A Sketch of Early Primitive Baptist History
in the State of Pennsylvania

Primitive Baptist origins in Pennsylvania date back to the founding of the churches which organized the Philadelphia Association in 1707, which was the first Baptist Association on the American continent. It remained alone, the only Baptist Association in Pennsylvania, until 1776, when the Redstone Association was organized in the western part of Pennsylvania, with six churches. It soon grew to a large number of churches, some of which were located in West Virginia and Ohio.

In 1813 the name of Alexander Campbell appears in the minutes of the Redstone Association. Campbell was born in Ireland, in 1788, and came to America with his father, Thomas Campbell, in 1807. They were originally Episcopalians, but joined the branch of the Presbyterians known as the Seceders before they came to this country. They were assigned by the Synod, at their request, the territory now embraced in Washington County, Pennsylvania. Finding the Episcopalian Church too formal and rigid, they requested membership in the bounds of the Redstone Association. On June 12, 1812, Elder Mathias Loos (Luce) baptized Thomas and Alexander Campbell, and their wives, and others. Elder Henry Speers was also present. They were organized the same day as the Brush Run Church, which was received into the Redstone Association in 1813. Soon, however, they began to object to the Confession (Philadelphia), and other Baptist beliefs, which resulted in the Brush Run Church being dropped from the Redstone Association in 1816.

The Redstone Association also passed through the division over missions, but remained a Primitive Baptist body.

Copyright c. 2001. All rights reserved. The Primitive Baptist Library.

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