“The Indians are coming!” This was a familiar cry in John’s Life.
John was born in New Jersey on March 5, 1738. In 1777 he settled on Greenbrier River, near what was to become the town of Alderson, named after him. Little is known of John’s early life until after he moved to the southern part of West Virginia. Due to the hostility of the Indians John and his neighbors were often forced to take shelter in the Fort at Wolf Creek. While John worked the fields with his plow he carried his rifle swinging by hit/lede. Due to the tireless efforts of John’s preaching in the Forts as well as in the homes of the settlers a small congregation was soon formed with 12 members. This Church was organized in 1781 and was called the Greenbrier Baptist Church. It was the fourth Baptist Church that was organized in what today is West Virginia.
During the early years John labored as a preacher for seven years without seeing another Baptist preacher. Although he lived isolated from other preachers, his life was a shining testimony of a tireless man of God. By studying the Bible and following the leading of the Holy Spirit, John was greatly used of God. During his years of service to Christ he was found not only as a faithful pastor to his congregation, but often made trips to the surrounding areas to help start other churches and propogate the gospel to the settlers in other communities. He would often use his influence with the younger preachers to encourage them to spread the gospel also.
John went home to his reward on March 5, 1821 at the great age of 83. His death was reported as a peaceful event. It is recorded that he was mighty in the Scriptures, a good preacher, a wise counselor, and an untiring worker.
Written by Doug Hammett