Imprisoned three times
The story of John Corbley is one of sacrifice and heroism. Born in Ireland in 1738, he came to America at the age of fourteen, settling first in eastern Pennsylvania, but later moving to Virginia, where he was soundly converted under the preaching of James Ireland. Shortly thereafter he became a Baptist preacher, and preached with such power that the Episcopal Establishment in Virginia considered him worthy of imprisonment, rewarding him shortly thereafter with a cell in the Culpeper jail. On the very site of that old jail there stands a thriving Baptist church today. When brought into court, John Corbley conducted his own defense, and was acquitted of all charges in 1768, although he suffered much abuse and physical violence later.
John Corbley was known as the ablest preacher of his day. For thirty years he directed the planting of Baptist churches in western Pennsylvania. Imprisoned three times and married three times, having buried two wives, these experiences of sunshine and shadow served only to deepen his spiritual life and magnify his usefulness. Active to the very end, he entered into rest June 9, 1803, his funeral sermon being preached by Elder David Phillips, pastor of the Peter’s Creek Baptist church. His mortal remains lie buried in the cemetery within the shadow of the old Goshen church, Whitley, Pennsylvania.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I. (Thompson/Cummins) pp. 237–238.