Tag Archives: John Weatherford

216 – August, 04 – This Day in Baptist History Past


Cross Wickenden

As the son of Charles CIay I fear no man

Elder Eleazer Clay was born August 04, 1744, a rugged Virginian, and when just a boy of 14, he enlisted in the army and fought in the French and Indian War. He moved to Chesterfield County and married Miss Jane Apperson. It was here that he came under deep conviction of sin as a result of the preaching of William Webber, Joseph Anthony, and John Weatherford, who preached through the prison grates. Clay made his profession of faith in Christ in Aug. of 1771, and became a member of the Baptist church, and was soon preaching the gospel of Christ. Col. Cary, magistrate of the county said that he left Elder Clay alone and arrested others for preaching because Clay had a livelihood, and he took the others under the “vagrant law.” Clay was probably the richest preacher in Virginia. He used his wealth to help the other preachers in prison and to build a Baptist meetinghouse that he planted as the first Baptist church in Chesterfield, County. He was not without enemies. A man rode into the yard where he was preaching in a private house and said that he had come to “cowhide him.” Clay said, “I am the son of Charles Clay, and I fear no man. If I have to go out after him, I will give him one of the worst whippings of his life.” Obviously the gentleman didn’t accomplish his objective. Clay pastored the church that he planted for over sixty-years. He loved the Word of God and read his New Testament once each month in addition to his O.T. reading. He went to be with the Lord at 92 years of age. His brother John Clay was one of the imprisoned preachers of Virginia and the great Kentucky statesman Henry Clay was his nephew.

Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 319-20.

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Henry, Patrick

Patrick Henry paid his fine

1833 – JOHN WEATHERFORD, THE LAST OF THE OLD VETERAN BAPTIST PREACHERS DIED – John Weatherford, the last of the old veteran Baptist preachers, died on January 23, 1833. A little boy noticed the white, rigid seams in his hands and it left an indelible impression. In his latter years the boy learned that Weatherford had been imprisoned in the Chesterfield County jail of the colony of Virginia for five months in the year 1773. The iron bars did not hinder him from preaching through the grates to the congregation that gathered. Wicked men would stand on either side and slash his hands with knives until blood would stream down and actually sprinkle down on the people. Dr. White, the young lad, called them, ‘the martyr marks of the Lord Jesus.’ Weatherford was not released until the jail fees (room and board) were paid, which was a considerable sum. Finally they were paid by someone and he was released. Over twenty years later Patrick Henry became a neighbor to Weatherford and only then the preacher found that it was Henry who had paid his fine. As an old man he requested Newton’s song ‘Amazing Grace’ to be sung to him.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon; adapted from:  Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson/   Pg.  30

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