WM. W. EVERTS was called to succeed the greatly lamented Thomas Smith, in the pastoral charge of Walnut Street church in Louisville, about 1853, and ministered in that capacity some seven years. A man of excellent gifts and fine scholarly attainments, he was very cordially received by the Baptists of Louisville, and, indeed, of the whole State. He was a man of great energy and enterprise. As soon as he was settled in the pastoral office, he began to lay plans for church extension, in the city. His plans appear to have been wise, and it is believed he would have accomplished much in strengthening the Baptist cause in Louisville, if he could have retained the sympathy and co-operation of his brethren. But he came to Louisville just at a time when the excitement on the Slavery question was at fever heat. He was opposed to slavery, and perhaps was imprudent in manifesting his opposition. Prejudice was soon excited against him, and strong opposition was created. The Baptists of the city were divided into excited parties. Dr. Everts was the recognized leader of the party which sustained him, while S. H. Ford (now Dr. Ford of Missouri) was recognized as the leader of the opposition. The excitement soon extended far beyond the limits of the city, and party spirit grew extremely bitter. Members excluded from one church were immediately received into the fellowship of another. Councils were called and bitter prosecutions were instituted. In the city the "Everts party" appeared to be in the majority; but in the country, the "Ford party" had the pre-eminence. The contention was kept up, with increasing bitterness, for several years. As to what the quarrel was about, or who was to blame in the disgraceful affair, are questions of speculation that will probably remain unsolved. Nor does it appear at all desirable that they should again be agitated. A thousand trifles, light as air, were magnified under the pressure of strangely excited passion, and much harm was done the cause of Christ. In the midst of the trouble, Dr. Everts was called to the 1st church of Chicago, and accepted the call, about 1859. In that city, he accomplished a most excellent work. He is still living, and although somewhat beyond the meridian of life, he is yet able to perform much labor.
An essay by W. W. Everts on Baptist Succession.
[From J. H. Spencer, History of Kentucky Baptists, 1886; rpt. 1984, Vo. 2, pp. 190-191. — jrd]
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