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Chapter 1 The Harnessing of the Horses May 5, 1860 Harness the horses, and get up, ye horsemen. —Jeremiah 46:4 KJV T hey harnessed the horses in Warren County, and in Nash. In Kinston and Goldsboro and Greenville, and even up in Virginia, the clergy adjusted the bridles and reins. Baptist preachers going to a meeting. Nothing unusual about that—that’s what Baptist preachers did back then—but this would be a small gathering in a little town most of them had probably never visited. In May 1860 few people outside the area had reason to know of the little market town that called itself Wilson, home to 960 people and seat of the newly formed Wilson County. But there had been a call. Letters had gone out to several preachers of good reputation from two local merchants in their late thirties, W. W. Winstead and R. H. Blount, inviting them to attend the formation of a new Baptist church at the local courthouse on May 6. Preachers answer calls, and they were coming. There was certainly scheduled stagecoach service to Wilson by this time, but the gentlemen more likely used their own horses and perhaps buggies. Any preacher, lawyer, or physician pretty well had to own a horse and a twowheeled sulky or “dog-cart” for ordinary travel needed in their professions. It’s possible, however, that some traveled part of the way by train. Those coming from the north might have gone to Weldon and caught the eleven o’clock departure on the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad. If the train was on time, they would have arrived in Wilson at 1:33 p.m. If they were coming from 1

The Life and Times of First Baptist Church, Wilson N.C.

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