamilton, NY he and his wife left to minister to the Creek Indians. James had been born on Christmas day in 1813 and raised by godly parents in the Baptist church in Granville, NY. He resigned from the mission on May 4, 1840 after it became impossible to gain a foothold in the tribe. He explained it all in a letter dated Jan. 10, 1840 in which he tells of being exposed hourly to the tomahawk and scalping knife. He said as he was walking some two hundred yards from his house he was stalked by three or four Indians and heard one of them yell, “here is the …nig(g)er missionary-shoot him.” Then he saw a flash and felt two balls pass through his coat and vest, hardly two inches from his heart. When I cried out, another one started toward me with a large bowie knife when I ran and lost them by a brook in impenetrable growth. These facts were made known to the chiefs but denied by the Indians. He went on to write that he cannot step outside without danger of being shot and when they lie down at night they fear that their house will be burned down before morning.  Rev. Mason returned to New York and pastored the church where he was raised and then accepted a call to the Bottskill Baptist Church in Greenwich, NY and served with great distinction. [William Cathcart, The Baptist Encyclopedia (Philadelphia: Louis H. Everts, 1881), 2:757. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp.474-475.]  Prepared by Dr. Greg Dixon



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144 — May 24 – This Day in Baptist History Past


Elder James Smith


James Lemen, Sr., his wife and several of his neighbors, having been converted to the Baptist faith by an itinerant preacher from Kentucky, organized themselves into a Baptist church at a meeting held in the south room (of Lemen’s home) on May 24, 1796.


Lemen, who had served as an American soldier in the Revolutionary War, arrived in Illinois in 1786, having come from Virginia. Soon he and his family were introduced to the sterner side of frontier life. “The very summer of their arrival Mrs. Lemen’s sister and her husband, James Andrews, were killed by the Indians, and their two little daughters carried captive to Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.


It was into that environment that in 1787 Elder James Smith, of Kentucky, visited New Design; the first Baptist preacher and the first preacher of any denomination to enter the present state of Illinois. He held a series of house meetings which were abundantly blessed. Among those who believed the word and confessed Christ were James Lemen and Joseph Ogle and their wives, and Shadrach Bond. And a goodly number of others!


Three years afterwards, in 1790, Elder Smith again visited New Design, and through his preaching others were added to the converts.


In the midst of the work Elder Smith was captured by the Indians. In the party was a Mrs. Huff with her little child. She had been under spiritual concern for some time, and while the savages were putting her to death Elder Smith fell on his knees praying for her, and in that attitude he was taken. On this account, and because of his praying and singing while they traveled, the Indians were afraid of him. He was taken to Vincennes, from whence word came through the traders as usual that he would be returned for a suitable ransom. Thereupon $170 was collected out of the poverty of the settlers, and Elder Smith was set free.


Dr. Dale R. Hart, adapted from:  This Day in Baptist History Vol. I. Thompson/ Cummins) pp. 212-213.



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J. R. GRAVES, Life, Times, and Teachings. 2


By A. J. Holt, D.D.

In the sixties, Dr. J. R. Graves was probably the greatest Baptist in the World. During that period and for many years previously, Charles H. Spurgeon was stirring all London and half the world besides with his marvelous messages. Richard Fuller was thundering his massive sermons from his Baltimore pulpit. George C. Lorimer was charming Boston and half the United States besides with his remarkably chaste and faultless oratory.

But J. R. Graves was not only preaching great sermons; he was preaching through a mighty agency – The Baptist – a paper of widespread circulation and popularity.

As an individual man, Dr. J. R. Graves was distinguished, Of medium stature, with a remarkably keen, penetrating eye, a classic brow, a long brown, well-trimmed beard, and a most marvelously modulated-voice. He was a most distinguished speaker. He was singularly free from pomposity. Like all other really great men, he was not at all self-centered. he was both gentle and gentlemanly in demeanor.


J. R. Graves had all the gifts and graces of the genuine orator. He could stand on his feet and think and speak convincingly. That peculiar fascination of speech called by the politicians “spellbinding,” he had in its full extent. While he was not the classic word-painter as was Dr. J. B. Hawthorne; nor the massive, tremendous, overwhelming  logician as was Dr. B. H. Carroll; yet he combined in an unsurpassed degree all the excellencies of both. it seemed impossible to hear him through and then be unconvinced that he was correct in his positions. He was a deliberate speaker. He never grew red in the face, nor did he “tear a passion to tatters.” He was calm, calculating, and always kept his hearers expecting something greater than he was saying. He did not speak with scholarly precision as did Dr. John A Broadus; nor with the fiery passion of our late F.C. McConnell. His oratory was just peculiar to himself. He rarely spoke a shorter time than two to three hours, and yet his hearers seemed never to tire. I rode sixty miles horseback to hear him preach just one sermon, and was well repaid for my time and trouble.


To write what he wanted to write; to write it in good, forcible English and make it readable was the peculiarity of this remarkable man. Those days were hard on Baptist papers. Millions of Baptist money went down in unsuccessful Baptist newspapers. Where ten Baptist papers now flourish, The Baptist, edited by J.R. Graves, alone flourished then. Several States had departments and departmental editors, but the master mind of all was the editor-in-chief.; He not only wrote great leading editorials, but he wrote tracts, and made The Baptist the vehicle of publication for his numerous debates.


That was an age when Baptist principles were assailed on every hand. The famous Alexander Campbell had cut a wide swath among Baptists. he was also a great orator and logician. he had never had an antagonist who fully and completely answered all his points as did the redoubtable J.R. Graves. The Wesleys had made a deep impression on the religious world and J. R. Graves was needed to correct some extravagances which the followers of the Wesleys had created. Dr. Graves’ “Great Iron Wheel,” which had a tremendous circulation and an equally wide influence, was directed primarily against the Senior Bishop of the Southern Methodist Church, Joshua Soule. The great Brigham Young had just organized his following and had carried them across the Rockies and had literally “made the desert to blossom as the rose.” it needed a J.R. Graves to counteract the influence of Mormonism. The Baptist position was under fire from every side, and this one man became the Great Defender of the Faith. Baptists were not slow to recognize the fact that a mighty debater for truth had arisen among them and this fact perhaps more than any other made him the tremendous power for good among us. it was everywhere believed that no champion could possibly withstand the orthodoxy, logic and power of J.R. Graves

The labors of this remarkable man were simply prodigious. he wrote books, tracts, and great editorials constantly, in addition to all his debates and all his great preaching tours. he organized and set to work the great “Southern Baptist Publication Society.” It had a brief and remarkable career and was swamped by other and less competent leaders.

Besides all this, Dr. Graves was a great evangelist. in no realm did he outshine his great powers as an evangelist. he always had tremendous crowds, and there was simply no counting the converts that came into the kingdom through his ministry.

he gripped his friends with “hooks of steel.” To young preachers he was fatherly and generous. Had he lived he would have most likely organized another theological seminary. he was not unfriendly to those existing, but they were inadequate to the demands. After his sad paralytical stroke, he rallied sufficiently to give


While never again the vigorous speaker or thinker he was before, yet his Chair Talks were inspirational and well attended. he said of himself that he was only half a man after his affliction, yet he continued to the time of his departure to be grandly servicable.

He loved his Lord and he loved his brethren. When the writer of these lines was a missionary to the Indians, J.R. Graves proposed to become responsible for his support, if it were necessary. He had long been deeply interested in the Indians.

Since his going, many have endeavored to imitate him in debate or otherwise, but none have ever had his power, his wisdom, his peculiar adaptability for the work he set on foot and so signally accomplished. Surely there was “one among us whom we knew not.” His like will not appear again. he filled an allotment in life that no other had ever filled before, and that no one has ever filled since. his name and his fame will live on.

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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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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.

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