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347 – Dec. 13 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST

December 13, 1772 – John Davis died, west of the Ohio River in Indian Territory, at the home of Dr. James McMachan. He had gone west with David Jones, a missionary to the Indians, hoping to regain his former vigor and health. The final resting place of Davis’s body is near Grave Creek, marked by a large black oak tree on which Jones cut with his tomahawk, besides the name and date, “He was the first white man to die in that part of the country.” Davis was born at Welsh Tract, Delaware in 1737. His father, from South Wales had been pastor of the Welsh Tract Baptist Church for over 20 years and his mother was the daughter of Elisha Thomas, who had been the second pastor of the Welsh Tract church. John graduated from the College of  Philadelphia in 1763. After his father’s death he became the pastor of the Welsh church by that time. Baptists in Massachusetts were suffering under strict laws. The Baptists appointed Pastor Davis to the “Committee of Grievances,” and he became their agent to represent them to the authorities. Backus said, “no tongue or pen could fully describe all the evils that were perpetrated under ‘the Act of Assembly’ passed in England in 1757, which was designed to give relief to the Baptists and Quakers. The oppression was especially troubling to Davis, who had come from the full religious liberty enjoyed by all denominations in Pennsylvania and Delaware. He was abused, ridiculed, and one time referred to publicly as a “little upstart gentleman.” A young gentleman he was, but he would not surrender. Dr. Benedict said of him, “His learning and zeal were adequate to any services to which he was called.”  At thirty-five his health failed.

Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 520-21.

 

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