February 3

Henry Toler, was born into a humble but respectable family in King and Queen County, Virginia. You’d think that after the War of Independence the people of that place would have changed the name, but these were not English monarchs. And you might also think that once the population grew sufficiently, it would have been divided into two counties named King and Queen, but that didn’t happen either.

After a long struggle under the Lord’s conviction, young Henry Toler was saved and joined the Upper College Baptist Church. It bore that name because it was planted on the grounds of the William and Mary College, who were the king and queen which gave the county its name. They were Protestants who ruled in Holland.

Bro. Toler began his service for the Lord as an exhorter. It was his task, after hearing the sermon, to make further application and to drive home the message. When it became clear that Toler had a gift for preaching, a wealthy member of the church financed his move to Pennsylvania in order to study under Samuel Jones, pastor of the Lower Dublin Baptist Church.

Returning to Virginia, Bro. Toler was invited to preach in the community of Nomini, where he planted a little church in 1786 with 17 members. The Lord blessed and in a year’s time the membership had grown by over a hundred. It did so again for several successive years. After it reached its peak the church began a period of decline, and discouraged Elder Toler considered resigning. But then in 1806 the Lord began against to move upon hearts. In three months 90 were baptized, then groups of 30, 40 and 60 were immersed. The Nomini church became the largest Baptist church in Virginia with a membership of 875, at which point Toler did resign. He eventually emigrated to Kentucky, to where so many fellow Virginians had moved. He became pastor of the Baptist church in Versailles, where he remained until his death on this day in 1824.