I am a descendent of such persecuted Baptist. Seven generations back, my ancestors, converted Baptist, fled Virginia after repeatedly being sent to jail for their Baptist convictions. One of those ancestors was Joseph Craig. Like many in his familyi and like most Baptist in Virginia, Craig was frequently persecuted and jailed for his beliefs. Craig, along with his brothers Lewis and Elijah, joined the ministry and call on men everywhere to repent.
I came across a fascinating book called "Esteemed reproach : the lives of Rev. James Ireland and Rev. Joseph Craig." The authors offer the writings and personal testimonies of the only two men who experienced persecution in Virginia for being Baptist and wrote about it. As a descendent of Craig, I had to pick it up and read it. The authors provide the reader with an excellent introduction that informs the reader on who these two great men were. I found their discussion of Craig particularly informative.
The authors note the eccentricies of Craig, especially cared to his other siblings. One paragraph reads:
Craig's zeal notwithstanding, his eccentricities coud be disconcerting. john Taylor, a well-known Virgina Baptit precher who also relocated to Kentucky, held the Craig family in high regaard but occasionally found himself embarrassed by Joseph's antics, beginning with their initial meeting. Taylor recalled preacing a candlelight meeting at the lower South River Church in Virginia. When the servie ended Joseph Craig ran up to him and exclaimed, 'Here is the ass's colt that myMaster rode to Jerusalem.' Craig may have meant that Taylor had done an exceelent job of 'conveying' Jesus to the people, but he never boteed to explain precisely what he meant. 'After this,' Taylor noted, 'Craig would introduce me to strangers as 'the ass col' without tellimg them my name.' Of course, Taylor also apprecited the methods Craig devised for baffling those who tried to arrest him whether it involved running through swamps, climbing trees to avoid bloodhounds, or pretending to be completely deranged.
I think we all know someone like that.
But overall, this book provides keen insight into the daily life and troubles of Baptist in Virginia. Through his journal and his songs, the reader finds real men who struggled with real issues. I recommend this book. It is more than just insight into an ancestor, but insight into where we have been and how much we have to be thankful for . . . especially as Baptists.