William Harris, was the pastor of the Goose Creek Church in Buckingham County, Virginia, before moving to the wilderness of Bedford County. As one of the first settlers in the area, he worked with his hands and back throughout the week before preaching the gospel on the Lord’s Day. When more and more people moved into the region, more and more people came under the sound of Harris’ voice. Multitudes were born again. During one year he baptized 250 who had given evidence of conversion. It is thought that during his entire ministry, Harris must have immersed more than 3,000.
Brother William Harris planted five churches. The one, called Suck Springs, he pastored for more than 50 years. G.B. Taylor in his history of Virginia Baptists said of Harris, he did not look for “vacant pulpits, inviting fields of service, or liberal salaries, but the barn, forest or open space would serve for a temple; a stump, or stone, or the level earth for a pulpit, and wherever he could find sinners to hear him, he had a call to preach.”
In late 1864 Pastor Harris’ health broke, but despite worsening paralysis, he continued to minister in various ways. On the morning of his death, on this day (October 29) in 1865, as his family gathered around his bed, the old saint of God, unable to speak, pointed again and again toward Heaven. When his grandson said, “I suppose you are now going home,” he nodded his head, and quietly fell asleep in Christ.