December 17, 1811 – Jacob Bower of Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, we shall all be sunk and lost, and I am not prepared. O God, have mercy upon us all.” America’s greatest earthquake had just struck. Centered in the Mississippi River, it sent shock waves into Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Georgia, S.C., Virginia, and Indiana. Mild tremors were felt as far as Boston! Bower was born into a Christian family on Sept. 26, 1786. His father led the family in morning and evening devotions and instructed the children to live moral and upright lives, but he failed to lead them into a personal relationship with Christ. Therefore young Bower matured trusting in his own righteousness for salvation. Upon leaving home for employment, he was soon influenced by a Universalist, and for five years, Bower embraced that heresy and began drinking and fell into many vices and sins. When conviction came he would assure himself of salvation, for Universalism taught that men would be saved, regardless of their lifestyle. He married in 1807 at the age of 21, and the Lord again began to stir his heart with conviction. In 1811 during a visit to his home, and a witness of a Baptist preacher, his heart was stirred again to consider death and eternity. Conviction continued to grow and then came the earthquake. A tremendous struggle ensued and then in Feb. of 1812 Jacob found the peace of Salvation. He made a public profession and was baptized into the membership of Hazel Creek Baptist Church. After serving three Kentucky churches for ten years he moved his family to Illinois and within two years he organized two churches. And then in Illinois and Missouri he organized fourteen churches and ordained twelve ministers to the gospel ministry.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 526-28.