August 11

In 1829 the first Baptist church in the territory of Kansas was organized with David Lewis and his wife, and John Davis, a Creek Indian, and three black men – slaves of the Creeks. The group had traveled from Michigan with Pastor Isaac McCoy and his son-in-law Johnston Lykins. For ten years Bro. Lykins ministered to the group in their new location. The place became known as Kansas City, and Lykins was its first full-time mayor.

Bro. McCoy turned his attention to mission work toward the west and southwest. My sources state he started the first Baptist work in the Indian territory (Oklahoma), about 15 miles above Fort Gibson on the Arkansas River in September 9, 1832. Fort Gibson is about half way between Tulsa and Talihina and/or Porteau.

After working there for a while, McCoy returned to visit the brethren in Kansas City before traveling to Shawnee, Kansas. His journal states – “our scattered church which once met at Carey, now was able to assemble fifteen members at the Shawnee Mission House. On the 11th day of August, two Delawares were baptized.” One of those Delawares, or Lenape, originally from the Middle Colonies, was Charles Journeycake, who in time became an outstanding Baptist preacher, pastoring a church among the Delawares for years. One source that I consulted said that Bro. Journeycake was the first man baptized in the Kansas Territory. He made twenty-four trips to Washington DC in behalf of his displaced people.

Baptists have, from the beginning, been first and foremost in bringing the gospel to our Native Americans, and I am convinced that this is still the case today.