THE FRONTIER MISSIONARIES
(The names of our ancestors are highlighted inred)
(back toHome Page)
In the eighteenth century, some of our ancestors played a fascinating and remarkable role in the spread of Christianity on the southeastern frontier. They were among the earliest Puritan settlers in America, coming to New England as early as 1629. One hundred years later they came as missionaries to the North Carolina frontier with the famed Shubal Stearns and established the mother church of what is now the Southern Baptist Church. Thus, I have devoted considerable attention to these ancestors in this account. I am greatly indebted to Mrs. John Bennett Boddie for her Historical Southern Families, Vols. X, XIII, and XIV for much of the information.
I. THE PURITANS
In the year 1600, the English were taking very little interest in the New World. Whereas the Spanish, French, and even the Dutch and Portuguese were making headway in establishing profitable footholds in both North and South America, the English did not have a single outpost in the western hemisphere. In 1583Sir Humphrey Gilbert had attempted to establish a colony in Newfoundland, and Sir Walter Raleigh tried on Roanoke Island in North Carolina but both efforts were abandoned. At last, however, Captain John Smith led a successful expedition in 1607 which established the first permanent English settlement in the New World at Jamestown, Virginia.
After about ten years during which the Jamestown colony struggled desperately for survival, a measure of success was achieved and the London merchants who had financed the effort began to show a profit. Then a new and different sort of Englishman began to show an interest in settling in America. The first settlers at Jamestown were primarily adventurers seeking to improve their economic well being. They were Anglicans who had no quarrel with the established church in England. But then the idea of coming to America began to appeal to the English Puritans. Puritans were people who believed that both the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England were in great need of reform to make them more consistent with the church described in the scriptures. There weretwo kinds of Puritans; first, a more radical group, called Separatists, who wanted to establish a new church, separate from the Church of England, and second, the conservatives who wanted to reform the church from within. http://www.plimoth.org/pilgrim.htm
The first of the Puritans to come to America were Separatists, later calledPilgrims. Under the leadership of William Bradford, they sailed on the Mayflower, primarily in search of religious freedom, to establish the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts in 1620. The early years of this colony were similar to those in Jamestown in that it experienced severe hardship and even starvation. The colony narrowly survived these years of hardship and has received a great deal of attention in the historical lore of the nation. However, it never became a significant factor in the future development of the continent because it was inconsequentially small.
At about the time the Pilgrims were establishing their colony in 1620, John White, a conservative Puritan minister from Dorchester on the southern coast of England, began to consider the economic advantages of colonizing New England. Dorchester was dominated by seafaring activities with the fishing industry as perhaps its major enterprise. Fishermen would not only work the coastal waters of England and Ireland, but in the early 1600's would make annual voyages across the Atlantic to exploit the rich fishing waters off New England and Newfoundland. Every spring ships carrying fishermen and small fishing vessels would set out across the Atlantic from Torquay, Weymouth, Southampton and other ports on the southern coast, spend 4 to 5 months fishing and packing their catch in salt aboard the ship, then make the voyage back to their homeland. The entire expedition would take 8 to 9 months.1
White began to realize that the annual fishing expeditions across the Atlantic were an extremely inefficient way to do business. For instance, during the lengthy voyages over and back, the fishermen were idle and unproductive. And while the fishermen were fishing from small boats off the New England coast, the ship sat dead in the harbor. Moreover, adequate provisions for both crew and fishermen as well as the salt needed to preserve the fish had to be carried back and forth on the crowded ship. White felt that these and other inefficiencies could be avoided if a permanent settlement of fishermen and farmers were established in New England. Furthermore, if clergy could be induced to live in the colony they could administer to the spiritual needs of the fishermen who were otherwise being left without it for nine months of the year. Resident clergy might also find time to bring the gospel to the Indians.
In 1623, White organized the Dorchester Company to attract fellow Puritans to invest in this plan. There is no evidence that these early promoters originally intended to establish a Puritan refuge in New England. Rather, they "appear to have been a group of public-spirited men who wished to do something for their country, a little for the Indians, somewhat for the fishermen, and a good deal for themselves."2
However, as the decade progressed, religious persecution of the conservative Puritans in England increased. The area around Cambridge northeast of London was the center of this activity and it was there that the Dorchester Company's proposed commercial enterprise evolved into establishing a colony as a haven for Puritan believers to worship and govern themselves in freedom. Thus the Dorchester Company grew into the Massachusetts Bay Company. By the end of the decade, the planning had been completed so the migration began.
The plan was to establish a colony of a thousand or more in 1630. However, having observed the difficulties experienced at both Jamestown and Plymouth, in 1629 the company sent out a small group of craftsmen to lay the initial groundwork for the colony. This careful preparation no doubt contributed greatly to the relative ease with which the Massachusetts Bay colony was established.Walter Palmer and his daughter Grace were in this group. Walter's wife (name unknown) had died in England. I'm not sure what Walter's profession was but it is likely he, like most of those in this first contingent, possessed a skill or craft that would be valuable in establishing the new colony.
The next year (1630), a fleet of 17 ships carrying over 1000 passengers set sail. The fleet was under the command ofJohn Winthrop aboard the flagship "Arabella." Two other passengers on the Arabella were Christopher Avery, age 40, and his young son James, age 10.
Christopher Avery lived in Torquay, Devonshire, a town on the southern coast of England located about half way between Weymouth and Plymouth. In all likelihood Christopher Avery was a fishermen who took part in those early fishing expeditions to America that John White found to be so inefficient.
In 1616, at age 23,Christopher married Margery Stephens. Perhaps because Christopher was away at sea for many months at a time, it was 4 years (1620) before he and Margery had their first and only child, James.
AlthoughChristopher Avery may have been sympathetic to Puritan beliefs, he apparently did not migrate to America in search of religious freedom. Rather, he was simply a fisherman willing to take a big risk to improve his standard of living. One can speculate as to why Margery did not migrate with her husband and was willing to allow her only child to make this perilous journey with him. Perhaps it was her intent to join her family later after they were settled in their new home. However, this never came about. Margery Avery spent the rest of her life in Devonshire, perhaps living with her widowed mother until her mother died in 1642 in Brixham, Devonshire.
The permanent separation ofChristopher and Margery Avery lends support to the proposition that the Averys were not devout Puritans, for Puritans were strong believers in the enormous importance of family life in maintaining a proper society. As late as 1653, 23 years after coming to Massachusetts, Christopher Avery, age 63, was brought into court and charged with "living for many years from his wife, she living in England." He answered the charges by stating that he was "very aged" and had "used means to procure his wife hither." This seemed to satisfy the court so the charges were dropped.
As John Winthrop's fleet of 17 ships approached the New England coast in 1630, withChristopher Avery and his son James on board the Arabella, three other passengers on one of the other ships anxiously awaited the end of the tedious voyage across the sea. They were Allen Breed (1601-1657) and his two sons, four year old Allen Jr. (1626-1684) and two year old Timothy.
Before coming to America the name was Brede. Allen's father wasJohn Brede (??-1656) of Wetoning Parish, Bedfordshire. His mother's name is unknown. It is believed that the Brede family immigrated to England with many others from Holland in the year 1200, when the town of Brede, Sussex, was founded. Over the next 400 years the Bredes became widely distributed across England.
Allen married Elizabeth Wheeler on Nov. 4, 1622 at Pilloxhill, Bedford-shire. As in the case of Christopher Avery, Allen's wife did not migrate to America with him. Considering that Timothy was only 2 years old when Allen brought him to America, it seems likely that Elizabeth had died before 1630, perhaps in 1628 during childbirth.
It is also likely thatAllen Breed was among those immigrants seeking religious refuge for it is probable that he was strongly committed to Puritan beliefs. His home was in Bedfordshire which, along with the neighboring English counties of Hertfordshire and Suffolk, was a hotbed of Puritan activity in the early 1600's. John Winthrop himself lived in Suffolk and Cambridge University, the citadel of Puritan thought, was nearby.
Life in New England
During the 100 years that our ancestors lived in New England, several of them became members of the First Congregational Church of Roxbury, Massachusetts. Consequently, they had intimate and noteworthy connections with two historic figures who were associated with this church in the 17th century -- one wasJohn Eliot, the Apostle to the Indians, and the other was Anne Hutchinson, who rebelled against the established church. I will digress somewhat to record these connections.
Mary Eliot, one of our ancestors, was born in Widford, Hertfordshire into a family of humble circumstances, probably around 1615. In spite of these circumstances, her older brother John (1604-1690) was able to work his way through Cambridge where he studied for the ministry and specialized in the study of ancient languages.3 For a while John Eliot worked for Thomas Hooker, the famed Puritan leader who became one of the founders of Connecticut, at a school at Chelmsford. In 1631, he too immigrated to New England and settled in Roxbury, Mass. In 1632 he became the first permanent minister at the First Congregational Church in Roxbury and was probably the first New England minister to be ordained in the "Congregational" way.4
One of the stated goals of Puritan migration to America had always been to bring Christianity to the Indians. However, this was easier said than done. Language was a major difficulty. Critics of the Puritans have cynically pointed out that language was no serious barrier in trading with the Indians but seemed to bring missionary efforts to a halt, implying that the hypocritically pious Puritans were really more interested in trade than in spreading the gospel. In fairness, trading goods was a simple procedure that required only a little communication. Often only sign language was good enough. Explaining the gospel to a people barely out of the stone age was quite another matter.
John Eliot was a man who took seriously the goal of bringing the gospel to the Indians, for he spent 60 years of his life in that effort. I do not intend to tell his story here, but refer the reader to a number of accounts of his work published elsewhere.5 However, one outstanding achievement must be mentioned. It was John Eliot who almost single-handedly developed a written language for the Indian tribes of New England and translated the entire Bible into this language. Because of this achievement and his long and untiring evangelical efforts, later historians gave him the title of "Apostle to the Indians".
It must be said that Eliot met with only limited success in converting Indians to Christianity. As a general rule, English Puritans, with their rather rigid and inflexible approach to religion, were less able to relate to Indian culture than the French and Spanish Jesuits in other parts of the New World. Tragically, his life's work was almost destroyed during King Phillip's War. But he was a determined man and never gave up. As he neared the end of his life, too weak to visit and preach in the outlying Indian villages, he implored his neighbors to bring their black servants to his home so he could preach the gospel to them.
It is noteworthy, I believe, that our ancestor,Mary Eliot, was the sister of John Eliot. Not long after John Eliot came to America, his bride-to-be, Ann Mumford, came to join him. It is probable that Mary Eliot, his sister, made the trip with Ann, settled in Roxbury, and became a faithful member of the First Church.
We are also descended fromWilliam Denison (1571-1653) and his wife, Margaret Chandler. William, a farmer, was born at Bishops Stortford, Hertsfordshire. He and Margaret came to America in 1631 and were among the founders of John Eliot's church in Roxbury.6 William was made a Freeman on July 3, 1632, a constable in 1634, and deputy in 1635.
At about that time (1635), a religious controversy began to arise in New England centering aroundAnne Hutchinson, a devout Puritan who nevertheless became critical of some of the practices of the church. She believed and taught that Christians had a direct, personal contact with divine grace and love of God without regard to church and minister. The Clergy and other church leaders regarded these teachings as a threat to their authority and to their ability to maintain order in the church so in 1637 they brought her to trial and banished her from the colony. She and her family moved to Rhode Island and then to New York where she and all of her family, save one child, were killed by Indians.
Our ancestors,William and Margaret Denison, were among the followers of Ann Hutchinson, so in the aftermath of her banishment, they, too, were expelled from the church.7 It is not clear what happened to the Denisons after that. He apparently died in 1654 whereas Margaret was returned to the good graces of the Roxbury church where it was reported that "It pleased God to work upon her heart and change it in her ancient years."8 This is somewhat contradictory with other sources which say that she returned to England and died in Bishop Stortford in 1646.9
Before I started this investigation into our family history, I had no idea that we had ancestors among the early New England Puritans. When I discovered that we did, I can't say I was too happy about it. My first reaction was that, based on what I recalled from my very limited reading about them over the years, the Puritans were generally a bunch of intolerant, humorless, narrow-minded, bigoted, prudish fanatics.
Having now spent some effort in reading about the Puritans and their culture, I can relate closely the views of the noted historian, Samuel Eliot Morison:
"My attitude toward seventeenth century Puritanism has passed through scorn and boredom to a warm interest and respect. The ways of the Puritans are not my ways, and their faith is not my faith; nevertheless they appear to me a courageous, humane, brave, and significant people."
Undoubtedly the Puritans were an imperfect people and were sometimes guilty of the sins with which they have been charged. But these sins do not define the Puritan people or their culture. Our family is fortunate that, many generations ago, some of our ancestors were among those Puritans who had the courage to be among the first to come to the New World. I believe that much of the strong religious heritage of the Hill family can be traced to these people.
For the next 100 years, the families of theAverys, Breeds, Eliots, Denisons, and Palmers continued to live in New England, making their contributions in building a remarkable new nation. On June 8,1690, in Stonington, Conn., John Breed, the grandson of Allen Breed, married Mercy Palmer, a descendent of Walter Palmer and the Denisons. They had a son named Joseph. A few years later, Christopher Avery III married Prudence Payson, granddaughter of Mary Eliot. They had a daughter named Priscilla. On June 2,1737, in Groton, Conn., these families were joined when Joseph Breed married Priscilla Avery.
II. THE GREAT AWAKENING
AfterJoseph and Priscilla Avery Breed were married they lived in Priscilla's home town of Groton, Conn., just a couple of miles west of Stonington, Joseph's home town. Joseph bought land in Groton. He and Priscilla lived there near her parents. By 1744, they had four surviving children: Joseph Jr. (1738-1807), Avery (1739-1801), Priscilla (1742-1804), and Nathan (c.1744-1815).11
It was about this time thatJoseph and Priscilla Breed got caught up in the remarkable religious revival that became known as the Great Awakening. This revival had such a powerful impact that it has been included among the 25 most significant events in the history of Christianity and has been cited as a movement that made the American Revolution possible.
It started in Connecticut in the late 1730's. Perhaps it wasJonathan Edwards, the fiery Congregationalist minister from Hartford, who started it, but it spread so rapidly and in so many places no one knows for sure. Clearly there was a widespread dissatisfaction among Christians which caused a hunger for something more than the mainstream church was offering at the time. No doubt a hundred years after the religious fervor that brought so many to America, the established church had become complacent and self satisfied. The time had come for something new and exciting in the church.
Another minister behind the revival wasGeorge Whitefield, a young, charismatic preacher from England and an associate of John and Charles Wesley. He came to America in 1738 on an evangelistic mission and, starting in Boston and other New England cities, traveled throughout the colonies where he captivated, then converted, his listeners with his powerful message. In 1740, at the First Church in Roxbury, the church of John Eliot and several of our ancestors, Whitefield spoke to an immense congregation of 16,000. Most of the clergy in New England welcomed him except, it is reported, Dr. Cutler, rector of Christ Church, who said when he met Whitefield on the street, "I am sorry to see you here." To which Whitefield confidently replied, "And so is the devil."12
No less than Benjamin Franklin, America's foremost intellectual and skeptic, found him irresistible. In his autobiography, Franklin wrote of his experience at a Whitefield preaching service in Philadelphia:
"I perceived he intended to finish with a collection and I silently resolved he should get nothing from me. I had in my pocket a handful of copper money, three or four silver dollars, and five pistoles in gold. As he proceeded I began to soften, and concluded to give the coppers. Another stroke of his oratory made me asham'd of that, and determin'd me to give the silver; and he finished so admirably, that I empty'd my pocket wholly into the collector's dish, gold and all."
The force of religious revival was particularly strong in southeastern Connecticut. In 1740, 80 new members were added to the church in Groton, the home ofJoseph and Priscilla Breed. In neighboring N. Stonington, 104 were added.14 A result of the revival was the formation of a new religious group called the New Lights, or Separates (not to be confused with the Puritan Separatists of a century before). Eventually many of these people, including Joseph and Priscilla Breed, allied themselves with the Baptists and became the Separate Baptists.15
Throughout the 1740's, the Separate Baptists grew in number and began to be held in disdain by the more conservative and refined establishment. They were accused of being a disorderly sect which allowed women to pray in public, permitted ignorant, untrained men to preach, and encouraged noise and confusion in their meetings.16 These accusations were not without foundation.
About 1753,Joseph and Priscilla Breed became closely associated with Daniel Marshall and his family. The Breeds and Marshalls decided to become missionaries to the Mohawk Indians in upstate New York.17 The Mohawks were a sometimes warlike tribe who had allied themselves with four other tribes to form the Iroquois nation.
In 1753 the English controlled lands along the eastern seaboard east of the Appalachians, the Spanish controlled Florida, and the French controlled most of Canada and territory west of the Appalachians to the Mississippi River. Throughout the colonial period, the English, French, and Spanish engaged in periodic battles for control of these territories. In 1754, however, the conflict between the French and English grew into the French and Indian War (1754-1763).
A key to success in this struggle between European nations was the alliances each of them could make with the various Indian nations who, in fact, were the ones who actually controlled most of North America. In the north, both the English and the French competed for the support of one of the most powerful Indian nations, theIroquois. Some historians say that if the Iroquois had joined with the French, the French may have gained control of North America rather than the English. However, the Iroquois eventually allied with the English, but in 1753, the issue was in still in doubt.
Because of this continuing struggle between the English and French for Iroquois support, theBreeds and Marshalls soon found that their life among the Mohawk could not be safely maintained. They and their families drifted south into northern Virginia and settled in Frederick County, near Winchester. There they introduced the philosophy of the Separate Baptists and successfully established new churches.
In 1755 they were joined by another migrant group from New England, led by a Baptist from Boston named Shubal Stearns. Stearns, the brother-in-law of Daniel Marshall, had heard of the success of the Breeds and Marshalls in Virginia and had gathered a party of about 10 followers and their families including theBreeds to join them. As recently as 1751, Stearns had been ordained in Stonington, Connecticut, by Rev. Wait Palmer.18
Shortly after the Stearns' party had joined them in Virginia, the group apparently felt that they should take their missionary effort into the frontier region of central North Carolina. Therefore, they migrated to Randolph County, North Carolina where they soon established the Sandy Creek Baptist Church.19 In short order, under Stearns' magnetic leadership, this church became the hub of intense missionary activity all across the frontier, reaching not only into the surrounding regions of North Carolina but into south central Virginia and the so-called backcountry of South Carolina.
One of the early converts at Sandy Creek wasPhillip Mulkey, a young man Shubal Stearns baptized on Christmas day, 1756. In short order, Phillip, with his wife Ann and four year old son, Jonathan, joined with Joseph and Priscilla Breed, the Howard family, and others to leave Sandy Creek and establish a daughter church at Deep River, N.C. Another member of this missionary group was a young man named Benjamin Gist. I will digress once again to tell something of the significant roles that the Gist family had in early American history.
Based on the best information I can find, Benjamin Gist was son of William Gist who was the brother Christopher Gist (1706-1759). Christopher was one of the first white explorers of the Ohio Country west of the Appalachians. He was a companion of George Washington in 1753-54 in the campaign against the French in the early stages of the French and Indian War. For more about the life of Christopher Gist, go tothis web site. Christopher Gist was the father of Nathaniel Gist (b.1733) who, like his father, became an explorer on the American frontier as a companion to Daniel Boone. On one of excursions, Gist went to the Cherokee towns on the Little Tennessee river and there formed a ‘temporary alliance’ with Wu-Teh, a Cherokee maiden in 1760-61, the result of which was the birth of a son they named George Gist. After some time, Nathaniel abandoned his family. His son assumed his Indian name, " Sequoyah," who became the inventor of the Cherokee alphabet and perhaps the most noted of his tribe in history.
Returning now to our family history, during this period (1756-59) at Deep River, youngPriscilla Breed, now about 16 years old, married Obediah Howard.20
In 1759, theMulkeys, Breeds, Howards, Gists and a few others left Deep River and moved into Union County, in northwestern South Carolina. There they began to follow the example of the mother church at Sandy Creek by first establishing a church at Fairforest and then reaching out into neighboring areas to form other churches.21
Not surprisingly, in the mid 18th century, there arose considerable animosity between the more civilized, refined, and wealthy coastal regions of the colonies and the rough, backward and often impoverished regions on the western frontier. The seat of power was, of course, in the coastal regions. The actions of the British administrators and governors usually did not take into account the interests of the remote and sparsely populated frontier. Furthermore, the coastal areas in the southern colonies were strongly Anglican in their religion and loyal to the crown while the fiercely independent-minded settlers on the frontier were often members of less respectable religious groups (such as the Separate Baptists) and were generally more rebellious toward the mother country. These and other factors often led to conflict between these groups.
A typical example of these ill feelings arose in South Carolina when the established church in Charleston became aware of the evangelistic success of the Mulkey group at Fairforest. Charles Woodmason, the Anglican Bishop in Charleston, had been reared a gentleman in London society and found the frontiersmen, and especially the Separate Baptists, unbearably crude. In 1766, he set about to win back these backcountry Baptists to the Anglican Church, but he underestimated his task. "One of my strongest Endeavors," he wrote, "must, and will be, to disperse these Wretches Which will not be a hard task, as they will fly before Him as Chaff."22
Three years later, Woodmason gave this assessment of these frontier people and, more particularly of their leader,Philip Mulkey:
"Would any Mortal three years past have dream'd or imagin'd that such a Person as the infamous
In spite of this opposition, the Separate Baptist movement flourished throughout the frontier. (One of their daughter churches was the Matrimony Baptist Church, whereWilliam and Hannah Hill became members in Feb. 1779.) At long last, Joseph and Priscilla Breed had apparently come to a place where they could rest. For fifteen years they had wandered, first in New York among the Mohawks, then to Northern Virginia, then to Sandy Creek and Deep River. During this period, the Breeds had three more children, bringing their total to seven: Hannah (1755-1815), Sarah, and Anna.
ApparentlyJoseph and Priscilla lived at Fairforest the rest of their lives. In 1768, Joseph sold 149 acres of land he had purchased in Frederick County, Va. many years before. It is believed that Priscilla died sometime after 1786 and that Joseph preceded her in death.
Westward into Tennessee
Obediah and Priscilla Breed Howard continued to live at Fairforest for many years also. Very soon after their marriage they had a son, Joseph (1759), then a daughter, Nancy, born c.1760. It is not surprising, considering the obvious closeness of the families who had come from Deep River, that their children would intermarry. That was the case with Nancy Howard and Jonathan Mulkey. It was also true in the case of Benjamin Gist, whose grandson, John, married Matilda Howard, the granddaughter of Obediah and Priscilla.
At an early age,Jonathan set out to become a missionary in his own right. As early as 1775, Jonathan had migrated further into the frontier, across the mountains into what was later to become East Tennessee. Some Baptist historians have thus concluded he was the "first preacher to plant his feet on Tennessee soil".24 He was instrumental in establishing many churches on the frontier in East Tennessee, including Kendrick's Creek, Cherokee, Sinking Creek, Dandridge, and Buffalo Ridge near Johnson City where Tidence Lane, his contemporary, also served as minister. Jonathan died on Sept. 5, 1826, and was buried at the cemetery at Buffalo Ridge where a monument now stands in his memory.
Jonathan and Nancy Howard Mulkey had nine children including Isaac, John, Philip, and Nancy.25 At some point in time, the children of Jonathan and Nancy became interested in what came to be the Restoration Movement of Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone. Isaac, for example, was instrumental in the founding of the Post Oak Christian Church in Roane County, TN. This church was the first Christian Church in Tennessee.
Around 1801, John Mulkey, along with his grandparents,Obediah Howard and Priscilla Breed Howard, and others from the Fairforest church, migrated to south central Kentucky, near Tompkinsville.26 There he preached at the Mill Creek Baptist Church. In Nov. 1809, he led a majority of this church's membership into the Christian Church. Today (1995), the site of this church is called the Old Mulkey Meeting House and is a Kentucky state historical site. Obediah and Priscilla Breed Howard are buried in the old church cemetery.
Sometime around 1800,Nancy Mulkey, daughter of Jonathan and Nancy Howard Mulkey, married Samuel Billingsley in Washington County, TN., near what is now Johnson City.27 Soon after, Samuel, Nancy, and some of his brothers moved from Washington County to Bledsoe County, TN, near what is now Pikeville in the Sequatchie Valley. Samuel became an elder in the Smyrna Church, which also became associated with the Restoration Movement. They had a daughter, Elizabeth, who, in 1826, married William Davis Carnes. Elizabeth became the mother of Mary Carnes. She died of cancer in 1859, at age 53, while in Knoxville where her husband was president of the University of Tennessee. Here is a link to a biography of the life of William Davis Carnes by his grandson, Dr. William Walter Hill.
1Morison, Samuel Eliot, Builders of the Bay Colony, p. 24-26.
2Ibid, pp. 28.
3There is conflicting information regarding the parents of John and Mary Eliot. Boddie, Vol. X, says they were Philip and Mary Short Eliot. Thwing, in his history of the Roxbury church, states that John Eliot was the son of Bennet and Lettese Aggar Eliot. However, both sources say that their home was in Widford, Hertfordshire. It may be that John and Mary Eliot were cousins rather than brother and sister.
4op.cit., Morison, p.
5For example, both Morison and Thwing give accounts of his life.
6Thwing, W.E., History of the First Church in Roxbury, Mass., p. 46.
9Boddie, Mrs. John Bennett, Historical Southern Families, Vol. X, p. 141.
10op.cit., Morison, p. vi.
11Boddie, Mrs. John Bennett, Vol. XIII, pp. 162-162
12Thwing, W.E., p.xiv.
13American Heritage Magazine, May/June 1988, p. 32.
14Mitchell, Mary Hewitt, The Great Awakening ....., p. ____.
15Townsend, Leah, PhD., South Carolina Baptists, 1670-1805, p. 4.
16Semple, Robert B., History of the Rise and Progress of the Baptists in Virginia, p. 16.
17Owens, Loulie Latimer, Taproot of the South Carolina Baptist Back Country: Fairforest Baptist Church, p. 5.
18Ibid., p. ___. Based on information I received 2/1/01 from Elmer Palmer, founder and president of the Walter Palmer Society, Rev. Wait Palmer was the great grandson of our ancestor, Walter Palmer, who had settled in Stonington in 1653.
19Ibid., p. ___.
20op.cit., Townsend, p. ___.
21op.cit., Owens, p.___.
23ibid., p. 24
24Semple, Robert B., op.cit., p. 16.
25Boddie, Mrs. John Bennett, Vol. XIII, op.cit.,pp. 162
26Gooden, Glayton, The Old Mulkey Meeting House, a brochure published by the Kentucky State Parks Department and distributed at the historic site.
27Unfortunately, I do not have absolute proof that Elizabeth Billingsley's mother was Nancy Mulkey, daughter of Jonathan Mulkey and Nancy Howard. Several sources, including Boddie, Vol. XIII, p. 185, and Families of Washington County, state that Nancy Mulkey married a man named Billingsley but do not give his first name. One source, Membership Roster and Soldiers, Daughters of the American Revolution, Tennessee, 1961, p. 280, does state that Samuel Billingsley, Elizabeth's father, was married to Nancy Mulkey. This issue is somewhat troublesome because in his Memoir of William D. Carnes, 1926, Joseph Malcolm Carnes states on p. 8 that Elizabeth's mother was a Mulkey but that she was the first cousin of John and Philip Mulkey, two of Jonathan's sons who became famous evangelists in the Restoration Movement. Nevertheless, I believe the evidence is sufficiently strong to conclude that Samuel Billingsley was indeed married to Nancy Mulkey, daughter of Jonathan and Nancy Howard Mulkey.
(back toHome Page)