Baker, Elijah

Baker, Elijah a Baptist minister; was born in Lunenburg County, Va., in 1742. He made a profession of his faith in 1769, and became a member of the Church at Meherrin, in his native county. Soon after he began to preach, and was ordained pastor of the Church in Malone, Mecklenburg County,Va., where he remained a year, and then devoted himself to the work of an evangelist; and, as the result of his labors, several churches were established on the eastern shore of Virginia. For three years, 1773-76, he confined his labors chiefly to the counties of Henrico, New Kent, etc., and finally located on the eastern shore, being the first Baptist minister who preached in that section of the state. He became pastor of the Northampton Church in 1778. Subsequently he was imprisoned in Accomac jail, and an unsuccessful attempt was made to get rid of him by sending him out of the county. Finally, he was permitted to perform his ministerial duties unmolested. He died Nov. 6, 1798. Says Dr. Lemon, in whose house he died, "I found the Israelite indeed, the humble Christian, the preacher of the Gospel in the simplicity of it, and the triumphant saint in his last moments." His death was remarkably peaceful, and he seemed rather translated than to suffer pain in his dissolution. See Haynes, Baptist Cyclop., i, 71, 72; Sprague, Annals of the Amer. Pulpit, 6:846. (.I. C. S.)

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