William Baynham was born into a wealthy Virginian, Episcopalian family. At the age of 21 he earned his degree, intending to practice medicine. Then during the summer of 1834, through the preaching of William Broaddus, he was converted to Christ. It is reported that for some time after that when he heard the name of Jesus, he would weep.
William Baynham joined the Eon Baptist Church in Essex County, Virginia. Before long he began to fill the pulpit – much to the delight of the church. In January 1842 he was called to become their pastor. Ten years later he was called to pastor the Upper Zion Baptist Church, but in the process he didn’t forsake his first charge. He pastored Enon Baptist for 43 years and the Upper Zion church for 33 years.
In 1880 The Religious Herald, a Virginia Baptist paper, requested and published a number of letters from elders who had served lengthy pastorates. Bro. Baynham submitted the following:
“The real ground of my continuance for so long a period as pastor of my two churches has been our strong mutual love. In my portion as pastor I have endeavored to be one with my charge. I have tried to show myself the friend… The children have had a good share of attention. In affliction I have been prompt and attentive, ready to render personal assistance as necessary. One rule has been unvaried with me; not only not to neglect the poor, but to show them all kindness and attention. My social relations I choose for myself – my kindness and affection for my church member is rendered to all without caste distinction… I never scold… I avoid repeating what I hear in families… my habit is daily to pray for all my flock and for many individually….”
On this day (June 16) in 1887 at the age of 74, Bro. Baynham set off to keep an appointment. On his way, he was either overcome with heat or a heart attack. He fell down at the foot of his buggy and there he died.