baileyRufusWmRufus William Bailey, the son of Lebbeus and Sarah (Myrick) Bailey, was born in North Yarmouth, Maine, on April 13, 1793. He graduated as a Phi Betta Kappa from Dartmouth, receiving his master’s degree in 1816 and proceeded to study law under the tutelage of Daniel Webster. Following a call to the ministry, he prepared at Andover Theological Seminary and was ordained as a pastor of the Norwich Plain Congregational church in 1818, simultaneously holding a position as professor of moral philosophy at a nearby military academy. A life-long advocate of higher education, he served as a trustee for the University of Vermont and for Williams College in Massachusetts.

Relocating to Virginia, Rev. Bailey founded the Augusta Female Seminary in 1842 (renamed Mary Baldwin College in 1895) and labored as the principal of that institution for seven years. In1854 he moved to Texas for health reasons and was appointed to serve as Professor of Languages at Austin College, in Huntsville, Texas.

[copy below, excepting the bibliography, is for reference only as we compose the text that we will post]
He held the pastorate of a church in Pittsfield. Mass., from 1824 to 1828, when he went south and was occupied as a teacher in the Carolinas and Virginia until 1854, in which year he was given the chair of languages in Austin college, Texas, holding it from 1854 to 1856, and was president of that institution from 1858 to 1863. He received the degree of D.D. from Hampden-Sidney college in 1859. While living in Texas he published a series of newspaper articles in opposition to slavery, and he was also the author of a number of volumes on religious and educational subjects, consisting of a book of newspaper letters called “The Issue”; “The Mother’s Request”; “The Family Preacher”; “A Primary Grammar”; a collection of sermons; a “Manual of English Grammar”; and “The Scholar’s Companion” (1841), which last passed through more than eighty editions. He died in Huntsville, Texas, April 25, 1863.

Rufus William Bailey (13 April 1793 – 25 April 1863) was the founder of Augusta Female Seminary (later Mary Baldwin College), in Staunton, Virginia, and also president of Austin College, in Huntsville, Texas.

Born in Maine, Bailey graduated from Dartmouth College in 1813. He was ordained as a Congregational minister but later joined the Presbyterian Church. In 1842 he founded Augusta Female Seminary. After serving as principal for seven years, he resigned to become the Virginia agent for the American Colonization Society. Bailey was a prolific writer whose works include English Grammar (1853) and The Scholar’s Companion (1856).

Bailey became a professor of languages at Austin College in Huntsville, Texas, in 1858. He served as president of the college from 1862 until his death.

Rufus William Bailey, the third president of Austin College, the son of Lebbeus and Sarah (Myrick) Bailey, was born in North Yarmouth, Maine, on April 13, 1793. He graduated as a Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth in 1813, studied law under Daniel Webster, and returned to Dartmouth to teach. Later he taught in Virginia and helped to establish Mary Baldwin Seminary. In 1854 he moved to Texas and in 1855 accepted the chair of languages at Austin College, Huntsville. On December 15, 1858, Bailey was elected president of Austin College and was ordered to reorganize and reopen the college. He was married twice: in 1820 to Lucy Hatch of Norwich, Vermont, and after her death to Mariette Perry of Waterbury, Connecticut. He was a prolific writer and was best known for his textbooks on spelling and grammar. He resigned from Austin College in 1862 because of ill health and died on April 25, 1863. He was buried at Huntsville.

Rufus William Bailey (13 April 1793 – 25 April 1863) was the founder of Augusta Female Seminary (later Mary Baldwin College), in Staunton, Virginia, and also president of Austin College, in Huntsville, Texas.

Born in Maine, Bailey graduated from Dartmouth College in 1813. He was ordained as a Congregational minister but later joined the Presbyterian Church. In 1842 he founded Augusta Female Seminary. After serving as principal for seven years, he resigned to become the Virginia agent for the American Colonization Society. Bailey was a prolific writer whose works include English Grammar (1853) and The Scholar’s Companion (1856).

Bailey became a professor of languages at Austin College in Huntsville, Texas, in 1858. He served as president of the college from 1862 until his death.


Rufus Bailey was born in Yarmouth, Maine, April 13, 1793. He was educated at Dartmouth, receiving his Masters Degree in 1816. Subsequently, he studied law with Daniel Webster, before changing directions and entering Andover Theological Seminary. He entered the ministry in 1818 as pastor of a Congregational Church in Connecticut and at the same time held the post of Professor of Moral Philosophy (history) in the local military academy. Bailey maintained an active interest in higher education, serving as trustee of Williams College in Massachusetts and the University of Vermont. It appears Bailey felt a commitment to the education of women as well as men. Before reaching Texas in 1854, he organized the Pittsfield Female Seminary, established the Richland Normal School in South Carolina, taught at a female school in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and founded Augusta Female Academy (now Mary Baldwin College) in Staunton, Virginia. He emigrated to Texas for health reasons and was appointed Professor of Languages at Austin College in Huntsville, Texas, in 1855. In 1858, the Board of Trustees elected him to the presidency of Austin College. Bailey assumed the presidency on the heels of an administrative debacle in June of 1858 that produced a revolt of the faculty and a resulting failure of the college to open the fall semester of that year. In the tradition of Daniel Baker and Samuel McKinney before him, he also served as pastor of Huntsville Presbyterian Church, where his keen mind and ready wit earned him the nickname the “Walking Library” among his congregation. Bailey tendered his resignation as president of the College in 1860, pleading ill health, but in the face of the unsettling events of that year agreed to serve until a replacement could be found. As a result, Bailey’s actual departure did not occur until 1862. He died in Huntsville on April 23, 1863, only three months and three days prior to the death of the College’s most famous and colorful trustee, Sam Houston, who died in the house Bailey himself had built.



See also:
Eslinger, Ellen, “The Brief Career of Rufus W. Bailey, American Colonization Society Agent in Virginia,” in The Journal of Southern History, 71.1 (February 2005): 39-74.

John T. Kneebone et al., eds., Dictionary of Virginia Biography (Richmond: Library of Virginia, 1998–), 1:287-288.

Chronological bibliography—

A Sermon, delivered at the ordination of the Reverend Absalom Peters; to the pastoral care of the Congregational Church in Bennington, July 5, 1820. 

An Address, delivered at the close of the Sabbath school on Norwich Plain, November 9, 1819.

Articles of Faith and Form of Covenant adopted by the South Church in Norwich, Vermont at its formation, June 15, 1819. To which is added, an extract from the church records.

The Magnitude of the ministerial office illustrated from the value of the soul. A sermon delivered July 4, 1821, at the ordination of Rev. Dana Clayes, to the pastoral care of the church and society in Meriden parish, Plainfield, N.H.

God the proper object of gratitude; and thanksgiving a necessary evidence of its sincerity. A sermon, preached in Pittsfield, Mass., on the day of the state thanksgiving, December 3, 1824. 

An Address, delivered at the annual commencement of the Berkshire Medical Institution, Pittsfield, December 23, 1824

A sermon preached at Pittsfield, March 5, 1826: at the funeral of Josiah Moseley, aged 78, and his son, George Guy Moseley, aged 27; who were both buried in the same grave.

A Sermon, preached at Sumterville, S.C. July 4, 1834: occasioned by the death of Deming N. Welch, esq., assistant state engineer of Louisiana.

Sermons CCII-IV, in The American National Preacher, vol. 10, no. 6 (1835). [New York], p. 273-288. Includes “Humiliation of Christ,” ; “Exaltation of Christ,” ; and “The Trinity employed in Man’s Redemption.”

A Mother’s Request: Answered in letters of a father to his daughters.

The Beginnings of Evil. [New York]: Published by the American Tract Society, 150 Nassau-Street, New-York, D. Fanshaw, printer, 1837.  Attributed to R. W. Bailey, of S. C. and listed as a “new tract” in the American tract magazine, May, 1837. Tract, 8 p.; 17 cm. Tract no. 366. Pages 2-8 also numbered 258-264.

The Family Preacher; or, Domestic duties illustrated and enforced in eight discourses

The Issue, presented in a series of letters on slavery.

Bailey, Rufus W., William Cutting, and Elihu Burritt, editors, The Patriarch, or, Family Library Magazine. New-York: G. A. Peters. Serial publication, 2 vol., plates, portraits; 22-23 cm. Series run: January 1841 – May 1842. No  numbers issued Feb.-July 1841. Merged into The Mother’s Magazine, and Family Library.

Memorial to the Legislature of Virginia. [Richmond, VA]: Wm. F. Ritchie, 1849. Pb, 9 p.; 24 cm. Document no. 33 of the Virginia General Assembly, 1849-1850, concerning the American Colonization Society.

English Grammar: A simple, concise, and comprehensive manual of the English language.

Primary English Grammar: Introductory Manual of the English Language.

The Scholar’s Companion; containing exercises in the orthography, derivation, and classification of English words.


Daughters at School instructed in a series of letters. Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1857. 252 p.
Domestic duties; or, the Family, a Nursery for earth and heaven. [a shortened form of The Family Preacher.]

Addresses at the inauguration of Rev. Rufus W. Bailey, A.M., as president of Austin College, Huntsville, Texas, February 18, 1859.

Circular, sent by college president Rufus W. Bailey, promoting Austin College, Huntsville, Texas. [NYP]

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“Do You Trust in Jesus?”

In his eulogy for Professor George Howe, the Rev. John L. Girardeau prefaced his comments with this fitting summary on the subject of Christian biography and eulogy:

“In doing honor to those who have attained to eminence, there is a tendency unduly to exalt the perfection of human nature, from the indulgence of which we are restrained by the principles of Christianity. It can never be forgotten by those who are imbued with its instructions and possessed of a consciousness illuminated by its light, that all men, even the greatest and best, are sinners; and that, whatever advancement in mere moral culture may be effected by the force of natural resolution, neither the beginning nor the development of holiness is possible without the application of the blood of atonement, and the operation of supernatural grace. To signalise, therefore, the virtues of a departed Christian is to celebrate the provisions of redemption, and to magnify the graces of the Holy Ghost.”

In other words, we write biographies of leading Christians and seek to preserve their papers—their writings and their correspondence—not to emulate them, for they were sinners just as we are, but to praise the God who worked through them, that future generations of believers might profit from their walk with the Lord.


George Howe was born at Dedham, Massachusetts on November 6, 1802. His father was William Howe, whose lineage ran back to one of the pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock. His mother was Mary (Gould) Howe, daughter of Major George and Rachel (Dwight) Gould.

When he was still quite young, George came across a copy of Cotton Mather’s Magnalia Christi Americana (The Glorious Works of Christ in America — vol. 1 of which can be read here.) among his father’s books. There he encountered Latin sentences peppered throughout the text, and so began his study of the Latin language. He pursued that study formally at Mr. Ford’s school in Dedham, and, as he later related, “said his hic, haec, hoc in his trundle-bed.”

At the age of twelve the family relocated to a town near Philadelphia. As a young teenager, he was able to attend First Presbyterian Church in the Northern Liberties of Philadelphia, where the Rev. Dr. James Patterson was pastor. It was Patterson’s habit to speak with every member of the family when he visited, and on one such occasion, he turned to George and asked George whether he had come to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for his salvation. The question caused George a great deal of discomfort, but this brought him under conviction of his sin, and not long after he made a public profession of his faith there at First Presbyterian.

Graduating with first honors from Middlebury College, in Vermont, in 1822, George then entered Andover Theological Seminary, taking the full three year course of studies. Upon graduation, he was awarded the Abbott scholarship, which afforded him another year and half of study, after which he was appointed, at the age of twenty-seven, as Phillips Professor of Sacred Theology at Dartmouth College. This was during the presidency of the Rev. Dr. Bennett Tyler, who was closely tied with the troublesome New Haven Theology. At about the same time as Howe’s appointment, he was also ordained, on August 7, 1827.

For three years he served at this post, when his health was threatened with consumption (tuberculosis), and medical advice urged him to remove to the South. Rev. Howe soon sailed from Boston in a ship bound for Charleston, South Carolina, and he spent the month of December, 1830 in that city.

Providentially, it was about this same time that the Synod of South Carolina and Georgia met and took up a request from Dr. Thomas Goulding, asking for the appointment of a teacher of Greek and Hebrew. Dr. Goulding had only recently been appointed head of a new seminary in South Caroliina, and already the school needed another teacher. Rev. Howe’s reputation with the languages preceding him, he was elected to the post. Thus began Dr. Howe’s lengthy career of fifty-two years at the Columbia Theological Seminary. When the Seminary’s semi-centennial was observed at the end of 1881, Dr. Howe was there to celebrate the occasion, with many congratulations focused on his own central role in the establishment of the school. A year and a half later, he was gone, passed to his eternal reward, on April 15, 1883.

Dr. Howe did not write many books, but of the less than ten, several remain monumental works, to this day.  In particular, his two volume magnum opus on The History of the Presbyterian Church in South Carolina is still required reading for anyone interested in the subject of religion in the Southern states. Print copies are rare, but the text can be found on the Web here [vol. 1] and here [vol. 2].

Words to Live By:
As George Howe lay near death, he expressed his desire to receive visits (despite his doctor’s wishes) from the other faculty of Columbia Seminary. One colleague asked him, “My dear brother, do you trust in Jesus?,” to which Dr. Howe readily answered, “Yes; what would I do, did I not trust in Him?”

What will you do, if you do not trust in the only Savior appointed for our salvation?

And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12, NASB)

An Ambassador for King Jesus

Samuel Davies was born in Delaware in 1723.  His Welsh mother had named him after the prophet Samuel. Ever afterwards, he considered himself to be a son of prayer, as the biblical name Samuel inferred. His early dedication to God induced him to devote himself to God personally.  Joining the church at age 15, he entered Samuel Blair’s classical and theological school at Faggs Manor Presbyterian Church, in Pennsylvania.  He was ordained as a Presbyterian  evangelist in February 1747 by the New Castle Presbytery.

On April 14, 1747, Samuel Davies stood before Governor Gooch and his council at Williamsburg, to ask permission to preach at four meeting houses in Hanover Country in Virginia.  Readers need to know that Virginia in the pre-revolutionary days was officially Anglican in religion.  Anyone outside of that denomination needed permission to minister. Later this law would be changed with a separation between church and state.  But at this time, permission had to be sought.  Receiving it, Davies preached faithfully and sacrificially at these four preaching points, some twelve miles north of Richmond, Virginia.

Suddenly, he wife was taken from him by illness which resulted in death.  It was said of him at the time that, despite his sorrow, he was determined to spend what little remained of his exhausted lifestyle to advance his Master’s glory to the good of countless souls in need of the gospel.  This dedication brought people from a wide circumference to hear the preaching of the Word of God, including a mother and her young son Patrick Henry.

On November 1, 1748, he returned to the Governor to ask that seven more places of preaching be granted to him.  While there was some opposition to the increased number, he presented his case with such clarity and forcefulness of argument, his request was granted.

For eleven more years, he preached the Word of God in the county of Hanover, as well as four other counties of Virginia. He was, as one put it, the ambassador of a mighty king.  All, upon hearing his weekly sermons, knew that king to be no one except King Jesus.

Words to Live By:  All believers are to be ambassadors of King Jesus, declaring the message by their lives and lips,  for  all to be reconciled to God.

In closing, we note that the Sermons of Samuel Davies are back in print at this time. We also take occasion to remind our readers of the biography Samuel Davies: Apostle to Virginia, authored by Rev. Dewey Roberts. Both would be worth your time.

Lucy Craft Laney is widely recognized as Georgia’s most famous female African American educator. Founder and principal of the Haines Institute for fifty years (1883-1933), she was born on April 13, 1854 in Macon, Georgia. Lucy was  one of ten children born in the years before emancipation to Louisa and David Laney. However, her parents were not slaves. Her father was both a Presbyterian pastor and a skilled carpenter who, while previously a slave, had managed to buy his freedom some 20 years before Lucy was born, and had also purchased his wife’s freedom.

Much has been written about Lucy Craft Laney. Deservedly so. But today I would like to share what I’ve been able to find out about her father, though admittedly it’s not much, thus far.

Rev. David Laney is noted by some as the organizing pastor of the oldest black Presbyterian church in all of Georgia, established in 1839, serving that church as pastor before, during and after the war. And there is the stirring note that “When the Civil War came to an end, it was Lucy’s father who rang the bells of Washington Avenue Presbyterian Church to celebrate emancipation.”

Rev. Laney was affiliated with the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., and their Minutes of General Assembly for 1895 make record of Rev. Laney’s death in October of 1894, at the age of 86. He had been a member of the Knox Presbytery and had been noted on their rolls as honorably retired. Based on his death date and age, it is likely that he was born in 1808. If the records of Knox Presbytery were available, it is possible we might find a brief memorial spread upon the pages of their Minutes. And while a search of those buried at three historical African American cemeteries in Macon [Linwood, Riverside and Rose Hill cemeteries] failed to locate his gravesite, that search was far from conclusive.

Surprisingly, it was so recent as 2018 that a nice account of the church he founded in Macon was read into the Congressional Record, and we conclude today’s post with that history:

From the Congressional Record, 13 November 2018, pages E1510-E1511  []


Mr. Speaker, it is my honor and pleasure to extend my sincere congratulations to the membership and leadership of Washington Avenue Presbyterian Church in Macon, Georgia for 180 years of remarkable service. The congregation of Washington Avenue Presbyterian Church commemorated this milestone with a celebration on Sunday, November 11, 2018.

Tracing its roots back to the pre-Civil War era, the Church was organized around 1838 when Pastor Samuel Cassels was instructed to preach and minister to the slaves of the members of the 1st Presbyterian Church’s congregation. The ‘‘African Chapel,’’ a separate facility, was built on Fourth Street (now M.L. King Drive) but remained associated with the 1st Presbyterian Church. With a request for full independence by ‘‘African Chapel’’ members that was granted on May 5, 1866, the present Washington Avenue Presbyterian Church was formed. Joseph Williams, David Laney, and Robert Carter were the first Ministers ordained to serve the church following its formal establishment.

The Church had humble origins due to racial and social stratification in the post-Civil War South. With the end of the Civil War, the bells of Washington Avenue Presbyterian Church rang to celebrate emancipation. Under the pastorate of David Laney, most notably, the distinguished Gothic Revival structure of the Church was constructed. The Washington Avenue Presbyterian Church is not only the oldest African-American congregation in the state of Georgia, but also bears the distinct honor of being one of the oldest minority congregations in the country. Named for the street on which it is located, the Church has become the primary place of worship for many generations of the most prominent black families in Macon. It also enjoys the privilege of being listed in the National Register of Historic Places in America, another indication of its importance in the local, state, and national communities.

The story of Washington Avenue Presbyterian Church, which began as a small group of slaves worshipping in a small ‘‘African Chapel’’ and has grown into an expansive and successful church, is truly an inspiring one of the dedication and perseverance of a faithful congregation of people who put all their love and trust in the Lord.

Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues in the House to join me in paying tribute to the Washington Avenue Presbyterian Church in Macon, Georgia for its congregation’s enduring commitment despite adversity, to each other and to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ for over 180 years. May their actions continue to inspire the community in courage, in dedication, and in faith.

Words to Live By:
As I said above, much has been written about Lucy Craft Laney, but it is interesting to try to search out the story of the father who raised her, taught her and helped to equip her for such remarkable success in life. Godly parents are an incalculable aid and benefit as we start our way in this troublesome world. We owe so much to them, so much that we can never repay. Our best efforts in honoring our parents begin as we take prayerful care to live a righteous, faithful life before the Lord our God.

Larger Catechism, Q. 123. Which is the fifth commandment?
A. The fifth commandment is, Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

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