John Gano Baptizes George Washington

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by Rhetorician, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
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    Hello all:

    I am researching information for a Baptist Chaplains in war time article. Does anyone know any "hard and fast" documentation that I can acquire about John Gano, Revolutionary War Chaplain, who baptized Gen. Geo. Washington?

    It may be a "legend" or "old wive's tale." But it is out there just the same. The Baptist college in Mo., William Jewell, has the painting of Gano baptizing Washington in New York.

    Let me hear from you if you can render any help, OK?

    "That is all!" :wavey:
     
  2. rsr

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    I know of no indisputable evidence of such a baptism; the only evidence is from the family, which compiled the information a century later.

    The location of the baptism also is in dispute. One story says it was at Valley Forge; another says it was in the Potomac; yet another has it in the Hudson.

    Gano makes no mention of it in his memoirs; he has a good many recollections from the war years, almost all of them from his service with (Col. and then Gen.) James Clinton in New York and Pennsylvania, not with Washington's army.

    Rupert Hughes, a Washington relative, wrote the following letter to Time magazine after it mentioned the baptism in a 1932 blurb:

    You can find Gano's own memoirs at:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=PFYwAAAAYAAJ&source=gbs_navlinks_s

    A biographical sketch by Baptist historian David Benedict is at:

    http://baptisthistoryhomepage.com/gano.by.benedict.1813.html
     
    #3 rsr, Apr 11, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 11, 2011
  3. revmwc

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    Found this in an article,

    Washington, the Freemason who did not go into that Masonic Lodge that last 30 years of his life—in his own words—who was a Baptist and a Calvinist. He was baptized in the First Baptist Church of New York by one of his captains, Pastor Gano, all surrounded by Calvinists. That’s why they didn’t surrender at Valley Forge; that’s why, when they were naked, when they went through the snow, barefoot, they endured that because they were Bible-believing Calvinists and they refused to submit to the tyranny of King George, who was controlled by the Jesuits. The Black Pope
     
  4. revmwc

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  5. rsr

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    That version is even more garbled than most. Washington almost certainly wasn't baptized in First Baptist Church of New York (Gano's church) because it fell into disuse before the war; many of its members fled British occupation, and when Gano returned he was able to find only 37 of 200 prewar members (according to his memoirs).

    Gano was not one of Washington's "captains." Though his regiment left New York for the New Jersey campaign, it quickly returned home and he served the rest of the war in New York/Pennsylvania. Thus he was not at Valley Forge in 1777-78. Clinton's army (and Gano) went to join in the siege of Yorktown in 1781, well after Valley Forge.
     
  6. ituttut

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    A good endeavor to be sure, but I believe you are chasing rainbows. GW by all accounts was Episcopalian (church of England). To date it looks as though we will have to live with Harding, Truman, Carter, and Clinton. None of these had/have the Calvinistic bent of infrant Baptism.
     
  7. rsr

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    It seems that the story of Washington's baptism has overshadowed the rest of Gano's career as a stalwart chaplain and pioneer evangelist. You could easily omit the baptismal episode and still have plenty of good material.
     

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