This Sunday in Baptist History
On this day in 1804 John Gano departed this life while at his home near Frankfort, Kentucky. He had spent his long life in the service of his Saviour, first as an itinerant preacher, then as the pastor of two of the most important churches in America at Philadelphia and New York. While in New York, the Revolutionary War began, and Gano became the chaplain to General Clinton’s New York Brigade, serving during several battles. He described the battle of Chatterlou’s Hill this way, “My station, in time of action, I knew to be among the surgeons, but in this battle, I somehow got in the front of the regiment; yet I durst not quit my place, for fear of dampening the spirits of the soldiers, or of bringing on me an imputation of cowardice. Rather than do either I chose to risk my fate. This circumstance gave opportunity to the young officers for talking; and I believe it had a good effect upon some of them.” He became known as “the fighting chaplain” when, in fact, he never fired a weapon at any time during the war.
Although there is no documented evidence, it is widely believed that Gano baptized George Washington who is said to have told the preacher, “I have been investigating the Scripture, and I believe immersion to be the baptism taught in the Word of God, and I demand it at your hands. I do not wish any parade made or the army called out, but simply a quiet demonstration of the ordinance.”
After the war and rebuilding the church in New York, Gano sold most of his possessions and joined several other Godly men in Kentucky, including the Craig brothers and Ambrose Dudley, the first pastor of Bryant’s Station Baptist Church, preaching Christ and establishing Baptist churches.