Way of Life Literature
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Succeeding his father [Daniel] to the Kiokee pastorate [the first Baptist church in Georgia], Abraham Marshall (1748-1819), an eloquent and dynamic speaker, preached to thousands during his evangelistic tours, and untold numbers turned to Christ. In 1786, Abraham preached a minimum of 197 times on a six-month tour of approximately three thousand miles through eleven states, extending as far north as Massachusetts and Connecticut. ...
When Abraham Marshall arrived back in Kiokee from his 1786 tour, he was suffering from exhaustion; he remained ill for many days. In 1792, as forty-three-year-old Abraham was preparing to repeat his preaching excursion, he was longing for a suitable wife. In his diary, he records two supplications to the Lord. First, ‘having heard it said, that women would first view a man, and then his horse,’ Abraham asked the Lord to provide him with a fine horse. Secondly, he prayed that once he received the horse, the Lord might so prosper his journey that ‘he might meet a helpmate, a wife,' ‘to divide the sorrows and double the joys of life.’
In North Carolina, he met John Dinkins, a wealthy Christian landowner, who gave him one of his finest horses. Marshall ‘mounted his heaven-sent horse and went on his way rejoicing, full in the belief that as Heaven had favored him with his first request, the others would be succeedaneous.’
As it turned out, after passing ‘through several stormy days and high waters,’ someone pointed him to the home of John Waller, a Baptist evangelist and pastor in Spotsylvania County, Virginia where Abraham met Nancy Ann Waller, better known as Ann. As their eyes met, Abraham said to himself, ‘You are mine if I can get you.’ With Ann entertaining similar thoughts, they became engaged to marry. Twenty-seven-year-old Ann was the oldest of nine children born to John and Elizabeth Ann Waller.
Upon Abraham’s return, he and Ann renewed their engagement, her parents expressed their blessings, and, after a six-day courtship, the couple ‘concluded they had the consent of the Father of worlds, and resolved with unshaken minds to proceed.’ On April 3, 1792, ‘at seven o’clock in the evening, the nuptial rites were solemnized in the presence of a small, genteel, and well-behaved assembly.’
Following their affectionate and prolonged farewells to the family, the newlyweds finally set out in the rain toward their Georgia home on Big Kiokee Creek. Stopping at Fort Mill, South Carolina, for Abraham to constitute the Sugar Creek Baptist Church, he introduced Ann to John Dinkins (1731-1811), who had provided his horse. Dinkins was a charter deacon at Sugar Creek Baptist. ...
Ann Marshall would bear her husband four children. She died in 1815 at the age of fifty-three. Just short of four years later, after a fifty-year ministry, Abraham passed into eternity at the age of seventy-one.
One man who had observed Abraham Marshall’s ministry for many years said of his preaching, ‘He would portray the glories of Heaven with such matchless force and beauty, that his hearers could scarcely remain upon their seats; and then he would depict the miseries of the lost in such terrible, burning language, as almost to make the hair stand erect upon your head. ...
Abraham’s son, Jabez, estimated that his father had ‘baptized, married, and buried ... about six thousand of his fellow creatures,’ with ‘two thousand’ in each category. Jabez succeeded his father to the pastorate and served until his death in 1832. Thus, the father, son, and grandson served Kiokee Baptist for its first sixty years.
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