This Sunday in Baptist History
Dr. J. H. Campbell said of Humphrey Posey, in his book“Georgia Baptists,” that he was “naturally one of the greatest of men, and for his limited opportunities, one of the greatest preachers he had ever known. His person, his countenance, his voice, the throes of his gigantic mind, the conceptions of his large Christian soul – all proclaimed him great.”
Brother Posey dedicated himself to the evangelism of the Cherokee Indians – people who lived throughout the mountains from Northern Georgia, through Tennessee and into North Carolina. His plan was to move to Cherokee County, NC, establish an 80-acre farm and open his heart and home to the local natives.
On this day in 1821, after hearing that a group of brethren from Philadelphia were coming to help him, he wrote to his supporters, “Our school is doing very well; 40 Cherokees are still improving fast… I humbly hope day is broke in this wilderness. I have been able to undergo the fatigues of my situation entirely cheerful since I understood the dear brethren and sisters were coming on this fall. O for a heart of thankfulness to the Great Giver of all good, for His loving-kindness to the children of men.” Soon after the letter was sent, twenty-six people, including a preacher, several teachers, a blacksmith, farmers and a doctor arrived.
The sacrifice of Brother Posey and others proved to be fruitful. By the time of the Cherokees’ removal to Oklahoma in 1838 hundreds had been converted and formed into churches. Just six years later, all the churches had new meet-houses in their new location; there was a printing office and in 1846 they had the New Testament in their own language. By 1863 it was estimated there were more than 1,500 Cherokee members in those Baptist churches. Despite the sufferings, atrocities and injustices against them, God continued to call out a people for His name from among this and several other nearby tribes.