John Gano was ordained to the gospel ministry by the Baptist church in Hopewell, New Jersey, on this day in 1754. John’s mother was a Baptist, but his father was a Presbyterian, so the young man was raised under a cloud of theological confusion. After his conversion, he spoke with his father’s Presbyterian pastor, William Tennent. Tennent told him, “Dear young man, if the Devil cannot destroy our soul, he will endeavor to destroy your comfort and usefulness, and therefore, do not always be doubting… If you cannot think as I do (doctrinally), think for yourself.” John did.

With his father’s permission, Gano was immersed and united with the Baptist church at Hopewell. There, under the teaching and preaching of his pastor, Isaac Eaton, God called him into the gospel ministry. With his ordination John Gano began a ministry which eventually stretched from Georgia to New England and from the swamps of the east coast into the lush grasslands and forests of Kentucky. Gano heard George Whitefield preach, and Whitefield heard the preaching of John Gano. Our subject was the first pastor of the first permanent Baptist church in New York City. He helped to found the first Baptist college in this country. He was an important leader among the Regular Baptists and the Philadelphia Baptist Association. He served as a chaplain during the Revolutionary War, and it is said that he immersed George Washington as a testimony of that man’s faith in Christ. His brother-in-law was an important minister in Rhode Island. One of his sons, Stephen, became a Baptist preacher, and another son helped to establish the first Baptist congregation in Ohio. All Gano’s children served the Saviour in one fashion or another.

The name John Gano was well-known among the Baptists at the beginning of the 19th century. It ought to be better known by Baptists today.

(To learn more of three generations of the Gano family, look for “Grace unto the Third and Fourth Generation” by K. David Oldfield, on