Rev David Thomas.html

DAVID THOMAS

August 16, 1732-1812?


David Thomas was born, August 16, 1732, at London Tract, Pennsylvania. The very same year as George Washington. He was educated under the eminent Baptist leader, ISAAC EATON, at HOPEWELL ACADEMY, NEW JERSEY. James B. Taylor noted that Thomas' educational achievements "were such that RHODE ISLAND COLLEGE (now BROWN UNIVERSITY) gave him the Master of Arts" degree in 1755. Thomas left Pennsylavania in 1760 for Berkeley County in northern Virginia as a "self appointed missionary." He preached there for about eighteen months. In 1762 Thomas moved to Fauquier County, establishing and becoming the minister of BROAD RUN CHURCH, which became the center of his evangelistic activities. For the next several years, Thomas was the pre-eminent Regular Baptist in Virginia. Many of the Regular ministers regarded Thomas as their spiritual father. In addition, Thomas often itinerated with JOHN GARRARD, the minister of MILL CREEK CHURCH(VA)

A HISTORY OF BROAD RUN BAPTIST CHURCH, Fauquier Co VA 1762-1987, John S. Moore, 1987. Chapter Two, p.13-15 reads: "On December 3, 1762, Broad Run Church was orgainized by David Thomas and John Marks with ten members who were: Edmund Hays, Peter Cornwell, Joshua Dodson, Thomas Dodson, William Stamps, Elizabeth Hays, Sarah Cornwell, Ruth Dodson, Elizabeth Dodson and Betty Bennett. All of these ten charter members except Elizabeth Dodson were listed on the Mill Creek Church roll. [Mill Creek was one of only 3 Regular Baptist Churches in VA prior to Broad Run.]"


Thomas returned to Berkeley County in 1788 and became the minister of Mill Creek Church after the death of the church's pastor and Thomas' close friend, JOHN GARRARD. Thomas remained at Mill Creek until 1796 when he moved to Kentucky. The move was occasioned by trouble at the church. According to Semple the church initially rejoiced in Thomas' ministry, but eventually "some of the members becoming wise in their own conceit took it into their fancy that Thomas preached false doctrine" Thomas evidently became discouraged by the controversy and left Virginia for Kentucky


Morgan Edwards, Baptist historian says about Thomas "if we may judge of a man's prevalency against the devil by the rage of the devil's children, Thomas has prevailed as a prince." David was called the people's "Spiritual Father"


Thomas as a Kentucky Baptist. The Great Revival struck the frontier of Kentucky in 1800-1802. Baptists prospered. In 1800, 106 churches with 5,119 members; in 1803 219 churches with 15,495 members. David Thomas was once again in the midst of an awakening. Now an aged minister, he felt the need to reassert his evangelistic heritage by answering the critics of the revival. Consequently, he published THE OBSERVER, trying the Great Reformation in this state (1802)


Still uncertain as to when David Thomas removed to Kentucky from Virginia. But it must have been somewhere between 1796 and 1800. David's health was failing and he was becoming blind so his church work was limited

  • 1. Cathcart, William ed. "The Baptist Encyclopedia ; a Dictionary of the doctrines, ordinances, usages, confessions of faith, sufferings, labors, and successes and of the general history of the Baptist Denomination in all lands with numerous biographical sketches of distinguished American and Foreign Baptist and a supplement". Louis H Everts, Philadelphia c1881
  • 2. Simpson, William S. Jr., "Virginia Baptist Ministers 1760-1790 ; a biographical survey Vol VI, Richmond, VA c2009
  • 3. Taylor, James B. " Virginia Baptist Ministers ; David Thomas" Lippincott, Philadelphia, c1859 ; pages 43-48
  • 4. Russell, T. Triplett and John K. Gott. "Fauquier County in the Revolution" Warrenton, Virginia, Fauquier County American Bicennial Commission, c1976
  • 5. Weaver, C. Douglas, "Baptist History and Heritage ; David Thomas and the Regular Baptists in Colonial Virginia" October 1987, Vol.18 No. 4 pp. 3-19 with bibliography

  • Born August 16, 1732, at London Tract, Pennsylvania
  • 1750 Ordained a minister at age 18 years
  • 1751 Missionary from Philadelphia Baptist Association to Western Virginia (Berkeley)
  • 1755 Master of Arts" degree from Rhode Island College, now Brown University
  • 1762 David Thomas formed the Broad Run Church at Farquier Co., VA and Catharine Martin Shreve was with him most likely as a church member. People traveled 50 to 100 miles to hear him preach
  • 1763 He was in Culpepper, VA to preach but the crowds were very rude so he moves to Orange Co., VA where he was more successful ; however, one time he was dragged from the pulpit and treated in a brutal manner
  • Unknown John Thomas born about 1770, may have been baptised at Broad Run Church and died soon after or lived to adulthood? There is a John Thomas in Jessamine Co.,Kentucky who had died by 1823 and there was a John Thomas who died in Pike Co., Missouri ; did Catherine have son John with David Thomas?
  • David may have adopted four children; David, Mary, Sarah, and Elizabeth Shreve or they used the THOMAS name because they married and named their sons David Thomas Foster and David Thomas Garrard and there is also a David Thomas Shreve. The children must have been influenced by David Thomas
  • 1788 He was pastor of Mill Church in Berkeley Co., Virginia
  • 1790 Census, list a David Thomas in the U.S. Census, 1790, p. 118 for Montgomery Co., MD as pastor of the Seneca Creek church
  • 1796, David Thomas may have began his journey to Kentucky where he became head of the WASHINGTON CHURCH in MASON CO., KY
  • 1800, David Thomas was preaching in Bracken Co., KY
  • 1800-1804 he had moved to Jessamine Co., Ky and there he united with Hickman Baptist Church. He was living in a cabin on Hickman Creek, Fayette County later Jessamine Co., Kentucky. A young minister Jeremiah Vardeman visited with David Thomas in his cabin and David prayed a powerful prayer over Jeremiah. David was fourscore and entirely blind at that time
  • David Thomas wrote and signed his will on 14 May 1806 ;Will Book B, p. 243, Jessamine County, KY
  • His will was probated during the March Court of 1816, Jessamine Co., KY


  • In the will, David names 4 grandchildren; Sally Thomas, Caty Evans, David Thomas Foster and David Thomas Garrard to be given $5.00 each. He names 4 children; John Thomas, Sally Foster, Betsy Garrard and Polly Evans to be given 5 pounds each


  • David Shreve born about 1747
  • Sarah Shreve born between 1748-1750
  • Mary Shreve born between 1750-1752
  • Elizabeth Shreve born between 1750-1754

  • William Martin Shreve born August 26, 1761


  • Anna Smalley and Catharine Martin were 3rd cousins. Their sons, David Shreve and William Martin Shreve are 5th cousins on the Martin side and step brothers on the Shreve side


  • Benjamin Martin and Lydia Martin = brother and sister
  • Jonathan Martin and Jonathan Smalley = lst cousins
  • Catherine Martin and Anna Smalley = 3rd cousins on Martin side or wives of William Shreve, son of WM and Freelove Dyer Shreve
  • William Martin Shreve and David Shreve = 5th cousins on Martin side or step brothers on Shreve side

  • "The Martin Family of America" by Louise Martin Mohler and published by William Hesler, rev. 1987, p. 90 reads the following information about Rev. David Thomas

    Rev. David Thomas, Catharine Martin's second husband, was a friend to T. Marshall, cousin to Chief Justice John Marshall and there may be a connection with the Marshall Family as Abraham 1716- no dd married Elizabeth Marshall of the same family

    ABRAM MARTIN, Captain, b. 7th February, 1716; killed by Indians, 1780; Captain in the Colonial Forces of Virginia, serving under Colonel George Washington in the Braddock Campaign; m. 4th October, 1744, Elizabeth MARSHALL, dau. of Captain John and Elizabeth (MARKHAM) MARSHALL of “The Forrest,” and aunt of Chief Justice MARSHALL. Colonial families of the United States of America: Volume 1





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  • William Martin Shreve
  • David Shreve