David Lewis: Indian Missionary and Sabine Divisionary

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David Lewis: Indian Missionary and Sabine Divisionary

Postby Rvaughn » Tue Oct 22, 2019 7:19 pm

Historical information about another early Baptist preacher in East Texas. According to Z. N. Morrell, “The boundary line between Texas and the United States had
not been definitely agreed upon. A large number of refugees and desperadoes infested this neutral territory. They crossed the Sabine River to escape justice in the United
States, and recrossed it if pursued, for violations of law, by the Mexican authorities.” (Flowers and Fruits from the Wilderness, p. 186.) Mexican Texas provided a refuge for not a few preachers on the run.

Another pastor of Union Baptist Church near Nacogdoches, Texas, in addition to Elder James L. Bryant, is David Lewis. Like Bryant, we know little of Lewis, when he was born, when he died, or where he is buried. Unlike Bryant, Lewis steps into a 20-something year window of time, appearing in 1832 and disappearing around 1853. Perhaps more will be discovered later.

The first record I find of David Lewis is his ordination, which occurred in May of 1832. The place of ordination was the McDougal Street Meeting-house in New York.[i.]

ORDINATION OF MR. LEWIS
“On Monday evening, May 17th, in the McDougal Street Meeting-house, New York, Mr. David Lewis was set apart to the work of the gospel ministry with special reference to missionary labor among the Indians. The exercises of the evening were unusually solemn and interesting, the congregation large and attentive, and an anxiety awakened for the heathen in the bosoms of many persons who had previously felt little interest in the cause of Missions.

“He is expected to settle among the Choctaws west of the Mississippi, in the employ of the Baptist General Convention, and with his wife and child left New York for the place of destination, May 25th. They will be followed, we trust, by the prayers of christians, that the Lord will make them a great blessing to the aborigines of our country.”[ii]

Lewis’s tenure as an Indian missionary with the American Baptist Missionary Union was cut short by the death of his wife in the fall of 1833.[xii] Shortly thereafter, he left the field.

“Mr. Lewis, in consequence of the death of his wife, and his own ill health, removed from this station, during the last year. Mr. Davis continued to preach at several different places; and a number of persons were baptized before Mr. Lewis left the station. The church consisted, at the last dates, of about 80.”

While Lewis’s wife died and he did leave the mission, that story is the polite version – and probably one that protected the board from confessing their own mismanagement. Solomon Peck further explains “In the spring of 1834, Mr. Lewis, for misconduct was dismissed from service of the board.”[xiii]

Click link below to read the entire article:
David Lewis: Indian Missionary and Sabine Divisionary

[i.] From my understanding, this McDougal Street Meeting-house was in Manhattan. The church at that time was apparently named North Beriah Baptist Church. In 1859, the church assumed the name McDougal Street Baptist Church. Reminiscences of Baptist churches and Baptist leaders in New York city and Vicinity, from 1835-1898, p. 35 (George H. Hansell, Philadelphia, PA: American Baptist Publication Society, 1899).
[ii] The American Baptist Magazine. Vol. XII, Board of Managers of the Baptist General Convention, Boston, MA: Putnam & Damrell, 1832, p. 185.
[xii] The American Baptist Magazine, Vol. XV Board of Managers of the Baptist General Convention, Boston, MA: John Putman, 1835, pp. 35, 217.
[xiii] Peck, “History of the Missions of the Baptist General Convention,” in History of American Missions to the Heathen, from Their Commencement to the Present Time, (Joseph Tracy, et al., Worcester: Spooner & Howland, 1840, p. 548).
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Re: David Lewis: Indian Missionary and Sabine Divisionary

Postby Haruo » Wed Oct 23, 2019 1:30 am

Interesting guy.
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Re: David Lewis: Indian Missionary and Sabine Divisionary

Postby Rvaughn » Fri Oct 25, 2019 2:09 pm

Yes. I have been frustrated that I can't trace what happened to him. But I find that over and over in the 1850s in Texas (and even much later than that).
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Re: David Lewis: Indian Missionary and Sabine Divisionary

Postby Haruo » Fri Oct 25, 2019 3:06 pm

Maybe you are looking for the wrong names down the line. I'm reminded of the song in How the West Was One. https://youtu.be/LIeM9wbH9oY
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