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1836, Issue 2, pages 289-291, by Ira Mason Allen, googlebooks.com (transcribed by Linda M. Waggoner).
LOWER CANADA. From the Christian Watchman of May 20, 1836. ORIGIN AND SKETCH OF THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH IN CANADA. This account from our venerable friend, is taken from a letter which he recently sent to his old correspondent, the Hon. Heman Lincoln. We sincerely thank the Treasurer for handing it to us; for we know that very many of our readers will peruse our extracts with great pleasure. The style in which the narrative is written, discovers that the frosts of seventy years, have not yet reached, with their withering touch, the zeal of this aged servant in the cause of his Master. We are always agreeably affected with every incident that brings to our recollection any one of those faithful ministers who yet survive the class of veterans, who were pioneers in our wilderness, and cleared up for their successors those fair gardens in which our churches are now flourishing. We remember Mr. Andrews when he was the influential pastor of the church in Templeton, (Mass.) and by his vigorous mind and ardent piety, quickened the impulses of the churches in the heart of our commonwealth. Much valuable information, important history, and useful reminiscences, might be placed upon record, and thus be preserved, if our elders would follow this example of Mr. Andrews. There is something peculiarly tender in the reason which he assigns for writing to his friend—that they "might not forget each other." We cannot help saying that we believe that this apostle of the New Testament, unscathed by the trials of life, will not be forgotten when his Redeemer shall make up his jewels. Hinsdale, N. H. April 19, 1836. My Dear Brother And Friend:—I have been thinking some time of writing, that we might not forget each other, and have concluded to present you with a recollection of some past scenes which I have witnessed, and which may perhaps be worthy of being remembered. In the spring of the year 1793, I removed with my little family, to the town of Fairfax, on the river Lamoile, (Vt.) It pleased God to pour out his spirit and bless my feeble efforts. In September, a Baptist church was organised, with twenty-five communicants, and in less than a year had increased to over seventy members. The third day of October I was ordained an evangelist, as certain circumstances rendered it inexpedient for me to be the pastor of the church. In the latter part of the summer, brother John Hebbard, of Royalton, (Vt.) and brother Ariel Kendrick, (afterwards settled in Cornish,) passed by us on a missionary tour, being sent out by the Woodstock Association. They were both devoted, evangelical preachers, and God was manifestly with them. They proceeded as far as a place called Caldwell's Manor, in Lower Canada, settled principally by refugees from Connecticut. Here the Lord blessed their labors, and there was a great ingathering of souls to Christ. Although they enjoyed the happiness of sowing the seed, they were not allowed to reap the harvest; this was reserved for another fellow laborer in the employment of our blessed
Lord. In the early part of January, 1794, the people at Caldwell's Manor sent out for some one to administer the ordinance of Christian baptism. As I was the only Baptist minister in the region, except elder Call, and he was an aged man, and ten miles further off, there could be no doubt with respect to the path of duty. A friend of mine volunteered to take me down in his sleigh. We started Monday morning and proceeded to Highgate, (Vt.); here we put up at the house of a German by the name of Wagoner.1 In the morning we followed his direction, crossed Misisque Bay and arrived at the Manor in season to appoint a meeting in the evening. We put up with Doctor Cune, a Baptist from Rhode Island. In the morning we crossed over to the west side of the Manor about eight miles, into the neighborhood where the revival had been the most powerful. Soon after we arrived, the house was filled with people, and I preached to them; and again in the evening. The next day we met at 9-o'clock in the morning, and spent the whole day in examining candidates for baptism; we heard and received thirty of all ages from 10 to 50 years. They possessed very little theoretic knowledge. Nearly all they knew, they had been taught by the Holy Spirit, and they told a plain, unvarnished tale of the dealings of God with their souls; and I have seldom heard such a number of Christian experiences so highly satisfactory, and decidedly evidential of a real change of heart. The next day we repaired to the Lake, cut a hole in the ice, and fifteen of those happy and devoted disciples were, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, immersed agreeably to the command of the divine Saviour. The baptism of the remaining fifteen was deferred until the next Monday, it being their choice to have it performed in the vicinity where they resided. Among those who were baptized, there was a family who were brought to the knowledge of the truth in an extraordinary way; indeed, in a manner which shows that God is wise in counsel, and wonderful in working. They were Low Dutch people, remarkably ignorant, and even profane in their common conversation. The eldest daughter, at about the age of fourteen, was employed as a hired maid, in the family of Mr. William Marsh, who was a pious and devout Baptist professor. Poor Mary was astonished to see the whole family, in the evening, rise up and stand while Mr. Marsh talked ten or fifteen minutes. What it meant, or what it was for, she could not imagine. Nor could she devise to whom it was that Mr. Marsh addressed his conversation, as she could see no one to whom he could direct his speech. In the morning a similar scene occurred; and Mary became alarmed and uneasy, fearing there was something that portended evil to her, in this unaccountable proceeding. As the same scene took place every morning and evening, and she had in vain racked her invention to find out the meaning of it, she resolved to go home and ask her father. After stating her difficulty, and observing she did not like to live with William Marsh, she asked him who it was to whom Mr. Marsh talked? The old Dutchman, in his broken English, replied, I don't know, to de devil I subbose. This answer did not quite satisfy Mary nor calm her apprehensions; she therefore plucked up courage, and put the momentous question, which perplexed her and destroyed her peace, to Mr. Marsh himself. He asked her whether she knew that there was a God who made us, sustained us, and redeemed us; and that it is our duty to worship him? She replied, that this was all new to her, that she had never heard any thing of the
John Waggoner lived in Highgate, Vermont at this time. Francis, who might have been a brother, lived in Alburgh, Vermont. Francis also had a son named John (LMW). 2
kind before; she had indeed heard her father swear by God, but did not know what it meant. Mr. Marsh finding she could read a little, gave her a Bible, and encouraged her to peruse it. Being a girl of quick apprehension and bright intellect, she made surprising advances in knowledge. She soon became serious, and having obtained a hope in the mercy of God through Christ, she went again to her father, and told him that she now knew what Mr. Marsh meant by talking as he did. In the most tender and affectionate manner she expostulated with him for neglecting to tell her that there was a God, and teaching her to pray to him, and also for not praying himself for her, and with her. She then requested him to pray. The poor old man replied that he had never prayed in his life—that he could not pray. Then, said Mary, will you allow me to pray? Yes, child, said he, if you can pray you may. Mary immediately fell on her knees, and poured out her supplication for her father, her mother, her brother and sister. The old man, when relating the story, said that if she had been stabbing him through the heart with a knife, he could not have been in greater distress. The consequence was, that the whole family were converted, and Mary had the happiness of having them all accompany her into the baptismal font. On the Monday following, I baptized the other fifteen candidates. The next day I returned home. Four weeks afterwards I visited them again, in company with a delegation from the Fairfax church, baptized several more, and organised them into a church. Soon afterward, they licensed as a preacher, William Marsh, a young man, and nephew to the man with whom Mary lived. He was afterwards ordained and became their pastor. He was a man of good sense, amiable in his deportment, and an able and useful minister. In about two years this church removed in a body, into a new township, called Eaton, which was granted to them by the Government. Thus I have given you a sketch of the origin of the first Baptist Church in Canada. Yours, affectionately, Elisha Andrews.
Residents of Caldwell Manor 1786 from http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/lower-canada
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