Tag Archives: Jesse Mercer

240 – Aug. 28 – This Day in Baptist History Past


A Presbyterian becomes a Baptist


1835 – James Armstrong, 59, died with a painful disease during the severe winter of that year. He was born March 20, 1776 but orphaned when his father, along with 22 others were killed by Indians. James was taken in by a loving Presbyterian family who raised him in the Christian faith in which he trained for the Presbyterian ministry. James moved to Savannah, Georgia to teach in a male academy and became an elder in a Presbyterian Church there but became dissatisfied with his infant baptism. Wishing to “fulfill all righteousness” he was immersed into the First Baptist Church of Savannah in 1801 by Rev. Henry Holcombe. On Oct. 11, 1821 he was ordained to the gospel ministry and became the pastor of the Fishing Creek Baptist Church in Wilkes, County where he served three churches as a circuit rider. He became associated with Rev. Jesse Mercer, a Baptist minister, and established a training institute that would later become Mercer Institute and is now Mercer University. [Bartow Davis Ragsdale, Story of Georgia Baptists (Atlanta: Foote and Davies, Co., 1932). P.43. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 470-471.]


1 Comment

Filed under Church History


Revival came and spread in the land.
 December 16, 1769 – Jesse Mercer – Was born in Halifax County, North Carolina. According to William Cathcart, in his time, “He was the most influential Baptist minister in the State of Georgia.” He was the oldest child of the Rev. Silas Mercer, and his young life was circumspect in every regard, but at the age of 15, he saw himself as a sinner and was converted. In his 17th year he was baptized and united with the Phillips’ Mill Church. In his 19th year he was married, and before he was 20, he was ordained into the ministry and began his fruitful work for the Lord.
For over 50 years he served the Lord as pastor, but he traveled extensively preaching the gospel to the spiritually impoverished in sparsely settled areas of the state. He was influenced by Luther Rice and became a strong advocate of missions among the slaves, promoted the Sunday school movement, and led in the efforts of the temperance movement. He served as a trustee of the Columbian College in Washington, D.C.  He served as clerk of the Georgia Baptist Association for 21 years, and as moderator for 23 years. He was President of the Georgia Baptist Convention for 19 years, from its founding in 1822 until 1841. He also published The Christian Index. His wife died on the way home where he preached at the Triennial Convention in 1826 and the following year he married Nancy Simons, a wealthy widow, and together they became generous donors to the cause of Christ. Though he was granted a doctorate from Brown University in 1835 he preferred not to be called by that title but they called him “Brother” and his friends called him “Father.” On returning from a revival where there was a great outpouring he stood before his people and said with tears, “You are too good to be saved!” Revival came and spread in the land.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 524-26.

Leave a comment

Filed under Church History