This Sunday in Baptist History
On this day in 1866 a memorial service was held for Pastor Hezekiah Johnson, who passed away two days earlier.
Hezekiah was born into the home of a Baptist pastor in Maryland in 1799, and as a young man he came to understand his salvation in Christ. His family moved to Ohio when he was a teenager, where he was ordained to the gospel ministry in 1827. Soon he was traveling throughout Ohio preaching Christ. Eventually his journeys took him through Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, into what became known as Iowa.
In the mean time, a young couple, named William and Hepzibah Mathes-Manley, had moved into Burlington, Iowa, from Green County, Kentucky, bringing with them the Articles of Faith from the Brush Creek Baptist Church. Though these good people others soon gathered together and various Baptist brethren were enticed to come preach for them. Their first pastor – the first settle Baptist minister in Iowa, was the afore mentioned Hezekiah Johnson.
After a successful ministry in Burlington, Brother Johnson was encouraged to travel across the country into Oregon territory. In 1845 he settled in Oregon City in what is now the southern edge of Portland, and established what may have been the first Baptist church in the Northwest. He ministered there for slightly more than twenty years before his death in 1866.