Tag Archives: justice of the peace



My peace I leave with you”


1724 – Samuel Harriss was born in Hanover County, Virginia. While still a youth his parents moved to Pittsylvania County where men appointed Samuel as church warden, sheriff, a justice of the peace, burgess of the county, colonel of the militia, captain of Ft. Mayo, and commissary for the Fort and Army. All of this did not satisfy his soul and he was brought under deep conviction. He attended a meeting of the sect called Baptists and heard the Murphy Boys, Joseph and William preach in a small house. He got under conviction and was gloriously saved some time in 1758 and began to follow Daniel Marshall and travel with James Read from N.C. Harriss became so effective that they called him the “Virginia Apostle.” At the invitation of Allen Wyley he went to Culpeper, Virginia and ventured as far as the Shenandoah Valley. While preaching in Orange County he was pulled down and dragged about by the hair and sometimes by one leg. On another occasion he was knocked down while preaching. In Hillsborough he was locked up for a considerable time for preaching without a license. A man owed him a debt but he said that he was so sure that God would pay him that he would discharge the debt against the man. The man was so utterly amazed that he ultimately paid him in full.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon; adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 16-17.


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131– May 11 – This Day in Baptist History Past


John Hart – A True Christian Patriot


While the actual date of John Hart’s birth is unknown, biographers have put it in the year of 1713, in Hopewell Township, NJ. His grandfather, for whom he was named, was a carpenter, who came from Newtown, Long Island. His son, Edward, was John Hart’s father. Edward Hart was a Justice of the Peace, a Public Assessor, and a farmer. He arrived in Hopewell about A.D. 1710, at the age of twenty. He married Martha Furman (Firmin), on May 17, 1712 and they had five children, all raised in Hopewell New Jersey.


In December of 1776, as Washington’s army retreated across New Jersey, the British and Hessians ravaged the Hopewell area. Hart’s home and property suffered severe damage, two young children fled to the homes of relatives and Hart himself took refuge wherever he could in the woods, hiding in caves and in the Sourwood Mountains.


John Hart was re-elected twice as Speaker of the Assembly and served until November 7, 1778.


Part of John Hart’s land called the lower meadow was donated to the Baptists in 1747 to build a church and cemetery, which is located on Broad Street in Hopewell.


On July 3, 2006, the Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, Inc. dedicated a bronze plaque to John Hart and his wife Deborah Scudder Hart. Many descendants were at the Baptist Meeting House on Broad Street in Hopewell for the dedication. It is very fitting that John and Deborah are now buried and honored on the very land that he gave to the Baptists.


Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: The Society of the Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence/John Hart





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“And then went on and declar’d the Marriage Covenant”

November 24, 1800 – Susanna Backus quietly departed this life, five days before her 51st wedding anniversary. Through a painful, debilitating illness, Susanna said, “I am not so much concerned with living or dying, as to have my will swallowed up in the will of God.” Susanna Mason was born in Rehoboth, Massachusetts, in or around 1724. Her great-grandfather had been a soldier in Oliver Cromwell’s Roundhead Army. The families were Baptists in background, and she was converted in 1745 and joined the Separate church and maintained her Baptist convictions when she married Isaac Backus. Backus, not fully persuaded of Baptist principles relating to pedobaptism at that time, became “fully persuaded” and became one of the leaders among the Baptists and exercised great influence in relation to freedom of conscience in the formation of our nation. At their wedding on Nov. 29, 1749, Isaac refused to permit any of the frivolous merrymaking which normally took place at New England marriages, because he considered it a solemn ordinance of God. The wedding took place in her father’s house and was performed by a justice of the peace as was the custom. But Isaac got permission to transform it into a religious ceremony. “Br. Shepherd read a Psalm and we Sung; then we went to prayer and the Lord did hear and Come near to us. And then I took my dear Sister Susanna by the hand and spoke Something of the Sense I had of our Standing in the presence of God, and also how that He had clearly pointed out to me this Person to be my Companion and an helper meet for me. And then went on and declar’d the Marriage Covenant: and She did the same to me…Then I read, and we sung the 101 Psalm after that I preached a Short Sermon from Acts 13:36.”

Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins /Thompson/ , pp. 489-91.

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