Rev. W. W. Gardner, D.D., was born of pious parents in Barren county, Ky., October 1st, 1818. He remained upon the farm until 1835, when he commenced the study of medicine, which he practiced until 1838. In November of this year he professed faith in Christ, and was baptised. He was licensed to preach the Gospel by the Mt. Gilead Baptist Church, Allensville, Ky., in January, 1839, In the spring of the same year he entered Georgetown College, from which institution be graduated in 1843. Immediately after his graduation he entered upon the work of raising funds for the erection of a building at Georgetown for the use of young preachers. He continued at this work about twelve months, and as a result of his labors "Paulding Hall" was built. The following year he took charge of the Shelbyville Baptist Church, and was ordained in July, 1844. During his entire pastorate this church was blessed with peace and prosperity. In this period there were three gracious revivals of religion, and the church was largely built up and increased in numbers. When he resigned the care of the church it had some four hundred members. He was married in 1846. His resignation, took effect at the end of 1847, was accepted with great hesitancy and regret.
Without any solicitation on the part of himself or friends, he was unexpectedly called to the care of the Maysville Church in October, 1847, and commenced his labors as pastor in January, 1848. He served this church faithfully and earnestly until the spring of 1851, when he was induced to accept the General Agency of the General Association of Kentucky. When he began his labors with this church he found it very much divided, and what, with dissensions and schisms, religion was at low ebb. And here Brother Gardner displayed his remarkable gifts as a peacemaker. With much labor and patient "continuance in well-doing," he brought harmony out of discord. The whole time that he was with the church it enjoyed uninterrupted peace and prosperity. He was a very systematic pastor, and all his habits and duties were regulated with a view to do the most good. He regularly devoted his forenoons to pulpit preparation, his afternoons to pastoral visiting, and his evenings to reading and writing. While pastor of the church here he preached six hundred sermons in regular course and in protracted meetings. He made two thousand five hundred pastoral visits, besides laboring in several protracted meetings in neighboring churches. There were four revivals of religion in the church, and a steady growth in grace and numbers. Concerning his connection with the Maysville Church, he says: "My pastorate in Maysville was in every way pleasant to myself, both in the church and community, and will ever be a green spot in my memory. All things considered, I have never had a more pleasant charge, and shall ever love that church and people."
In the spring of 1850 he resigned his charge in Maysville and entered upon his work as General Agent of the State Association. He labored as State Evangelist and General Superintendent nine months, and witnessed two hundred and fifty-four conversions in successive meetings. In the fall of 1850 he was called to the pastoral care of the Mayslick Church, and located there in January, 1851. He served that venerable church until October, 1857, when he accepted the call of the Russellville Church. Here he labored in the double capacity of pastor and professor of theology in Bethel College for twelve years and six months. Since 1870 he has given his whole time to theological instruction, merely supplying neighboring churches with preaching on the Lord's day. He has, as we see, then acted as pastor since his ordination in 1844 — twenty-five years — serving four churches in succession. He has never had a jar with any of his people. In addition to his pastoral work and theological instruction, he has labored as voluntary evangelist in more than a hundred revivals, chiefly among the destitute. He has written much upon theological subjects, and as a writer he has few superiors.
[From Martin H. Smith, A. M., "History of the Maysville (KY) Baptist Church", 1875, p. 8. Document provided by Donnie Burford.]
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