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Sketches of Virginia
Chapter VI. - Hanover Presbytery from 1758 to 1770


In the reconstruction of Presbyteries that followed the union of the Synods of New York and Philadelphia, in 1758, the Hanover Presbytery included, with the exception of Mr. John Hoge of Frederick County, all the Presbyterian ministers south of the Potomac, in connection with the two Synods, Alexander Craighead, Samuel Black, John Craig, Samuel Davies, Alexander Miller, John Todd, Robert Henry, John Brown, John Wright, and John Martin. The first meeting was held July 12th, 1758, in Mr. Wright’s congregation in Cumberland County. “Agreed that all the appointments of the former Presbytery of Hanover, that are not yet complied with, shall continue in force, as far as they are consistent with the union of the Synods.” Under this order the ordination of Messrs. Richardson and Pattillo took place, the necessary steps having been taken by the former Presbytery.

Rev. Henry Pattillo, the eighth in order, was an alumnus of Mr. Davies. A sketch of him appears in the Sketches of North Carolina.

Rev. William Richardson, the ninth in order, was an Englishman by birth, and became a member of the family of Mr. Davies. Respecting some religious books sent him, Mr. Davies writes, June 3d, 1757—“In their names and my own, I heartily thank the Society in Glasgow for their liberal and well chosen benefaction. Mr. Richardson (now a resident in my family) and myself will divide them according to direction, and endeavor to distribute them to the best advantage.” At Providence, Louisa County, the Committee, Messrs. Todd, Wright, and Davies, met according to appointment to hear Mr. Pattillo’s trials—“Mr. William Richardson attending upon the Committee to offer himself upon trials for the ministry of the gospel, was taken sick, and unable to pass an examination. But the members of the Committee having had considerable acquaintance with his progress in learning by their private conversation with him, conclude they have sufficient reason to dispense with his trials at this time, in so extraordinary a case; and appoint him to prepare a-sermon on John iii. 2, ‘We know thou art a teacher come from Godand an Exegesis on the question — Unde apparet necessitas Christi Mortis ut Peccatores servati sint? — as a second part of trial to be determined at the next Presbytery.” At Cub Creek, in the September following, after the licensure of Mr. Pattillo, the examination of Mr. Richardson in Latin, Greek and Hebrew, Logic, Ontology, Natural and Moral Philosophy, Geography and Astronomy, was held and approved; his religious experience, and exegesis, and sermon were heard and also approved — and they “appoint him a sermon on 2 Cor. v. 17, to be delivered at our next Committee at Wm. Smith’s in Cumberland, the last Wednesday of October; and they appoint Messrs. Davies, Henry, Wright, and Todd, a Committee for that purpose.” On the 25th of October, the Committee sustained the sermon, and appointed another on John vi. 44, first clause — and a Lecture on 2 Cor. 4:1 — 7. At Captain Anderson’s, in Cumberland, Jan. 25th, 1758, Mr. Richardson delivered the sermon and lecture. After examination — “on various subjects of Divinity, the Presbytery received his assent to, and approbation of, the Westminster Confession of Faith, as the confession of his faith, also the Catechism and Directory, and proceeded to license him; and appointed the Moderator, Mr. Davies, to give him some admonitions with regard to the discharge of his office.” April 26th, 1758, at Providence, Louisa, Mr. Richardson opened Presbytery with a sermon according to appointment, which was accepted as preparatory for ordination. On the next day he was ordered to take a missionary tour through the upper part of North Carolina; and also to attend a meeting of Presbytery at Captain Anderson’s, in Cumberland, on July 12th, with an exegesis on — “Num Sabbatum Judaicum post Christi resurrectionem, in primum diem hebdomadis mutatum V" On the appointed day the Presbytery met, and on the next day proceeded to the ordination of Henry Pattillo and William Richardson. Mr. Davies delivered on the occasion, number seventy-one of his printed sermons, — “ The love of souls a necessary qualification for the ministerial office.” To the end of the sermon, is appended the ordination service of the occasion. At the meeting of Presbytery to consider the application for the removal of Mr. Davies to Princeton, Mr. Richardson was not present. Mr. Davies, “in the name of the society for promoting Christianity among the Indians, petitioned the Presbytery that Mr. Richardson should be permitted to go as a missionary among the Indians, as soon as his health will permit; to which the Presbytery heartily agreed.” Sept. 27th, 1758, at Hanover, he was “appointed to preside at Mr. Craighead’s installation, at Rocky River in North Carolina, on his way out to the Cherokee nation.” In 1760, he joined the Presbytery of South Carolina, not in connexion with the Synod. There are further notices of his labors in North and South Carolina, in the Sketches of North Carolina. His foster child and heir, William Richardson Davie, was noted in the war of the Revolution and the Civil History of North Carolina, as a soldier of bravery, and a politician of influence.

Rev. Andrew Millar, the tenth member, came from the parish of Ardstraw, in Ireland; and in 1753 applied to the Philadelphia Synod for admission — “He acknowledged he was degraded by the Presbytery of Letterkenny, and sub-Synod of Londonderry, and General Synod of Ireland, but complained, that they had treated him hardly and unjustly.” The Synod after considering his case— “ think they would act wrong to encourage a man which is cast out of their churches, till we hear for what reasons, and we would warn all the Societies under our care, to give him no encouragement as a minister till his character is cleared.” In 1755, he appeared before Synod and handed in “ a penitential acknowledgement to transmit” — to Ireland to procure reconciliation between him and the Presbytery of Letterkenny, or the Synod of Dungannon. The next year, he came again with “ a supplication from Cook’s Creek and Peeked Mountain, requesting us to receive Mr. Alexander Millar as a full member, and to appoint his instalment as a regular pastor.” These congregations were composed of emigrants from Ireland; Cook’s Creek on the south-west, and Peeked Mountain north-eastward of Harrisonburg, the present county seat of Rockingham county. Some steps were taken by the Synod to comply with this request, and some discretionary power was granted Messrs. Black and Craig, “to receive him as a member and instal him, provided they find his conduct in that part of Christ’s vineyard, such as becomes a gospel minister,” in prospect of some letters being received from Ireland, favorable to Mr. Millar’s standing, “ in the fall when the ships are arrived from Ireland.” Messrs. Black and Craig did not proceed in the affair. The request from the congregation was renewed in May, 1757 — “and the Synod unanimously agree to receive him as a member, and order, that Mr. Craig instal him accordingly, at some convenient time, before the first of next August; and that he give him to understand, that it is the judgment of the Synod, that he ought to be content with the bounds fixed by the committee for that purpose.” He was installed and registered as a member of Donegal Presbytery; but was not content with his bounds. He wished the line between his congregation and Mr. Craig’s, should be more central, and approach nearer the Stone Church and Mossy Creek, and carried the matter before Hanover Presbytery in 1760. The matter was decided against him, “ as Mr. Craig’s bounds on that side are very moderate, and as the people on the limits contended for, earnestly petition that they may be continued under their own pastor.” In 1764, we find him in difficulties with his congregations. Preparations, were also made by Presbytery to investigate some charges, unfavorable to his morals, against his conduct while on a missionary tour in North Carolina. On these charges he was deposed June 5th, 1766, by the Presbytery of Hanover. The matter was carried to Synod, 1769. Steps were taken for a hearing, “in the mean time on account of Mr. Millar’s unjustifiable delay for some years to enter his complaint — the irregularity of his proceedings— the atrocious nature of the crimes laid to his charge — we do hereby declare him suspended from the exercise of the ministerial office, till his complaint can be fully heard.”

Mr. Millar then gave in a paper renouncing the authority of the Synod. “The Synod therefore declare he is not a member of this body, and forbid all their Presbyteries and congregations to employ him.”

Rev. Samuel Black, the eleventh in order, a probationer from Ireland, was received by New Castle Presbytery. His ordination took place at the Forks of Brandywine, in 1737. He soon after removed to Virginia, and took his residence among the Scotch-Irish population that had seated themselves on Rockfish river, at the eastern base of the Blue Ridge, in Nelson County, as the State is now divided, and not far from Rockfish Gap. In every respect, his situation was well chosen; the people were enterprising, the soil good, the climate favorable, the position for trade showing its superiority every year as improvements advance, and the community a church-going people by habit. In the division of the Synod, he went with the Synod of Philadelphia, and was a member of the Presbytery of Donegal. On the reconstruction of Presbyteries, he was assigned to Hanover; but never met with them in session. An amiable man, of a retiring disposition, as infirmities came upon him he secluded himself more and more from public labors of the ministry. Some difficulties arose, and some charges were brought against him by a portion of the congregations, as reasons why Presbytery should grant them another minister. The Presbytery proceeded with great caution and tenderness, and the difficulties were in part adjusted. Mr. Black retired from public services altogether, owing to these difficulties and his own sensitive feelings, sooner than he would have done in other circumstances, llis family, as kind and retired as himself, never urged him to a more prominent stand, or more vigorous efforts in his old age. He was orthodox in doctrine, and correct in his views of religious action and Christian principles, as has been evidenced by the fact that a goodly number of pious people were found on Rockfish; and his successors in the ministry saw evidence that God had blessed the ministry of his word by him. No production of his pen remains; and no great act marked the even tenor of his way. His influence, like that of multitudes, will be known in its wider or narrower diffusion, at the great day. He died about the year 1771.

Rev. Hugh M’Aden, the 12th in order, was received from New Castle Presbytery, July 18th, 1759. His memoir is found in the Sketches of North Carolina.

Rev. Richard Sankey, (sometimes spelled Zankey), the 13th member, was ordained by Donegal Presbytery, in 1738. His admission to the sacred office was delayed by a circumstance recorded in the Minutes of Synod the year he took his seat. The Synod upon considering a remonstrance sent up for the purpose, say—“ That though they cannot but greatly condemn and censure Mr. Sankey’s conduct, in acting the plagiary in transcribing notes out of printed authors, thereby to impose upon the Presbytery, giving them a false view of his ministerial powers; and in sending the same notes to another candidate to enable him to impose upon his Presbytery in the same manner, as well as for his greatest imprudence in sending such heretical notes abroad, whereby most dangerous errors came to be vended; yet considering that Mr. Sankey was sharply admonished by his Presbytery, that his trials were sometime stopt, and" his ordination a considerable time delayed on account of this, his conduct, we shall now lay no further censure upon him, but judge the Presbytery was defective in not taking notice in their Minutes of his being such a plagiary, or censuring him on that account.” In his after life he seems never to have expressed any inclination towards the sin of his youth; and probably justified the Prebytery and Synod in their treatment of his thoughtlessness, not to say his crime, in which they mingled leniency with the severity of their rebuke.

He was settled in the ministry near Carlisle. His congregation, like himself, were of Scotch-Irish extract. He signed the protest of 1741; and his people adhered to the old side, and belonged to the Synod of Philadelphia. The troubles of the Indian wars succeeding the defeat of Braddock, particularly those connected with the Paxton boys, induced the congregation to seek a residence in the more peaceful frontiers of southern Virginia. They took their abode in the fertile regions on Buffalo Creek, in Prince Edward, and around the place now known as Walker’s church, lying between Cumberland congregation and Cub Creek, and on one side closely adjoining Briery congregation. And considering the distances people would then ride to church, the congregations of Cub Creek, Briery, Buffalo, Walker’s church and Cumberland, occupied a large region of country. The Rev. William Calhoon in a letter to E. N. Watkins, says—“He was a very old man when I first knew him. From the time I knew him he was a small man, very bowlegged; when his feet would be together, his knees would be six inches apart. His face was rather square, with high cheek bones. He wore a wig and bands. His manner in preaching was to lean on the pulpit, perhaps on account of his age, with his Bible open before him. After announcing his text and dividing his subject, he made remarks on each head, and occupied much of the time in fortifying the doctrine by other passages of Scripture to which he would turn and read, giving book, chapter, and verse. He was considered a superior Hebrew scholar; often carried his Hebrew Bible into the pulpit, and used it in his criticisms and quotations, using in the general the language of the common English Bible.

In the war of the revolution, though advanced in years, Mr. Sanky was decided for the liberties of his country. His name appears honorably on some of the papers prepared by his Presbytery of lasting interest in political and religious liberty. While able to ride he attended the meetings of the judicatories of the church; and in his old age there were instances of the Presbytery holding their meeting in his church to accommodate his infirmities, as in the case of the ordination of Mr. Mitchel. He held the office of a minister of the gospel more than half a century, some thirty of which he spent in Virginia, with an unblemished reputation. He closed his career in the year 1790. His congregations have flourished. Buffalo enjoyed the labors of Matthew Lyle, and now is served by Mr. Cochran. Walker’s Church has had a variety of ministers and of success. Among others, Mr. Roberts labored there for years, not without success.

Rev. James Waddell, D.D., together with his congregation, in the Northern Neck of Virginia, have their place, in the first volume of Sketches of Virginia.

Rev. James Hunt, the fifteenth member, was the son of the James Hunt, conspicuous in the scenes of a religious nature in Hanover County, previous to the visit of Mr. Robinson, and during the times of Davies. His preparation for College was made at the school under the direction of Mr. Todd, and patronized by Mr. Davies : his degree was conferred at the College of New Jersey, in 1759, the summer Mr. Davies removed from Virginia to become President of the College. His theological education was completed under the direction of New Brunswick Presbytery, by whom he was licensed and ordained. It is probable that he pursued the study of theology under the instruction of his beloved pastor, the President of the College, Mr. Davies. At Tinkling Spring, Oct. 7th, 1761, he produced his credentials, and was admitted member of Hanover Presbytery. He made a tour through North Carolina, preaching to great acceptance, and in April, 1762, at Goochland, the Presbytery put in his hands “ A call from Roan and Anson Counties, North Carolina, to which he is to give an answer by our fall Presbytery, or sooner, if he sees fit; and if he does accept it, and declare his acceptance to the moderator,” (Mr. Craighead), “he is empowered to install him. The two congregations engage to pay him <£80 each per annum.” These calls he declined. Visiting the counties of Lancaster and Northumberland, in Virginia, where Messrs. Davies and Todd had been gathering members of the church, with the aid of Whitefield and others, he was encouraged by the prospects of usefulness to remain some time. Pleased with the people, who excelled in social manners, and they being interested in him as a gospel minister, preparations were making to have him settled as pastor. In the mean time, James Waddell, licensed by Hanover Presbytery, April, 1761, at the time Mr. Hunt joined Presbytery, and preaching with great favor in different parts of the country, made, after repeated invitations, a visit to the Northern Neck. Col. Gordon and7 others preferring him to any candidate they were likely to obtain, and there being a prospect of securing his services with a larger field of usefulness, Mr. Hunt thought proper to withdraw from a people to whom he felt greatly attached, and seek another location. Mr. Waddell was eventually settled as pastor.

At a meeting, Oct., 1762, at Providence, Louisa County, “Mr. Waddell accepts of a call from Lancaster and Northumberland Counties, in which the Presbytery heartily concur;” Mr. Wright’s trial was completed, and he “is hereby suspended until we shall see sufficient reason to restore him;” and “Mr. Hunt having requested a dismission from this Presbytery, as he expects to settle in Pennsylvania, Mr. Todd is directed to give him credentials when he shall apply.” Mr. Hunt passed the great part of his ministerial life in Montgomery County, Maryland, in the neighborhood of Rockville. For many years he was at the head of a flourishing classical and mathematical school, extensively known, and deservingly held in high esteem. Among the numerous pupils may be named William Wirt, Esq., who attended his school about four years; and laid the foundation for his literary excellence under the instruction, and in the library of Mr. Hunt. For two years young Wirt was a member of Mr. Hunt’s family. This gentleman took special pains to encourage his pupil to efforts in composition, and for improvement in declamation; and having high ideas of the importance of both of these exercises, he stimulated young Wirt to efforts in public speaking that gained him the prize at the annual examination and exhibition. His son, William Pitt Hunt, opened his office, at Montgomery Court House, to young Wirt to commence the study of law; and after some years he removed to Virginia, the place of his father’s birth. His widow, a Miss Watkins, became the second wife of Moses Hoge, D.D., and has left a memory in the churches which is addressed.

The sixteenth member, David Rice, was born in Hanover County, December 20th, 1733. His parents were plain farmers, in moderate circumstances, of Welch extraction. His mind was deeply impressed with religious things early in life. He witnessed the excitement produced by the readings of Morris and his companions, and the preaching of Robinson. Under the preaching of Mr. Davies he was hopefully converted. When about twenty years of age he became a pupil of the school conducted by Mr. Todd with the assistance of James Waddell. So anxious was he to procure an education, that, to meet the expenses, he raised a hogshead of tobacco with his own hands and commenced his studies. Afterwards he taught an English school; and sometimes both taught and studied, till his health began to give way. Then for a time a connexion gave him his board. His classical course was completed at Nassau Hall. President Davies made him the beneficiary of some funds sent annually, from London, for the purpose of assisting in the education of young men of promise, in narrow circumstances. This supply ceasing on the death of Mr. Davies, Mr. Richard Stockton became his almoner, saying, “ I have, in a literal sense, ventured my bread on the waters, having a ship at sea. If it founders, you must repay the sum I advance ; if it returns safe, I will venture in the figurative sense.” The vessel returned safe, and Mr. Stockton declined the repayment offered some two years after. Mr. Rice was graduated the year Mr. Davies died, 1761. He pursued the study of Theology, in preparation for the ministry, under the direction of Mr. Todd, and was received as a candidate for the ministry at the Bird Meeting-House in Goochland, April 8th, 1762. He passed part of his trials in the June following, in Prince Edward, and part in the following October at Providence, in Louisa ; and on the 9th of the following November, at Deep Creek, opened the Presbytery with a sermon on 2 Tim. 2: 19, “ Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” In the afternoon of the same day, at the house of Mr. Hollands, he was licensed to preach the gospel. In October, 1763, at Cub Creek—“Mr. Rice accepts a call from Mr. Davies’ former congregation, in which the Presbytery cheerfully concur.” On the 28th of December of the same year, he opened the Presbytery at Hanover lower meeting-house, with his trial sermon for ordination, on 2 Tim. 2:3, “ Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ:” and on the next day was ordained to the full work of the gospel ministry, and set as pastor of the church in and about Hanover; Mr. Pattillo presiding. In less than three years circumstances, unfriendly to the welfare of the congregation, led to the following record of Presbytery, April 18th, 1766. Mr. Rice — “petitions the Presbytery for a dismission from his congregation in and about Hanover, on condition that the differences now subsisting in said congregation are not made up in the space of three or four months; which the Presbytery grants.” In October of the same year, at Cub Creek, Mr. Rice received a call — “from the congregations of Bedford, which he accepts, and in which the Presbytery concur.” The difficulties in Hanover were not between Mr. Rice and the people, but between the people themselves, particularly some of the leading men. These not being settled, Mr. Rice thought it better to remove. In April, 1767, the records of Presbytery say—“that the parties had amicably composed themselves, and are restored to peace.” Emigrations from Hanover to the frontiers were now frequent. Many of the most pious and active persons were in a little time in other congregations; and this people so signally blessed of God for a series of years became weak as other men. The emigrants, black and white, wherever they went carried the spirit of the gospel, as manifested by Davies, to the frontiers of Virginia and iNorth Carolina. The cliurches of Christ were multiplied, while Hanover dwindled. Whether the leading men were jealous of each other, or simply missed the guiding power of Davies; or whether Davies himself under the influence of the spirit of emigration that pervaded his flock, could have kept up its relative importance, are matters for sober reflection, but no certain decision. The church of Davies still exists in feebleness among the churches of Christ, having seen days of depression and some days of reviving. "

in October, 1768, Mr. Rice stated to Presbytery — “that he was entangled in a suit brought against him by Mr. Millar, in Augusta Court, for pretended slander in transmitting a minute of Presbytery which respected said Millar’s trial and deposition ; which he, the said Rice did, as Clerk of Presbytery; which suit considerably affected the Presbyterian interest in this colony. The Presbytery think it necessary that some of our members attend said Court, when this suit is to be determined, and represent the affair in a proper light: and do, therefore, appoint Messrs. Todd and Brown' to attend said Court for that purpose.” Mr. Millar did not prosecute the suit.

In October, 1771, he was directed by Presbytery to supply Cub Creek one-fourth of his time. To this he assented — “unless the sale of land at that Creek, where he resided, and the purchase in Bedford prevented.” On the 30th of October, 1777, he took advice of Presbytery whether he should continue in the relation which existed between him and Concord, and the Peaks, or give up one; and if one, which ? Presbytery advised him to hold to the Peaks. He confined his labors to this large congregation for about five or six years. This period embraced the early childhood of his nephew John Holt Rice, a name dear to the Virginia church.

In 1782, Mr. Rice visited Kentucky. Allured by the reports of the fertility of the soil, he wished to have the advantage of his own observation, on the important question of making it the home of his young and increasing family, either as a family or as emigrants when they came to years of maturity. The contending claims of speculators and the unsettled state of the country, made no favorable impression upon his mind. He preached frequently while in the country, to the great acceptance of the scattered settlements. His first sermon was at Harrod’s Station; Matt. 4th, 16 — “The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.” The people were more pleased with his ministry, than he was with the situation of affairs in respect to land-titles, and the safety of the homesteads sought in the midst of so much danger. May 20th. 1783, at Hall’s meeting house, now New Monmouth, in Augusta county—^“a call from the united congregations of Cane Run, Concord, and the Forks, in Lincoln county, was given in to be presented to Mr. Rice. On the next day Mr. Rice made a motion to be dismissed from his congregation in Bedford—“Resolved, that he be dismissed accordingly” — Ordered, “That the call from Kentucky be presented to Mr. Rice.” The call was presented and accepted.-He speedily removed to the “dark and bloody ground.” In Virginia he had been forward in every good work. He was a trustee of Hampden Sidney College; was active in the measures to carry on the work of the Revolution; diligent in his calling as a minister of the gospel; and acceptable to the congregations in Virginia. Under his care the Peaks flourished and required his entire labor. He is called “Father Rice” in Kentucky, being the first Presbyterian minister that settled in that State. The active part he took in every thing relating to the prosperity of the infant settlements of Western Virginia — and the faithfulness and labors by which he merited the name of “ Patriarch of the Kentucky Presbyterian Church,” are recorded in Davidson's "History of the Presbyterian Church in Kentucky. No history of Kentucky, whether of Church or State, can be complete without extended notice of the labors of David Rice. In fact, a Biography of this man would necessarily embrace the most interesting events in the literary, political, and religious movements of Kentucky, in its early days ; and with some of his published writings, would form a volume of permanent usefulness.

Mr. Rice was married to Mary, daughter of Rev. Samuel Blair, the preceptor of Davies; he reared a family of eleven children. Many of his descendants are in Virginia ; and some in the ministry. He lived to an advanced age. For the last three years of his life, he was prevented from preaching and writing, by the gradual decay of nature. His religious exercises were of a heavenly character. He died June 18th, 1816, in his 83d year. His last words were — “Oh, when shall I be free from sin and sorrow.” The following sketch is from the pen of the mother of Mrs. Rice, and will find its way to the hearts of the numerous descendants of Mr. Blair and Mr. Rice, and many others that fear God and know a mother’s desires for the salvation of her children.

October 8th, 1763.

My Dear Children — It is my concern for your souls’ welfare, as well after my decease as whilst I am present with you, that I seem to be irresistibly urged to leave you a few sentences to peruse ; and if it should please a gracious God to bless them to you — as the reading of any thing of the like kind, that appeared to be honest and without show of ostentation, has been to me — my design, as far as I am judge of myself, will be fully answered. And now, 0 searcher of the hearts and trier of the intents and actions of thy creatures, if my design be any other than I here profess, discover to me the fraud before I proceed any farther.

My design at this time shall not be to give you a narrative or diary of what I have experienced, of as I trust, the Lord’s gracious dealings towards me, for that would be too great; and as I did not prosecute that begun work in my young days, I could not now recollect without adding or diminishing. What discourages me now, was that same reason when I first attempted, is, that I believe the Lord did not give me such enlargement of judgment that I should be useful to any but such as I am nearly connected with, who, I hope, will make no bad use of any thing that may not appear with such embellishments as the public would require. However, that now is for my design in these few lines.

When I was about the age of fifteen, or soon after, it pleased a gracious God to stop me in my career of youthful follies, and to make sweet religion to appear the most noble course a rational creature could pursue. And what first brought me to reflect was: that summer I was visited with one affliction after another ; first, the measles, and then the intermitting fever, and then the whooping cough—all to no great purpose, until by my being brought so low I apprehended myself in a decay, which put me to think I should set about reformation, a work which I thought only consisted in growing serious, and praying often, with other duties. When having an opportunity of hearing Messrs. Gilbert and John Tennent, they engaged me more, and strengthened me in my resolution to devote myself to religion. But the bed was too strait for me. I was often allured into my former vain company to the wounding of conscience and the breach of resolutions ; was like a hell upon earth, and put often to think that the day of grace was over, and I might as well give up with all. However, it pleased a gracious God again to strengthen and encourage me to wrestle and cry for free mercy, and that in myself I could do nothing, nor keep the least resolution I could make. But soon after the way of salvation in and through Christ, was clearly and sweetly opened to me in such a point of light that it appeared to me I had not lived or breathed or known what pleasure was before then. I then got victory over sin and the devil. But oh ! how soon Satan came with another hideous temptation, which was blasphemy. This, as I had never felt or heard of before, filled me with such horror, that I was near being overcome with an unnatural sin. But as the distress was great, the deliverance was greater, which made me loathe myself, and almost life, and say with Job: "I would not live always.” I was then persuaded by my dear minister, John Tennent, to join in communion with the people of God in the precious ordinance of the Lord’s Supper. Which, though I could scarcely be prevailed on to venture, and though with trembling, lest I should meet with a salutation of “Friend, how earnest thou hither?” I know not whether ever I had a greater discovery of the dying love of a dear Redeemer. It appeared so clear to the eyes of my understanding that for a little while I saw nothing of the world besides. Then I went on my way rejoicing, singing in the Psalmist: “ Return unto thy rest, O! my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.” I thought then I should never sin more ; never indulge sloth or inactivity, or wandering thoughts, for sin had got such a dash it would no more have any access to my spirit: but sad experience soon made me wiser, and I was left, not many days after, to go mourning without the sun. So my chariot wheels moved slowly for many days. Though, blessed be God, a sense of religion, and my deep obligations still remained with me, and I was assiduous for the good of poor sinners ; taking such opportunities as fell in my way, and such of my acquaintance as I had access to. And in the way of my duty i suffered much reviling, but was not suffered to be moved thereby, though young, and religion at that time an uncustomary thing, and not much of morality only among the aged.

And now, my dear children, let me enjoin this duty on you, to make conscience of your conversation and words. You may be apt to excuse yourselves with, that you are young, and it does not become you to talk of religion, and that is the minister’s part. But if you have received the grace of God, have you received it in vain, or only for yourselves ? Has not the Lord deposed a trust in your hands—his glory and honor—and should you not every way strive to advance it ? At that time I was much perplexed with my own heart: spiritual pride seemed as if it would undo me, for I concluded at some times as if it was the spring of all my actions. This I groaned under ; but sometimes was tempted to cast away all for my ignorance of divine life. And the depth of Satan made me conclude that there never was a child of God that had ever the least rising of such a horrid feeling, and so much akin to the devil. But conversing with a humble, honest woman, I found that she was wrestling under the same, and so I got new courage to fight this Apollyon, and so from time to time I was helped. As I let down my watch, and grew cold and formal, and to backsliding from him, the Lord left me to such exercises as cost me broken bones before I was restored to a sense of his favor. As I informed you, I cannot recollect the particular exercises at such a distance ; if I can but say:

“Here, on my heart, the impress lies,
The joys, the sorrows of the mind.”

What reason have I this day to praise my heavenly father, who is a father to the fatherless, in providing for me such a companion in life, when my fond fancy would sometimes have led me to choose one that had little or no religion ! Oh ! the goodness of God in preventing me then, and at other times, when I had formed schemes to ruining myself. This, my dear children, I would have you carefully to ponder and beg for direction in before proceeding in such an affair in which your happiness for this world, if not the next, depends. Let the words of the inspired apostle be the moving spring of all your actions: “the glory of God.” But, although I was blest with the best of husbands, (and you the best of fathers,) yet how unbecomingly did I act in that particular! How often have I dishonored religion by my pride, self-will and self-love ! And here, with sorrow, occurs an instance of it. When I was called to a self-denying duty, for the sake of my friends and native place, to come to Pennsylvania, how many excuses did I make to get my shoulders from under the yoke ! and to prevail with my venerable husband not to go! And although he did not consult flesh and blood in the way of duty, yet when the Lord so remarkably smiled upon his labors, I hope I saw my error. This is, and shall be matter of grief to me while 1 live. Oh! may it never be a witness against me that I was so unwilling to come to the help of the Lord. Free mercy I plead, and I trust I was made to see and feel that if any man sin, there is an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ.

My care for your immortal part never left me in the midst of all my own perplexities and fears; and when I had freedom for myself, your happiness was next to my own. Before your entrance into the world, (or before yon drew the vital breath of life) my concern for you came next, which prompted me at one time to spend some time more than common to implore heaven in your behalf. It pleased God by his gracious influence to smile upon me and encourage my faith and trust for you. Now let this be an excitement to you, to be earnest for the salvation of your own souls, and, as it were, to storm heaven—offer violence to your carnal selves. For though none can win heaven by all they can do, yet the command is, “Give all diligence he that sows sparingly, shall reap so. Otherwise it shall avail nothing that you have so many petitions put up for you. No doubt Darid often prayed for his wicked son Absalom, but we do not read of his saving change. It pleased the Lord farther at that time to strengthen my hope in this instance, in that your oldest brother was more than ordinarily solicitous to know what he should do to be saved, and took all opportunities to converse with such as could direct him the way to heaven. More than ordinarily, I say, because there are too lamentably few that at eight or nine years, are much concerned about the matter. But his sudden and admonishing death, at less than twelve years, may convince others that no age nor state is exempted—here I must stop, and mourn now, because I unreasonably grieved for his removal as if the Lord had not a sovereign right to do with all his creatures as he pleased; which gave birth for every discontented thought, and liberty for Satan with all his artillery of hideous injections to destroy my peace and that submission that became a creature, and much more one that had been the subject of such favors as I trust I was. And though I was at times helped and could sweetly acquiesce in the divine will, yet it was never cured till a greater stroke was felt. And now “distress,” as Young observes in the like case, “distress became distraction.” And though, as the case was distressing for a father to be removed from being the head of a young family, the eldest not fourteen years, the, Lord was pleased, to me a poor sinful creature, to strengthen me in such a way four days before the removal of my dearest friend upon earth; yet how soon did I lose eight of the promises and grow discontented; and although my temptations were different from the first in the death of my dear son, yet they were as aggravating and as pernicious to religion as the other. Life became a burden: nothing seemed to me more desirable than death, Jonah like, because I had not my desire, insensible of what or how I should die, or of the blessing of life and of the mercy of being with you. Oh! 'how little do we know what spirits we are of! And how weak is our strength when we are not able to go with the footmen when left! how should we, if called, be able to resist even unto blood, when left to ourselves?

It pleased God in about a twelve month after, to remove my youngest son Isaac, which brought my sin to remembrance in caring so unsuitably in the last dispensation. My grief for his removal, as to myself, was not probably as much as it should be, for, at that time, I thought nothing could make another wound, but as I concluded it was for my sin that he was removed from all hopes of usefulness; every affliction throughout that time appeared but small comparatively—in comparison to the other two. But my God strengthened and upheld me through all my difficulties, and made me taste the sweetness of his promises and rely upon them with a firm confidence that my Maher was my husband, and that he had betrothed me to himself in judgment and in righteousness, and that I was still and should be the care of a kind Providence in all respects, as glory to his great name, we have been. This has been my refuge in all my difficulties that unavoidably will arise in a world of sin and temptation, and from contracted circumstances, as being the alone head of a family as to your support which has been always redressed better than I could ever think it would. And now, my dear children, I have given you some brief sketches of my life, and I wish it had been with less imperfections. I may with more justness call it out-breakings, but that the riches of free grace might be manifested t'o the greatest of sinners. As to my comforts or sweet manifestations of God’s love in Jesus Christ and out-goings of soul, I have shunned to make much mention of, though my consolations have been neither few nor small; blessed, forever blessed be his holy name. And farther, as my eternal state is not decided and I am yet in a world of sin and temptation, I thank my God I enjoy, at times, peace and serenity of mind and a good degree, and that I trust I am not deceived as to the state of my soul. And now, my dear children, may we be so happy through the riches of free grace in Christ Jesus, to meet at last at the right hand of God when He makes up his jewels, and be able to say, here am I and the children that God has graciously given me. Amen.

If I should be judged by any of you so hard, as that I wanted to set myself oft' in your esteem, I think there is nothing in this relation that can give birth to such a surmise, as I told you in the beginning that I could not somehow get peace or satisfaction, as I looked upon it as a duty undone not to speak a few words to you after I could not speak after the manner 1 now do, and as I had often sifted the impulse, so when I was sick, March, 1763, when it pleased a gracious God to restore me again to you, I promised *in my mind, as I think I wanted my life should not be altogether useless to you every way that I could, to attempt your good and comfort ; and oh! that I may be enabled as long as life lasts, to do some little for God’s glory, as I have done to dishonor that religion I have professed. And now, my dear children, I can’t conclude with more striking words than the words of your dying father; and may they ever be as a monitor to you, to see to it, that none of you be wanting, which I would now reinforce'; and that you may be kept from evils that youth are exposed to, especially vain, light company, and even those that may be possessors too, for all have not grace that may make a large possession, and of such you may be in greater danger than of others. Therefore, live near God, and every day seek direction how to conduct your life, and grace to live the life of faith and mortification of sin. And now that you may be directed and conducted through this ensnaring world and be made meet for the inheritance of the saints in glory, is the desire of your mother that has always desired your eternal happiness. F. B.

P. S. This covenant was made, or to the same effect, in the year 1731, (it was lost, and this is now the reason of my renewing it in writing), in the same month, if I remember right, that I now renew it.

O happy day, when for some few days after, I was often, at my worldly employment, made to say, in the language of the blessed apostle, that I knew no man after the flesh. A heaven upon earth I then enjoyed, sin, I thought, had got a greater blow than I found soon after, to my cost, it wholly had. But I trust this day it had its beginning which will be perfected in glory at last.

Aug. 14th, 1763.—O thou eternal and ever blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, who is the searcher of all hearts, thou knowest my sincerity, and what I am now about to do, and what thou hast commanded me to do; thou art a present witness to this solemn transaction of my soul, which I am now about to renew—even a covenant dedication of myself, my soul, my body, and all I have or possess, to be at thy disposal. It was thy free grace, through thy dear son, that first inclined my heart to fall in with this only method of escape from deserved wrath, through the alone merits of Jesus Christ, my only Saviour, and I do now here ratify the sacred obligation that was made for me in baptism, and that I trust I have solemnly and sincerely and voluntarily entered under, and sworn with the symbols of Christ’s blood in my heart. I desire to present myself, with the deepest abasement, sensible how unworthy I am to come before the holy majesty of heaven and earth in any act of service; and were it not that I am invited by the name of thy dear Son to trust in his perfect righteousness, I might indeed tremble to take hold of thy covenant. 1 do this day, with the full consent of will, surrender myself to thy disposal, to be ruled and governed in such manner as shall answer the purposes of thy glory. 1 leave future events to thy management. Command or require of me what thou wilt, only give me strength to perform, and I shall cheerfully obey. And although

I have, in a thousand instances, broken my solemn engagements in times past, and my treacherous heart has turned aside from thee, yet I do now earnestly implore thy Holy Spirit to assist me for the time to come, with more steadfastness to perform my vows. May I be safely conducted through life. As by thy power alone I shall be able to stand, let no temptation to sin, no allurement to the world, no attachment to flesh and blood, nor death nor hell force me to violate my sacred engagements to be*thine. Oh, let me never live to apostatize from thee. 0 my dear glorious Creator, why didst thou employ thy thoughts from all eternity for me ? Why was I not with some of my species, left to all the vice my nature was inclined to ? Why did thy Spirit strive with me so long, and even after, I trust, I had tasted of thy love in pardoning so guilty a wretch as I am, who so often has crucified the Lord of Glory afresh, that even then that prayer was forme if upright: "Father forgive them.” And now, may I, with humble trust and confidence, say, my Beloved is mine, and his desire is towards me, and therefore it is that my desire is towards him. Heaven and earth, and woods and vales, and all surrounding angels witness for me, that I am devoted to Thee, and when I will falsely or presumptuously deviate from this solemn engagement, let my own words testify against me. And now, 0 thou Almighty God, may this covenant made on earth, (though by a sinful creature) be. ratified in Heaven, through the merits of Jesus Christ. And when the solemn hour of death comes, strengthen me to rely on Jesus, who, I trust, has strengthened me to renew and make this covenant; and let me remember this day’s transaction to the last moment of my life. Bless the Lord, 0 my soul, and all that is in me, who has crowned thee with loving kindness and tender mercies. With humble trust do I now subscribe my name to it. Frances Blair.

James Creswell, the 17th member, pursued his studies for the ministry, while teaching school in Lancaster County, for Col. Gordon and a few neighboring gentlemen. Being highly esteemed, he was presented to Presbytery at Cub Creek, Oct. 6th, 1763, and was licensed at Tinkling Spring, May 2d, 1761. In October, 1765, at Lower Hico, in North Carolina, he opened with his trial sermon, the Presbytery met to ordain him; and on Thursday, the 6th, was ordained by Messrs. Todd, Henry, and Pattillo, a committee appointed for the purpose. He commenced his ministry with high expectations. But in a little time fell into improprieties, like Mr. Wright; and like him passed from usefulness and honor through obloquy to forgetfulness.

Rev. Charles Cummings, the 18th, finds his place with the history of the settlement of Holston, in this volume.

Rev. Samuel Leake, the 19th member, has left no memorials of his early life. He met the Presbytery convened at Hico, North Carolina, Oct. 3d, 1765, for the ordination of Mr. Creswell, and was taken under their care. Mr. Todd having previously given him some parts of trial, they were, by consent of Presbytery, exhibited, and approved. Other parts were assigned him. He passed his final examination, and was licensed at the same time with Mr. Cummings, April 18th, 1766, at Tinkling Spring. The examination of these young men was full and particular. Mr. Leake was popular as a preacher. In October, 1768, he accepted a call from Sandy River, Dan, and Mayo, and preparations were made for his ordination, at Sandy River Meeting House, on the first Wednesday of the succeeding April. At Tinkling Spring, April 12th, 1769, the records say, that tiie order for a Presbytery at Sandy River to ordain Mr. Leake having failed, and he having become convinced that he could not “perlorm his duty without intolerable fatigue,* the Presbytery “did not think it expedient to oblige Mr. Leake to settle there against his will. Upon this Mr. Leake returns their call.” He accepted a call from the Rich Cove and North Garden, Albemarle County. Mr. Thomas Jackson having accepted a call from Cook’s Creek and Peeked Mountain, in Rockingham, Mr. Leake was called on for his trial sermon for ordination, and he and Mr. Jackson both delivered the lectures assigned, these trials being approved, a Presbytery was appointed to be held at Cook’s Creek for the ordination of both, May 8d, 1770, Mr. Craig to preside, and Mr. Brown to preach the ordination sermon. His pastorate was short, being brought to its end by his death, Dec. 2d, 1775. His children grew up in the congregation, and were agreeably married and settled, possessing the amiable disposition of their father. He was succeeded in his office by William Irvin, and he in turn by James Robinson. Mr. Robinson married a daughter of Mr. Leake, Mr. Andrew Hart another. A large proportion of the very numerous descendants have been pious possessors of religion. The blessing of God has rested on his house; the Lord has chosen from it ministers of his sanctuary.

Rev. David Caldwell, the twentieth minister, was received from New Brunswick Presbytery, Oct. 11th, 1767. A biography of much interest was published by his successor in office, Mr. Caruthers. A chapter embracing his life may be found in the Sketches of North Carolina.

Rev. Joseph Alexander, the twenty-first member, produced to Presbytery, at the Byrd in Goochland, Oct. 11th, 1767, credentials from the Presbytery of New Castle, of his licensure, and of his having received and accepted a call from Sugar Creek, North Carolina, together with a recommendation for ordination. He was ordained at Buffalo, Guilford County, North Carolina, by the Presbytery met to instal Mr. Caldwell. His useful life was given partly to North Carolina, and principally to South Carolina.

Rev. Thomas Jackson, the twenty-second member, was received a licentiate from New York Presbytery, Oct. 6th, 1768, at Mr. Sankey’s meeting-house, in Prince Edward. Being recommended by Presbytery and the Synod, to the Presbytery of Donegal or Hanover, he chose to be under the care of Hanover; and Synod having recommended that he be ordained as soon as possible, a lecture and a sermon were appointed him to be delivered at the Spring meeting. At Tinkling Spring, April 12th, 1769, he opened the Presbytery with his trial sermon. He delivered his lecture in company with Mr. Leake, and having accepted the call from Peeked Mountain and Cook’s Creek, he was ordained in company with Mr. Leake at Cook’s Creek, on the first Wednesday of the succeeding May. He was a successful minister, and much beloved by his charge. The people had much difficulty in fixing the places of his preaching. Cook’s Creek, Linvel’s Creek, Peeked Mountain, and Mossy Creek, all wanted a Sabbath in the month; and some complained that Cook’s Creek got more than her share from her location. His race was shorter than that of his companion in ordination, Mr. Leake. He died May 10th, 1773.

Rev. William Irwin, the twenty-third member, was taken on trials at Tinkling Spring, April 13th, 1769; and licensed at the house of George Douglass, in the Cove congregation. Having accepted a call from Rockfish and Mountain Plains, he was ordained at Rockfish, April 9th, 1772. After Mr. Leake’s death, in 1775, he preached for a length of time at the Cove. He was for some years Stated Clerk of Presbytery. In the intercourse of life his manners were pleasant; in the pulpit solemn. He made careful preparation for the exercises of the sanctuary. Amiable in disposition, delicate in health, he never put himself forward or affected to take the lead, in matters of Church or State. The latter part of his life was much perplexed by a difficulty brought upon him, for some trivial matters, by members of his congregation. How great a fire a little matter may kindle, may be seen by perusing the numerous pages of the record of the protracted trial before the Presbytery, written out in the beautiful penmanship of Lacy. There is proof that an amiable man may be driven frantic by the pertinacity of well-meaning indiscreet members of his church. In his defence, Dr. Waddell delivered a speech which, for argument, pathos, sarcasm, point, and flowing eloquence, surpassed, in the opinion of his young friends, all his other efforts in public. For a number of years before his death, Mr. Irwin had his residence in the Cove congregation, but through infirmity declined the pastoral office, and ceased to preach some years before his death.

Rev. Hezekiah Balch, the twenty-fourth member, a licentiate of New Castle Presbytery, after preaching with acceptance for some time in the wide bounds of Hanover, was received by the Presbytery, and ordained in March, 1770. He emigrated to Tennessee, and holds a place in the political and civil history of that State.

The Presbyterian ministers in North Carolina having increased to six in number, proposed the erection of a new Presbytery, by the name of Orange, having the Virginia line on the north, and indefinite boundaries south and west. To this the brethren in Virginia did not object. A petition sent to the Synod in May, 1770, signed by David Caldwell, Hugh M’Aden, Joseph Alexander, Henry Pattillo, Hezekiah Balch, and James Creswell, asking for a Presbytery to be constituted, was granted; and the signers were erected into a

Presbytery, the first meeting to be at Hawfield’s, the first Wednesday of September. The Synod added to the list the name of Hezekiah James Balch, from Donegal, a man famous for the part he took in the Mecklenburg Declaration, in 1775.


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