Richard B. (Richard Briscoe) Cook.

The early and later Delaware Baptists online

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of his time was spent in the United States.
He professed conversion at the age of eighteen,
and united with the church in Woodstock,
Vermont, then under the charge of Elder
Elisha Ransom. In 1797, he went to Balti-
more, and preached in various places in Mary-
land and Virginia before he settled in Wil-
mington. He w^as ordained in 1801 in Anne
Arundel County, Maryland. From Wilming-
ton he went to Piscataway, New Jersey, where
he was Pastor for thirteen years. He was Pas-
tor next at Newark, New Jersey, for six years,
and then of the Second Church, Philadelphia,
from 1838 to 1850, following the Rev. T. J.
Kitts in the pastorate of that church, with
which he remained until his death. In 1839,
he was elected Moderator of the Philadelphia
Association. In 1812, while he was Pastor of
the Wilmington Church, that church sought to
withdraw from the Delaware Association, but
was prevailed upon by the earnest solicitation
of the Association to remain.

Rev. Samuel R. Green w^as Pastor from


1819* to 1824*. He was excluded from the
church for dishonesty. Rev. David Lewis
followed in 1824, and was Pastor to 1826.*
Rev. John D. Strumpfer appears from the
Minutes of the Association to have been Pastor
in 1826* and 1827,* but some deny it. He
was excluded. Rev. John P. Peck worth served
the churcli from 1827* to 1838* with but a
short intermission while he was in Alexandria.
He was born in England in 1770, and came to
Philadelphia at the age of thirteen. At seven-
teen he was baptized in Wilmington, and called
to the ministry in the Philadelphia Church dur-
ing the administration of Rev. Thomas Ustick.
He was a constituent member of the Third
Church, Philadelphia, and its first Pastor, ser-
ving from September, 1809, to December 20,
1822. He refused a salary of two hundred
dollars from another church, preferring to serve
the Third Church without pay, which he did
three years, working at his trade, which was
shoemaking, during the week, and preaching
upon the Lord's Day. During his pastorate
in Philadelphia he baptized two hundred and

* Bates taken from the Minutes of the Delaware As-

6 D


thirty-seven and received by letter forty-six,
and a meeting-house for the church was also
erected. It is worthy of special note that dur-
ing his pastorate the Sunday-school of the
church took its rise. He was also Moderator
of the Philadelphia Association. Those who
followed Mr. Peckworth in the pastorate, as far
as can be learned, are given here in the order
of their service : John Miller, Alfred Earle,
Joseph Smart, Wilson Housel, William Mat-
thews, Samuel Earle, and Elder E. Ritten-
house, who came in 1858. Between the years
1846 and 1858 the AVilmington Church ap-
pears but seldom on the Minutes of the Del-
aware Association as sending either letter or
messengers. For a part of this time the church
was not in fellowship with the Association,
and the name was dropped. Upon its reap-
pearance it is put at the foot of the list. In
1862, the First Church applied to the Phila-
delphia Association for admission into that
body, and being found to be in accord in faith
and order with the Association by a Committee
of which Rev. J. H. Kennard, D. D., was
Chairman, was received and restored to its for-
mer place upon the roll. It remained until


1867, when the Philadelphia Association met
in Wilmington with the Second Church. Then
a Committee was appointed to consider the re-
lation of the First Church to the Association.
The Committee, Thomas Winter, D. D., Rev.
W. H. H. Marsh, and Rev. G. W. Folwell, re-
ported : That the male members of the church
asserted that the application made in the name
of the church for membership in the Philadel-
phia Association was made without sanction of
the church proper, and that they were then,
and continued to be, a member of another As-
sociation, from which they had no wish to be
separated. The church was therefore dropped
from the Minutes. In 1870, however, the
church applied again, and was admitted into
the Philadelphia Association. It is now, how-
ever, again a member of the Delaware Asso-

11. Distinguished Men.
There were many ministers of note belong-
ing to this period, who labored in the State or
went thence to other fields of usefulness. The
Thomases, Joneses, Griffiths, Davises, Suttons,
Morgans, and Gibbinses were all known lead-


ers in the Baptist denomination of their day.
Some few of these princes in Israel, besides
those already mentioned in these pages, are
worthy of special consideration.

Rev. Jenkin Jones, though born in Wales
in 1690, was called to the ministry in 1724 at
Welsh Tract. He arrived in this country about
1710, and went to Philadelphia in 1725. He
first had pastoral care of Lower Dublin and
First Philadelphia churches jointly ; but May
15, 1746, upon the reconstructionof the church
in Philadelphia, he became Pastor of the latter
only. He was the first Pastor that the First
Church had wholly to itself, without dividing
his time with others. He did real service to
this church and to the interests of the Baptist
denomination. He secured to the church their
valuable lot and house, and was the moving
cause of altering the direction of licenses, so as
to enable dissenting ministers to perform mar-
riage by them. " He built a parsonage-house,
partly at his own charge. He gave a hand-
some legacy toward purchasing a silver cup for
the Lord's Table w4iich is worth upward of
thirty pounds. His name is engraved upon
it." He was Moderator of the Philadelphia



Association in 1756, and died in Philadelphia,
July 16, 1760.

Abel Morgan, Jr., A. M., was born at Welsh
Tract, April 18, 1713, and educated near by,
at Pencader Academy, kept by Rev. Thomas
Evans. He was ordained at Welsh Tract in
1734, and was called to the Middletown Church,
New Jersey, which he served as Pastor till his
death in the seventy- third year of his age. In
1772 he was Moderator of the Philadelphia
Association, the celebrated Dr. James Manning
being Clerk at the same time. Previously, Mr.
Morgan served as Clerk. It was in 1774, upon
his suggestion, that the Circular Letter was
adopted by the Philadelphia Association for the
first time. He was among the most noted Bap-
tist ministers of his day. Dr. Samuel Jones
calls him " the great, the incomparable Abel
Morgan '^ (Benedict, p. 582). The same writer
(p. 209) says : He ^^ is the oldest writer I can
find among the American Baptists in defence
of their sentiments. Between this learned writer
and Rev. Samuel Finley, a Presbyterian min-
ister, then of Nottingham, Pennsylvania, a dis-
pute appears to have arisen, which was carried
on with much spirit on both sides for a nura-

5 *


ber of years." " Mr. Finley was afterward
President of Princeton College, New Jersey."
" Mr. Morgan had the advantage," says Bene-
dict in a note, "as a learned and logical de-
bater.^' One of his works produced on this
occasion — comprising one hundred and seventy-
four pages — was printed in Philadelphia by the
famous Benjamin Franklin in 1747, and though
a small volume is valued now at fifteen dollars
per copy. Previous to this Mr. Morgan had
another controversy at Kingswood with Rev.
Samuel Barker, also a Presbyterian minister.

Pev. John Davis, son of David Davis, Pas-
tor of Welsh Tract, became Pastor of the Sec-
ond Church, Boston, Massachusetts. He was
a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania,
and " a man of fine talents and of a finished
education ;" also " a truly pious man." He
went to the church at Boston on trial in the
spring of 1770, and in September following
was ordained to the pastoral office. In less
than two years he was compelled to resign on
account of declining health, and shortly after

The Jones family have been distinguished in
the annals of the Delaware Baptists. The most



prominent among them Tvas Rev. David Jones,
A. ^I. He was the son of Morgan and Eleanor
(Evans) Jones, and born in AVhite Clay Hun-
dred, New Castle County, Delaware, May 12,
1736. He removed with his parents to Iron-
hill in 1 750, where he was brought to a saving
knowledcre of Christ in 1758, at the a2:e of
twenty-two, and baptized May 6, 1758, by Rev.
David Davis, Pastor of the Welsh Tract Church.
He studied under Rev. Isaac Eaton, A. M., at
Hopewell, Xew Jersey, remaining three years,
where he " learned Latin and Greek.'' In 1 761,
he became a licentiate of the Welsh Tract
Church, and studied divinity at Middletown,
Xew Jersey, under his kinsman, Rev. Abel
Morgan, A. M. He was Pastor at Freehold,
Xew Jersey, and at Southampton and Great
Valley, Pennsylvania. He was the father of
the late Rev. Horatio Gutes Jones, D. D., and
grandfather of Hon. H. G. Jones of Philadel-
phia.'^ Rev. David Spencer, in his Early Bap-
tists of Philadelphia, says of him: ^^Rev. John
Gano, in his letter to the First Baptist Church,
as given in this chapter, speaks of popular men
of character in the ministry that left the city,
*Sprague's Annah, vol. vi. p. So.


and some in the State, to enter the chaplaincy
of the country. One of these men certainly
merits reference here — not tliat he was a Phila-
delph^ Baptist, but as the ancestor of an hon-
ored family of our denomination in this city.
Rev. David Jones is the gentleman spoken of.
. . . Previous to the issuing of the Declaration
of Independence he took high ground in favor
of cutting loose from Great Britain. In 1776,
he became a chaplain in the army, and remained
through all the war, up to the surrender at
Yorktown, performing very important service
for his country. He was a man of warm friend-
ship, ardent patriotism, and sincere piety, and
after much faithful work for his Lord and
Master he died February 5, 1824, in the eighty-
fourth year of his age. He was buried in the
graveyard of the Great Valley Baptist Church,
near the very spot where, for many years as a
Pastor, he preached the gospel of the blessed
God ''(pp. 128, 129).

Dr. AYilliam Cathcart, in his Ceiitennial
Offering J says : " The Rev. David Jones was
an original thinker, and was fearless in express-
ing his sentiments. He was an educated man,
but he possessed what schools never gave — a


powerful intellect. As a preacher he always
secured the undivided attention of his hearers,
and never failed to instruct and cheer them.
When the Revolutionary war began Mr. Jones
lived in a section of New Jersey where Tories
made it neither agreeable nor safe for a patriot
to reside, especially if, like Mr. Jones, he was
an orator capable of moving men by his elo-
quence, and a brave man to whom fear was an
unexplored mystery. So Mr. Jones, believing
that he could serve his country better than by
martyrdom from such hands, removed to Penn-
sylvania. In 1775, on a public fast, he preach-
ed to the regiment of Col. Dewees a sermon
overflowing with patriotism and with unshaken
confidence in God. The discourse was given
to the printer and widely circulated over the
colonies, and it exerted an extensive influence
in favor of the good cause. In 1776, Mr.
Jones became chaplain of a Pennsylvania regi-
ment, and entered upon duties for which he
was better qualified than almost any other man
among the patriotic ministers of America. He
was never away from scenes of danger, nor from
the rude couch of the sick or the wounded sol-
dier when words of comfort were needed. He


followed Gates through his campaigns, and
served as a brigade chaplain under Wayne.
He was in the battle of Brandywine, the
slaughter of Paoli — where he escaped only by
the special care of Providence — and in all the
deadly conflicts in w^hich his brigade was en-
gaged until the surrender at Yorktown. Gen.
Howe, learning that he was a pillar to the
Revolution in and out of the army, offered a
reward for his capture, and a plot was unsuc-
cessfully laid to secure his person. Full of
wit, eloquence, patriotism, and fearless courage,
he was a model chaplain and a tower of strength
to the cause of freedom. He was the grand-
father of our esteemed brother, the Hon. Ho-
ratio Gates Jones of Pennsylvania" (pp. 38-

Consj^icuous among the Baptist ministers
who have made Delaware their home is Rev.
Morgan Edwards, A. M., the w^ell-known Bap-
tist historian. Says Benedict : '^ He was em-
phatically a pioneer iii the history of the Bap-
tists." " For talents, industry, and usefulness,"
says the same writer, '4ie was pre-eminent in
his day." He was a vigorous supporter of
every Baptist enterprise of his day, and is


justly regarded as the founder of Rhode Island
College, now known as Brown University. He
was born in Wales, May 9, 1722, and educated
at the grammar-school at home and at Bristol
Seminary. He entered the ministry at the age
of sixteen. He was recommended to the First
Church, Philadelphia, as Pastor, by the famous
Dr. Gill of London and others, and became
Pastor of that church in 1761. He resigned
and moved to Newark, Delaware, in 1772,
where he had purchased a farm. He con-
tinued to reside in the State until his death, at
Pencader, New Castle County, on the 28th of
January, 1795, in the seventy-third year of his
age. He was buried, according to his request, in
the aisle of the meeting-house in Philadelphia.
During his twenty-three years' residence in
Delaware he labored in the interests of Christ
and of the denomination within and without
the State. Up to the Revolution he continued
preaching the word of life and salvation in a
number of vacant churches. After the war he
occasionally read lectures in divinity in Phil-
adelphia and other parts of Pennsylvania, also
in New Jersey, Delaware, and New England.
His Materials towards a History of the Baptists


of Pennsylvania were published in 1792, while
he was in Delaware, and most of his materials
toward the history of Baptists in other States
were collected and written about the same time.
For years he printed at his own expense annual
tables showing the condition of the churches of
the Philadelphia Association, and finally in-
duced the Association to print its Minutes.
He was at different times both Clerk and
Moderator of that body. In 1762, Morgan
Edwards was Moderator, and Abel ]\Iorgan
Clerk. "They met at the Lutheran Church,
in Fifth Street between Arch Street and E-ace
Street, where the sound of the organ was heard
in the Baptist worship." (See Minutes, 1762.)
He was a man of extended travel and of plea-
sing manners. His Greek Testament, of which
he was complete master, was his constant com-
panion, while he loved his Hebrew Bible next.
He called them the minister's two eyes. He
was brought up an Episcopalian, and became
a Baptist upon conviction. The large print-
hand in which his Ilanuscript Materials towards
a Baptist History is written can never be for-
gotten by those who have seen it.*

* Mr. Edwards was the only Baptist minister of that



Rev. Thomas J. Kitts was ordained at the
Wilmington Chiircli in 1818, during the pas-
torate of Rev. Daniel Dodge. He was born in
Pennsylvania, September 13, 1789. In 1818,
he was Clerk of the Delaware Association. He
was Pastor at the Great Valley in 1822, and
became Pastor in 1823 of the Second Church,
Philadelphia, which church he served until his
death, January, 1838. He preached the ser-
mon before the Philadelphia Association in
1826, and, was Clerk in 1827, and Moderator
in 1828. In character and preaching ability
he was second to none.

Rev. Joseph II. Kennard, D. D., so well
known to this generation, was converted under
the ministry of Mr. Dodge, and baptized by
him, July 3, 1814. He was also licensed to
preach by the Wilmington Church, September,
1818. He was appointed, with others, by the
Delaware Association in June, 1819, to repre-
sent them in the next Philadelphia Association,
which was j^robably his first appearance as a
delegate in the body of which he was so many
years a leader. His first labors were as a mis-
day, so far as I can learn, who sympathized with the


sionary In this peninsula, ^' everywhere exciting
attention by his youthfuhiess and glowing zeal."
Mr. Kennard w^as born near Haddonfield, New
Jersey, April 24, 1798, and his parents were
Friends. He came to Wilmington when he
was about fifteen years of age. He was called
from his work in Delaware to the pastorate of
the Baptist Church at Burlington, New Jersey,
where he was ordained in July, 1820. He
went in 1822 to the Second Church, Hopewell,
New Jersey, and in October, 1822, to the
Blockley Church, now in Philadelphia. While
there he was largely instrumental in the for-
mation of what is now the Pennsylvania Gen-
eral Association, of which he became the Mis-
sionary in 1830. In January, 1832, he ac-
cepted a call to become the Pastor of the New
Market Street Church (now the Fourth), Phil-
adelphia. His labors there were most success-
ful. The house was crowded, souls were con-
verted, and the church grew in numbers.
Needing more room, nearly one hundred and
seventy members went out and formed the
Tenth Church, January 1, 1838, with Mr.
Kennard as Pastor, which office he filled for
the remainder of his life. This church reach-


ed a membership of eleven hundred during liis
pastorate, and was the mother of four or five
vigorous churches. For a period of thirty-four
years he was a settled Pastor in Philadelphia,
and during his long life he baptized over two
thousand persons. He was a man of great in-
fluence, not only in his own church and de-
nomination, but other denominations, and the
world acknowledged the power of his life for
Christ. He died in the harness, Lord's Day
evening, June 24, 1866, and was succeeded,
according to the wish of his heart, by his son.
Rev. J. Spencer Kennard, D. D.

Our brief mention of men of note in this
connection would not be complete if the name
of Captain Calvin Tubbs were omitted. It is
impossible to find out much about him, but
enough is known to make his name conspicu-
ous in Baptist history. He was a native of
New England, a sea-captain by occupation, and
lived for many years when ashore in Newark,
Delaware, or on his farm at Aikenville in the
same State. Pie married Mary, the daughter
of Pev. Gideon Farrell, who was Pastor of
Welsh Tract Church from 1802 to 1820. Mr.
William M. Campbell, Clerk of that church.


sends rae the following, taken from the Min-
utes : "May 27, 1815, yearly meeting. The
Association beino- held on the first Sabbath in
June, which is the day of our monthly meeting,
the church was now called together to attend to
business. 1st. Captain Calvin Tubbs came for-
ward and offered his experience with a view to
be baptized and join the church. He was ac-
cordingly received for baptism, to be performed
on the morrow morning." " He was present
to appointment, and was baptized and received
a member at Bethel meeting on the second Sab-
bath in June at tlije quarterly meeting." The
latter words are probably those of Mr. Camp-
bell, condensed from the record. An old mem-
ber of the "Welsh Tract, now living, informs
me that he was present and saw Captain Tubbs
baptized. Being " yearly meeting," it was per-
formed in the presence of a large concourse of
people. Bethel was a mission of Welsh Tract.
Captain Tubbs in 1830 united with the Fifth
Baptist Church, as Rev. B. D. Thomas, Pastor,
tells me. It was then the Sansom Street Church,
Philadelphia. He was a member there for only
a short time. He and his wife and children
are buried in the graveyard of the Welsh Tract



Church, in the rear of the house. He was a
godly man, and is well remembered by many
now living in Philadelphia, as well as in Del-
aware. Says Captain Turley : " He flew the
Bethel flag on Sunday."

It is, however, chiefly of his connection with
the conversion to Baptist views of the great
German apostle. Rev. John G. Oncken, D. D.,
that I wish to speak. This matter was first
brought to the attention of the writer by Miss
Anne Semple of Wilmington, Delaware, who
knew him well and played with his children.
Miss Semple says : ^^ Captain Tubbs com-
manded a vessel sailing between Philadelphia
and Hamburg, belonging to the late John
Welsh, Esq., of Philadelphia, whose wife was
a member of Sansom Street Baptist Church,
and who was the father of the ex-Minister to
England. One winter his vessel was providen-
tially ice-bound at Hamburg, and he boarded
in the city. In the same house was a young
man, a colporteur from London, named J. G.
Oncken, a Pedobaptist. They became intimate,
and among other religious subjects discussed
interchanged their views on the ordinance of
Baptism. Mr. Oncken, being convinced that
6* E


the captain had the Bible on his side, and con-
sequently that he was not baptized, requested
that on his return home he would make his
case known to some Baptist minister going to
Europe, and ask him to visit Hamburg and
baptize him/'

In Lehmann's History of the Baptist Churches
in Germany^ etc., translated by G. Anderson,
D. D. (p. 5), we read : '^ Finally, o/i^er many
years, Dr. Barnas Sears of America, who now
occupies a high position in the United States,
came to Hamburg, entered into intimate rela-
tions with Oncken, and was thus prepared to
administer baptism to him and to the few be-
lievers who found themselves in fellowship
with Oncken, and shared his convictions in re-
spect to the ordinances. It was on the 22d of
April, 1834, that the above-mentioned solemn
baptism was administered to him and to six
others, and thus was laid the foundation of the
first Baptist Church in Hamburg and in Ger-
many. The event caused a great sensation
wherever Oncken's name was known. On ac-
count of his meetings and preaching he had
already suffered persecution, which now rose to
an unusual height."


The following letters explain themselves :

From the Hon. John Welsh, ex- Minister of the United

States to England.
My Dear Sir :

I am sorry that I am unable to give you the infor-
mation you wish to get in regard to the late Captain
Tubbs. We have no knowledge of his son Calvin, but
my brother says he had a son called after him, Sam-
uel Welsh Tubbs, who some years ago was in New
York, but he knows nothing of his present residence,
not having heard of him for several years.
Very respectfully,

JoHi^ Welsh.

Philadelphia, May 10, 1880.
Rev. R. B. Cook.

It was in hopes of finding something of the
nativity of Captain Tubbs from the registers
of the Welsh firm that the letter to which the
above is the reply was written.

From Rev. P. W. Bichel, D. D.

Hamburg, den 6 April, 1880.
Rev. Rich. B. Cook, Wilmington, Del.
Dear Brother :

Your favor of the 9th March has just come to
hand. I went over to Mr. Oncken, and tried to get
the information desired. Mr. Oncken remembered
his good Captain Calvin Tubbs very well, and spoke
of him with tenderest regard, but as to my question,
Whether he was a Baptist when he first met the cap-


taiu? he could give me no definite answer. He only-
said, "I think I was no Baptist yet, but my memory
is so poor that I cannot give you any certainty."

Am sorry I cannot give you a better report. Mr.
Oncken's memory is so weak that no reliance can be
put in it now.

May God bless you in your work and multiply his
people in every land and among every tribe !
Yours fraternally,

Philipp W. Bickel.

Froiii Eev. Baraas Sears, D. D., LL.D.

Stauxtox. Va., April 29, 1880.

Rev. R. B. Cook.
Dear Brother :

I often heard Mr. Oncken speak of Captain Tubbs,
who was, I think, at different times at Hamburg, and
with whom Mr. Oncken corresponded. He always
spoke of him with the greatest Christian affection.
My impression is that Mr. Oncken got his Baptist
views first from him ; that is, that he first talked with
him on the subject of Baptism. His own doubts may
have preceded that time. As Secretary of the Lower
Saxony Tract Society he expressed his doubts in a
letter to Dr. Maclay, and Dr. Maclay asked me to
seek him out in Hamburg, which I did, and I found

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Online LibraryRichard B. (Richard Briscoe) CookThe early and later Delaware Baptists → online text (page 3 of 8)