Family History: William Baldridge

William Baldridge was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, on 26 Feb 1761.  He was baptised by Rev. John Cuthbertson on 23 Mar 1762. As a young child, William lived on his families plantation in North Carolina, about 200 miles from the coast. On the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, William tried to enlist, however because he was underage, he went into service as a teamster. Once old enough, he joined a Cavalry Regiment and fought for the duration of the War.

In 1790 he graduated from Dickinson College, coming first in a class of 12. After graduation,
he started the study of theology with Rev. Alexander Dobbins. He was twice offered the position of president of Washington College in Virginia, but declined on both occasions as he felt religion was his duty. His wife was Rebecca Agnew and they married on 17 Jul 1792. Together they had eleven sons and two daughters. In 1792 William was licensed to preach and ordained by the Presbytery of Pennsylvania, Associate Reform. William was devoutly religious and preached for the majority of his adult life. In 1793 he accepted the role of pastor for two churches in Rockbridge County, Virginia. He worked there until 1803. From around that time until 1809, many of his congregation were moving to Cherry Brook, Ohio. Upon their arrival they built a small church and persuaded William to become its pastor.

In 1808, the family moved from Pennsylvania to Ohio. William had accepted the position at
Cherry Fork and West Fork Congregations. It is stated that he was such a popular pastor
that many of his parishioners moved with him. William preached that slavery was a sin and
having convinced his congregation, many of his parishioners also moved to Ohio, a free
state, and emancipated their slaves. Overall, about forty families settled in Adam’s County
on Cherry Fork at the time. Many of William’s sermon were publicised in the ‘Associate Reformed Pulpit’. He was an important member of the community that was instrumental in its development and prosperity. (1) In 1820, three years after Rebecca’s death, William remarried Mary Logan Anderson and they had a son and a daughter. Of all William’s children, 2 became ministers and three became physicians. On 26 Oct 1830, he died in Adams County, Ohio, when he was 69 years old. He is buried in the Cherry Fork Cemetery, Ohio however although there is a headstone, the exact grave site is unknown.

(1) Riggs, Henry Earle. Our Pioneer Ancestors. Michigan: Ann Arbor, 1942. (Baldridge Family)