Foxe's Book Of Martyrs

“After the Bible itself, no book so profoundly influenced early Protestant sentiment as the Book of Martyrs. Even in our time it is still a living force. It is more than a record of persecution. It is an arsenal of controversy, a storehouse of romance, as well as a source of edification.”

Baptist Preachers Prosecuted For Their Faith

The following is a list of a great host of 58 Baptist preachers who endured “cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment” (Hebrews 11:36) in eighteenth-century Virginia for the cause of their current religious liberty:  

  1. John Afferman - Cruelly beaten, incapacitated for work

  2. Joseph Anthony - Jailed for preaching three months

  3. Elijah Baker - Pelted with stones, jailed for preaching, fifty-six days, banished by ship

  4. David Barrow – Dunked and nearly drowned by 20 men

  5. James ChilesJailed for preaching, forty-three days

  6. John Corbley – Frequently hauled out of the pulpit and beaten, jailed on several occasions

  7. Elijah CraigJailed repeatedly

  8. Lewis CraigJailed for preaching, four weeks

  9. John DelaneyJailed for permitting a man to pray

  10. Augustine EastinJailed for unknown duration

  11. William Fristoe – Repeatedly threatened at the point of a gun

  12. James GoolrichJailed repeatedly for preaching

  13. James GreenwoodJailed for preaching, forty-six days

  14. Thomas Hargate - Jailed for preaching

  15. Samuel Harris – Door broken down by enraged mob during preaching service, jailed repeatedly

  16. James Ireland Jailed for preaching, five months, tried to suffocate him with smoke, tried to blow him up with gunpowder, tried to poison him, injured for life (his daughter died from the poison), drunken rowdies put in the same cell with him (he led them to the Lord), horses ridden over his hearers at jail (many of the imprisoned Baptist ministers preached through the grates to their congregations outside their cell windows), “men made their water in his face,” opposition everywhere

  17. Martin Kaufman – Severely beaten with a stick

  18. John Koontz –Severely beaten with butt end of a large cane

  19. Dutton Lane – Endured much persecution

  20. Ivison Lewis – Met with violent opposition

  21. William LovallJailed for preaching, sixteen days

  22. Lewis Lunsford – His preaching interrupted by mob violence and legal proscription

  23. William McClannahanJailed for preaching

  24. Richard Major – Mob so outrageous, nearly pulled him to pieces

  25. Daniel Marshall – Endured much affliction

  26. William MashJailed for preaching, forty-three days

  27. Thomas Mastin – presented by grand jury

  28. Thomas MaxwellJailed for preaching

  29. Edward Mintz – dunked and driven away in his wet clothes

  30. Anderson MoffettJailed for preaching

  31. Jeremiah Moore – Brutally assaulted by a mob, jailed on three occasions

  32. Elijah Morton – Ousted as a Justice because he was a Baptist

  33. William Mullins – Presented before Magistrate for being absent from state church

  34. Joseph Murphy – Arrested for preaching

  35. John Pickett – Great opposition from mobs and magistrates, jailed three months or more

  36. Hipkins Pitman – Arrested and threatened with whipping

  37. James PitmanJailed for preaching, sixteen days

  38. Younger Pitts – Arrested and abused

  39. James Reed – Dragged off stage, kicked and cuffed about, jailed for preaching, forty-three days

  40. Nathaniel SaundersJailed for preaching

  41. John ShackelfordJailed for preaching, eight days

  42. Joseph SpencerJailed for preaching

  43. Philip Spiller Jailed for preaching

  44. Henry Street – Whipped for preaching

  45. John TannerJailed for preaching, shot with a shotgun, suffered the rage of mobs

  46. David Thomas – Violent opposition from ruffians with bludgeons; worship prevented, pulled down while preaching, dragged out amidst clenched fists, attempts made to shoot him, pitched battle ensued

  47. David TinsleyJailed for preaching, four months and sixteen days

  48. Andrew Tribble – Presented for preaching

  49. Thomas Waford – Severely beaten with a whip

  50. Jeremiah Walker – Opposed by state church pastor, jailed for preaching, sued for baptizing two boys

  51. John Waller – Hauled about by the hair of his head, almost rent asunder by friend and foe, jerked off stage, head beaten against the ground, whipped severely by the Sheriff, jailed four times for a total of one hundred and thirteen days

  52. James WareJailed for preaching, sixteen days

  53. Robert Ware – Presented for not going to church, annoyed by men drinking and playing cards, jailed twice for preaching, fifty-four days

  54. John WeatherfordJailed for preaching, five months (leaving a wife to provide for their fifteen children, twelve of whom were girls), hands slashed by guards as he gestured to sinners through his cell window (so many people were getting saved from his preaching, known as “denying the prison bounds”, that incensed magistrates constructed a massive brick wall nearly twelve feet high directly in front of his window and even took the desperate measure of lining the top of the wall with glass bottles set in mortar so as to prevent the more determined listeners from employing the strategic perch; the aforementioned efforts being frustrated by a faithful congregation that devised the counter measure of raising a handkerchief on a pole as a signal that the brethren were now assembled and ready to hear), salvations and baptisms continued, Patrick Henry secured the pastor’s release by personally paying his fine.

  55. William WebberJailed twice for preaching, four months

  56. Anderson Weeks – Arrested for preaching

  57. Allen WyleyJailed for preaching, for considerable duration

  58. John YoungJailed for preaching, six months

Most so-called Bible scholars these days are woefully ignorant of the faithful preachers who've suffered for their faith, even to the point of death. As “truth is stranger than fiction,” even the secular New York Times was aware of Colonel Samuel Harris, noting on January 20, 1884...

“On one occasion, while a Baptist preacher was preaching in Orange County, Va., he was dragged out of the pulpit by the hair of his head and kicked; and he was about as roughly handled in many other portions of Virginia. And yet that Baptist preacher was never heard to complain of not being appreciated. R. B. Semple says of him, ‘Colonel Samuel Harris’s manners were of the most winning sort, and perhaps even Whitfield did not surpass him in addressing the heart.’” 

The preceding important historical information was researched diligently and authored by Dr. William P. Grady. These 58 Baptist preachers were all persecuted and prosecuted in one city in one year.

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 “I am an old-fashioned preacher of the old-time religion, that has warmed this cold world's heart for two thousand years.” —Billy SUNDAY