Speece, Conrad

Speece, Conrad a Presbyterian minister, was born in the town of New London, Bedford Co., Va., Nov. 7, 1776. Being engaged in agricultural pursuits until 1792, he had little early educational advantages, but afterwards studied at a grammar school near New London and at Washington College. In the contemplation of some mysterious passages of Scripture he was driven, as he says, "by my own ignorance and pride," to the brink of infidelity, from which he was rescued by means of Jenyns's Internal Evidence and Beattie's Evidences. He united with the Presbyterian Church in April 1796, at New Montmouth, and in September following was received as a candidate by the Presbytery of Lexington. Certain difficulties on the subject of infant baptism led to the postponement of his licensure, and in the spring of 1799 he became tutor of Hampden Sidney College. He was immersed by a Baptist preacher, April 1800, and began to preach, but Dr. Archibald Alexander shortly after led him to accept infant baptism. He withdrew from the Baptist communion, was licensed to preach, April 9, 1801, by the Hanover Presbytery, and appointed general missionary. His labors spread over a large part of Eastern Virginia. In February, 1803, he commenced his connection with a church in Montgomery County, Md., called Captain John, of which, at the time of his ordination by the Presbytery of Baltimore, April 22, 1804, he was installed pastor. This connection, because of his ill health, was dissolved in April 1805. He continued to preach in Goochland and Fluvanna counties until 1806, and in the counties of Powhatan and Cumberland until 1812. In October 1813, he was installed pastor of Augusta Church, where he labored until his death, Feb. 17, 1836. He published, The Mountaineer (1813-16, 3 editions): — a number of single Sermons (1810-32): — and some Poems. See Sprague, Annals of the Amer. Pulpit, 4, 284.

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