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time-line of baptist history


  • 24 Baptist Churches in America.

  • “Great Awakening”.

  • Birth of Separate Baptists–revivalistic.

  • In the north, Separate Baptists merged with older Baptist churches and in the south, Separate Baptists remained separate.


  • John Bunyan's "A Book For Boys and Girls" is first published.


  • English General Baptists who had settled in the Province of Carolina requested help from the General Baptists in England.

  • After the Keithians had all but dissolved any assembly, John Hart and many former Keithians became Baptists. Hart joined Pennypack Baptist Church, in lower Dublin township (PA), and was made assistant minister and became as satisfactory a preacher among the Baptists as he had among the Quakers.


  • Shubal Stearns was born in Boston, Mass, Jan. 28th.


  • Organization of Philadelphia Baptist Association, first Baptist Association in America,July 27.


  • December 12, The colony of South Carolina passed a "Sunday Law" which required everyone to attend church each Sunday and to refrain from both skilled labor and traveling by horse or wagon beyond what was absolutely necessary. Violators received a fine and/or a two hours in the village stocks.


  • General Baptist Robert Nordin constitutes first Baptist church in Virginia.


  • Baptists, Established Church Finally at Peace in Boston – Boston, Mass., May 21.


  • The Pennepek Baptist Church of Pennepeck, Pennsylvania organized the Montgomery Baptist Church of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.


  • Organization of Original Freewill Baptists in Virginia and North Carolina.

  • The first Baptist congregation in North Carolina forms as Shiloh Church, in Chowan Precinct.


  • German Seventh Day Baptists founded the cloisters of Ephrata, Pennsylvania, (date approximate).


  • Twenty-Eight Baptists Jailed for Refusal to Pay Clergy Tax – Bristol, Mass., March 20.
    Baptists, Quakers Exempted from Tax to Support Clergy –Boston, Mass., May 10.

  • Progress of Baptists Alarms Governor of North Carolina – Shiloh, N. C., October 12.


  • First Baptists arrive in Georgia with General Oglethorpe.


  • Rev. George Whitefield preaches in Philadelphia, Pa starting America’s first Great Awakening.

  • Rev. Whitefield preaches in Williamsburg, VA invited by Anglican preacher James Blair.
    Division of American Baptists into Regular and Separate Baptists as a result of differences over the Great Awakening, (date approximate).


  • Isaac Backus was converted during the Great Awakening under the preaching of Eleazar Wheelock, founder of Dartmouth College.

  • July 8, Jonathan Edwards preached his classic sermon, 'Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,' a key step in the beginning of New England's Great Awakening.


  • The Philadelphia Baptist Association adopted the Calvinistic 1689 Baptist Confession from London with two additions, the laying on of hands and the singing of Psalms, and became the Philadelphia Baptist Confession of Faith in 1742.

  • Baptist Churches Split over Revival Practices – Philadelphia, Pa., January 5.
    Connecticut Passes Laws to Keep Out Evangelists – Hartford, Conn., June 1.


  • Shubal Stearns joins the "New Lights", as the converted Congregational communities that originated from the ministry of George Whitefield in New England were designated.


  • Isaac Backus was called to preach and traveled for five years as an itinerant evangelist.


  • February 6th, Isaac Backus was arrested for not paying taxes to a church, he didn't attend.


  • Organization of the River Brethren in Eastern Pennsylvania, (date approximate)


  • Shubal Stearns' church became involved in the controversy over the proper subjects of baptism. Soon, Stearns rejected infant baptism and sought baptism at the hands of Wait Palmer, Baptist minister of Stonington, Connecticut.


  • Baptist Church in North Carolina Formed by New England Evangelists – Sandy Creek, N. C., November 22.


  • The Separate Baptist movement migrated south in 1754, largely through the labors and influence of Shubal Stearns and Daniel Marshall.

  • The two ministers worked for a while in Virginia with Baptists connected to the Philadelphia Association prior to moving on.


  • The Reverend Shubal Stearns leads a group of 15 Separate Baptists from Connecticut to Orange County and establishes Sandy Creek Baptist Church, the "mother of Southern Baptist churches."

  • The Separate Baptist movement in the South established itself first in north-central North Carolina as a result of the coming to that area in 1755 of a small colony of Baptist from Connecticut who themselves had been awakened spiritually in connection with the revivalism of English evangelist George Whitfield and ended December 31, 1776.


  • January 16th, Isaac Backus formed the first Baptist church in Middleborough. Backus would have stayed with the Separates, but when he changed his views on baptism, his congregation grew cold toward him.


  • Sandy Creek Association created in North Carolina. It became the epicenter of the Separate Baptist revival in the South, spawning 42 churches and 125 ministers within 17 years.

  • One of the first recorded black congregations is organized on the plantation of William Byrd in Mecklenburg, Virginia.


  • William Carey born at Paulerspury, Northampton, England, August 17.


  • The Montgomery Baptist Church in Montgomery Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania released John Marks on August 12, 1761 to go to Virginia where he and a man by the name of David Thomas organized the Broad Run Baptist Church on December 2, 1762.


  • 13 Baptists from Swansea, Massachusetts arrive in Tantamar to establish a Baptist Church and settle near Silver Lake in Middle Sackville.


  • Founding of the College of Rhode Island by Baptists, now known as Brown University.

  • When the First Baptist Church of Philadelphia refused to allow women to participate in the election of deacons, the women held a separate meeting and framed a vigorous protest. They pointed out that they had voted since the church's founding in 1698.

  • The men pointed out that they had no political voice in society and, therefore, should have none in the church (Southern Baptist Sisters: in Search of Status, 1845-2000 by David T. Morgan).


  • Warren Association was organized with particular reference to the large and influential Separate Baptist interest, and not without reference also to the General Baptists, who had held the ground before the arrival of the Separates.


  • "New Connection" (Connexion) Free Grace General Baptist Assembly organized in England.

  • Morgan Edwards published the first of a proposed twelve-volume series on American Baptist history, Materials Toward a History of the Baptists in Pennsylvania. By doing so, Edwards became the first Baptist historian in America.

  • Baptists agree to establish Virginia General Baptist Association.


  • Twelve Virginia Separate churches, standing apart from other kinds of Baptists, organized their “General Association of the Separate Baptists in Virginia”.

  • The first session of the Virginia Separate Baptist Association was held at Craig's Meeting-house in Orange county in May. Delegates from fourteen churches were present, representing thirteen hundred and eighty-five members.


  • Kiokee, the oldest Baptist church in Georgia, is constitute.


  • c.1773-1775, Plantation slave preacher George Liele, the first black Baptist in Georgia, founds the Silver Bluff Baptist Church in Silver Bluff, South Carolina. The congregation includes free and enslaved blacks. One of Liele's original followers, Andrew Bryan, goes on to become ordained by the Baptist Church in 1788, and founds the Bryan Street African Baptist Church, which is later renamed the First African Baptist Church of Savannah.

  • Patrick Henry Wins Freedom for Jailed Baptist Preacher – Chesterfield, Va., October 20.


  • The Baptists analogized their persecution to that of Americans by the British, Isaac Backus and other New England Baptist leaders protested, even taking their plea to the First Continental Congress.

  • Because of Baptist oppression, James Manning, President of College of Rhode Island, was a firm supporter of the colonial stance against Parliament but advocated loyalty to the Crown until just before the war, hoping that the king might come to the rescue of New England dissenters.


  • Baptists grew from 494 congregations to 1,152.

  • The first German Baptist (Dunker) congregation in the state forms near Muddy Creek in present-day Forsyth County, (date approximate).

  • July 29, The American Army began employing chaplains, making theirs the oldest branch of army after the Infantry.


  • Black Baptist churches organize in the Virginia cities of Williamsburg and Petersburg.
    Separate Baptist Revival of the South; Began: Wed, Jan 1, 1755, Ended: Tue, Dec 31, 1776.


  • William Carey apprenticed to the shoemaking trade.


  • William Carey attended prayer-meeting that changed his life, February 10.
    Virginia Governor Thomas Jefferson introduces bill for religious freedom.


  • Organization of Freewill Baptists in New Hampshire.


  • Constitution date listed in John Asplund's 1794 Baptist Register for “Negro Baptist Church - York and James City Counties”.

  • The First Baptist Church of Manchester was formally organized on June 22, 1781 under the name “The Church of Jesus Christ in Manchester” by Elder Nathan Mason and a delegation from the Baptist Church of Lanesborough, Massachusetts. The fellowship that signed the sixteen articles of faith drawn up as a covenant were one hundred and ten members from Manchester and eighty-two from Dorset.

  • Severn's Valley, constituted June 18, 1781. Members 37.


  • George Liele is considered to be the first American missionary. As pastor of the First African Church of Savannah, Ga., hearing that the British were declaring peace with the colonies, Liele indentured himself to a British officer in order not to be re-enslaved by his former master's heirs. He and his family moved to Kingston, Jamaica. After two years he had paid back his indenture and was able to devote all his energy to preaching. With four other former American slaves, he formed the First African Baptist Church of Kingston. In 10 years the church grew to over 500 members.


  • John Ryland baptized William Carey in the River Nene and Carey later joined a Baptist church in Olney. 30 years later Ryland wrote the following: "On October 5, 1783, I baptized in the Nene, just beyond Dodridge's meeting house, a poor journeyman shoemaker, little thinking that before 9 years elapsed he would prove the first instrument of forming a society for sending missionaries from England to the heathen world, and much less that later he would become professor of languages in an Oriental College, and the translator of the Scriptures into 11 different tongues."


  • The Baptist General Association of Virginia was dissolved and replaced by a General Committee made up of delegates from the district associations.
    The Georgia Baptist Association, the state’s first, is formed.


  • Baptist General Committee meetings met to discuss grievances having to do with religious liberty.

  • Jefferson’s Statute for Religious Liberty was adopted by the General Assembly (Baptist General Association of Virginia), and Virginia became the first state to establish by statute the separation of church and state.

  • The minutes of the Broad Run Baptist Church (Abbeville County, SC) state that on October the 25th several families including the Shurley's and the Foster's where dismissed to go south. These families traveled to Abbeville County, South Carolina and the Turkey Creek Baptist Church was organized on January the 29th in 1785.

  • Baptists held aloof from the Great Awakening, but thousands of converted Congregationalists turned Baptist and these Separate Baptists won the South. In Virginia, Regular and Separate Baptists, having co-operated in a successful struggle for religious liberty, united in 1785. Widespread revivals after the Revolution brought multitudes into their ranks. Religious enthusiasm and dearth of educated ministers caused hundreds of illiterates to enter the ministry and a widespread aversion to educated ministers and to every form of denominational work resulted.


  • William Carey is called to the ministry at Olney, August 10.

  • The first Baptist association in Tennessee, the Holston Association, was founded at the Cherokee Church by several churches which had previously identified themselves with the Sandy Creek Association in North Carolina. The association linked churches for fellowship, discipline, and doctrinal inquiry.


  • The General Assembly of General Baptists in England sent a petition to Parliament in behalf of abolition of slavery.

  • William Carey was formally ordained to the gospel ministry.

  • Regular and Separate Baptists in Virginia formed a union, adopting the name "United Baptist Churches of Christ in Virginia." In course of time similar unions were formed in most of the other states in which the southern branch of the Separate Baptists had organizations. A few Separate Baptist churches, however, refused to join in this movement, and they have maintained distinct organizations until the present time.


  • Andrew Marshall, an African-American, is ordained as pastor of the First Colored Church in Savannah.

  • The earliest church organization among them (colored Baptists) was the First African Baptist Church of Savannah, Ga., instituted January 20, 1788, at Brampton's barn, three miles west of Savannah, by Abraham Marshall (white) and Jesse Peter (colored).


  • The Middle District Association (Baptist General Association of Virginia) divided, resulting in the constitution of the Roanoke Association (since 1926 called the Pittsylvania). Seventeen churches formerly associated with the Middle District joined with three North Carolina churches in organizing the new association.

  • May 31, The first General Baptist sermon in Derby (United Kingdom) was delivered in the open air, on Willow Row, by Rev. Dan Taylor.


  • Baptists had grown to 979 churches.

  • Prince Williams, a freed slave from South Carolina, went to Nassau, Bahamas, where he started Bethel Meeting House. In 1801 he and other Blacks organized the Society of Anabaptists. At age 70 Williams erected St. John's Baptist church and pastored there until he died at age 104. Subsequently, 164 Baptist churches were planted in the Bahamas.


  • William Carey and others found The Particular Baptist Society for Propagating the Gospel among the Heathen (later named the Baptist Missionary Society) at Kettering.
    William Carey writes Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to use means for the conversion of the heathen.

  • May 30, William Carey preached the Missionary Sermon that founded the Baptist Missionary Society at Friar Lane Baptist Church, Nottingham.

  • Andrew Fuller was appointed the first Secretary and William Carey, bound for India, the first missionary.

  • The birth of Conventionism is traced to Kettering, England, in October 1792, when the English.

  • Baptist Missionary Society was formed, for the purpose of "spreading the Gospel among the heathen nations. Andrew Fuller was appointed the first Secretary and William Carey, bound for India, the first missionary.

  • David George left the Silver Bluff, S.C. Baptist Church - the first Black Baptist church in America - to go to Nova Scotia and minister to exiled Blacks there. Later, in 1792, he traveled with 12,000 Black settlers to Sierra Leone, West Africa where Great Britain had established a city of refuge for former slaves. About the same time, Brother Amos, from the Savannah church, sailed for the Bahamas and settled in New Providence, where he planted a church that grew to 850 members by 1812.


  • William Carey and Dr. John Thomas were appointed Baptist missionaries to India by the British Society for the Evangelization of the Heathen.

  • In 1793, there were only three (known) Baptist ministers west of Albany. By 1798, fifteen were laboring. Nearly all were connected with the Otsego Association.


  • Arthur Durham and David McGladery petitioned the Turkey Creek Baptist Church for the privilege of collecting members about them to see if they were "ripe for constitution." On July the 14th 1794 the Poplar Springs Baptist Church was organized in Ware Shoals County, South Carolina.


  • William Carey Baptized a Portuguese, his first convert.

  • August 28, William Ward was baptised at George Street Baptist Church, Hull.


  • Formation of English Baptist Home Mission Society.

  • Baptist Itinerant society formed.

  • John Leland speaks on abolition of slavery.


  • Formation of Baptist Union of Wales.

  • May 24, William Ward embarks on the American sailing ship 'Criterion' for Serampore, India for missionary work.

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