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Beginning of the story


Bro. Burbridge was soon back again and preached often. Soon calls came for meetings in outside districts, then Bro. Mac was sent out to do the preaching. Of course he had no authority to baptize, and Bro. Burbridge would go out every few days and baptize for him.

Then, by Bro Burbridge's advice, Mac is licensed and labors as a licentiate for two years. The following is a copy of the license:

Illinois, Pike County,
Highland Christian Church,
August the 10th, 1840.

We hereby certify that Bro. Hugh McNary Waller is a member of the Christian Church and in good standing. We therefore recommend him to the full fellowship of the brethren in the several churches as a licentiate to preach the gospel. Praying that his labors among you may be blessed.

Done by order of the church,

David Roberts, Clerk, pro tem.

It was about this time that Brethren Charles Boling and David Roberts came as preaching brethren from Ohio. They watch the career of this "boy preacher" who had baptisms at nearly every meeting for two years. Near the close of the two years the brethren think it wise to set Mac apart as an evangelist with the power to baptize, solemnize marriages, etc.

Brethren Boling and Burbridge, in behalf of the church, do the service, and is set apart as a full fledged evangelist. His clothes become worn and threadbare, so he resorts to school teaching to get new ones.

He teaches near Greggsville, and boards with Squire Peeler, brother of Abner Peeler, who lived near Chicago, and was widely known. Here in the house of Mr. Peeler he preaches and soon organizes a church. He baptized a great many in Blue River, most of them after service each night. Here, in fact, is where he did his first baptizing. The ice was cut where it was fully eighteen inches thick.

The boys who were sent to cut the ice said: "Well, since this is to be a burial, let us cut the hole in the ice in the shape of a coffin." They did so.

The first one baptized was a large, fleshy lady. A skeptic standing by said: "Men, that fool boy will drown these women, why will you permit this?" The baptism was performed decently, however, and the good work went on.

As soon as he leaves here he organized the church in Barry. Now, Timothy is given his Paul - Bro. David Roberts and Bro. Mac are sent out together.

Bro. Roberts was one of those solid men, sound in the faith, but his strongest hold was in the pulpit in presenting facts. He could neither sing nor exhort. The result was Mac had nearly all the exhorting to do.

Bro Roberts once said: "I have had twenty-eight young men out with me as Timothys, but the only one on whom I never had to put a curb-bit is Mac. On him I must sometimes use both whip and spur, for he wants me to preach more than my share."

Their first year's work was in the counties of Pike, Calhoun, Brown, and Adams. An appointment is sent to Gilead, the meeting to be held in the court house. Time came. Not a soul was there. About the time when services ought to have closed, up come two young men.

"Didn't our appointment reach here?"

"Oh, yes," they answer.

"I see, young men, that there is no glass in the windows of the court house. Have you had a hail storm lately?"

"No," they say, "but a Methodist preacher by the name of Clampet came here some time ago, and some of the boys being quite noisy, he rolled up his sleeves and said: "I have whipped a good many sinners in my life, and I'll whip the first one of you that makes any more noise on the stairs." A row followed, and this is the result.

"Well, where was the sheriff," says Mac.

"Why he was helping us, and we stoned the preacher out of town."

"Now," says Mac, "what will you take to get me a congregation? I should like to preach here."

They became interested. Time was set, and came. House was full - jammed. Had good service, and good order.

They then went up in the country and held a meeting in an old log cabin. Here they organized a good band, and set them in order. Then in Milton, in Pike county; thence to Perry, Brownsville, Columbus, Quincy and Barry. At Barry they held a fine meeting; many gathered in.


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