Baptists, Free-Communion, a denomination of Baptists which arose in the eighteenth century in Rhode Island and Connecticut, and owed its origin to the preaching of Whitfield. Many of those who were converted through his instrumentality formed a separate organization, and took the name "Separates." Gradually they became Baptists, without, however, practicing close communion. In 1785 they formed an association called the "Groton Union Conference." In 1820 they had 25 churches, some of which soon united with the Free-will Baptists. A General Conference was organized in 1835, but in 1841 the whole body united with the Free-will Baptists. See Belcher, Religious Denominations; Cox, The Baptists (in the Encyclopaedia Metropolitana).