*Entry submitted and written by Ian Wilson
On this day in 1877, William Vaughan, at the ripe old age of 93, preached his last sermon in Danville, Ky., and then soon after, on March 31, died in Jesus and was buried in Bloomfield, Ky. He had spent over thirty years in Kentucky as one of the greatest baptist preachers and church planters of his day.
William was born in Westmoreland, Pa., on Feb. 22, 1785. William Married Miss Lydia Allen and moved to Winchester, Ky., where he went and learned the skill of being a tailor. During his early adult years William was bombarded with new teaching of his day and philosophy of skepticism. These were the days when the Reason of Tom Paine ruled and Voltaire’s extreme skepticism ruled. He stopped attending religious services and became irreverent in his living; he then united with the atheists club in Winchester. Upon visiting an atheist that was dying, William began thinking seriously about his own spiritual state.
He soon reasoned with himself to become a “secret” believer and began to read the Bible. While under conviction he began attending a small Baptist church where three Baptist preachers were holding services. Two of the messages that William heard that day were “ye must be born again” and “the day of his wrath is sure to come and who shall be able to stand it”. He left unsaved but later came to a clear assurance of salvation. On Saturday, Oct. 20, 1810, he gave his public confession in the Friendship Baptist Church and was baptized the following day.
He was later called to preach, licensed to preach, later ordained, pastored, and founded numerous Baptist churches in the state of Kentucky.
This Day in Baptist History
On this day in 1890, William Sheppard and Sam Lapsley set out for the Congo aboard the steamship Adriatic. Sheppard would be one of the first African Americans to be sent out by the Presbyterian Church.
Sheppard had been born in Virginia just a month before the end of the civil war. His boyhood was marked by the difficult and uncertain times that surrounded the south at the end of the war. But his father was able to get a steady job as a barber, which allowed Sheppard to obtain some schooling. At the age of twelve, he took a job as a stable boy so he could continue his schooling. He was finally able to attend Hampton Institute, where Booker T. Washington was one of his main instructors. While he was here, Sheppard was able to study a lot about other cultures in a place called the curiosity room, which contained artifacts from around the world.
After finishing his studies at Hampton, Sheppard went to Tuscaloosa Theological Institute, where a desire to serve God and his interest in other cultures came together to influence him to start a mission in the Congo. He was rejected several times by the board, so he took up the pastorate at a small church in Atlanta. But he was never comfortable there. But his persistence paid off when they finally appointed him as one of the two men to start their first Congo Mission. Sheppard would give the next twenty years of his life in this amazing place!
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