A brief history of the [Black] Baptists of Nova Scotia and their first organization as churches

“THE AUTHOR’S APOLOGY: This little messenger, presented to the public, is a collection of information gained from many of the oldest members of the Churches in the Association, where records were imperfectly kept, and, in many instances, none whatever. I am aware that every person who attempts a work of this kind is left open for public comment or criticism. And as I make not the faintest attempt to literary attainments, I must claim your sympathy.


My simple aim is to place in the hands of every [Black] Baptist in Nova Scotia a copy of this little book, in order if possible to give them some idea of how it came about that there should be a Church built by one who had so shortly escaped from the ranks of slavery, fled from the house of bondage, and could attract so much attention and sympathy from a British public, as the subject of our little book— Rev. Richard Preston— born in Virginia, a slave.”


“As far back as 1785, one hundred and ninety-four [Black] persons arrived here from St. Augustine, who were joined by another arrival of over four hundred, seven years later; and about the same time a similar number were landed at Shelburne.

Many of these people embraced religion in the United States, under adverse circumstances, and were glad to know that they had a part in the Saviour’s sufferings, which assisted them to endure their own. They were given grants of land by the Government a few miles from the city to cultivate for their support. Those who had trades, such as carpenters, blacksmiths, and coopers, remained, and readily got work in the city at lair remuneration. These were troublesome times between the provinces and the United States, and as loyalists were arriving constantly the [Black] people would correspondingly increase. Mr. Burton, who was better known by the [Black] brethren as Father Burton, had established a Baptist church in the city, wherein they found a home, on Barrington Street, just were the present Aberdeen building now stand. They were spiritually cared for by this servant of God. As time increased so did these people ; and little settlements were formed at Preston, Dartmouth, Cherry brook. Loon Lake, Beech Hill, Campbell Road, Musquodoboit Road, Fall River, and at Hammond Plains. At all of these places Father Burton preached, baptized, married, and buried his flock, as he called them. Having proved himself so wise an administrator of justice that the civil authorities gave him entire control of these people whilst he remained their pastor.”


“THE AFRICAN BAPTIST CHURCH, CORNWALLIS ST.

Organized April 14th 1832, With Branches at Dartmouth, Preston, Beech Hill, Hammond Plains.

Resolved, That the said Rev. Richard Preston be now received and acknowledged as minister of the said African Baptist Church; Resolved further, That the officers of said Church be as follows:

…Dartmouth — Pastor: Rev. R. Preston. Deacon: Samuel Jones. Elder: Jeremiah Page.

The above branches, viz., Dartmouth, Preston, Beech Hill, and Hammond Plains, were organized into independent churches as soon as their membership increased.”


“PRESENT OFFICERS OF THE ABOVE CHURCHES — 1895.

…Dartmouth — Pastorless. Licentiate: Jas. Borden. Deacons: A. Green, J. Tynes, C. Smith, D. Lee, W. Riley, T. Tynes. Councillors: R. Tynes, sen’r, A. Brown, J. Bauld, R. Tynes, jun’r, R. C. Tynes. Treasurer: D. Lee. Clerk: F. J. Bauld.”


“DARTMOUTH CHURCH, (Organized in 1844. June 9th.)

Rev. R. Preston, Pastor; S. Jones, Deacon; Jeremiah Page, Elder.

Members names: J. Gerrow, T. Robinson, S. Gibson, G. Gibson, K. Gordon, J. Johnson, D. Franklyn, E. Franklyn, E. Brown, E. Bowers, R. Tynes, M. Woods, J. Symonds, M. A. Symonds, M. Thomas, E. Connix, C. Johnson, T. Cox, Mrs. Gilmore, Mr. Page.

Those who joined after the organization, date omitted, but previous to 1850: L. Gross, L. Williams, S. Morton, M. Goffigan, R. Spriggs, C. Brown, M. Green, J. Quinn, Mar. Green, D. Gross, H. Ross, M. A. Brothers, E. Rollins, E. Lee, P. Brown, A. Carter, G. Carter, T. Carter, I. Peters, M. A. Butler, T. Parker, J. Graves, J. Cassidy, T. Tynes, sr., Jas. Brown, A. Brown, W. Sparks.

Present members: R. Tynes, sr., R. Tynes, jr., T. Tynes, jr., G. Tynes, H. Tynes, R. E. Tynes, A. Brown, F. Reilly, sr., J. Dean, G. Middleton, J. Bauld, A. Willis, M. Jenkins. R. Bauld, F. Reilly, jr., Wm. Sparks ; Sisters : R. Jenkins, M. Tynes, A. Tynes, M. Smith, M. Bauld, L. Lee, C, Smith, J. Johnson, M. Middleton, M. Bauld, S. Lee, T. Brown, II. Brown, A. Brown, Mar, Tynes, E. Cuff, A. Smith, Sarah Lee, A. Lee, M. Bundy, M. Bowden, Eva Green, A. Kane, M, Reilly, H. Burns, M. J. Bauld, M. E. Bauld, Mrs. Henderson, E. Reilly, J. Johnson.

The church at present has no settled pastor. Bro. Borden, licentiate, has been supplying with much acceptance. The brethren so manages that a unity of spirit is kept up, which is the grand success of any church. When a good thing is suggested by any of the members, there is a general taking hold of by all. They agree with the idea that there are diversities of gifts, and readily give way when the superior presents itself. Dr. Kempton, pastor of the Dartmouth church, often preaches to them, and other city pastors. This christian recognition is very stimulating and highly appreciated by the brethren. Father Burton in his day preached to those people, but few of the present generation remember him. Father Preston, who succeeded him, preached to them for a number of years. An aged brother not long ago informed the writer that he elicited large congregations when it was made known he was to preach. On one occasion a large skeptical crowd had assembled, when several of the respectable ruffians agreed not to allow him to preach, and for fear of creating a fracas his brethren thought best to postpone the meeting. Said he we will go outside, as the grace of God gives me sufficient power over men and devils, hence I fear neither. At first they thought to have matters their own way, but after he got to work and prayed for the power of the Holy Spirit, both saint and sinners were rejoicing, all was perfect peace. Tears were shed in abundance from strong men, courage failed them; and many who for the first time heard him, felt themselves in need of a Saviour; from this broke out a large reformation. At the close of the meeting some of those very men came forward and acknowledged their guilt, and asked for prayers; and not long after some were baptized, and lived consistent members all through life’s journey. Father Thomas pastored these people until 1879. Although there had been a division in the church, he stuck to the few who held to their first love. After his death the church united, and Father Smithers became their pastor, which charge he held until his death; when he was succeeded by Rev. F. R. Langford, who held the charge until 1892; when in 1886, under his ministrations, 20 were baptized; in 1887, 5; in 1888, 6; in 1891, 1; in 1892, 5; and in 1893, 1. The Brother’s work was arduous, and covered a considerable amount of ground. The field is a good one, as the people are active, intelligent and observing.

The greatest drawback to the growth of the church is the distance from the town, the travelling in stormy weather being unpleasant. Another draw-back is the continual drain on the membership, through the tide of emigration, which is always on the move; and were it not for tho interest taken by those who remain at home, the doors would be necessarily closed. Brother Borden, the present supply, is a licentiate who is very acceptable to the church, and it is to be hoped that under his labours, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit’s power, the church will increase in numbers and influence, and live in delighted expectations of being crowned with spiritual glory by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”


“MARRIAGES PERFORMED BY REV F. R. LANGFORD, . WEYMOUTH.

Dartmouth : — Sept. 29th, 1885, Jas. Brown to M. Tynes; Nov. 14th, 1893, H. Kane to Ag. Brown ; Aug. 17th, 1887, F. J. Bauld to M. Lee ; A. Tynes to L. Berryman ; A. Brown to Ruth Wise ; T. Tynes to M. Medley.”


McKerrow, P. E. (Peter E.), 1841?-1906; Bill, I. E. (Ingram E.), 1805-1891. “A brief history of the coloured Baptists of Nova Scotia and their first organization as churches” [Halifax N.S.? : s.n.] https://archive.org/details/cihm_25950/page/n11/mode/2up