Georgia Founder of the Free Will Baptists in Texas

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Georgia Founder of the Free Will Baptists in Texas

Postby Rvaughn » Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:43 pm

I have posted a series on my blog titled Angus McAllister Stewart: “Man of God, Friend of All Mankind,” and the “Founding Father” of the Free Will Baptist Church in Texas. After graduating from Buford Academy in Gwinnett County, Georgia, he came to Texas to teach school and also founded a Free Will Baptist Church at/near Clayton in Panola County, Texas in 1876.

Rather than try to copy and paste here (it's rather lengthy), I will post a link to navigate to the 8 posts in the series.

Links to Eight posts about Angus McAllister Stewart

This is a work in progress, and I welcome any feedback -- questions, quandaries, comments, complaints!

Thanks.
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Re: Georgia Founder of the Free Will Baptists in Texas

Postby David Flick » Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:11 am

.
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    Very Interesting read, Robert. Thanks for posting the links.
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Re: Georgia Founder of the Free Will Baptists in Texas

Postby Tim Bonney » Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:48 am

I like Free Will Baptists. They are a lot like Methodists who just like to use a lot of water. :wink:
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Re: Georgia Founder of the Free Will Baptists in Texas

Postby Haruo » Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:24 pm

So was "Doctor Reuben Gideon “Dock” Jimmerson" a doctor by education and/or title, or was "Doctor" (and the nickname "Dock") a given name like the Judge in Colored Sacred Harp editor Judge Jackson? And I would note that the records of this fellow spell his various names variously, with at least one "Reubin", and with as far as I can see "Jimerson" outnumbering "Jimmerson". Do you know whether (as I would assume) the D. R. Jimerson who was the senior pastor at the meeting following Angus's demise was this same D[octor] R[euben] Jim[m]erson? And I wonder if he's related to Ellin Jimmerson of Huntsville.

Any hymn texts emerging from the Freewillers you've been studying?
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Re: Georgia Founder of the Free Will Baptists in Texas

Postby Rvaughn » Thu Nov 02, 2017 1:42 pm

Glad you all found it interesting. I was very intrigued by Stewart. His history (much of it) is right here where I live, yet much of it seems unknown to most folks.

Haruo wrote:So was "Doctor Reuben Gideon “Dock” Jimmerson" a doctor by education and/or title, or was "Doctor" (and the nickname "Dock") a given name like the Judge in Colored Sacred Harp editor Judge Jackson?
Doctor is a given name, and his nickname was "Dock." Some genealogists in the family say it was passed down that he was named after the doctor who delivered him in Alabama -- Doctor Reubin Gideon. The story is that he was a premature baby and the doctor saved his life/kept him alive even though he was very tiny. Probably quite a feat in 1853!
Haruo wrote:And I would note that the records of this fellow spell his various names variously, with at least one "Reubin", and with as far as I can see "Jimerson" outnumbering "Jimmerson".
Reubin seems to be the preferred spelling, and the other spelling is unintended on my part. Dock's son Egbert S. JAMESON named one of his sons Reubin. The spelling variations must be maddening to family genealogists. I went with "Jimmerson" for Dock because that is what is on his tombstone. His mother and father's marker has "Jimerson." Interestingly, on Find-A-Grave the cemetery where Dock is buried has 10 "Jimmerson" and 17 "Jimerson". I'm guessing they are all related.
Haruo wrote:Do you know whether (as I would assume) the D. R. Jimerson who was the senior pastor at the meeting following Angus's demise was this same D[octor] R[euben] Jim[m]erson?
Yes, this is the same person, and I will make some correction in the piece in the future to indicate this is the same person. Thanks!
Haruo wrote:And I wonder if he's related to Ellin Jimmerson of Huntsville.
I don't know anything about her background, where she is from, or anything, so don't know about any connection.
Haruo wrote:Any hymn texts emerging from the Freewillers you've been studying?
Here are a couple I recently posted on my blog:

No. 210, Page 164.
1. Disrobed of all his heavenly dress,
The Saviour came to earth ;
Cloth'd in a veil of mortal flesh,
And bow'd his head in death.
2. That awful night in which, betray'd,
He introduced the feast,
Which we, my friends, have seen display 'd,
Where each has been a guest.
3. The solemn scene about to close,
To make the whole complete,
He meekly from communion rose
And washed his servants' feet.
4. "To each," he said, "let others do,
As I, your Lord, have done;
The heavenly pattern still pursue,
In form as I have shown."
5. Since Christ has the example set,
And left it on record ;
We'll humbly wash each other's feet,
Obedient to his word.

No. 211, Page 165.
1. Jesus, the Lord who groan'd and died,
Arising from communion sweet
Disrobed, his garments laid aside,
And washed the dear disciples' feet
2. "Know you," he said, "what I have done?
Ye call me Lord, and Master too,—
I have you an example shown,
And as I've done, ye ought to do."
3. See, through this robe, that glorious dross,
Which Christ in love laid humbly by:
Clothed in a veil of mortal flesh,
For man to suffer, bleed and die.
4. Was he begirt with napkin round?
Learn hence that Christ the Lord would be,
While here below, a pattern found-
Servant of all, of you, of me!
5. His washing the disciples' feet,
Proclaims his cleansing, healing power ;
His re-assuming all complete,
The great, the grand, triumphant hour.
6. With Christ our pattern thus in view,
While here we hold communion sweet.
As he commands we'll joyful do,
And meekly wash each other's feet.

From Zion's Hymns by Rufus K. Hearn; Joseph S. Bell; Randolph, Jesse Falkland: Pitt County, NC, 1867.
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Re: Georgia Founder of the Free Will Baptists in Texas

Postby Haruo » Sat Nov 04, 2017 9:58 am

Rvaughn wrote:Glad you all found it interesting. I was very intrigued by Stewart. His history (much of it) is right here where I live, yet much of it seems unknown to most folks.
When you say "most folks" are you including most Texas Freewill Baptists, or most folks in general? My impression is that most folks in general don't know who John Leland was, and many would have a hard time telling you what denomination grew out of Martin Luther's nailing expedition of 1517 (even if they don't assume you meant Dr. King). The general sense of history seems to me to have diminished rapidly with the onset of automation and the television.

Rvaughn wrote:
Haruo wrote:So was "Doctor Reuben Gideon “Dock” Jimmerson" a doctor by education and/or title, or was "Doctor" (and the nickname "Dock") a given name like the Judge in Colored Sacred Harp editor Judge Jackson?
Doctor is a given name, and his nickname was "Dock." Some genealogists in the family say it was passed down that he was named after the doctor who delivered him in Alabama -- Doctor Reubin Gideon. The story is that he was a premature baby and the doctor saved his life/kept him alive even though he was very tiny. Probably quite a feat in 1853!

That is indeed a story worth hearing and, if any corroboration has survived, worth retelling with footnotes.
Rvaughn wrote:
Haruo wrote:And I wonder if he's related to Ellin Jimmerson of Huntsville.
I don't know anything about her background, where she is from, or anything, so don't know about any connection.
All I know is that her husband (source of the name in her case) is from Georgia, "Al's (my husband's) family is from the area around Thomaston" she said. She was intrigued by the story but doesn't know if they're related.

Thanks for the hymn texts! I may use part of one in Sankta Harmonio, as I think it would be nice to have a footwashing hymn. Are the Freewillers big trine-ordinance folks, or did these two hymns just happen to focus on that topic by chance?[/quote]
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Re: Georgia Founder of the Free Will Baptists in Texas

Postby Sandy » Sat Nov 04, 2017 12:53 pm

Tim Bonney wrote:I like Free Will Baptists. They are a lot like Methodists who just like to use a lot of water. :wink:


Never thought of that, but I guess they are. Don't the Freewill Baptists practice footwashing as well as baptism by immersion?
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Re: Georgia Founder of the Free Will Baptists in Texas

Postby Haruo » Sat Nov 04, 2017 12:57 pm

Sandy wrote:
Tim Bonney wrote:I like Free Will Baptists. They are a lot like Methodists who just like to use a lot of water. :wink:


Never thought of that, but I guess they are. Don't the Freewill Baptists practice footwashing as well as baptism by immersion?

Judging by the hymns Robert quoted, I think that that is likely. That is what I meant by "trine-ordinance", the notion that there are three ordinances (not two, but at least in English it doesn't affect the BAPTIST acronym): baptism, the Lord's supper, and footwashing.
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Re: Georgia Founder of the Free Will Baptists in Texas

Postby Rvaughn » Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:53 am

Sandy wrote:Never thought of that, but I guess they are. Don't the Freewill Baptists practice footwashing as well as baptism by immersion?
Yes, that is correct. Here are some of the statements from their treatise:
3. Washing the Saints’ Feet. This is a sacred ordinance, which teaches humility and reminds the believer of the necessity of a daily cleansing from all sin. It was instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ, and called an “example” on the night of His betrayal, and in connection with the institution of the Lord’s Supper. It is the duty and happy prerogative of every believer to observe this sacred ordinance.

13. Gospel Ordinances. BAPTISM, or the immersion of believers in water, and the LORD’S SUPPER, are the ordinances to be perpetuated under the Gospel. FEET WASHING, an ordinance teaching humility, is of universal obligation, and is to be ministered to all true believers.

B. Provision should be made for regular observance of the Lord’s Supper and washing of the saints’ feet by the congregation. Ministers and deacons administer these.

However, I think it is fairly well understood among those "in the know" that some churches just choose to ignore observing it.
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Re: Georgia Founder of the Free Will Baptists in Texas

Postby Haruo » Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:19 am

Rvaughn wrote:
3. Washing the Saints’ Feet. This is a sacred ordinance, which teaches humility and reminds the believer of the necessity of a daily cleansing from all sin. It was instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ, and called an “example” on the night of His betrayal, and in connection with the institution of the Lord’s Supper. It is the duty and happy prerogative of every believer to observe this sacred ordinance.

That almost makes it sound like they practice it daily, which I find unlikely unless individual foot-washing of her or his own feet is counted as fulfilling the ordinance.
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Re: Georgia Founder of the Free Will Baptists in Texas

Postby Haruo » Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:50 am

Et voilà...

Image
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Re: Georgia Founder of the Free Will Baptists in Texas

Postby Haruo » Sun Nov 05, 2017 12:03 pm

Here's the other to WELLS... Image
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Re: Georgia Founder of the Free Will Baptists in Texas

Postby Rvaughn » Sun Nov 05, 2017 5:44 pm

Haruo wrote:When you say "most folks" are you including most Texas Freewill Baptists, or most folks in general? My impression is that most folks in general don't know who John Leland was, and many would have a hard time telling you what denomination grew out of Martin Luther's nailing expedition of 1517 (even if they don't assume you meant Dr. King). The general sense of history seems to me to have diminished rapidly with the onset of automation and the television.
I think you are right. Most folks in the more literal sense don't really care that much about such historical events. I guess I was thinking about most folks in the area that I thought should be interested, but maybe I didn't give it that thought much after all. I was acquainted with several Baptist preachers who were quite interested in Baptist history who never mentioned this. Of course, even in my own case, though I had read about it quite some years back in Robert Picirilli's history of Free Will Baptist state associations, I had never bothered to look further into it myself. There is mention of this first church in some Panola County histories, though I don't think much beyond the fact of it.

As far as the Free Will Baptists with whom I have interacted they are aware of it generally, though not always the specifics. The average pew sitter might be a different case. Interestingly, though, it seems to me that even Free Will Baptist historians have never looked into A. M. Stewart and Texas Free Will Baptist origins in any great depth. The information I have seen repeated several times is that Free Will Baptists in Texas mostly owe their origins to the northern branch of Freewill Baptists, and even that A. M. Stewart was a missionary to Texas from the General Conference of Freewill Baptists (this was the northern branch; they merged with Northern Baptist Convention in 1911). I found no evidence that back that up, and much that seems to contradict it.
Haruo wrote:That is indeed a story worth hearing and, if any corroboration has survived, worth retelling with footnotes.
I would be surprised if this surveyed beyond being retold in the family, but you never know. Awhile back when researching one of our community doctors (and a relative on my Mother's side), I found a letter he wrote to the [url=https://books.google.com/books?id=TiqgAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA172#v=onepage&q&f=false'Obstetric Gazette[/url] about a birth of triplets in 1878. If I catch myself not busy with something else, I might research Dr. Gideon a bit and see what I find.

Here is the way the story was related to me: "Dock was named after the Doctor Reuben Gideon who delivered him. He was born premature and wasn’t expected to live. Dr. Gideon told Thomas and Mary to put him in a shoe box and keep him in the wood burning stove. He survived in a kind of cast iron womb. They were so appreciative of his advice that they named him after the good doctor."
Haruo wrote:All I know is that her husband (source of the name in her case) is from Georgia, "Al's (my husband's) family is from the area around Thomaston" she said. She was intrigued by the story but doesn't know if they're related.
The Jimmerson's came to Texas from Alabama, but the Rusk County history says they Dock's parents were married in Cass County, Georgia (which is now Bartow County) in 1839. Cartersville, county seat of Bartow County, is north and slightly west of Atlanta. Thomaston looks pretty much due south of Atlanta. That might give her something more to go by.
Haruo wrote:Thanks for the hymn texts! I may use part of one in Sankta Harmonio, as I think it would be nice to have a footwashing hymn. Are the Freewillers big trine-ordinance folks, or did these two hymns just happen to focus on that topic by chance?
Yes, I would say so (that FWB's are trine-ordinance folks), with some decline in interest for the ordinance which denominational leaders are trying to turn around through teaching, books, and other forms of leadership in that direction. (I'm not suggesting it is in any way dying out among them, but I think what you might see is that larger more progressive churches are less than enthusiastic about it, and maybe some others that just quietly move along without mentioning much about it. I know of one local church of whom it was said that they had not practiced it in years.)

I enjoyed your text-tune matches for the feet washing hymns.
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Re: Georgia Founder of the Free Will Baptists in Texas

Postby Haruo » Sun Nov 05, 2017 11:36 pm

In the L.M. hymn, I changed "Know you" in the second stanza to "Know ye"; if I had it to type over (which I will of course if it goes into my book) I think I'll also change "the dear disciples' feet" to "his dear disciples' feet".
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Re: Georgia Founder of the Free Will Baptists in Texas

Postby Rvaughn » Mon Nov 06, 2017 1:08 am

Haruo wrote:In the L.M. hymn, I changed "Know you" in the second stanza to "Know ye"; if I had it to type over (which I will of course if it goes into my book) I think I'll also change "the dear disciples' feet" to "his dear disciples' feet".
I like both of those changes.

Haruo wrote:That almost makes it sound like they practice it daily, which I find unlikely unless individual foot-washing of her or his own feet is counted as fulfilling the ordinance.
I think all they are trying to say is that the actual cleansing takes place daily, and when the rite is observed it reminds us of that fact. I'd guess that many churches probably practice it quarterly, and some probably annually.
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Re: Georgia Founder of the Free Will Baptists in Texas

Postby Rvaughn » Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:28 am

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