The Aristocrat, by Christ Apprehended, Served Humbly
The preacher who bought back his slaves and resettled them in the North
On April 5 1878 – Was the death of Dr. William H. Brisbane, who truly was the salt of the earth in that he influenced the society in which he lived by humbly and conscientiously dedicating himself to the cause of truth and righteousness.
At age fifteen he was sent to a military school at Middletown, Connecticut, from which he graduated with honors at the age of nineteen. Shortly after graduating, he was converted to Christ, and immediately he felt it his duty to preach the gospel. His fine culture and attainments and his dedication to the work placed him in the front ranks of the Baptist ministry of the South.
Because he was a large slaveholder, the subject of slavery had taken a deep and absorbing hold upon his mind early in his life. He struggled with this question honestly and prayerfully over a period of years, and he finally concluded that slavery was morally and spiritually wrong. Because he was a man of principle, Brisbane wanted to rectify his wrongdoing as a slaveholder justly and with compassion. He expended some of his wealth and purchased some land in Ohio, and after purchasing back some former slaves that he had sold, he went to Ohio and settled them in their new homes, supplying them abundantly with their immediate needs. Dr. Brisbane then became a resident of Cincinnati, where he labored with renewed vigor in the work of the ministry.
Brisbane later moved to Wisconsin where he preached the gospel for twenty-five years. In declining age, he was known widely as a friend and champion of every good cause.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 139-140.