Editor's note: Carter Tarrant was noted, more than any other Baptist in early Kentucky history, for the emancipation of human slavery. — Scroll down for bio. — Jim Duvall
History of the Baptized Ministers and Churches in Kentucky, &c, Friends to Humanity
By Carter Tarrant, V.D.M., 1808 — This is a History of Emancipationist Baptists — PDF Format — (A typed version is being posted).
Carter Tarrant — An AutobiographyI was born in Virginia, Amherst county, November the 4th, 1763; raised in Henry; where in the 18th
year of my age, I became acquainted with religion, and was baptized by elder Michael Dillingham, and joined Lether-wood church, with whom I was always happy. I lived a private member in said church three or four years. The church was under the watch-care of elder Robert Stockton, by whom and elder Joseph Anthony, I was ordained. I removed my residence to South-Carolina, Greenville county, where I staid one year; thence returned to Virginia, Henry county, and took the over-sight of the church I first joined, took also the care of Banister church; continued in the oversight of these two churches, two years; thence returned to South Carolina. From my former residence in Virginia, to my residence in the south was 300 miles, which I travelled seventeen times. While in Carolina, I took the oversight of Brush-Creek church. I joined Bethel association. While in the south I travelled much through Georgia, and to the city of Charleston — almost constantly for seven years, and tried to preach about three hundred timcs a year. In my last removal to the south, I continued there five years; thence removed to Kentucky, where I now reside. Since my residence here I have travelled through Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, Indian and Lousiana. I joined a small association in Kentucky, consisting of five small churches, which have since increased to upwards of twenty. We formed an union with the Elkhorn association, which continues to this day. After the union aforesaid, I moved south of Green river, and took the oversight of Mount-Tabor church. We shortly formed an association, called Green river association. Although our beginning was small, the Lord added to the number, until two associations were constituted from the old one, called Russel's Creek and Stockton's-Valley. After continuing two years and a half in the Green River country, I returned to Woodford, and took the oversight of Hillsborough church, and continued in the same about three years. And it came to pass, in February, 1806, that one of the members of said church brought forward a query to this amoun[t]: "Is it agreeable to church for the doctrine of emancipation from slavery to to be preached among
them." — Answered in the negative. The solution to this query gave birth to New Hope church, which was formed out of Hillsborough.* I have not authentic documents before me to name verbatim the record that Hillsborough made respecting us, but Mr. William Dale, a member of said church, who is a man of undoubted veracity, told me to the best of recollection the record reads as followeth: (afer naming the first constituents) They say excluded for disorderly withdrawing, and constituting a church in the bowels of Hillsborough. This record is similar to the records which the New-England Presbyterians made, respecting those Baptists who formed constitutions within their bounds. — See Backus History, vol. 1, page 483.
The reforming synod met at Boston, Sept. the 10th, 1679, to answer these two questions: 1st. "What are the evils that have provoked the Lord to bring his judgments on New-England?" 2ndly. "What is to be done that these evils may be removed?" They had not gone far in their answer before they said, "Men have set up their thresholds by God's threshholds, and their posts by his post. Quakers are false worshipers. And such anabaptists as have risen up among us in opposition to the church of the Lord Jesus; receiving into their socity those that have been, for scandal delivered unto Satan, Yea, and improving [approving?] those as administrators of holy things, who have been, as doth appear, justly under censure, do no better than set up their altar by the Lord's altar: Wherefore it must needs be provoking to God, if these things be not duly and fully testified against by every one in their several capacities."
The Church of Rome recorded Luther and his followers, in disorder, and so does the Church of England, those who dissent from them. If we claimed union with Hillsborough or Elkhorn association, we should have been in disorder, but as we put up no such claim I defy the world to make our disorder appear.
* We sent an humble petition to Hillsborough, praying for liberty to occupy their meeting-house, when they had it not in use, and that we would do our proportionate part in repairing the house, &c. This petition was treated with utmost contempt. We thought in time to build an house for the Lord, in which we might worship in our own way; we accordingly set to work, and have built one of brick, 36 feet by 18, two story high.
[From Carter Tarrant, History of the Baptised Ministers and Churches in Kentucky &c., Friends to Humanity, Frankfort, KY, 1808, pp. 10-13. Charles Tarrants, Delhi, NY provided this document.]
A History of Kentucky Baptists
By J. H. Spencer, 1885
Carter Tarrant another active preacher among the emancipators, was a native of Virginia. He was for a time, pastor of Upper Banister church, in Pittsylvania county, which was, in 1774, the largest church in Virginia. He was one of the early settlers in what was then Logan county, Kentucky; and was very active and successful in gathering the earliest churches in the Green River country, and in organizing them into Green River Association. He afterward moved to Woodford county, where he became the pastor of Hillsboro' and Clear Creek churches, and, as already noted, joined John Sutton in constituting New Hope church of emancipation Baptists. For a few years, he was very active in promoting the emancipation scheme. But becoming much reduced in his worldly circumstances, he accepted a position as Chaplin in the American Army, during the war with England, in 1812-15.
While discharging the duties of that office, he died at New Orleans.
Carter Tarrant was regarded a good and useful man, and a preacher of above medium ability, in his day. He published a History of the Emancipationists in Kentucky.
[J. H. Spencer, A History of Kentucky Baptists, 1885; rpt. 1984, pp. 189-190. — JIm Duvall]
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