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Biography of Elder Alfred Taylor / by his son W. C. Taylor. Taylor, William C. 400dpi TIFF G4 page images University of Kentucky, Electronic Information Access & Management Center Lexington, Kentucky 2002 b92-49-26953094 Electronic reproduction. 2002. (Beyond the shelf, serving historic Kentuckiana through virtual access (IMLS LG-03-02-0012-02) ; These pages may be freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. Biography of Elder Alfred Taylor / by his son W. C. Taylor. Taylor, William C. Caperton & Cates, Louisville, Ky. : 1878. viii, 123 p. ; 18 cm. Coleman Microfilm. Atlanta, Ga. : SOLINET, 1992. 1 microfilm reel ; 35 mm. (SOLINET/ASERL Cooperative Microfilming Project (NEH PS-20317) ; SOL MN02171.03 KUK) Printing Master B92-49. IMLS This electronic text file was created by Optical Character Recognition (OCR). No corrections have been made to the OCR-ed text and no editing has been done to the content of the original document. Encoding has been done through an automated process using the recommendations for Level 1 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines. Digital page images are linked to the text file. Taylor, Alfred, 1808-1865 Baptists Biography. BIOGRAPHY OF ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. BY HIS SON, W C. TAYLOR, AUBURN, KY. LOUISVILLE, KY.: PAPERTON CATES. 1878. This page in the original text is blank. DEDICATION. To Gasper River Association, whose care, love, admira- tion and highest honors abounded to my departed father while living, who dropped the tear of sadness when he was dead, and whose continued appreciation may be seen in the monument erected by her beneficence at his grave, is this work dedicated by THE AUTHOR. This page in the original text is blank. INTRODUCTION. The following, copied from the minutes of Gas- per River Association for the year i875, explains my connection with a work which I would have most cheerfully resigned to others whose age and ability better fitted them for such responsibility. Elder J. S. Coleman offered the following: WHEREAS, We remember with gratitude the labo- rious, self-sacrificing and useful life of Elder Alfred Taylor, who labored so long and so successfully as a minister and Moderator of this body; and WHEREAS, The time in which, and the brethren and sisters from whom, the facts and reminiscences necessary to preparing and preserving a true biog- raphy of this great and good man are passing rap- idly away; therefore, Resolved, That this body request Elder Wm. C. Taylor, who is the son of Elder Alfred Taylor, to collect the material necessary for the future pub- lication of a biographical sketch of the said Alfred Taylor. Upon this request I have acted, and now offer to the public this little volume. I have aimed at a simple statement of facts. In many instances the record is partial and defective, because all the facts were not at my command. For more than half of his ministerial life he left no journal. Some of the Vi INTRODUCTION. churches and brethren treated my communications with silent indifference, and from them and their churches I gathered nothing. These, and an utter want of inquisitiveness on the part of the author, leave many things of inter- est still buried in the forgotten past. To the many who have aided me in the prosecu- tion of this work, I return my most sincere thanks. To the God of my sainted father, whose divine guidance I have sought in preparing this work, I look alone for a. blessing in its circulation. If His approving smiles shall make it a blessing to those who may chance to read it, I shall feel more than repaid for all the labor rendered or the criticism that may follow. AUBURN, Ky. WILLIAM C. TAYLOR. CONTENTS. CHAPTER I. His Birth and Early Life ....... CHAPTER IT. [His Conversion. .. . . CHAPTER III. The Beginning of His Ministry .... CHAPTER IV. His Family. . .. . . . . . . . . . CHAPTER V. His Consecration.... . . ... CHAPTER VI. Alfred Taylor Comes to the Front . . . CHAPTER VII. History of His Work with the Churches CHAPTER VIII. His Associational Record d...... CHAPTER IX. Miscellaneous.Work. CHAPTER X. His Debates ............. PAGE. ....... . . . 9 .. . . . . . 14 .. . . . 18 .. . . . . 21 .. . . . . 24 .. . . . 38 .. . . . . 71 .. . . . . . 83 .. . . . . . 89 Viii CONTENTS. CHAPTER Xl. PAG E. His Timothys . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96 CHAPTER XII. Contributions to His Memory ... . .... .... Koo CHAPTER XIII. Obituaries and Conclusion.. . . . . . . . . . . . 1 7 CHAPTER I. HIS BIRTH AND EARLY LIFE. Elder Alfred Taylor, the youngest son of Elder Joseph Taylor, was born in Warren county, Kentucky, July 19, 1808. His parents emi- grated shortly after marriage from North Carolina to the county of his birth. They embraced re- ligion in early life, and became members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In this connection Joseph Taylor began the ministry. Some years before the birth of their son Alfred, they were constrained by the force of truth to forsake the church of their fathers and identify themselves with the Baptist, and were baptized by Nathan Arnette, of Tennessee. In September, 1804, four years before the birth of Alfred, they, with others, were constituted into what is known as Providence Baptist Church, Warren county, Ken- tucky. The fountain-head becoming Baptistic, the streams have been strongly marked with the same peculiarities. Alfred was born of Baptist parents. His father was a good man, lived above reproach, and did some good as a minister of Jesus Christ. His mother's family gained some political distinction in North Carolina. BIOGRAPHY OF When Alfred was three years old his parents moved to Butler county, Kentucky. Here he lived until his removal to Ohio county, which occurred some time after his marriage. His early life was spent upon the farm, where he acquired habits of industry, and developed that energy which characterized his whole life. Aside from the influences of home, the moral atmosphere surrounding his youthful days was by no means healthy. No Sabbath-schools, and church oppor- tunities being meagre, many of his Sundays were spent in fishing and roaming the woods. His constant associates in this Sabbath desecration were his brother Stephen, Reuben McCoy and Amos Russ. Drinking was common in those days. Most every family "kept it." At all public gatherings the jug was indispensable. To drink a little too much was not attended with that odium as it is now. Whatever is com- mon becomes respectable with the masses. Christmas was the special season for drinking. At this time the best of the wine was brought forth. Alfred Taylor and his bosom friend, A. Russ, confined their dissipation to this annual festive season. For several years they yielded to the customs of that day, and on the 25th day of December drank to intoxication. This con- tinued to be their annual celebration of the sup- 10 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. posed birthday of the Savior until the subject of this biography was converted. He forsook the evil cup, to return to it no more. In his own account of his conversion he records the fact that through the evil influence of wicked asso- ciates he became profanely wicked. Having but little interest in literary pursuits, he spent many of his winter nights in hunting. This source of amusement and profit was suddenly cut off as follows: Upon cutting a tree for a "coon," it fell just opposite to what they had anticipated, from which his brother Stephen barely escaped instant death. In their great alarm they forgot their game, and hastened home. Their excite- ment was so great that they closed not their eyes to sleep that night. The cure was effectual and permanent. Concerning his early education, I find this brief mention in his journal: "Although his desires were ardent for knowledge, his oppor- tunities were so limited that at the age of twenty he could hardly read intelligibly, and could scarcely write his own name." The school ad- vantages of those days were nothing to compare with those of our times. Now a want of a reasonable education is almost criminal; then it was pardonable. Schools then were few and inferior, and in the rural districts never lasted I I BIOGRAPHY OF more than three months in the year. The teacher who had gone to " Proportion " in the arithmetic was thought to be well qualified for the office of pedagogue. The spelling-book and Bible were often the only text-books used by young ladies and gentlemen. That the reader may know some of the disad- vantages of his early day, I state it as a fact that my father borrowed a grammar, the only only one in his reach, copied it, and, therefrom he learned the rudiments of his mother tongue. Elder J. M. Pendleton, for many years his co- laborer, writes: "Your father had an active, investigating mind, and was always anxious to know the reasons of things. He and myself were accustomed to lament our lack of thorough education, but it was always our determination to do the best we could with the resources in our possession." In his journal for 1846 I find the following: " In view of my failure to improve my time heretofore, I resolve, by the assisting grace of God, hereafter I will try, as far as possi- ble, to write something each day of my life on some profitable subject, to enable me to make some additions to my small stock of useful knowledge. " After entering the ministry he returned to Warren county and spent some time in going to school to Elder David Mansfield. At a still 1 2 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. later period he became a student under Elder William Warder, of Logan county. The time spent at either place I have been unable to learn. But whatever of mental discipline he may have gained was mainly the results of his continued efforts after his school days were past. In his journal I see mention of the time when he be- gan and when he finished reading many books, and often, in the same connection, he gives his synopsis of the book just read, which shows that he digested the work as he perused it. In the popular sense, Alfred Taylor was not an educated man. In the truer sense of the word he might have claimed that honor. He had learned to think. Wherever he was, there he could bring to bear the power of his mind. Often have I seen him, when about the various duties of life, take out his pencil and write down a thought. Many of his best discourses were made while about the other duties of life. Dur- ing protracted meetings he often made his dis- courses new from day to day, and, while others were talking on every side, he would make and jot down the divisions and subdivisions of his sermon. In this, that his mind was trained to think, and to think under -any and all circum- stances, he was educated. In that, that he was ignorant of many of the higher branches now taught in our schools, he was uneducated. I 3 CHAPTER II. HIS CONVERSION. In giving an account of his conversion, I will copy his own statements: " Being raised under the preaching of the Gospel, at an early age I saw the heinous nature of sin and the necessity of religion, but from the languid state of the church, and the influence of unconverted asso- ciates, I was led to indulge in many sinful prac- tices, and eventually became profanely wicked. It- is, however, a source of joy to reflect that my career in sin was short. After laboring four years trying to recommend myself into God's favor, I was enabled in my twenty-second year, October, I829, to trust in Him whose blood speaketh better things than that of Able; in whom believing, I was enabled to rejoice with joy unutterable and full of glory. In November following I was baptized in Sandy creek, Butler county, Kentucky, by Elder Benjamin Talbott." From him and his brother I have learned the following: His first impressions to seek religion were received when eleven years old. These endured only for a season. In his eighteenth year he was again awakened under the preaching ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. of Elders Abner and Emery. These brethren were returning from an association, and preached in a private house near his father's residence. At the close of their discourses those wishing the prayers of Christians were invited forward. Alfred Taylor, with about twenty others, was found at the altar seeking the pardoning mercy of an offended God. There being no protracted efforts in those days, these men of God left this multitude of penitents and proceeded on their journey home. How mysterious this course appears to us of a better day. Every genera- tion is fettered by its own customs. It was not customary to follow up these awakenings, hence the duty so apparent to us was unperceived and unperformed by them. For some weeks after the Christians of the immediate community met one night in each week to pray for the salvation of those who were seeking Christ. During these meetings many were converted ; but not so with him of whom we write. Those on the right and those on the left, friendsyounger and friends older, found the pearl of great price, but all was darkness in his own heart. For four years he sought and found not, because he sought not by faith. During all this time the doctrine of special election and reprobation con- fronted him and kept him from the cross. The 15 BIOGRAPHY OF thought, I am one for whom Christ has not died, hindered the exercise of that faith so es- sential to salvation. Doubtless his own troubles on this point had much to do in shaping his views of the same, and led him to oppose through life that feature of special, uncondi- tional election, which had been such an obstacle in the way of his own salvation. The question was finally solved, and he was elected through sanctification of the Spirit and the belief of the truth. The full and precious assurance was given to his soul, not in the existed multitude, but in the dense forest, as he returned from an errand to a neighbor's house. There he made the vaults of nature ring with the praises of his new-found Savior, while angels caught and swelled the strain, until Heaven was filled with the glad tidings. The first meeting following his joyous acknowl- edgemerit of Christ he joined Sandy Creek Bap- tist Church, and was baptized, as previously stated. From the baptismal grave he arises to walk in a new life. He forsakes the sins and dissipations of former years, and by a godly walk and conversation seals the testimony of his espousal to Christ. He soon began to exercise his gift in public prayer, and in less than one year and a half from the time he united with the ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. 17 church he was licensed to preach. The spirit of true obedience to Christ knows no end. It be- gins promptly, and continues to advance as God in His providence may open the way. So it manifested itself in the new life of this new creature in Christ Jesus. CHAPTER III. THE BEGINNING OF HIS MINISTRY. He was licensed to preach the third Saturday in May, 1831. Where he preached his first sermon is a question of some doubt. Several places are contended for as the point where he made his first efforts. My opinion is that he attempted his first discourse at Sandy Creek Church. From the beginning of his ministry he was a Timothy to Elder Talbott. With him he made visits to Muhlenburg and Ohio counties. Upon these tours he tried to preach. His second effort was made at Brother Roade's, of Muhlenburg county; the third at Brother Ashby's, of Ohio county. This is the order of his efforts as I gather them from the many reports received. Of these efforts there is but one opinion. The universal verdict is that his beginning was exceedingly unpropitious. Of all that have spoken of his first efforts, none have said Alfred Taylor could preach, or give any hope of making a preacher at the first. His first effort was attended with much sorrow. He arose. under great embarrassment, took his text, spoke a few words, and then followed that ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. dreadful pause so painful to all present. After a while he proceeded a little further, then com- plete silence reigned, and ceased not. Mortified even to bitter tears, he sat down. A few min- utes covered the entire time of this unhappy effort. In an effort made shortly after this, at Nelson Creek Church, his confusion and embar- rassment was so great that he turned his side to his audience, and remained in that uncomely attitude until he sat down. The masses said, " That man had better quit." Occasionally some of the more reflecting of his hearers could see the out-croppings of some new thought, that sparkled like a gem in the midst of the rub- bish of his discourses. His developments were slow; his discouragements abounded upon every hand. Many who heard him in his prime will hardly believe me when I say his voice and delivery were miserably defective. The matter of his discourses, by no means the most entertaining, and this told in a squealing, whining tone, made bad worse. But we must not despise the day of small things ; neither are we to expect per- fection without practice. In speaking of his early ministry, he says: " I had been trying to preach four years, and had no assurare that I had been instrumental in the conversion of one 19 20 BIOGRAPHY. soul." He was ordained at Sandy Creek Church, May, 1834, by Joseph Tayltr, David Kelly and William Childres. His first pastorate was at Pond Run, Ohio county, and. dates from June, 1834. CHAPTER IV. HIS FAMILY. We have now reached that period of life where he begins a new epoch. He becomes a husband and a father. In both of these relations he was affectionate and' faithful. He became the hus- band of three wvives, and the father of fifteen children. His first marriage was to Mary Ann Mahon, of Butler county, and occurred September 22, 1835. His second marriage was to Marjary Jane Brown, of Ohio county, and dates-, I852. His third espousal was to Eliza Jane Gordon, of Daviess county; date of marriage, March i, 1859. With the first wife, he lived seventeen years; with the second, four years; with the third, six. By his first wife he had nine children-six boys and three girls; of these three are dead-one boy and two girls. Of the three children by his second wife two were daughters. The son died. By the last wife there were three children-two girls and a boy; of these one daughter died. Of the five gone, God took four of them in in- fancy and early childhood. Alice Newel, the first daughter and third child, became a wife and BIOGRAPHY OF mother before death called her. She was a graduate of Bethel Female College, and a woman of superior qualities. Against the wishes of father and family she married a man by the name of Tatum. I am sorry to say the match was not a congenial one ; so far from it that death welcomed her to the companionship of better things, for she was a dear lover of her Savior. 0 Of the living children all are Christians save three-Dr. V. M. Taylor, Mrs. Susan R. Grubbs, Hettie A. Taylor. These are the representa- tives of the three sets of children. .J. S. Taylor, J. P. Taylor and W. C. Taylor, sons by the wife of his early manhood, are all in the ministry, and following in the wake of their father. Whilst it is often claimed that in many respects they resemble their father in the pulpit, yet the want of age, and perhaps some- thing that age can not give, leave them some- thing short of the inimitable genius of Alfred Taylor. As to the three wives, they were all good women. Mary Ann, the first, was a woman of fine education and most noble parentage, espe- cially upon her mother's side, for her mother, Susanah Mahon, was known and felt throughout the Green River Country as a pious citizen and 22 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. staunch Baptist. She raised a family of.likely girls, most of whom managed to marry men of distinction; among the number we may men- tion President J. W. Rust, of Bethel Female College, and Elder H. B. Wiggin, a wealthy merchant of New York City. Mary Ann was a faithful companion in the ministry, and often, in the absence of her hus- band, would she read the Scriptures in her family, and dedicate her children to God in prayer. Marjary Jane was universally esteemed for her amiable qualities, and admired for her great beauty. Their connection was most pleasant, which made the separation more bitter, for only four brief years and all was over. His last wife, Eliza Jane, though a good woman, was thought by many to be too young for one more than fifty, she being less than twenty. Notwithstanding this, the covenant re- lation was held in harmony, and in affection did they walk together till God took His servant, and left a widow to deeply mourn his loss. 23 CHAPTER V. HIS CONSECRATION. In a high degree Alfred Taylor was for many years a consecrated minister. After several years' labor, with but little fruit therefrom, he became doubtful of the reality of his call. Anxious to have this important question settled, and long- ing for the salvation of souls, he at once brings all of his tithes into the Master's store-house. In these times none might bring the charge that preachers in his section were hirelings. There was virtually no wages for the body. The reward was spiritual. Men labored five and six days in a week, and preached as best they could on Saturday and Sunday. My father, upon exam- ination, found he had means and surplus prop- erty enough to support his then small family for one year, and resolved to devote one year wholly to the work of the ministry. This reso- lution was faithfully executed, and he went every-where preaching the word, God working with him. During this year work so accumu- lated, preaching places so multiplied, and his heart was so much encouraged, that continued consecration seemed to be his imperative duty. ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. 25 To this demand he yielded, and for many years, time, talents and all were laid upon the altar of the ministry. Preaching during the week either was or became common. People loved God and His.Gospel well enough to dismiss all business, and often would they meet in crowds to hear the word of our salvation. The preaching of the Gospel was not confined to church houses so much then as now. From house to house, as well as from church to church, he ceased not to warn both men and women, by day and by night. Dr. Pendleton, who is certainly a competent witness, says, in his letter to me: " He loved to preach. It was his greatest joy to proclaim salvation to dying men. Few ministers of his day spent more time in preaching, made greater sacrifices for the cause of Christ, and received a smaller compensation for faithful woik." His was the consecration, not only of time and talents, but also of means. Besides preaching much without any remuneration, he gave a part of the actual income from his churches and farm to the Lord's cause. In his journal of 1848 I find the following resolution: "As I resolved to give five per cent. of my income, that is, of all the cash I received last year, to some religious purpose or purposes, so, in the fear of God, I 3 BIOGRAPHY OF renew my resolution this year." How long he kept up this system of benevolence we can not tell, as we have no journal of his life beyond the above date. The record of his contributions shows that these years were only in harmony with the general tenor of his life, as it respects giving. His sacrifice of time and means some- times placed him in straightened circumstances. Once he had promised Elder J. F. Austin to aid in a meeting at Mt. Carmel, which he failed to do. At night, after a hard day's labor, he wrote as follows. After speaking of the disap- pointment and manual labor of the day, he said: "And at night feel that a helpless family demands my attention, and that it would be sinful to go and preach and leave them to suffer." Amid all his zeal for the church of Christ, he never forgot that the religion of the Bible de- mands care for our own, and especially those of our own family. The following well illustrates the illiberality of the churches and the self-denial of the min- istry of his day, and is certainly in order in this connection: " Lord's day and Lord's day night, heard Simeon Buchanan preach at Green River, and gave him fifty cents. As I rode home, after making the gift, I asked myself:- 'Had I done right ' I thought of a dependent wife 26 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. and seven children; I thought on the fact that I had just been preaching fifteen days and nights, and had received one dollar and fifty cents in cash, and three dollars in trade. I also found that I had promised the dollar to the church where I had been laboring to help pay for their meeting-house; and now the fifty cents is gone. Then I thought, above all, not only my time and money were gone, but my health, which is worth more than all, is gone, perhaps never to be regained. But why did I grive it Because I have learned long since that preachers go to churches respectable for their appearance and numbers, and preach until they are worn down, and when they are done the brethren gather around them to take their hand and charge them to return. When he starts he remembers their tokens of love, but when he counts up all he finds he is out so much and nothing in pocket. He thinks of sinners and mourners; then he thinks, 'I shall be compelled to return home and work for my family.' To pre- vent these thoughts and feelings in part, as a member of the church to and for which he had been preaching, is the obligation of this gift. May God' bless the little gift and the imperfect giver. Amen." Think not of the little gift, but of the facts developed in this narrative. 27 BIOGRAPHY OF With him the ministry was always first. If at times he became in part secularized, it grew out of the broad and constant failure of the churches to supply his temporal wants. The most received during any one year of his min- istry from the pastorate did not exceed 300. In many instances it fell far short of that. He labored to make it true in his day, "that the poor have the Gospel preached to them." Had he lived in this day of extravagance, with his small salary, he could not have given so much of his time to his life work. His generation was one of fewer demands than the one succeeding him. Though he labored upon a small salary, he did not believe in a worldly, secularized min- istry. He believed the ministry should be sus- tained by the churches, and urged the rising ministry to demand a reasonable compensation for their services. Churches, whose unpaid sub- scriptions amount to hundreds, are never tired of praising Alfred Taylor's course with the churches. His was a kindness which circum- stances seem to demand. In the decline of life he regretted the course adopted in early man- hood. While to the ministry he leaves an ex- ample full of the spirit of consecration, in his charity to the churches to which he preached he has bequeathed to them a legacy of negligence 28 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. in the support of the ministry that has robbed them of their best talent and filled them with the evil fruits of their own inexcusable neglect. That my father was willing, at much sacrifice, to preach Christ and Him crucified, I most gladly record; that he indulged churches in willful neglect to support their pastor, I am neither proud of nor thankful for. What I have just written prepares the reader more fully to appreciate that devotion which he manifested amid such discourage- ments. To be a consecrated minister then and now requires different degrees of grace. My father very often preached beyond his bodily strength, and gave far beyond the just demands of benevolence. He died poor and premature. Elder J. F. Austin, upon the occasion of his death, remarked: " Brother Taylor died as much a martyr to the cause of Christ as if he he had been burned at the stake." Subse- quently Dr. Coleman made a similar statement. In contrast with the interest in the cause he ad- vocated, he could truthfully say: "I count not my life dear." In days fair and days gloomy, in weather cold and hot, in nights calm and nights stormy, in health and in afflic- tion, in poverty and disappointment, with cheer- ful activity he went forth persuading men to be 29 30 BIOGRAPHY. reconciled to God. He leaves behind an example in many respects worthy of the imitation of the many ministers whom he led to Christ and into baptismal waters. Many of us will never know, by experience, what sacrifices he endured in order to furnish us this noble example. He looked for his reward after the brief day of life was over. Elder Pendleton says: "He talked much of heaven, and his idea seemed to be that its joys would infinitely more than com- pensate for all the sorrows and trials of earth." To that reward he has gone; of those joys he has shared. The toils and afflictions of earth only exist in the recollections of the past. In all the glory of that heavenly home there is not one regret on account of the consecration which marked and adorned his ministry. CHAPTER VI. ALFRED TAYLOR COMES TO THE FRONT. It is said, circumstances make men. It would be truer to say, circumstances develop and test men. They bring to the surface what has been dormant. We hear that our civil war made bad men out of good ones. Not so. The war tested men and developed the weaknesses and wickednesses which previously existed. Cir- cumstances opened the way for Alfred Taylor to step to the front. The providence of God led him to take that step, while the ability of the man, directed and sanctified by Divine grace, en- abled him to hold the position assumed. Be- tween August, I835, and August, 1836, the following ministers were called to their reward: Elders -Talbott, Mormon, Warfield, Chapman, Kelly, Warder and Wilson. The ministry of these brethren had been connected, more or less, with the Green River Country. This wonderful and mysterious providence took all of the strong men from the Green River section. A few aged brethren and a Timothy or two were all that were left. The people in sadness and despond- ency asked, " What shall we do " Alfred BIOGRAPHY OF Taylor, probably more than any other man, felt the pressure of increased responsibilities. He looked at the vast field already white to harvest, and then asked: "How and by whom shall it be reaped " He had heard of Tom Fisher, and longed and prayed for him to come to the Green River Country. Fisher came not. Was it not God's will that another should lead his de- spondent host to battle and to victory The sequel makes it certain that such was the Divine will. To meet the increased demands Elder Taylor gives himself wholly to the work of preaching Christ crucified. The problem of protracted meetings was something new in his field of labor. He saw and contended that religious in- terest awakened should be fostered until the fruit was gathered. Convinced of the propri- ety of a continued effort for the salvation of sinners, he proceeds with the new departure. Many of the brethren and most of the aged ministers opposed outright this departure from the custom of the fathers. Argument failed to convince them. God convinced and won them by the precious fruits of the revival efforts- The first regular protracted meeting ever held in Ohio county was begun and carried on by Alfred Taylor, at Walton's Creek Church, De- 32 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. cember, i837. Many were openly against the meeting. Others would shake their hoary locks, doubting what all this might lead to. Nerved by the honesty of his purpose and led, as we believe, by the spirit of God, the youth- ful pastor continued preaching, day and night, until opposition gave way. God utterly con- sumed it. The revival, in its power and influ- ence, swept over the whole country for miles in every direction. All classes were reached.. Christians were overwhelmed with a sense of the goodness of God, while old and young, parents and children, youths and maidens, sought and found Christ a precious Savior. Men professed religion every-where; even those not attending the meeting, in some instances, were converted. The like had never been seen by this people. But all felt and acknowledged the power to be of God, and not of man. The meeting lasted just two weeks. Largely over one hundred persons professed conversion. During the meeting, and in a few months after, one hundred and forty-six were received into this church by baptism. A part of these pro- fessed a hope in Christ at another meeting, held by their pastor, in Muhlenburg county. In one day, during this meeting, eighty-four persons united with the church. The news of this won- 33 derful work of grace spread with rapid haste. Persons attended it living ten and fifteen miles away. The news of the great revival was upon all lips. By it a desire was awakened in many churches for a meeting of days. Elder Taylor was thought to be the man for the work. Im- pelled by a sense of duty and encouraged by recent success, he delays not to obey the many calls for his services. Pond Run, Ohio county, was the next church blessed. As God had wrought at Walton's Creek, so He did now at Pond Run. It was here the aged veteran, Elder George Render, was to espouse the new depart- ure. He refused to attend the meeting at Wal- ton's Creek. He came to Pond Run first as an idle spectator, but soon felt the power and joined the band. He felt that God was there, and there he was ready to work. Sandy Creek, the Little Bend of Green River, Green River Church, Beaver Dam, the Duncan House, near where Nelson's Creek Station now stands, and Stum's Tobacco House, where Paradise has since been built, were points at which he labored during that winter and spring. At every place the meeting was a grand success. The Lord was ready and the people anxious. So great was the work accomplished that Dr. Coleman confidently affirms, that in less than 34 BIOGRAPHY OF ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. six months Alfred Taylor baptized over eight hundred persons. This estimate is perhaps a little too large; the precise number I have failed to get, but perhaps it was nearer six than eight hundred.' The number of professions was largely in excess of the number baptized. In some in- stances Pedobaptist churches were formed out of persons converted at these meetings. Where they had churches they gathered a part of the fruit. These remarkable results attending his labors pointed him out as the standard-bearer for the Baptists of three counties. The question as to who shall lead us to battle and to victory, was settled without dissent. They most cheerfully recognized Alfred Taylor as their God-given champion. His advice was sought upon all oc- casions, and every doubtful question. His de- cisions were generally satisfactory and final. Elder J. S. Coleman, his son in the ministry, says: " For twenty years after this great in- gathering his word was as good authority among Baptists, upon any and all questions, as Webster's Dictionary is in determining the meaning of words." Again, he says: " For twenty years he was called upon to preach upon all popular occasions, both at home and abroad." These statements are corroborated by many of the aged brethren with whom I have conversed. 35 BIOGRAPHY OF Before he reached the age of thirty the provi- dence of God placed him as the acknowledged leader of His Spiritual Israel. By the grace of God he honored and sustained his position until, falling with his face to the foe, he gave up the ghost. All that is good bears the impress of the eternal God. I see it in every thing. I believe it more and more. In the beginning of these revival efforts, when all around were slumbering upon the eternal decrees of God, I recognize the Divine hand. In the one who starts in this blessed work I see the Divine choice. In the almost incredible results attending the labors of a man who had no evidence that he had ever led a single soul to Christ, I find no ground for glorying in man; but, upon the contrary, I would raise a monument to the praise of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will. In the first effort God gave the great- est ingathering. This seemed to be necessary to stop the mouth of the gainsayer, and forever seal it as a work of God. God had a work for Alfred Taylor, and by mysterious providences He ushered him into it. I would be untrue to the instincts of one born of the Spirit if my heart did not swell with gratitude to God at the remembrance of the undeserved honors conferred 36 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. 37 upon one whom I call my father. The firm be- lief that all that gave him position and influence was a special blessing from Heaven's King gives me special comfort. Should any ask, " What gave Alfred Taylor his position among his brethren " let it be replied, " The directing grace of that God to whom he consecrated the service of his life." Oh God, give us that same spirit of constant, earnest devotion, and permit us to occupy at least some humble place in Thy kingdom, where we may be useful servants! CHAPTER VII. HISTORY OF HIS WORK WITH THE CHURCHES. POND R UN. Here was his first pastorate; I834 marks the date of his first connection with this church. For four years the fountain of all blessings seemed to be sealed against this people. The weary flight of time, at the expiration of these years of sinful inactivity, found the church numn- bering four less than when he became pastor. He continued to go in and out before this peo- ple until the close of the year 1840. During these seven years he held but one meeting of days. This was early in the year i838, immedi- ately following the great awakening at Walton's Creek. In fact, the interest and influence of the one was parent of the other. Some from the immediate neighborhood of Pond Run sought and found Christ at Walton's Creek. They re- turned with their lamps already trimmed and burning. The work begins, and continues to widen and deepen, until, at its close, the church finds herself more than tripled in numbers, there being seventy-two baptized into Christ as the fruit of the gracious work. During the next ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. two years thirteen are added to this church- nine by baptism and four by letter. He then retires from this field to labor elsewhere. Again he assumes the care of the church in i856, but continues with them only one year. Nothing of interest have I gathered concerning this year's labor worthy of a place in this biography. Dur- ing the time in which this flock was ministered to by others, he often preached to her delighted congregations. He aided at various times in meet- ings with these pastors. In i84i he preached six days and baptized five persons. In 1846 he assisted Elder G. S. Smith in a seven-days' meet- ing, which resulted in twenty-three baptisms. How many other meetings he aided in at this place I can not tell, as I have been unable to ex- tract any information from the brethren. The few facts reported I have gathered from his brief journal and the minutes of the Association. For a fuller report of his work at this point, and the results attending it, we must wait the revelations of that day when we shall know even as we are known. SAND Y CREEK. In the boundary of this church he spent the days of his youth and the years of early man- hood. In their midst, and in answer to the prayers of this people, he was converted. By 39 BIOGRAPHY OF their pastor and into their fellowship he was im- mersed. Here he was licensed to preach; here he made his first effort to preach, and here he was ordained. In i832 he was elected clerk of this church ; January, 1835, he became their pastor. In youthful weakness he served theni until his removal to Ohio county, about the be- ginning of the summer of 1836. Then the call of churches nearer home led him to sever his pastoral relation with his mother church. When the Lord enlarged his heart and opened wide the windows of heaven to pour out blessings upon his labors, he forgets not the people among whom he first tasted the sweets of redeeming, pardoning love. Here, in a few days' meeting, he reaped the fruit of seed previously sown, and into their fellowship he immersed twenty-eight. This was in connection with the other revivals of i837 and i838. At a later period in life he be- came their pastor again; but at what date, how long, and with what success he served them I am unable to record. He held many meetings at the church and in the community that brought many to Christ and the fellowship of this peo-- ple. Elder J. M. Ray gives an account of a two-weeks' meeting, which he held with this people, in which there were no conversions. The house was crowded day and night, atten. 40 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. tion good, and every body delighted with the preaching, but none ready to work for Jesus- none ready to seek Him. It was one of those meetings in which the want of success is due to the unlawful confidence which churches some- times place in an arm of flesh. God designs active co-operation in pastor and church, in order to success. A church may cheat a pastor out of success by her inactivity, but not so with his eternal reward. It is not to be measured altogether by our apparent suc- cess. By this failure Brother Peay learned a lesson. From it he extracted an illustration which he often uses with good effect in the be- ginning of a revival. The moral is: Ministers alone can not bring good meetings-good preach- ing is not the only prerequisite to successful re- vivals. There is comfort in the thought that even our failures God may bless to the good of others. Into the fellowship of this church he baptized Amos Russ, November, i837, just prior to his great revivals. This was perhaps the baptism of his first Timothy. I presume it was into the fellowship of the same body he afterwards immersed Elder J. M. Peay. Amid the ruin and desolation that is written every-where upon this once prosperous church, there stands the old-time edifice to remind us 4 41 BIOGRAPHY OF of the home of our fathers. When a youth in the ministry I visited this church as missionary of Gasper River Association. As from time to time I entered her old-fashioned pulpit I felt a strange sensation creep over me as I remembered here my grandfather preached the same Christ I recommend, and from the same sacred spot my departed father first spoke of the wondrous love of the same Redeemer. BEA VER DAM. This church, above all others, was instrumental in his removal from Butler to Ohio county. He accepted the care of this church in 1836. His first pastorate with them covers a period of ten years. During this decade of years the Lord abundantly blessed his labors in two revivals; the first in the spring of 1838; the second in January, x842. In the first of these, and during that season, he received into the fellowship of the church sixty-five members. The second re- sulted in forty-six additions. In 1849 he again preaches to this people. By his faithful efforts the Lord increased their list by eighteen this year. At the close of the year he retires from this field because one family voted against him. He usually preached to united churches. The vote of four members for some other minister was deemed a sufficient reason for him to labor 42 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. elsewhere. This meets with my most hearty approbation. Churches should unite in the call of a pastor. Where it is otherwise no minister, in justice to himself and the cause he represents, should accept. When he received the next call I can not tell, being unable thus far to gain any assistance from the membership. This we know, he was pastor in i854. This year is noted in his labors with this people for two events. In a meeting held in February he rejoiced over the conversion of two of his children, the first of his offspring that had sought and found the Savior. Into the fellowship of Beaver Dam he baptized his son Judson and daughter Alice, February, I854. The debate between him and T. C. Frogge, of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, occurred here in the summer of the same year, a fuller account of which you will find in another part of this work. Concerning his pastorate at this point, Dr. Coleman says: " The church had him as pastor whenever his services could be se- cured." After all, we can know but little of his labors, and perhaps less of their fruits, as it re- gards this community. When not connected with the church in official relationship he often aided in revivals, the last of which witnessed the conversion and baptism of his oldest son, WV. K. Taylor. 43 Among those baptized at the first revival was J. S. Coleman, then but a boy. His first attempt at any public religious exercises was attributable to Alfred Taylor. The providence of God was in it. Brother Coleman had felt for some time that it was his duty to preach Christ to his dying fellow-men. After many vain endeavors to evade this duty, he at last most solemnly promised God the first opportunity to warn his neighbors of their fearful danger. Probably in less than one week a night appointment of the pastor called the people to the house of God. After preaching, and a short pause, the minister said: " We will join Brother James Coleman in prayer." His cov. enant with God came immediately to his mind, and he resolved to keep it. Instead of praying, Coleman arose exhorting. What he said he can not tell. The effect of this first effort he remem- bers well. A number of the sisters shouted, sev- eral of the brethren rushed forward and embraced the speaker, while many others felt it was good to be there. When the speaker had closed, upon turning to resume his seat, he looks into the pulpit and espies Elder Taylor with a babe upon each knee, the little afrighted refugees of the overjoyed mothers. How blessed those kind providences which open up the path of duty. Why J. S. Coleman should have been called BIOGRAPHY OF 44 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. upon to pray that night, for the first time in his life, is a question which can find its best solution in the doctrine of the secret and harmonious workings of the ever blessed Spirit. WAL TON'S CREEK. This church was the third in order that chose Alfred Taylor as their under-shepherd. This call was extended in i836. His labors with this church extends to the year i863. During all this time he was pastor of the church, except three or four years. Elders Tanner, Peay and Coleman served the church one year each be- tween these dates. Almost two years had elapsed before he had any indication of useful- ness in this field of labor. The close of the year i837 witnessed the gracious outpouring de- tailed in another place. In a short time from the beginning of this meeting the church swells her numbers from about sixty to over two hun- dred. Here he held the first protracted meeting ever held in Ohio county; here he witnessed the most marked displays of sovereign grace attending his ministry, or any like effort in this or adjacent counties; here he baptized one hun- dred and forty-six in a few short weeks; here he welcomed to the fellowship of the church eighty- four in one day. 45 BIOGRAPHY OF Though pastor of this church for twenty-three years he held with them but five revival meet- ings. The success of these efforts may be un- derstood in part when it is known that during his labors with this flock there were three-hun- dred and twenty baptized into their fellowship. All these, however, were not the immediate fruits of protracted efforts. Every year wit- nessed more or less baptisms. The fewness of his revivals with this church may be attributed to the following: First-In the introduction of such meetings they were not regarded so essential as now, hence but few churches had annually a meeting of days. The second reason may be found in the many urgent demands for his services in more destitute fields. The cry, "Come over and help us," came from too many quarters full of perishing souls to allow annually an effort meeting with che stronger churches. For ten years this was the strongest church in Gasper River Association. In i849 she numbered, after great loss by death, letter and exclusion, two hundred and thirty-five. The church, under his ministry, sent out three colonies-one to Hartford in i838; one toWest Providence, 1853; and one to West Point in 1857. The total loss of members during his pastorate here was two hundred and fifty. Still, 46 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. when his fast failing health compelled his resig- nation, in 1863, he left a strong, vigorous church of one hundred an forty-four members. Brother Ashby, who was baptized by him December, i837, and for many years clerk of the church, says: " I am confident Walton's Creek never had a pastor who gave more general satisfaction than he." This is fully verified in the fact that they secured his services when- ever possible, and when recent hemorrhages of the lungs forced him to desist preaching, with much regret they released him from the con- nection so long and faithfully maintained. Among the thirty odd ministers baptized by him, five came out from this church-John Maddox, Jacob Igleheart, Thomas Tichenor, J. M. Ben- nette and L. C. Tichenor. The four first were the fruits of the first revival. Elder J. M. Bennette and T. Tichenor were ordained by this church January, i843, Alfred Taylor aiding in the same. This church stands forth among many similar witnesses, testifying that his labors were not in vain. GREEN RIVER. Green River Church was organized July i6, 1836. Elders George Render, Joseph Taylor and Alfred Taylor composed the constituting 47 BIOGRAPHY OF presbytery. Fourteen members from Beaver Dam were her constituent members. The or- ganization was formed at Samuel Lee's. After the church was organized her doors were opened for the reception of members, and Alfred Taylor and wife joined by letter. They would have gone into the constitution with the fourteen but for Brother Jonathan Rodgers, who desired none to be constituent members except persons dis- missed from Beaver Dam for that purpose. The same day he was chosen as their pastor, and continued in said relationship until December, 185I. The time between these two dates were years of great prosperity. This being his home church, he held more revivals with them than elsewhere during the same period. His first revival here was held at the residence of Joseph James, in February, I838. This was a great in- gathering, both as to numbers and the quality of the material brought into the building. Many of the most prominent citizens of the community were among the additions to the church. Fifty-five united with the church by experience and baptism, while many of the converts went to Beaver Dam and Indian Camp Baptist Churches, and some to other de- nominations: For four years in succession the church held annually a protracted meeting. The 48 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. reader may judge of their suceess when it is stated that they resulted in ninety-nine baptisms and additions. The church appears then to have had biennial revivals for a term of years. But even during those years in which the church attempts no revival her numbers are swelled by additions. This church enjoyed such a measure of prosperity that in i85o, just fourteen years after her small beginning, she was the second strongest church in Gasper River Association, numbering at that time one hundred and seventy- four. In December, i85 i, he retires from this field of past usefulness. Elsewhere he goes preaching the word, until March, 1854, when he again receives and accepts a call to his old charge. Again the Divine favor manifests itself in the con- version of souls and additions to the church of God at Green River. For three years he ceases not to declare unto this people the whole counsel of God. January, I857, witnesses his departure from this flock again. By request, in September, i859, he aided in the dedication of their new house of worship. March, i862, is the date of his last call to the care of this church. This call he obeyed in July following. His lost health compelled his resignation January, i864. This last pastorate, being in the heat of that corrupt- ing war, exhibits but little fruit. The fellowship and peace of the church were maintained. 49 In the kind providence of God his health was partially restored, so that in i865 he was able to speak a little. In the summer of this year he was invited to preach one Sunday in each month in connection with the pastoral labors of his son, Elder J. S. Taylor. This request he complied with until his voice was still in death. He was pastor of this church twenty-one years, held as many as one dozen protracted meetings for her and received into her fellowship about three hun- dred members. But all was not sunshine. Dark days came before desired. It is with reference to a most fearful church trial I now write. Faithfulness to my duty and justice to the spirit of the departed demands its insertion. It occurred between two of the most prominent members of the church. The very existence of the church was threatened by this awful antagonism. The church, almost to a man, was arrayed upon one side or the other. Prejudices ran high, and enmity gov- erned for the most part. Long and dark was the night they passed through before the glim- merings of hope shone forth. " The aged brethren," says Elder B. F. Jenkins, " can not, even to this day, tell the details of this trouble without an emotion that brings the tear of sad- ness to their eye. It was in this dark hour that so BIOGRAPHY OF ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. the true worth of Alfred Taylor shone most brilliantly. To the prudence, the firmness, the impartiality, and oft-repeated tearful pleadings of their pastor, this church gladly acknowledges her salvation in this hour so ominous with evil. The trial was not without some loss. One of these brethren was excluded. The loss was much less than had been anticipated. This oc- casion brought into requisition graces and gifts which the church had never fully recognized in theirpastor. As he arose, and with streaming eyes plead for the peace of Zion and the recon- ciliation of estranged brethren, they beheld in him a soul that had not only risen above the petty prejudices of earth, but whose love for, and faith in, the great Head of the church put to shame and confusion the mere partyist, and caused the desponding to hope for better things. Troubles never come single-handed. Another foe follows in quick succession. The wounds of internal dissension are not healed until that sys- tem comes along which thrives best where there is the least vital religion. I refer to Campbellism. History abundantly testifies to this. Where a church is at peace and in the enjoyment of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, Campbellism is power- less to affect it for evil. But let a church be- come involved in petty strife and dissensions, BIOGRAPHY OF and there you will find the devil's prelude for the introduction of Campbellism. Thus it was at Green River. Satanic power having opened the way in the previous alienations, a son of A. Campbell enters in and proposes to complete the work of disintegration and destruction so effectually begun. Here they concentrated the Campbellite forces of the Green River country. Finding some material suited to their building they proceeded with its erection. After their utmost efforts to ruin the church of God at Green River, they could only boast of having " stolen eight fat wethers from the Baptists." As Paul contended with beasts at Ephesus, so did Alfred Taylor at Green River. There he met and ex- posed Campbellism in all its forms. Often in his expositions of this fatal error, and in his faithful and skillful presentations of truth, did he so ex- pose the fallacies of Campbellism that its repre- sentatives would arise in the congregation with contradictions on their lips. They were there for battle. And it was no uncommon thing for the minister to be disturbed by one of the disputers in the midst of his discourse. In this they man- ifested the true spirit of their system. This is the only contest he had in all his field of labor with this sugar-coated error. This was the only community in all his range where it 52 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. met with any encouragement. God spared his life long enough for him to see it a defunct mass upon the field where he met it and so success- fully combated it. With sadness he beheld some of its supporters in the very meshes of infidelity. He that denies the work of the Spirit in renewing the soul has only one short step to deny His work in the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures. This denied, and infidelity takes possession of the man. Through the strong tides of evil and error he safely directed the ship to the port of truth and blessed harbor of rest. For twenty-three years a member of Green River; for the same num- ber of years her representative in the Gasper River Association; for twenty-one years her pas- tor - the history of her developments, her houses of worship, her trials and triumphs, com- pose the history of Alfred Taylor's labors in her boundary. There he lived, in loving intimacy with her members; there he labored, with good success; there he sacrificed, until he felt its sting; and there his name stands upon the roll of her blessed dead. The resolutions upon her church book tell of their grief at the news of his death, and their appreciation of services rendered while living. May this monument of his devoted life live and flourish until time shall be no more! 53 BIOGRAPHY OF COOL SPRING. For years before the constitution of this church, Alfred Taylor preached frequently at Joseph Schultz's and Harry Swain's, prominent citizens in adjacent communities. At the latter place he troubled the baptismal waters several times preparatory to the organization of a church. In January, i846, the material previously prepared assumed an organic form and assumed the name of Cool Spring Baptist Church. He who had been instrumental in its constitution was selected as the first pastor. My information is that this body was constituted a church in Joseph Shultz's residence, and continued to meet there and at other dwelling-houses for some time. His first pastorate continued until i853. During this term of service the church had three ingather- ings, which resulted in fiftyadditions tothechurch by baptism. In i858 he again becomes the spiritual overseer, and serves them in this rela- tion for three years. These years of toil were not without their reward. Perhaps as many as fifty united with this fold during this brief con- nection. His pastorate here was noted for the number of ministers connected with the church at various times, among whom we may mention Elders J. G. Brown, A. Russ, H. B. Wiggin, S. P. Forgy, T. D. Rust and Joseph Taylor. 54 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. Perhaps this array of ministerial gifts had some- thing to do with the inefficiency so manifest in the membership of this church. This church appreciated their pastor so highly as to willingly trust him to do the work of both preacher and people. In the erection of church edifices, as well as in adding to her numbers, A. Taylor did a good work at Cool Spring. AT. CARMWEL CHURCH. This church was composed in the beginning, in part, of members converted at Stum's Land- ing, now Paradise, in a meeting held by Elder Taylor. In the neighborhood of this church, at the residence of Brother Roads, he preached his first sermon in Muhlenburg county, and among the first of his life. This was years before Mft. Carmel was organized. In February, 1849, he received and accepted a call to the care of this church. For two subsequent years he was re- called to the pastorate of this church, but, for reasons unknown to the writer, failed to accept. In March, i859, he was installed their under- shepherd. In faithfulness he went in and out before them until July, i862. At this time his removal from Paradise to his coal mine, near Cromwell, led him to offer his resignation, which the church with regret accepted. The most of 55 BIOGRAPHY OF his labors with this people being during the ex- citements and alienations of the war, his success was materially hindered. My recollection is that he had no revival during the last term of service. The clerk reports but sixteen additions during his labors with them. The brethren report that he labored with great acceptance in several meetings while under the direction of other pas- tors. The results of these efforts are not given in detail, but in general terms. Suffice it to say, the seals of his ministry are not few among those who once composed the church at Mt. Carmel. In the hearts of those who once sat under his ministry at this place he ever lives. And when his name shall cease to be mentioned by the liv- ing, the monument of acceptable labor will still last until Carmel shall be no more. NELSON'S CREEo. When a boy in the ministry he made a visit to this church, in company with Elder B. Talbott. During this visit he made a short talk of five minutes. This effort was marked with grea: timidity and embarrassment. The brethren have very graphically before their minds the differ- ence between this timid, halting beginning, and the boldness and firmness exhibited by him when in after years, he met the lion of Cumberlanc 56 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. Presbyterianism before the same congregation. In March, 1838, he began a meeting at B. S. Young's, a member of this church. After a few days the meeting was removed to a vacant dwell- ing-house occupying the present site of Nelson Creek Station. The meeting continued two weeks, with the following results: Fifty were immersed into the fellowship of Nelson Creek, while, in the language of one who attended the meeting, "Scores went to adjacent Baptist churches." From converts brought to Christ during this meeting, the Cumberland Presby- terian Church at Mt. Olivet was formed. In August of the same year he held another meet- ing of greater interest at Stum's ware-house, where Paradise now stands. This was at that time in the boundary of Nelson Creek Church. The brethren say the converts and baptisms of this meeting exceeded those of the one just re- ported. Ten of these united with the church at Nelson Creele, while the large majority went elsewhere. The converts of these two meetings are said have exceeded two hundred. Amorg those baptized at Stum's Landing was an Ethi- opian wvhose skin and heart had not been changed by his profession and baptism, as was too soon evinced by his stealing the administrator's clothes before they had dried. This representative of 5 57 BIOGRAPHY OF Simon Magus was apprehended almost instantly, and, with due respect to the ordinance of God's House, decently flogged. From this date his care and abiding interest for this church manifested themselves in his preaching for them in their house of worship, as often, says the aged members, as their own pas- tor. These appointments must have been in the week, as his Sabbaths were all occupied with his own charges. The people gave strong evidences of their high appreciation of his efforts in the vast crowds that waited upon his ministry at this place. He was invited to the pastorate of this church August, 1852. His time being fully occupied elsewhere, the call was declined. He accepted a call to the bishopric of this body, May, 1859, and continued in said relationship to August, 1862, at which time he resigned, having re- moved again to Ohio county. In March, i86i, this people enjoyed a revival of religion with the following result: Twenty-six were added to the church by experience and baptism. Nothing more of special interest seems to have occurred during this brief pastorate. With fond hopes and strong desires this people gave him a hearty call to their pastorate, September, 1865, but before their meeting in October, at which 58 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. time he was to begin his labors, God had called him home, and he was no more among men. Though only partially recovered from those lung troubles, which had forbidden him to preach for some time, he returns to the work he loved so well. I most gladly pen this last item. Al- fred Taylor died as he lived, both pastor and evangelist. In deep grief Nelson Creek mourns the loss of one dearly loved. Mf ORGA V-TO WN Ever mindful of the importance of occupying centers of influence, my father began a meeting of days at Morgantown, county-seat of Butler county, January 21, 1840. He was without ministerial aid, and preached, as he often did, night and day during this meeting. The meet- ing continued only five days. At its close he immersed thirteen upon a profession of their faith in Christ. These, with five others, he con- stituted into a church. He at once became pastor of this new interest. In this capacity he labored for two years. In March following the organization of the church ten others were im- mersed and united with the church. Frequently during his pastorate had he occasion to trouble the baptismal waters. Although he held no regular revivals with this church after its consti- 59 BIOGRAPHY OF tution, yet his journal shows that he frequently preached several discourses consecutively,which doubtless were the basis of those baptisms which occurred from time to time. In the meeting, which resulted in the organization of the church, I notice a peculiarity common to him at that period of life. It was brevity. Here he preached five days and reported a good meeting. He must have asked and expected immediate action upon the part of saints and sinners. This is the Gospel plan and we do well to follow it. At the close of two years he left a church of thirty-three members. Considering the diffi- culties in awakening and sustaining a religious interest in small towns, his success here was very gratifying. The church seems never to have prospered again. HAR TFORD. In this town, the county-seat of Ohio county, my father began his labors in 1840. For nine years he ceased not to break the bread of life to this people. In his support this church in 1841 received aid from the General Association of Kentucky. I find no mention in his journal of further aid. In September of the same year, Elder John L. Waller aided him in a few days meeting, which resulted in three additions to 60 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. the church by experience and baptism. In I 846 six other baptisms are reported. Baptisms oc- curred occasionally during the years of his ministrations to this village; but the number was not large at any one time. How many re- vivals the church enjoyed during his term of service, I have been unable to learn. Of his ministry at this point, we may truthfully say, it was not attended with the success usually en- joyed by him and the churches he served. Of Hartford we may say, the gospel has never won many signal victories over the masses of her citizens. Perhaps the success of Alfred Taylor will compare favorably with any man's who has occupied the same field. The want of success in small towns by men elsewhere exten- sively useful, presents a problem worthy of the prayerful consideration of our village churches. The close of his connection with this fold dates the beginning of a decline, which ended in the extinction of the church. So it has been since the days of Christ; churches have been established, and time and sin have wrought their ruin. The present church of Hartford is a new or- ganization, built upon the ruins of the old. 6i BIOGRAPHY OF 0 WEA'SBOR 0. Prior to i842 Elder Taylor had preached in and about Owensboro on both sides of the Ohio river. The success of some meetings in Indiana laid the basis of his call by this people. July, 1842, dates the beginning of his pastoral work with Owensboro. Two years marks the time of this first pastorate with this church. June, 1847, the church recalls him to his former field of labor. The church has made some ad- vances since his departure, and now demand half his time. The demand is promply met, and for eighteen months he gives half his time to the interest of this church. He preached two suc- cessive Sabbaths in each month, and during the intervening week remained in and about the city. This time was spent mainly in preaching. Private houses, school-houses and church edi- fices, both in Kentucky and Indiana, were the places of his ministrations. In all he labored in five revival efforts at this point. Brother George McKay, who was there and is still a member, says: " In his revival meetings he was always successful. " In his first effort, which was in March, 1843, there were thirty professions, and about the same number of additions. During his revival of i847 more than forty wvere added to the church by experience and baptism. Of 62 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. the three other meetings in which he labored we can make no definite report. This we are assured of: They were attended with precious results. Between his first and last pastorates the church began what they called a praise meeting, conducted by the members. In this all denom- inations joined. These meetings resulted in near forty conversions, many of them the chil- dren of the Baptist brotherhood. Much to the dissatisfaction of the Baptists, the Cumberland Presbyterians out-voted them and removed the meeting to the Cumberland Presbyterian house of worship ; then conducted it as their own meeting. The Baptists, knowing the influences that would be brought to bear to induce their children to join other than the church of their fathers, sent a messenger for Alfred Taylor. Though the wreather was very cold, Brother McKay made the trip of eighty miles and re- turned with the former pastor of Owensboro Baptist Church. The meeting was resumed at the place where first begun. The doors of the church wvere opened from time to time, and eventually most of the converts were welcomed to the Baptist fold. Only a few were left for those greedy of more. His revival services closed with this church in i850, though he preached occasionally for them up to the close 63 BIOGRAPHY OF of life. Brother McKay, in speaking of his labors, says: " He preached Christ with a great deal of zeal and earnestness, and the Lord always blessed his labors. The church were all much attached to him. We always liked to have him with us, and were fond of hearing him preach." Forty miles intervened between the city of Owensboro and Elder Taylor's home in Ohio county. This made it very laborious to act as their pastor. Notwithstanding the great dis- tance he was faithful and prompt in his attend- ance. His great remoteness from the scene of action doubtless shortened his labors where God had signally owned and blessed them upon various occasions. In the multitude of sheaves he shall offer to the Judge at the last day, not a few shall come from Owensboro and vicinity. That crown of rejoicing is certain and Linfading. PROVIDENCE, WARREN COUXTY. The first associations with this noble body of Christians was in revival work. In May, i840, in connection with David Mansfield, he began a series of day meetings. The meetings contin- ued for days with no special indications for good. The case was so hopeless that the brethren deemed it advisable to close. The amen was pronounced, the congregation had retired from 64 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. the sanctuary, Elder Taylor was upon the block, with horse by his side, ready to start for his home, when, at the earnest solicitation of some of the brethren, he consented to preach again the next day. To the fast dispersing crowd the meeting for the following day was announced. The next day the people came forth with prayer- ful, anxious hearts, and with a soul in full accord with theirs Brother Taylor preached, and, after a melting exhortation, invited those for- ward who desired prayer and instruction. About twenty were found at the altar seeking the precious salvation. The meeting continued for days with marked and unabated interest. Four- teen days dates the time occupied in this failure and wonderful success. During the meeting thir- ty-three were approved for baptism, twenty-eight of whom received the ordinance at the close of the meeting-of these Elder Mansfield baptized sixteen, and Elder Taylor twelve, both officiating in the water at once. This meeting was noted for the many prominent and aged citizens brought to Christ and the fellowship of His church. This meeting illustrates that text which says, " We have need of patience, after we have done the will of God, that eve may receive the promise." They fainted not and in due season they reaped. These ministers and most of their 65 BIOGRAPHY OF converts are now reaping their eternal reward. At the instance of this people Alfred Taylor discussed the communion question with Elder Granville Mansfield, May, 1849. The second Sunday in September, 1849, he, in company with J. M. Pendleton, preached the funeral sermon of Elder D. L. Mansfield, whom God had recently and suddenly called home by an attack of cholera. Brother Mansfield had been the pastor of this church for twenty-two years. This, with his great popularity as a min- ister of Jesus Christ, made his funeral an oc- casion of unusual interest. The church, bereft of her devoted pastor, bestirs herself to secure some one to take his place. In January, 1850, they cast their lots, and with great unanimity they chose Alfred Taylor. In February following he accepted the call and proceeded upon his work. For two years and six months in promptness and faithful activity he served them as pastor. In the middle of his third year's service, from the consideration of distance, he offered his resignation, much to the dissatisfaction of the entire body. During his pastorate he held one protracted meeting, Oc- tober, i85I. This meeting resulted in twenty- six additions before its close, with a number at succeeding meetings. The present commodious 66 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. house of worship was begun and completed at his suggestion and during his labors with them. Most cheerfully did the brethren build the new edifice, seeing the old one was inadequate to meet the wants of the throngs who eagerly at- tended upon his ministry. The honor of dedi- cating the new house of worship was most cordially extended to the retiring pastor; but, from considerations of forty miles intervening, feeble health and other demands for his service, he declined the offer. Elder J. M. Pendleton became his successor. While Brother Pendleton was pastor my father aided in two meetings. The first was held in August, 1853. This meeting continued near one month. Sixty-four were added during the meeting. Others came in the next church meet- ing. Again in October, 1856, that familiar voice was heard in Providence, persuading men to be reconciled to God. This meeting brought in about fifteen. In S,6, and also in i859, Alfred Taylor was, by a unanimous vote, called to the charge of this flock; both of which he declined for the same reason that led him to re- sign when their pastor. In the fall of 1864 my father, in connection with his son, J. S. Taylor, visited this church and held a meeting of days. The church had been without regular preach- 67 BIOGRAPHY OF ing for more than two years. This, with the unhallowed influences of the war, had brought about a general lukewarmness and inactivity. A general revival among the members and twelve accessions by baptism crowned their ef- forts. The church soon elected a pastor and began again to let her light shine. On Friday before the first Sunday in October, i865, he ar- rived at Deacon Asher's, expecting to preach a funeral at Providence the Sunday following, and then aid the pastor, J. S. Taylor, in a meet- ing of days. So feeble and exhausted was he on his arrival at Brother Asher's that gentle and loving hands aided him to the house and a place of rest. To the house of God he went no more. God was fast loosening the few vital chords that still bound him to earth. Oc- tober 9 he joined " the General Assembly and Church of the First born." He died at Charles Asher's, and in the midst of the church by whom he was dearly loved and highly appre- ciated. OTHER CHURCHES. As it regards his labors with the churches, in no instance have I the facts to enable me to give a full record of a single pastorate. In the fullest it is partial; in others, fearfully defective. Those churches mentioned under this head are 68 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. such as I have gathered nothing of special in- terest concerning: Salem Church, Butler County, I think, the fruit of his own labors. He often preached at private houses in the neighborhood before the constitution of the church. He became pastor of the church in 1859. Whether he served the church before this or not I will not affirm. That his labors continued from the above date to i862 is possible. With what success I have failed to learn. West Providence, Ohio county, is also a vine of his own planting; he was her pastor during the year 1 862. Politics and war engaged the minds of the people more this year than religion and its claims. With this church and her pastor he enjoyed quite a number of refreshings from the Lord. At one of these Elders E. H. Maddox, J. T. Casebier and the writer were converted and joined the church. In 1857, with a view to the education of his children, he removed to Lafayette, Christian county. Perhaps as much as one year of his eventful life was spent in the pastorate of churches in reach of this towvn. Beyond the bare fact of serving some churches in Christian county, I can not affirm aught concerning said pastorates. The schools, whose advantages hle 69 70 BIOGRAPHY. sought, being greatly damaged by the voluntar.y removal of the teachers to other more inviting situations, he returned to his former home and field of labor. CHAPTER VIII. HIS ASSOCIATIONAL RECORD. His connection, with one year's exception, was with Gasper River Association. He was first sent from Sandy Creek Church, August, I 83 1, to the Association, then convened at Hazel Creek Church. His associational record extends from this date to I865, the year of his death. He was present at all the meetings of this body during this time, save one, in 1858, and that year was living in Christian county. He was messenger every year of his attendance, except 1857, and had moved to the aforesaid county. When the subject of this biography began his labors in this Association there were but three churches in Ohio county-Beaver Dam, Pond Run and Walton's creek; two in Butler county-Sandy Creek and Midway; and, in connection with Gasper River Association, but two in Muhlenburg county-Hazel Creek and Nelson Creek. The total membership of these churches did not exceed three hundred and fifty. In i837, the beginning of Alfred Taylor's consecration and great usefulness, these three churches enrolled the following ministers: S. BIOGRAPHY OF Vaught, of Hazel Creek; William Childers, of Sandy Creek; George Render, of Beaver Dam; Joseph Taylor, of Midway; and A. Taylor, of Green River. All these, except the last men- tioned, were full of years and did but little in the ministry. Four fathers in the ministry and but one son! How different the ratio to what it should have been. See the one Timothy. Be- hold the large field of three counties now white to harvest. Well might he have said, "Who is sufficient for this great task" The harvest truly was great, but the laborers were few. God was able to reap a glorious harvest of souls through the ministry of one son in the Gospel. So He did. For three years prior to 1838 the Association, in her tabular exhibit, had reported but eighteen baptisms from all her churches. They were pro- portioned as follows: In 1835, three; in x836, ten ; and in I837, five. The year following this last date the minutes show an increase by baptism of five hundred and ninety-one mem- bers. More than five hundred of these had been converted and baptized under the personal ministry of Elder Taylor. The success attend- ing his ministry placed him at once among the leading members of his own Association. His efficiency in the services rendered at the annual 72 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. meetings of this body enabled him to advance to her highest positions and greatest honors. These he maintained even to the close of life. This, too, in an Association whose talent during the prime and latter years of his life has been unsurpassed by any similar body in the State. With a mind ready to conceive, and with a heart and hand ready to act, he was prominent in the introduction and adoption of many meas- ures looking to the spread of the Gospel and the salvation of the lost. XVIlen he became a member of this Association it was theoretically and practically aln anti-mission body. Whatever of missionary spirit eventually manifested itself was in a -rcat measure due to his efforts. The texts selected for introductories and Sunday dis- courses fullyjustify the assertion, that he sounded a clear note in favor of home and foreign missions. He felt fully the force of those last words of our Savior, " Preach the Gospel to every crea- ture," and greatly desired and earnestly labored to imbue others with the same truth and spirit which made him a missionary for Jesus. It was under his influence the Green River Bible Society was formed and made efficient. He was one of the constituent members of this society, which was organized December 5, 1 837. 6 7 3 The minutes of said meeting inform us that he preached upon Sunday upon the distribution of the Bible: " In this discourse many things entirely new and interesting were brought to view." At the third meeting of this body, held with the Stony Point Church, 1839, by appoint- ment he read a circular setting forth the origin and design of the American and Foreian Bible Society. This circular was thought worthy of publication, and was printed with the minutes of the next Association. In 1845 he was chosen by this society to represent her in the Kentucky Bible Society. In I849 acted as her agent in organizing sub-societies with individual churches. In I859 he was upon the committee which recommended the reference of her interests and work to the Association. So, then, he was one of the founders, and, when no longer necessary, recommended the dissolution of this body. He often preached the annual sermon before this society, as often presided as moderator at her meetings, and by contribution and effort did much in securing the achievements attained. He stood prominent in the organization of Gasper River Ministers' and Deacons' Meeting, which was organized at Green River Church in 1847. To the close of life he loved these meetings, and, by written productions, dis- 74 BIOGRAPHY OF ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. courses and criticisms, contributed to their sup- port and efficiency. These meetings he regarded of great importance to ministers, young and old. They brought the ministry nearer together in fellowship and faith, and by investigation and free discussion did much good. When Gasper River Association proposed to build a seminary in her boundary, Alfred Taylor was found at the front, and said by con- tributions and effort the enterprise must suc- ceed. He was appointed by the Association as one of the building Committee. Then it be- came necessary to have an agent to secure the funds, so essential to the success of such enter- prises. Alfred Taylor was chosen and fully authorized to act in this capacity. In this sphere he faithfully and efficiently served the Association. The building being completed, he was elected and enrolled as one of the trustees of the seminary. And, though this building was consumed by devouring flames and the enter- prise came to naught, still his connection there- with shows the spirit of the man and his posi- tion in the Association. Every educational in- terest, at any time recommended or in any wise fostered by this Association, found in him a warm friend and an ardent supporter. Ofttimes painfully realizing his own lack of a more thor- 75 BIOGRAPHY OF ough education, he used all means in his power to place within the reach of others that which in early life was beyond his own grasp. In 1841 the Association was divided into three districts, and Alfred Taylor was appointed to canvass one of these and preach to each church therein upon the subject of ministerial support. This he did according to the ability God had given him. He believed in a sustained and consecrated ministry, and so preached to the churches. But with his own churches he failed to demand that support which the Gospel authorizes and most churches are able to provide. He labored as agent and missionary at various tines under the appointment of the Association. In November, 1839, he was appointed general missionary for this body. In nine months, over and above his pastoral labors, he traveled twelve hundred and fifteen miles, preached one hundred and twenty-seven sermons, collected upon the field eighty dollars and baptized seventy-five persons. At the Association, in 1 846, the ministers present were requested to give pledges for so many days' missionary labor. My father promised to devote twenty days thus. The minutes of next Associa- tion contain the following report: "Alfred Taylor labored twenty-eight days, baptized forty con- verts and received six dollars." In 1841 Elder 76 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. Taylor and others were appointed by the Asso- ciation to hold a several-days' meeting at Concord Church, Butler county. This church had joined the Association four years before, reporting a membership of twelve. For three years she had failed to represent herself in the Association. This led to the appointment of the meeting. The report to the body next year exhibits efficient labor. The church assumes her appropriate place with sister churches and reports an increase of thirty-nine members-thirty-six by baptism and three by letter. He was chosen by the Association as her collecting agent, August, 1865. He had just gotten ready to enter upon his labors when God said, " It is enough." At the bidding of his master he joyfully exchanges the armor for the unfading crown of glory. Thus often was he recognized as the agent or missionary of the Association, but he more fre- quently labored in destitute fields without ap- pointment or compensation. Heaven now repays for all his toils and sacrifices. In 1847 the funds of the Association in- creased to more than necessary. The Associa- tion referred the question of their appropriation to the churches. The next meeting of this body directs their appropriation to the American and Foreign Bible Society, in order to make Elder 77 BIOGRAPHY OF Alfred Taylor a life-member of the same. Thus they gave their approbation to, and an ex- pression of their high appreciation of, his val- uable services in favor of the translation and circulation of the word of life at home and abroad. The first official relation he sustained to the Association was that of treasurer. From the year 1841 to 1849 he served the body in that official department. He was released from the duties of that office by his election to the moderatorship. His services as moderator began at Cool Spring Church, August, 1849. He was the successor of Elder Mansfield, whose death made vacant this office. For eight years in suc- cession he presided at every meeting of this Association. His removal to Christian county in 1857 required the selection of some one else. For two years after his return to his former field of labor, H. B. Wiggin continued to pre- side. In i86i Alfred Taylor was again re- elected moderator. His popularity and efficiency as a presiding officer secured his re-election until the close of life. When, in October, i865, he fell asleep the announcement occurs in the [Vcst- en: Recorder thus: "The venerable Moderator of Gasper River Association is no more." For thirteen years, with faithful impartiality, he 78 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. stands at the head of a large and efficient body of ministers and members. No officer of this body has ever given more general satisfaction or awakened more interest in her meetings than he. The following exhibit will show the time, place, and, in most instances, the text of the introductory sermons preached by Alfred Taylor before his own Association: Timte. Place. 7ex. 1835 . Mt. Pleasant, Logan county . . .. Rom. i: 16. 1839 . Stony Point, Logan county . . . . Not given. 1845 MNlt. Carmel, Muhlenburg county . John iv: 35. 1847 . Clear Fork, Warren county . . . . I. Cor. iii: 22, 23. 1850. Stony Point, Logan county . . . . II. Cor. xii: 13. 1852 Pond Run, Ohio county . . . . . . Rev. ii: 7. 855 .West Providence, Ohio county . . . Not given. 186z . Green River, Ohio county . Mat. xxviii: 20. i862 . Sandy Creek, Butler county . . . . Jude i: 3. During the lifetime of my father the meetings of the Association included Sabbath. So far as I can learn it was the universal custom of the Association to select by private ballot the min- isters to fill the stand upon Sunday. The fol- lowing record of Sabbath preaching at the meetings of this Association will showv with what eagerness ministers and members hung upon his ministrations. Time. Place. Text. 1839 . Stony Point, Logan county . . . . Omitted. 1840 . Beaver Dam, Ohio county . . . . . John v: 39. 1842 Center, Logan county ...... . II. Cor. v: 14,15. 1843 . Walton's Creek, Ohio county . . . Isaiah lii: 1. 1844 . Providence, Warren county . . . . Mat. xx: 6. 79 o BIOGRAPHY OF Time. Place. Text. i845 . 'It. Carmel, Muhlenburg county. . Gal. iii: 8. 1847 . Clear Fork, Warren county . . . . Psalms xix: 7. 1848 . Mt. Pleasant, Logan county . . . Rom. ii: 12. 1849 . Cool Spring, Ohio county . M... .. Mat.xxviii: 18,19. 1854 . Ebenezer, Muhlenburg county . . . Luke xvi: 9. i855 WVest Providence, Ohio county. . . Omitted. 1859 . Rock Spring, Butler county . . . . Omitted. 1862 . Sandy Creek, Butler county . . . I. Cor. ii: 2. The partiality in the Association to Alfred Taylor as a preacher was so great that they often showed a want of courtesy to visiting ministers by appointing him to preach at the most popu- lar hours at the annual gatherings. Dr. Coleman says: "It made no difference what visiting min- isters were present, Alfred Taylor, for twenty years, was chosen to preach at the most popular hours. This was true at home or abroad." When the Association met with his own churches repeatedly he wvas forced, by the voice of the body, to preach upon Lord's day. Towards the close of his life the Association changed her custom, and usually gave the preference to visiting clergy. With the records before us we may truthfully say, Elder Alfred Taylor had the honor of bap- tizing more into the fellowship of her churches in one year, preaching oftener upon Sunday of her annual convocations, preaching more intro- ductory discourses before her vast throngs, and acting as her moderator at more of her meetings, tSo ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. than any minister that has ever enjoyed her fellowship. Most of the churches added to the Association in Butler, Muhlenburg and Ohio counties were the fruit of his labors. A large majority of that army of ministers springing from these counties were converted under his ministry and baptized by his hands. They were his sons in the min- istry. GENER.4L ASSO CIA TION OF KEANTUCKY. In his journal I find the following: " On Thursday, May 25, i848, received a letter from D. R. Campbell informing me of my appoint- ment to ride as missionary three months during the summer." Under this appointment he began riding as missionary July 8, 1848. How long he con- tinued in this work, at what points he labored, and the results of his labors, we can not gain any information. In October, i858, he accepted an appoint- ment as financial agent for the General Associa- tion, and proceeded immediately upon the work. In this field of Gospel labor he exercised himself for four and one half months. His efforts were mainly confined to Ohio, McLean and Daviess counties. The temptation to protracted meet- t I BIOGRAPHY. ing labor was so strong that more than once in this brief season he ceased his work of collecting the perishing pelf and returned to his life-work, the seeking of the lost. In this agency he had reasonable success. While engaged in this de- partment of the Lord's work he found a wife, and proceeded no further. This is not the first agent who was suddenly checked in his arduous labors. Some say, "Bad enough." The Scripture says, "He that findeth a wife findeth a good thing." So may it ever be. Time and again he represented Gasper River in the General Association; the former body defraying his expenses to and from the latter. Of his work at these annual gatherings of the representative Baptists of the State, I have learned nothing worthy of a place in this brief history of his life. 82 CHAPTER IX. MISCELLANEOUS WORK. In the first chapter of this little book the statement of his youthful dissipations is recorded. His reformation, dating from the hour of his conversion, was complete and life-long. He ad- vocated temperance from the Gospel basis. He practiced it as one of the Christian graces. He had the honor of leading the first temperance reform inaugurated in Butler county. This new and novel enterprise awvakened much and bitter opposition. Violence was theatened to the per- son of the youthful leader, and it is thought these unhallowed intents would have been executed had it not been that a number of the best citizens in the community came to his relief. The excite- ment eventually subsided, and, fanned by the gentle breeze of public favor, the flag of temper- ance waved in triumph. He became a standard- bearer in the order of "'Sons of Temperance." In town and country, in church and school-house, his voice was heard advocating the principles of the fraternity. He saw first the monster as he roamed at will, none daring to dispute his right or oppose his onward march. Fully satisfied BIOGRAPHY OF that evil, and only evil, followed in his wake, young Alfred Taylor dared to say it and felt himself able to prove it. "The little one be- came a thousand, and the weak one a mighty host." In his day and under his leadership a very marked change gradually stole over the habits of the people. The jug was soon left off at the public gatherings in communities, and then many ceased to " keep it " at their homes. In this, as in other efforts, his labor was not in vain. As an independent evangelist he did much effective service. A few brief extracts from his journal will suffice to illustrate his labors in this special sphere of usefulness: "February, i840, held a meeting for nine days at A. Russ', preached nine sermons, wit- nessed eight professions, baptized fifteen, two restored, and received two dollars." " Immediately after the Association, held a meeting of five days at Harry Swain's and bap- tized five persons." "January, 1841, preached seven days at A. Russ' and baptized eight persons." " February, 1842, held a ten-days' meeting at Mr. Benson's, preaching once and twice each day. At the close of the meeting baptized thir- teen. " 84 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. " The same month preached twice at John Southerland's and baptized fifteen, the converts of a meeting held by Amos Russ." "In the Spring following preached four days at Mr. Baws' and baptized nineteen." " October, I846, labored twelve days at John Maddox's and immersed eighteen." "The same fall had a few days' meeting at Mark Taylor's school-house, preached four ser- mons and baptized twenty-seven." At various times, with varied results, he preached at Elder J. G. Brown's, Joseph Shultz's and Leroy Borah's. These are only specimens of an untold amount of labor and precious fruits connected with his ministry in private residences. From house to house, in public and in private, with heavenly love and holy zeal, he ceased not to teach the people. Clear Fork, Warren county, was permitted to enjoy his evangelistic services on various occa- sions. In September, 1842, he aided pastor Mansfield in a meeting of days, during which he preached ten times and witnessed eleven bap- tisms. October, 1849, as he went to and re- turned from Providence, he called in at a meet- ing held by Elder Thomas. During this meeting he preached two funerals-that of Brother Bos- 85 BIOGRAPHY OF well and Brother Hammond's child. Preached seven sermons during this meeting, baptized five and saw Elder Thomas baptize eighteen. At a later date attended the meeting of the Associa- tion with this church. From this annual con- vocation, in connection with Elders J. F. Austin and J. M. Bennett, he continued the meeting. The Lord was favorable unto Zion. The word , reached did not return void, but was effective in the salvation of many souls. Definitely we can not report the result of these efforts. Suffice it to say, this was one of the most successful revivals in the history of this church. BAKER'S CREEK, INDIANA. In i841 he held a meeting of remarkable in- terest with this church. The church was resting .i the profound slumbers of fatalism. From curiosity, or something else, the people in crowds pressed their way to (he house of God. All were respectful and solemn, but saints and sin- ners seemed impervious to all the appeals of the Gospel. "Alfred Taylor," says his co-laborer, "as few other men could do, plead with them un- til it looked like the very rocks would melt, but not a move was made in all the ranks. Finally, one auspicious night, Brother Taylor came down out of the pulpit, and, having 86 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. slowly advanced half down the aisle, he knelt upon both knees and exhorted and wept until more than half of the large audience asked for prayerthat night. This outburst of interest con- tinued for days without abatement. Scores sought and found the precious Redeemer." Elder J. G. Brown says my father baptized sev- eral times during the meetings; at one of these he immersed over sixty in the Ohio river. Among those baptized were eleven Methodists; also D. E. Burns, who afterwards became a min- ister of some renown. In speaking of the im- pressions of his soul upon the night of his agonizing pleading, he characterized them as the greatest of his life. He sowed in tears, he reaped in joy. He saw the travail of his soul and was satisfied. OTHER CHURCHES. He also held meetings, with good success, at various points in Breckinridge county, Boone- ville in Indiana, Buck Creek and Rumsey in McLean county, Green Briar and other points in Daviess county, Mt. Pleasant, Center, Stony Point, Russellville and other places in Logan county, and many other places near and remote from his home. For want of more definite in- formation we are compelled to pass these meet- ings with this brief mention. 87 8 8 BIOGRAPHY. While he labored during life as a pastor, and often as an evangelist, tinder the appointment of the Association, still his widest field of labor was in the sphere of an independent missionary. The commission of his Lord and King commanded him to preach the Gospel to every creature, and to as many as possible he was determined to preach Christ and Him crucified. With what faithfulness he cultivated a field extending from Bowling Green to Owensboro, we can not know. What results shall aggregate from labors so ex- tensive, eternity alone will fully exhibit. CHAPTER X. HIS DEBATES. Alfred Taylor was not a professional debater. He seldom, if ever, dealt in denominational per- sonalities in the pulpit. His popularity with other denominations abounded to that extent that he often was called to attend in the funeral services of members of other societies. Many of his greatest admirers were found in the ranks of other churches. To secure this he never for once yielded his own convictions of truth or duty. With him, however, to preach the whole truth was an imperative duty. Of him I may say, he " shunned not to declare all the counsel of God." Loyalty to Christ demanded both the proclamation and the defense of the whole truth. Hence he was led sometimes to contest the ground with ministers of contrary views. His first contest for truth was with Elder Young, of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Elder Young preached a discourse upon the action of baptism, followed by another labored, three-hours' effort upon the question of infant baptism. To these Elder Taylor made reply. My father's journal affords the only information in this discussion. 7 BIOGRAPHY OF He mentions the efforts of his opponent, gives full notes of the last discourse and then speaks of having replied " wzih much satisfaction " to himself. This cross-firing took place in the " little bend" of Green River, in the summer of 1841. On the second Lord's day in December of the same year, Elder Taylor preached at a vacant house, called the Duncan House, occupying the present site of Nelson Creek Station. In this discourse he exposed the evils of infant baptism. Upon the next day he preached a sermon in favor of immersion as Gospel baptism. The dis- courses having been previously announced, Elder Caskey, of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, arrived in time to hear and take notes of both sermons. Upon Monday night and Tuesday of the same week, Elder Caskey at- tempted a reply to each of Elder Taylor's efforts. My father in turn heard and took notes of Mr. Caskey's discourses, and in due course of time made further reply. This debating at long range continued for months-competent brethren, after the four first discourses, taking notes of each ser- mon and furnishing the same to the respective opponent. The notes of Elder Caskey's two first rejoinders show him to have been in early life what he is fully known to be in riper years--a 90 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. man more noted for the harshness of his speech than the power of his arguments. In his first reply, as often as one dozen times, he brands his opponent with " ignorance." He found it more easy to raise a cry of ignorance than to refute the arguments hurled against sprinkling, pouring and baby baptism. This was the first time Baptist doctrines upon the subject and action of baptism had been fully preached in this community. The results were exceedingly gratifying. Baptists were en- thusiastic during the entire controversy, and in the end were fully satisfied that truth lost nothing where properly presented. Here in- vcstigation was not without its benefits. So it may ever be. In 1849 Elder Granville Mansfield, of the Cum- berland Presbyterian Church, upon a communion occasion at Pleasant Hill Church, Warren county, Kentucky, made a long, and by Baptists said to have been a very bitter talk against the prac- tice of restricted communion. In the conclusion of his remarks he proposed " to comb tie tow " out of any man's head that the Baptists would get to meet him upon that subject, provided said opponent was only his equal in educational advantages. Baptists thought a challenge so defiant merited some attention. Longer for- 9I BIOGRAPHY OF bearance might have been justly construed into an acknowledged weakness, either of their doc- trine or its defenders. Hence, Brethren George Minton and Charles Asher, members of an ad- jacent Baptist church, entered into correspond- ence with Elder Mansfield. In this correspond- ence the brethren endeavored to get a proposition upon baptism accepted as a part and parcel of the anticipated debate. Elder Mansfield de- clined to accept it upon the ground that his banter was confined to the communion question. Eventually the preliminaries for the discussion of the following proposition were all arranged: Proposition-" Are Baptists justifiable in re- fusing to commune with Pedobaptists at the Lord's table " Baptists affirm. Presbyterians deny. After consultation, Elder Alfred Taylor, of Ohio county, was chosen as the representa- tive of the Baptists, and was also accepted by the opposing party. The debate began May I5, i849, at Pleasant Hill Church, Warren county, Elder Taylor leading in the discussion. Dr. J. M. Pendleton was the chosen moderator of the Baptists. The discussion continued with good interest for five days. Upon the second day of the de- bate a leading Pedobaptist, in regular attend- ance, remarked to Elder Mansfield: " You 92 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. must change your tactics or you are gone by the board." In later years this same man said to a Baptist: "Taylor laid down the gap, and Mansfield walked unsuspectingly in and was caught every time." Baptists regret to this day that Elder Mansfield's defense was so weak. Perhaps the regret was more keenly felt upon the other side of the house. The close of this debate was peculiar. Elder Mansfield, in his last speech, attempted a recapitulation, but had not proceeded far until he began shouting, and thus covered his retreat. Elder David Mansfield, the Baptist pastor, and brother to Elder Gran-. ville Mansfield, stood upon the steps of the church, and with his grand trumpet-like voice gave vent to his exultant feelings in the cry of ''victory !" Elder Mansfield found no "tow" in all his combings-either none in the Baptist head, or his comb was too short. Some croakers say much evil resulted from this debate. If so, let the woe rest where it belongs. The Baptists think much good resulted from it. It certainly took a good deal of the warlike and the unkind out of Elder Mansfield's ministry in that com- munity. That certainly was needed. Defeats make some persons life-long enemies to all discussions. For one I am entirely willing to risk the cause of truth in any fair contest it may 93 BIOGRAPHY OF have with error. Truth is mighty, and its final triumph is certain. In 1854 Elder T. C. Frogge, of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, challenged my father to the discussion of the differences between the Methodists and Baptists. The challenge was accepted, the preliminaries agreed upon, and the debate began in the dry summer of 1854, at Beaver Dam Church, Ohio county, Kentucky. Elder Taylor entered the debate in feeble health, having only partially recovered from an attack of fever. Upon the second day of the debate his fever returned, from which he barely escaped death. Elder J. M. Bennett was chosen to take Elder Taylor's place, and after a little delay the debate proceeded to its close. A Baptist minister, whose name can be given if necessary, told me that Elder Frogge admitted, in a conversation with him, that he found in Alfred Taylor a power of originality and logic that he had met in no other opponent. It was a matter of general regret upon the part of Bap- tists that sickness took their representative from the field. While they had no cause to be ashamed of Brother Bennett in his defense of their tenets, still they felt that Alfred Taylor could sustain truth and expose error as no other minister could in the Green River Country. 94 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. 95 With me it is a matter of no regret that my father did, at various times and places, rally to the defense of the truth as Heaven has revealed it. Moreover, I rejoice in the assurance that in no contest in which he appeared in its defense did the truth, as held by Baptists, suffer. His journal records the immersion at his hands of many Methodists and Presbyterians. CHAPTER XI. HIS TIMOTHYS. Perhaps Alfred Taylor could boast of more ministerial sons than the Apostle Paul. His ministry was noted for the number of ministers that sprang up in his special field of labor. The home demand was fully met, while many other vacant fields were well cultivated by the overplus. My brother, Elder J. S. Taylor, says he heard our father count by name more than thirty ministers whom he had immersed. Most of these were converted under his ministry, and many of them were inducted into the ministry under his immediate watchcare. We can not report the full list, but will give the names and fields of labor so far as we have gathered them. Amos Russ, the associate of his youth, the companion of riper years and better labors, and the first preacher baptized by him, labored many years in the boundary of Gasper River Asso- ciation. James Childres, J. F. Hanse and James Vaughan, confined their labors mainly to But- ler county. John Maddox, a licentiate only, but a tower of strength in revivals, rendered valuable aid in various parts of Ohio and adja- ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. cent counties. These have all gone to their eternal reward. A. C. Stevenson, a licentiate, who labored for a while in Ohio and Butler counties, has for many years done but little in the ministry. James Burgess after a brief so- journ in the Green River Country, I believe, located in the State of Missouri. Geo. W. More lived and labored in Indiana. J. G. Brown was for many years pastor and evangelist in Gasper River Association. Jacob Igleheart de- parted from the faith and found a home with the Free-will Baptists. Thomas Tichenor emigrated south, and the special field of his labors I can not give. L. C. Tichenor for many years has been active as a successful minister in Daviess County Association. D. J. K. Maddox has obtained help of the Lord, and found favor sufficient with the people to continue his labors in the boundary of Gasper River Association. R. H. Miller labored with great zeal and good success, both in Gasper River and Goshen Associations. T. D. Rust has ministered at different times to churches in Gasper River, Little Bethel and Daviess County Associations. J. S. Taylor, the successor of his father in the pastorate, after eight or ten years of more than ordinary usefulness, removed to Kansas, where he has done a good work for seven years past. 97 BIOGRAPHY OF A. B. Miller with more or less efficiency has been pastor at Owensboro, Memphis, Paducah, Versailles and other points. Also his labors have been greatly blessed as an evangelist in various parts of the Union. D. E. Burns who labored at Canton and Jackson, Mississippi, Memphis, Tennessee, and New Orleans, Louisi- ana, was called home in the midst of his useful- ness. J. M. Bennett first labored in the bound- ary of Gasper River Association, but has since been pastor of Bethel Church, Christian county, Taylorsville, Maysville and churches in the State of Ohio. Dr. J. S. Coleman, for sixteen years moderator of the General Association of Kentucky, also editor at different times of the Green River Baptist and Western Recorder, has labored with unusual efficiency as State Evangel- ist and pastor in Gasper River and Daviess Coun- ty Associations. J. M. Peay, a pillar in Daviess County Association, has spent most of his min- isterial life in earnest, successful work with the churches of the aforesaid body. J. F. Austin, of whom my father spoke in his last illness as the one with whom he had preached more than any other, his successor in the moderator's chair, has for long years stood as the spiritual leader of both ministers and churches in his own Asso- ciation. Alfred Taylor stood almost alone once 98 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. in a broad and important field. For years he earnestly prayed God for more laborers. God heard and fully answered that oft-repeated cry. Perhaps no minister in the State had more right to be proud of the number and efficiency of his ministerial sons than Alfred Taylor. He accom- plished much in the constitution and building up of churches; but his greatest work under God perhaps was the number and usefulness of the preachers that came up under his ministry. Truly we may say of him, he being dead yet speaketh. In the churches of his own planting, as well as in those which he watered, we hear his voice. In his three sons now following in the wake of their departed father, something of the voice, the character and usefulness of the dead still is seen and felt. Through those he instrumentally lead into the bishopric of God's church, he speaks. May the tide of his influ- ence continue to flow with unabated power, un- til suddenly stopped by the fiat of the descend- ing judge. 99 CHAPTER XII. CONTRIBUTIONS TO HIS MEMORY. The following brief statement of his ministerial character, and labors are furnished by Elders J. M. Pendleton, D. D., J. F. Austin and J. S. Coleman, D. D.: " Your father was recognized by every body, so far as I ever knew, as a good man, devout, spiritual, consecrated to God. If I were called on to refer to one passage in the Bible more descriptive of his character and work than any other; it would be Acts XI: 24: 'For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost, and of faith; and much people was added to the Lord.' "Your father had an active, investigating mind and was always anxious to know the reasons of things. He, and myself were accustomed to lament our lack of thorough education; but it was always our determination to do the best we could with the resources in our possession. I do not know that I could say in which your father excelled: his power to enlighten the mind or to move the heart. He always attempt- ed to give the meaning of his text, and in doing ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. so he made logical appeals to the intellect, and then his ordinary plan was to make the truth he had unfolded by argument the basis of an ap- peal to the feelings of the heart. In his most favored efforts after getting through with the argumentative part of his subject, his exhorta- tions were very effective. "When his feelings became excited and his eyes filled with tears, the tones of his voice became exceedingly tender and touching. At such times it was common for his congregations, whether small or large, to weep with him. He had a sweet, lovely countenance and when ab- sorbed in his subject, his face seemed to glow with the benevolence of his heart. " He loved to preach. It was his greatest joy to proclaim salvation to dying men. Few min- isters of his day spent more time in preaching, made greater sacrifices for the cause of Christ, and received a smaller compensation for faith- ful labor. He did not complain, but went to and fro with cheerful activity, declaring the un- searchable riches of Christ. He often talked about Heaven, and his idea seemed to be that its joys would infinitely more than compensate for all the sorrows and trials of earth. I remem- ber that once in conversation after giving his view of heavenly glory, he said: 'It will- 10I BIOGRAPHY OF either be as I think it is, or it will be a great deal better.' "As to the large number baptized by your father, and how many of them became preachers; others can give you more accurate information than I. " I think you may well thank God every day you live, that he gave you such a father, and I trust you may follow him as he followed Christ. Then when your work on earth is done, you will go up to the heavenly mansions, and join with your father in magnifying the riches of redeeming grace. Very truly yours, "J. M. PENDLErON, Upland, Pa." "REV. W. C. TAYLOR: " Dear Brother:-In compliance with your re- quest, I will now pen you a few lines as a con- tribution to the history of your father, yet I: am at a loss where to begin, or how to proceed. I was intimately acquainted with brother Tay- lor for about twenty-five years, and was associ-- ated with him in the ministry near twenty years; but I kept no diary, and although I preached with him perhaps more than any other minister, I can only give at this time a few reminiscences of his valuable life. "Soon after his removal to Ohio county, Elder Taylor was called to the care of Walton's Creek, 102 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. Pond Run and Beaver Dam churches, all of which are located in Ohio county, and in con- venient reach of the pastor's home. " At this time Elder Taylor was a young man, perhaps about twenty-eight or thirty years of age. His family consisted of a wife and one son, W. K. Taylor, now living in Kansas. " His deportment was amiable and his general appearance of humility has been perhaps fitly described by one of his ministering brethren, who remarked of him, that 'Alfred Taylor always looked like he was ready to ask the world's pardon for being permitted to live in it.' Soon after the pastoral connection referred to brother Taylor's churches were blessed with re- vivals of religion, in which many sinners were converted to God. Those revivals were the re- sult of 'protracted meetings,' the first meetings of the kind that the people had ever witnessed. " It has been claimed for brother Taylor by some of his brethren that he was the originator of those meetings; I am not prepared to assert positively as to the correctness of this claim, about the origin of an enterprise near forty years ago; but I know they were new to the people; the first of this order ever held in the Green River Country, if not the first in the State of Kentucky. Several hundred were con- 103 BIOGRAPHY OF verted to God during those meetings. It was a time of which it might be said: 'The word of the Lord grew and multiplied.' About this time a meeting of several days was held at the residence of brother Joseph James, which re- sulted in the conversion of many, which subse- quently led to the organization of Green River Church. Brother Taylor's ministry was confined chiefly to the churches of Gasper River Asscci- ation; the writer remembers he had at different times the pastoral care of the following church- es: Beaver Dam, Walton's Creek, Pond Run, Green River, Cool Spring, Mt. Carmel, West Providence, and also Providence Church in Warren county; he had the care, at one time, of the Baptist Church at Owensboro. Although his ministry was confined mostly to his own community, he visited several corresponding associations, preached in different parts of the country, where he frequently held revivals, and was extensively known in the Green River Country. " As he believed firmly the doctrines he preached he did not hestitate to defend them when necessary, and encountered in debate several ministers of opposite views, among whom were Elders Granville Mansfield, Caskey, Frogge and others. His labors in revivals, or, what was termed I04 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. protracted meetings, were extensive. The writer has a distinct recollection of being with him in meetings at the following places: Beaver Dam, Green River, Walton's Creek, West Providence, Pond Run, Mt. Carmel, Cool Spring, Salem and Clear Fork, many of which were continued as long as three weeks, and in many of those churches the protracted efforts referred to were often repeated, which, in the aggregate, amounted to years of actual labor in the min- istry. " Brother Taylor was an ardent believer in the power of Divine truth to enlighten and turn sin- ners to God. The substance of a conversation between himself and Elder David Mansfield, and by the former related to the writer, illustrates this fact. Brother Taylor had been preaching a whole week to the congregation at Providence, Warren county, Kentucky, which was Brother Mansfield's home church. Brother Mansfield wvas absent during this wzeek's labor, but return- ing home at the end of the week found Brother Taylor at his house, and, knowing he had been preaching for some days, hurriedly inquired: 'Well, Brother Taylor, what is the prospect of the meeting ' ' Very good, I should say,' was the characteristic reply. 'Have there been any professions' 'None that I know of.' 8 105 BIOGRAPHY OF I Well, how many mourners have you' 'None designated yet.' ' Well, if you have no conversions and no mourners yet, what are your evidences of a good prospect ' 'Sir,' said Elder Taylor, 'my reasons for considering the prospect good are the following: First-I have quite a large congregation. Secondly-I have the attention of the people. Thirdly-I have the Lord's truth to preach to them and the di- vine promise to sustain me.' " At the time and previous to the outbreak of the great protracted meetings referred to, the anti-mission spirit and doctrines prevailed ex- tensively in many parts of the country. Of course the work of evangelists was looked upon not without some degree of distrust and opposi- tion. If we might judge from the manifest in- difference on the part of many good brethren to the use of mercy's means in the salvation of men, and their doubts of the genuineness of the missionary work, we can hardly suppose that many of them had made up their minds to be- lieve that the trophies of redeeming grace could ever be great in this part of the Lord's vine- yard. At least they looked on missionary efforts as being rather past, and, if we might use our own words in the interpretation of their theory, they seemed to fear that some one io6 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. might be saved whom the Lord did not want to save. " An account of a meeting held by Reverend Alfred Taylor and others, in the State of Indiana, might not be out of place as illustrative of the religious status of the times. This was told us by Reverend Isham Allen, of Daviess county, Kentucky. Reverend Taylor had an appoint- ment to hold a meeting of days at a place called Bacon Creek, in the State of Indiana, and in the neighborhood of a small anti-missionary Baptist church. The brethren of that community looked on the movement with distrust, and not without some fears that mischief might be done and souls led astray. When the appointment for the meeting became known strange and fabulous re- ports were put in circulation about the coming preachers. Allen, whose labors were generally devoted to the anxious inquirer, was represented as coming with a mourner's bench tied on be- hind him on his horse, and Taylor with bap- tizing clothes and things in general necessary to do the consummating work. Various were the views and emotions that bestirred the people of Bacon Creek in regard to the coming meet- ing. Novelty; the hope, arrevival; curiosity, a desire to hear the new preacher-desires vari- ous as the diversified views of the community- 107 BIOGRAPHY OF brought a large congregation together at the time appointed for the meeting. The meeting was continued; many became greatly enlisted under the influence of the preaching, and, when an invitation was made to sinners to come for- ward for prayer, it seemed as if it was a general break-down in the ranks of sin; scores pressed forward at once, as if the powers of darkness had given way. An aged anti-mission brother, who had been watching the prospect of the meeting for days, when he saw the general move in the ranks of sin, began parting his way through the crowd exclaiming: ' Brethren, we are gone ; we are gone! ' At this meeting David E. Burns, the son of a widow lady living in that community, professed religion, and was baptized. Brother Burns was then a youth, who afterwards devoted himself to the ministry and figured largely in the South as a successful pas- tor and evangelist, but now, like the subject of this narrative, rests from his labors and his works follow him. "As a preacher Alfred Taylor wvas far above mediocrity; he was apt and forcible in illustration; his mind was well trained, which was doubtless attributable to his-untiring energy as a student in theology. A vein of profound thought ran through his sermons; his voice was clear and io8 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. musical; he possessed a tender sympathy that was in harmony with the subject under dis- cussion; all of which made him what he was as a preacher and placed him among the first class of pulpit workers. His life was one of sacrifice and ardent consecration to the ministry. The number he baptized is not definitely known, but must have been at least two thousand. He was a good man and died at his post. He rests from his labors and his works follow him. God has honored him by giving him three sons to follow his footsteps in the ministry. May a double portion of his spirit rest on them, is the prayer of his son and brother in the Gospel. "JAMES F. AUSTIN. "COOL SPRING, OHIO COUNTY, KENTUCKY." EXPLANATORY. "OWENSBORO, Ky., April i8, i878. "REV. W. C. TAYLOR: "My dear brother:-I am compelled to confess to you, that I have been so constantly en- gaged in my pastoral duties that I have not been able to command a moment to comply with my promise to add an humble testimonial to the worth of your lamented father for your forth-coming sketch until since noon to-day. I feel that it is very imperfectly prepared, inso- much that upon looking over it I am almost in- log BIOGRAPHY OF dined not to send it. But as it utters in some measure my appreciation of my father in the ministry, I will send it along, leaving it optional with you as to what disposition you will make of it. Yours very truly, "J. S. COLEMAN. REV. ALFRED TAYLOR. "Rtv. William C. Taylor:-It is with unaffected pleasure, that I hear that you are about to bring out in book form a biographical sketch of your lamented, but venerated, beloved and distin- guished father, whose eminently useful life did so much to lay the foundation of the numerous Baptist churches in the Green River Section of our beloved Commonwealth. If any name de- serves to be preserved fresh and green in the hearts of a people, that name is A/fred Tao; and that people should be the Baptists of this section of Kentucky. Here he entered the master's vineyard when but a boy, without edu- cation, without means or facilities for obtaining it, without illustrious family prestige, but with deep convictions of duty, and a firm reliance upon God and his truth, united with deep-toned piety and a high resolve, together with that firm- ness of purpose and decision of character, which never fail of success, he bent all his energies, and seizing upon every facility within his reach, ITO0 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. he was soon enabled to exert such an influence among the people of his acquaintance, as few Baptist ministers ever possessed in the State of Kentucky. "He entered upon the active duties of the ministry at that particular time which proved so favorable for the rapid development of the rising ministry of the times. It was at that pecu- liar juncture when so many of the eminent pioneer preachers passed away so rapidly, either by death, or the shcismatic influences of antino- mianism on one hand and of Campbellism on the other. It was truly a time to test young men, and try the kind of materials that composed them. "Alf,-cd Taylorstood the fire, passed the ordeal and came out the purer from the trial, and soon occupied a prominent position in the front rank of the Baptist ministry of the State, and among the distinguished pulpit men of the times. While he was regarded as a strong man in theology, a power in what was denominated doctrinal preaching, for when occasion required it he would hurl the shafts of truth with her- culean strength against the ramparts of religious error with fearful and deadly force, yet he possessed an amiability of character, a sweet- ness of expression., and a softness of pathos and I I I BIOGRAPHY OF sympathy, which readily disarmed prejudice of its bitterness and won its way to tender emotions of the soul. I have never heard his equal in the eloquence of persuasiveness, nor listened to a preacher that could surpass him in the mellow- ness of his pathos, or the warmness of his sym- pathy. In these respects he was truly a prodigy, while the soft melody of his voice in its sweet cadences would often move the multitudes to tears. His appeals to the unconverted were often overwhelming and irresistible. Few men that I have met possessed such power in the pulpit. I have seen scores of sinners prostrate themselves under his appeals, crying for mercy. He was truly a revivalist of the genuine kind, and thousands were led to embrace the Saviour through his instrumentality. It was about the beginning of his ministry that protracted meet- ings came into popular favor and in their conduct and management he was wonderfully successful. It was about Christmas of the year of i837, that he began and conducted his first great re- vival in the county where he resided, which ex- tended its influence from church to church, and from neighborhood to neighborhood, and from county to county, until many hundreds were made obedient to the faith; and for about eight successive months he baptized an average of one I 1 2 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. hundred per month. This revival was not only attended with large accessions to the churches; but was also peculiarly fruitful in the conversion of young men who subsequently entered the ministry, many of whom have become not only useful, but even distinguished ministers of the New Testament. It was during this revival that the writer humbly trusts that he was con- verted to Christ, and baptized by this eminent servant of God, who also presided as moderator in his subsequent ordination, leading the ex- amination in doctrine. For several years after entering the ministry, we labored together with great pleasure to each other, and seemingly with much profit to the churches. "In the social circle he was exceedingly re- served and quite reticent upon almost any sub- ject that might arise, insomuch that he did not appear to advantage as a colloquist; hence he was often regarded by those not familiarly acquaint- ed with him, as unbending and austere and even greatly wanting in the amenities which im- part pleasure to the social circle; nevertheless in his private retirement he was quite familiar and communicative. I As a controversialist he was scripturally cogent and profoundly logical, always accom- panying his demonstrations of truth with such I 3 plain and simple illustrations as impressed the hearer with the correctness of his positions. While he was the peer of almost any man of his times as a preacher, he was not a success as a presiding officer or parliamentarian, nor would he have been popular as a pastor in one of our fashionable modern churches, owing to his want of affability in the social circle. " But Alfred Taylor was truly a great and good man, and one who really accomplished more for the permanent propagation of Baptist principles in the region where he labored than could be claimed for almost any man of the age in which he lived. His life was mainly spent among country churches and people, where he was compelled to undergo almost incredible de- privations, hardships and exposures, living in almost constant exile from home, denying him- self almost entirely of home and home comforts and domestic pleasures, and never receiving an adequate compensation for his self-sacrificing labors. I well remember to have heard him say that he once held a meeting for a certain church, the name of which I will not mention in this con- nection, which continued between two and three weeks, and resulted in fifty or sixty additions, and received as the only compensation for his arduous toil one pair of socks, which were knit I114 BIOGRAPHY OF ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. and presented by a good old sister in the neigh- borhood. " That church, strange to say, still exists and is both large and influential in the community where it is located, and ought at this late date either to build a monument over the grave of Alfred Taylor, or else settle a patrimony upon his three sons, who are now Baptist ministers. How our old preachers succeeded in raising large families with means so limited, and with sup- port from the churches so meagre, is indeed almost marvellous; insomuch that we verily con- clude, that if the Baptist cause had not have been truly the cause of God it would have be- come extinct long ago. " Having served his generation in faithfulness and worn out the frail physical constitution with which he had performed the almost superhuman labors of his useful and eventful life, he fell at his post, stricken in years and exhausted in health, poor in the things of this world, but rich in the grace of God, to whom he now as- cribes all the honor and glory through riches of grace in Christ Jesus, our Lord, to whom be endless praises forever and ever. Amen. " ' Servant of God, well done; Rest from thy loved employ. The battle fought, the victory wvon, Enter ,thy Master's joy. I 1 5 0 O BIOGRAPHY. Tranquil amid alarms, Death found him on the field, A veteran slumbering on his arms Beneath his red-cross shield. Soldier of Christ, well done; Praise be thy new employ; And while eternal ages run, Rest in thy Savior's joy.' " J. S. COLEMAN. 1 OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY." CHAPTER XIII. OBITUARIES. The following obituaries appeared in the col- umns of the Western Recorder, immediately after his death, and are appended as written by Rev. J. F. Austin and President J. W. Rust: " ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR IS NO MORE. "This devoted veteran of the Cross of Christ breathed his last at the residence of Brother Charles Asher, in Warren county, Kentucky, on Monday morning at half past three o'clock, October 9, i865. He had gone to the above place to assist his son, Elder J. S. Taylor, in a protracted meeting. Brother Taylor had been afflicted with a disease of the lungs for several years, and became at one time so debilitated as to compel him to discontinue his labors. Having partially regained his strength, he re- sumed the work of the ministry, which he con- tinued with a devotion evinced only by those who are constrained by the love of Christ, until confined to his dying bed. He embraced re- ligion when a young man, joined the Baptist church, and shortly afterward entered the min- istry, amidst embarrassments and discourage- BIOGRAPHY OF ments that but few have overcome, and realized attainments that are seldom made by those who have entered this noble but self-denying work. He was an able preacher and a successful revival- ist. I have stood by his side in proclaiming salvation to sinners for weeks and months to- gether, and together we have witnessed the cloud of gloom and darkness that have hung like a pall over the spiritual interests of this country, and together we have beheld the Lamp of Life dispelling that darkness, and have wit- nessed together the grand display of sovereign grace in bringing hundreds to the Cross of Christ. He was my father in the ministry. By him I was led into the baptismal waters, and I stood before him to preach my first sermon when, a boy in the ministry, I first ascended the walls of Zion. We are informed that his disease as- sumed the form of remittant fever, with oc- casional chills of congestive type. He was confined to his bed eleven days. For several hours before his death he talked but little, and even appeared indifferent to some questions pro pounded, but when asked by his son, 'Are you afraid to die' answered, 'No;' and when asked, 'Are you willing to die,' replied, 'Oh, yes.' The seals of his ministry are many; among whom are many of the most eminent x i8 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. preachers of Green River Country. Brother Taylor died in his 58th year and had been in the Gospel ministry more than thirty years. May divine grace enable his successors in the min- istry to emulate his virtues and avoid whatever imperfections and frailties may have marked his character and actions while he lived and walked amongst men. JAMES F. AUSTIN. "COOL SPRING, OHIO COUNTY, Ky., October i6, i865." "ELDER ALRED TAYLOR. "Dear Brother Wa//cr:-I pause in sadness to communicate the painful intelligence that Elder Alfred Taylor, the venerated and beloved mode- rator of the Gasper River Association, is no more. " He departed this life at 3 o'clock, A. M., October 9, at the residence of Chas. Asher, near Bowling Green. It seems that he was in- disposed when he left home, in Ohio county, to attend a meeting in the neighborhood in which he died. He remained at Mr. Asher's more than a week, having chills nearly every day, suffering considerably from his lungs. No appre- hensions were entertained of his death till last Sabbath. It soon became apparent that his end was drawing nigh and that the time of his departure was at hand. His son, Elder Judson S. Taylor, had the painful pleasure to be present and converse with his father in the dying hour. I I9 BIOGRAPHY OF In answer to questions in regard to his prepara tion and willingness to die, he left the most satisfactory assurances that all was vell. As he lived, so he died. The smile of the Christian's hope beamed from the countenance and played upon the trembling lips of this man of God as he bade adieu to earth and passed away to that rest that remains for the people of God. I have been personally acquainted with Brother Taylor since 1839. Fond of his style and manner of' presenting truth, I never have omitted any opportunity to hear him preach. "Considering his educational advantages, he had but few equals. His sermons were appro- priate, clear, concise, and his manner solemn and impressive. His discussion of a subject was direct, exhaustive and authoritative, laying, as he did, great emphasis upon the word of God as the ground-work of his arguments. Although taciturn and apparently diffident and retiring in the common walks of life, he held his sentiments before the public with a firm- ness, boldness and determination only charac- teristic of strong, vigorous, well-founded faith. "He seemed to comprehend thoroughly the idea that the strongest presentation of an argu- ment is in the statement, and that the strongest defense of any cause is an appeal to the facts in 1 20 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. the case. For many years he has been promi- nently connected with the Baptist interests of the Green River Country, and his influence and labors in the Gasper River Association will long be cherished as having been intimately connected with the rise and progress of that body. It would be interesting to know the history of his labors, his early trials and triumphs, the churches he planted, the number of conversions and baptisms under his ministry, c., c. Now, will not some one of his ministering brethren in the Association, some companion and witness of his toils, collect and present them to the public I have hope that such may be the case. Brother Taylor was a good man. " I once heard a distinguished minister say that if he was appointed to look for a good man, he would stop when he came to Alfred Taylor. "The brief letter, which I have just received, announcing his death, fills my heart with sor- row. I have to regret that the pressure of busi- ness and the want of proper information do not allow me, in the hurry of the moment, to pay a more befitting tribute to the memory of one whose friendship I have so long cherished, and with whose afflicted family and friends, I do deeply sympathize. J. NV. RUST. RUSSELLVILLE, Ky., October i i, 1865 1 2 1 BIOGRAPHY OF CONCLUSION. The end has come. In the mantle of death we last beheld him. To the tomb a large con- course of sincere mourners followed him. In the family grave-yard, near his former residence, we yielded up to the tomb the precious form that greedy death had claimed. At his head the dust of parents rests undisturbed by the ills of time. By his side sleep the companions who shared life's sorrows and joys with him. At his feet his own children lie awaiting the call of the last trump. At Green River Church we had his funeral ser- mon preached. Elder J. F. Austin, his son and companion in the ministry, spoke words of com- fort and exhortation to the living multitude there assembled. As we close this brief biography of one hon- ored by God and revered by his fellows, one who preached Christ a third of a century, and died at his post on the field of battle, saying, "All is well," who spoke in his last illness of President B. T. Blewett and President J. W. Rust as men who had encouraged him in life and esteemed his talent perhaps above its true merit, who also made mention in his last hours of J. M. Pendleton, D. D., and John L. Waller, LL. D., as among the most intimate personal 122 ELDER ALFRED TAYLOR. I23 friends of life, may we not express the hope that all who may chance to read this imperfect sketch of his self-denying life may, through riches of grace divine, meet him isn that "Sweet bye and bye " Peace to his dust and sweet rest to his spirit, till united again in the glories of the last resur- rection. Amen.