One of the great byproducts of the Internet and the digital age is its working in saving great books in history that are at risk of being lost. In my effort to research my ancestors who were ministers like myself, this work has become even more prescient to me. One of my ancestors (a Great uncle) was a man named Joseph Craig who was among the Travelling Church who came to Kentucky in 1781 fleeing Anglican persecution in Virginia. In the coming weeks, I want to offer his journal which gives a personal and unique insight in pioneer American Baptists life. Thanks to the Internet, is story is being preserved for future generations.
An account of my journey to Richmond county, with the Rev. Joseph Bledsoe-The distance was about seventy miles from my house.
Said Bledsoe had chosen me to go with him, and help him in the way of preaching. I attended meeting with him eight times in one year, about sixty or seventy miles off. At a certain time, we had meeting in Essex.-some young people came to our meeting about eight miles by land and two miles by water, across the Rappahannock river. As they took so much pains in coming so far by land and water, we promised to go over and see them. We went and had meeting day and night. In the night, the Lord seemed to bless us greatly with his blessed power and presence; and, as I was exhorting, I observed to the people, if I could not so much love, and the Lord would continue to bless me as he had on the present occasion, that I would come to see them, if I had to go through the water out of the boat with my hat, little thinking I was so near danger. We had to cross back in an old boat. I sat with a piece of gourd throwing out water. And when brother Bledsoe spoke, it seemed as if his faith was so strong, that the boat would not sink. But when the owner of the boat spoke, he was so scared, it seemed as if we should sink notwithstanding all our efforts to prevent it. When we got on shore, we all kneeled down, and thanked God for our having escaped the deep. There was in the water a large shoal of porpoises, very much like resembling black hogs. After this we immediately returned home, about the year 1778.
“Baptists and Persecution in Virginia”: A Lecture by Steve Weaver
Elijah Craig: A Biography Written By James B. Taylor