George Waller (1777 – 1860)

“GEORGE WALLER, son of William E. Waller, succeeded his father in the pastoral care of Buck Creek church, about the year 1803.  He was, during a period of more than forty years, among the ablest, most laborious and successful preachers in this State.  He was a man of enlarged public spirit, and was prominent in all the general enterprises of his denomination. He was among the first general agents of the Kentucky Baptist State Convention, and was the first moderator of the General Association of Kentucky Baptists.  He warmly favored all the missionary operations of his denominations, both foreign and domestic, and gave full measure of his influence to their success.

George Waller was born in Spottsylvania county, Va., September 12, 1777.  He was brought  by his parents to Kentucky, when he was seven years old, and was raised up among the dangers, privations, and hardships of the western wilderness.  His opportunities for obtaining an education were few, and in early life, his knowledge of letters was very limited.  In his youth he was fond of the rustic sports and feats of daring, indulged in at that period.  He was especially fond of horse racing, and devoted no small portion of his time to his favorite amusement.. At the age of 21 years, he moved with his parents from Fayette to Shelby county, where soon afterward, he was married to Polly, daughter of Reuben Ware.  His marriage was blessed with five sons and four daughters, all of whom, except a boy which died in infancy, became Baptists.

Mr. Waller professed religion during the great revival, in 1801, and was baptized by his father into the fellowship of Buck Creek church.   His conversion seemed to be complete.  He at once gave himself to the service of God, with as much zeal and energy as he had before employed in the service of the Devil.  Within the next two year, he was ordained to the ministry, and became pastor of Buck Creek church.  This church he served about 45 years, and baptized into its fellowship about 500 persons.  He commenced his missionary labors abroad in 1803, when he was sent by his church to preach in a new settlement in the southern border of Indiana.  In 1805, he was called to the care of Burks Branch church in Shelby county, and ministered to it about 43 years.  He baptized into its fellowship about 300.  He accepted the care of the Bethel church, in 1809, and served in that capacity 23 years.  He baptized for this church about 140.  He was , at different periods, pastor of Elk Creek and Little Union in Spencer county, Harrods Creek in Oldham county, the First church in Louisville, and probably several others.  In his journal, he says: ‘During the revival [in the fall of 1834] I baptized135.’  In 1832, he accepted an appointment to travel among the churches in the central part of the State, in the interest of the Kentucky Baptist State Convention, and continued in that work, one year.  Much good was accomplished through his labors.  This convention was the first missionary organization that was established among the Baptists of Kentucky.  Many of the churches openly opposed it, and many others were hesitating and suspicious in regard to the propriety of such an association.  Mr. Waller turned the lukewarmness of many into a fervent zeal, many who were doubtful were confirmed, and some opposers were brought to favor to the convention.

In 1818, Mr. Waller was elected Moderator of Long Run Association, and occupied that position continuously, during 25 years.  He was what is commonly called a self-made man.  He possessed a strong intellect, a closely discriminating mind, and an unfaltering purpose.  He was not long, after he entered the ministry, – in becoming a man of good reading, and a fair writer.  In his early ministry, he was accustomed to write down rules, for his own government.  Two of these rules, written in is private diary, in 1805, are here transcribed:

‘Resolved: The Lord helping me, that from this time till I die, to be more particularly observant of that command.  “Speak evil of no man.” ‘

‘Resolved never to enter in to a strenuous argument with any man, on any occasion, for as much as I believe it to be contrary to the Spirit of Christianity.’

Mr, Waller was strongly Calvinistic in doctrine, intensely fixed in his convictions, and had a great aversion to inovation.  When A. Campbell began to disseminate his doctrines in Kentucky, Mr. Waller and Spencer Clack established a Baptist journal, in Bloomfield, for the purpose of combating these heresies.  The paper was at first called the Baptist Register, but soon afterwards took the name of the Baptist Recorder. It was established in 1826, and its publication was continued about  four years.

About 1814, Mr. Waller retired from active labor, on account of old age, and spent the evening of his life in the quiet and peace of the home circle.  In 1860, just as the ominous clouds of civil war began to loom darkly above the horizon, the old soldier of the Cross folded his mantle about him, and quietly departed for the home of the blessed.  Of his descendants, J.C. Waller, a son, and William E. Waller, a grandson, became preachers.”

Source:  A History of Kentucky Baptists From 1769 to 1885, Vol. 1, by John H. Spencer, Printed for the Author, 1886, pages 447-9


George Waller (1777 – 1860) — 1 Comment

  1. Thanks for the post on George Waller. I knew there had to be a connection between these two Ware contingencies. My great uncle is named Thomas Waller Ware, so I feel good about what I’ve found so far. Now, if I can just find the missing link! (Where Thomas F. Ware was born)

    Thanks, Vicki!
    Susan Eaton
    daughter of Beverly Ware Eaton

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