Dr. Robert James Ware and the Rehobeth Baptist Church Montgomery, Alabama

I am Judi Harris, a Bullock desendant. From 1979 until 1998 my family and I lived in first Elmore County and then Montgomery County in Alabama. I taught school and all four of my children attended and graduated from Saint James School, in Montgomery. At one time I was the cheerleader coach as my daughter, Janis Tarleton Harris and her friends were cheerleaders. One of her closest friends at that time was Alice Ware Bargaineer, and of course, I knew in the back of my head that Agnes Ware had married into the Bullock family. Vicki Cheesman contacted me in 2009 to write about Mary Ware Bullock, cousin to my Great Grandfather, Wingfield Minor Bullock, which I did. I have a hand written letter from her to him. That started the thought that maybe my Agnes Ware might be connected to Alice Ware Bargaineer…..I have her documentation down the line from this man Dr. Robert James Ware b 1801, d 1867. But connecting it back to James Ware I and Agnes Todd from Glouchester, Va is unclear. I post this information in hopes finding a connection to him and thus, to Alice and her family, that still live in Montgomery, Alabama. In the information, Alice lend to me is this article. Pintlala is a small town South of Montgomery. I have not contacted Pastor Gary Burton for permission to post this information but hope to soon. All errors in transcription are mine not his. I don’t know how long ago this was written.

By Gary Burton Pastor Pintlala Baptist Church

Dr. Robert J. Ware’s many years of involvement in the Rehoboth Baptist Church of Elmore County became the basis for his pioneering influence among missionary Baptists in central Alabama.. The religious life of Dr. Ware has, heretofore, received little or no serious examination. It is regrettable that to date the minutes of the Rehoboth Baptist Church have not been located. Because Ware served as the clerk of the church for many years, one might wonder if the church minutes were chronicled by him and remained in his possession.

Rehoboth Baptist Church was located in Montgomery County, Alabama until county lines were redrawn in 1866 when Elmore County was created. The church was in what was commonly called “The Fork” of Montgomery County prior to the creation of Elmore County. The Fork was a large expanse of territory beginning at the junction of the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers and then spreading northeastwardly. With the two rivers serving as boundaries on the west and south, the old Indian lines served as boundaries to the north and east. These lines are easily discernable on current county highway maps. Rehoboth Baptist Church was in the vicinity of the current intersection of Elmore County’s Rifle Range Road (or County Road # 4) and County Road #129. At one time this area was known as Ware, Alabama. Today a black congregation bearing the same name, sometimes with a variant spelling “Rehoberth,” exists in the same area, but the current church was founded in 1867 and is not to be confused with the 1819 church, the subject of this essay.

Much of what we know about the religious life of Mr. Ware can be gleaned from the minutes, not of the Rehoboth Church, but of the Alabama Baptist Association. Although begun in 1819 with Rehoboth as a founding church of the Association, the early minutes seem to be lost to posterity. The 1833 entry of the minutes of the Alabama Baptist Association finds Robert J. Ware as a delegate to the associational meeting at the Town Creek Meeting House in Dallas County, October 12-15. A.G. Haynes and R. L. Daniel were also Rehoboth delegates. With only a few exceptions, Robert J. Ware would be a delegate/messenger to every annual meeting of the Association. It appears that the last meeting of the Association to be attended by Dr. Ware was in 1856. He is listed as an absentee messenger in 1856 and 1857. It is noteworthy that Ware, although absent, received Associational sanction to attend the Southern Baptist Convention meeting to be held in Richmond, Virginia the following year, 1859.

Family Connections

As far as existing records reveal, Robert J. Ware, born April 25 1801, was involved in the Rehoboth Church and the Association of Baptist churches from the time he was 31 to 55 years of age. If, as W.G. Robertson states, Ware settled in the Fork in 1825,1 then his affiliation with Rehoboth was much earlier than when he began attending the Associational meetings. This stands to reason when one considers the influence of his father, also Robert Ware.
The elder Ware died in 1827. According to his obituary in the ALABAMA JOURNAL, he had been a Baptist for nearly 40 years.2 It is a safe assumption that when his son, Robert J. Ware, moved north of the Tallapoosa in 1825, he sought affiliation with the Rehoboth Baptist Church, not even a decade old. In 1923 THE MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER mentioned Ware as a founder of Rehoboth,3 but this seems unlikely if Robertson’s chronology is taken seriously. The Ware family had migrated to Alabama from Lincoln County, Georgia where they had lived for a number of years. The lure of land and opportunity for economic prosperity had cast their spell on thousands who had flooded into the infant state.

When the senior Ware, accompanied by his family, including his son Robert J., made his way into Alabama, he was arriving as a veteran of the American Revolutionary War, having fought in the Battle of Cowpens and the Siege of Augusta, both occurring in 1781. The patriarch had participated in an emotional reunion with General La Fayette when his 1824-25 American tour brought the French hero to Montgomery. At the time of the reunion, son Robert J. Ware, was 24 years of age. His father would live only two more years. The family had been in Montgomery County long enough to purchase land in what became the Dalraida area in the city of Montgomery and in the vicinity where Greenwood Cemetery, the entrance to which is now located at the intersection of Highland Avenue and Lincoln Road, established in 1901.

In 1826 the marriage between Robert James Ware and Asenath Ann White took place. Marrying the daughter of David and Mary (Billingslea) White connected Ware to a family with strong entrepreneurial interests. Ware entered into a joint venture with his father-in-law operating the Alabama Hotel at the corner of Royal and St. Francis streets in Mobile. The hotel later became the Waverly House, then the Battle House.4

Medicine and Politics
Robert J. Ware, Jr. was a medical doctor by profession. Upon moving to the Fork, Ware joined two other physicians who resided in the area: Drs. Clement Billingslea and Thomas Mitchell. It seems that Ware’s medical practice became somewhat of an avocation when his interests were galvanized by the pursuit of property and wealth.
Edward Pattillo aptly points out that Ware accumulated his wealth through three successful means: He was appointed the guardian of his half-brother, James Anthony Ware, upon the death of their father. Along with this responsibility came a sizeable trust. Another means of substantial income was the revenue generated by the crop productions from his ever growing plantations. In addition, Robert J. Ware increased his holdings through land speculations as the Creek Indians were displaced. Doubtless, he had strong banking connections through his father-in-law, David White, who became a founding director of the Bank of the State of Alabama.5

Where did Robert and Asenath White Ware live once married and homesteading in the Fork? Did they live near the site of their posh plantation home, The Laurels, before it was built in 1841? Or did they live closer to Rehoboth Baptist Church located approximately 4-5 miles east of The Laurels?

While Ware was devotedly serving the Rehoboth Church, accumulating both fame and fortune, he was catapulted to prominence by his election to the Alabama legislature as a representative from Montgomery County in 1831-2, 1841-2, and in 1847. He was elected to the Senate in 1849.

“Dr. Ware was considered one of the most sagacious and solid members of the House. When he had an object in view, he set it boldly before his audience, and gave the whole argument in a nutshell, so that before the attention was least fatigued, the question was laid open in all its part, as with the dissecting knife. He had large views of everything, and was never cramped or timid in his movements. Perhaps he had no superior in the House in public spirit, and it was the fewest number who excelled in his business intelligence. His manner of speaking was highly agreeable, and his disposition eminently stubborn. One might well undertake to level the Andes by a zephyr as to drive him from any position. Where his judgment and free will led, there he would go in spite of the world…His nature was unsocial, tinged with a good deal of Hauteur, which made him unpopular with the masses, and shortened the period of his public life…”6

Ware’s Churchmanship
Robert J. Ware, son of a Revolutionary War veteran, wore many hats well: Physician, planter, politician, and Baptist churchman. His involvement with the Alabama Baptist Association was quite extensive. Preserved statistical reports submitted to the Association beginning in 1833 indicate that Rehoboth was small in number, 28 members with 31 the previous year. The cooperative relationship among churches summoned forth the best leadership skills Dr. Ware possessed. There were 30 churches in the Association by 1834. Throughout the next two decades, Ware’s influence would become catalytic in the growth and expansion of the Baptist witness.
The Rehoboth church was never large; its life seemed fragile at times. Meeting once, sometimes twice per month is quite a contrast with the breathless scheduling of church activities today.
Early in his Associational service, Dr. Ware would represent the Rehoboth Church alongside a neighboring planter, Benjamin Lamar, who was himself a minister and probably served the Rehoboth Church. Lamar’s death in 1836 is noted in the Associational minutes with a glowing tribute to his life and ministry.

Dr. Ware was appointed to important committees: Finance committee and the Documents committee which involved writing a formal response to a theological or ethical position espoused by a local church. In order to jump-start a committee charged with drafting a constitution, abstract of principles, and rules of decorum, Dr. Ware was asked to serve in 1835. The committee’s work was approved two days later.7

Additionally, Ware was asked to serve on committees to arrange business and formulate an agenda for the annual meeting. He helped to draft correspondence between associations; for example, the letter sent to the Coosa River Association in 1837. The circular letter shared with churches and other associations was, more or less, a theological treatise. Ware himself presented a document, the nature of which is unknown, to be examined by the Association the same year. One might wonder if the submission by Dr. Ware had anything to do with what was about to unfold.

1837-1838 A Watershed Year for the Alabama Baptist Association
Dr. Robert J. Ware played an important role in the controversy which would soon divide the Baptist family. The issue was a defining one. It struck at the heart of the purpose of each local church and, therefore, the purpose of the Association. Should the Association of churches work together in becoming missionary with the gospel? Many said “No”, claiming that those who believed was an already- predetermined fact. To embrace the missionary cause was also to support missionary societies and Bible societies. This became the major point of contention. The idea of the gospel being propagated through boards, agencies, and societies reflected the sentiments of the anti-missionary constituency. This struggle played itself out in attempts to reconstruct the Associational constitution and articles of faith. (One may wish to consult APPENDIX A for a timeline which chronicles the struggle for control of the doctrinal and governing documents.)

Consequently, the 1837 minutes record a moment which must have been pregnant with high drama. At the Bethel Meeting House in Pintlala, southwest Montgomery County, Dr. Ware presented a series of nine resolutions with a preamble. They are provided here with a focus on the fourth and ninth resolutions. But first, it must be noted that opposition to a revision to the Associational Constitution and Abstract of Principles had already coalesced. So a strategy to revise the governing documents was not an option for those supporting the missionary cause.

1837 Item 15
“A majority of the Churches reported in opposition to a revision of the Abstract of Principles and the Constitution of this Association.”

The Ware Preamble and Resolutions
1837 Item 27
“Adopted the following preamble, and resolutions, submitted by brother R. J. Ware, viz:

Whereas, in associate bodies, it frequently becomes necessary for them, to refer back, to
first principles, in order to refresh their minds on the objects for which they were united,
and to more fully comprehend their articles of agreement, or constitution, by which they
are to be governed;-and whereas, some difficulties are likely to occur in this Association,
in regard to the individual opinions of some of its members, that it has become the
imperative duty of this Association, to set forth fully the objects for which they were
united; and the principles of their Constitution, by which they have most solemnly agreed
to be governed. Therefore,
1st. Resolved, That this Association was constituted upon the belief of a necessity of a
combination of Churches, in order to produce peace and harmony and a unanimity of
practice among us.
2d Resolved, That this Association has not the right to lord it over God’s heritage, or
infringe on any of the internal rights of the Churches.
3d. Resolved, That every church is a sovereign and independent body, knowing no
superior but God himself; and subject to no restrictions, but what may have been expressly
delegated to the Association.
4th. Resolved, That we do not believe the right exists, in this Association, under its present
Constitution to aid or assist in the Missionary cause, as understood by its general
5th. Resolved, That it is obligatory on this Association, under the present Constitution, to
admit all applicant Churches into this body;-unless it can be made appear, that they are
heterodox in principles, or disorderly in practice.
6th. Resolved, That all Churches, when admitted to this Association, tacitly and virtually
adopt the Abstract of Principles, Constitution and Decorum thereof; -and are entitled to
all privileges of its co-churches.
7th. Resolved, That this Association in accordance with its present Constitution, cannot act
upon individual character, but it must be done by Churches.
8th. Resolved, That our black brother, Caesar, purchased with the funds of this association^
and now owned by it- who has from time to time ministered to the different churches
thereof, be requested to preach as often as possible, to the several churches of this
9th. Unanimously Resolved, That on the presentation of the Letter from the Centre Ridge
Church, for admission into this body, there appeared some objection, by some of the
individual members of the Association, upon which the Delegates thought proper to draw
their Letter before any definite action was had thereon.”
A superficial reading of these resolutions might lead one to conclude that Ware reflected a prevailing anti-missionary sentiment. However, by presenting a preamble joined by nine resolutions, instead of constitutional revisions, Ware was buying time. Like a skilled politician working both sides of the aisle, his language was calculated to calm emotions. One should consider the following:
Resolution 4.
Was Dr. Ware approaching the governing documents as a strict constructionist? While it is
true that the constitution provided no basis to assist the missionary cause, nor did it forbid
such. There was no constitutional authority to support missionary societies or Bible
Resolution 8.
Encouraging the ministry of the purchased slave-evangelist, Caesar Blackwell, could be
construed as thoroughly missionary.
Resolution 9.
The role of the Centre Ridge Church in Dallas County was pivotal in driving the missionary issue. Obviously, opposition to the church’s request for membership was due to its strong stand on behalf of the missionary cause. Doubtless, unofficial negotiations were necessary in order for the Centre Ridge delegation to withdraw the petition for membership. The effect was not only face-saving for the church but paved the way for a dramatic turn of events the following year.
On October 12, 1838 while meeting at the Breastwork Church in Butler County, The Alabama Baptist Association honored four petitions for membership: Benton in Lowndes County, Cubahatchee in Macon County, Friendship in Butler County, and without any mention of dissent, the Centre Ridge Church in Dallas County. Such an action set the tone for a watershed meeting of the Association. More than likely negotiations to bring about such a dramatic turn-around had occurred in the previous year. The action would prove to shape the direction of missionary-minded Baptists in central Alabama. It is helpful to recall the personality trait of Dr. Ware as described by Garrett, “One might well undertake to level the Andes by a zephyr as to drive him from any position.”8

In the same meeting, Robert J. Ware would be appointed to the committee charged with arranging the business agenda. He would also serve on the correspondence committee.
The Association continued its meeting and then on Tuesday, October 16, the division between Primitive and Missionary Baptists was formalized. The Association had weathered a stormy assault on its missionary imperative. The record of the separation is terse:
1838 Item 20
“Whereas, Delegates from several Churches of the Association withdrew from this body, because she refused to adopt Resolutions declaring non-fellowship with all members of Missionary Societies, &c.&c., and all churches that held such persons in fellowship: Therefore-
‘ RESOLVED, That the Clerk mark all the names of the Delegates who have withdrawn from this Association in violation of the Constitution and Rules of Decorum, &c with the word Withdrawn, and that the Churches which these Delegates represent, be requested to notify this body at her next meeting, whether or not they justify their act.”
The die was cast the following year when Dr. Ware was appointed, along with 7 others, to report on the churches which withdrew from the Association. Their report was received without comment:
1839 Item 32
“Called for the Report of the Committee on the seceding Churches. The Report was received, and ordered to be spread on the minutes, and the Committee discharged. Report.— The committee to whom was referred the subject of the seceding Churches from this Association, which took place at the last Annual Meeting, have had the same under consideration, and request the adoption of the following: In the 20th item of the Minutes of the last Meeting, we discover the following to wit, ‘Whereas, Delegates from several Churches of the Association withdrew from this body, because she refused to adopt Resolutions declaring non-fellowship with all members of Missionary Societies, &c.&c., and all churches that held such persons in fellowship; Therefore resolved, That the Clerk mark all the names of the Delegates, who have withdrawn from this Association, in violation of the Constitution, Rules of Decorum, &c. With the word ‘withdrawn;’ and that the churches which the Delegates represent, be requested to notify this body at her next meeting, whether or not they justify their act.'” In accordance with the above request, it was to be hoped, that these Churches would at least have condescended to have notified this body of their approval or disapproval of their act; but as no answer has been received from them, it is taken for granted that their act has been fully sanctioned by their Churches. When individuals or churches meet in association, and adopt, subscribe, and pledge themselves to be governed by certain rules, they are morally bound to comply with them until they are legally rescinded or altered. Therefore Resolved, That this Association deeply regret the loss of the following Churches: viz. Union and Antioch, Autauga County; Cedar Creek and Bethsaida, Wilcox County; Shiloh, Cool Spring, New Providence, and Bethabara, Lowndes County; Bethel, Bethlehem, and Mount Pleasant, Montgomery County; Breastwork, Fort Dale, Sweet Water, Moriah, Mount Zion, and Friendship, Butler County: And inasmuch as they have withdrawn, in violation of the Constitution, and formed another association, we therefore consider them in disorder, and hold ourselves no longer accountable for their conduct.”

Dr. Ware, Slavery, and the Association
In 1840 Dr. Ware was asked to serve as an additional trustee for the slave-evangelist Caesar.9 The appointment was precipitated by a request from the Baptists in the Mobile area. Their hope was that Caesar would be permitted to preach in their area. For many more years Dr. Ware would continue to serve the Baptists in central Alabama in various capacities: Associational Clerk along with other committee assignments such as drafting and personally delivering letters to other associations. In 1842 he served on a committee charged with the task of finding preachers for “destitute” churches. Six churches were finding it difficult to secure preachers. The final report recommended that churches be supplied preachers who would be financially supported by the Association. The fact that Robert J. Ware served as treasurer for the Association and as trustee or Caesar probably accounts for the fact that Caesar attended the Rehoboth Baptist Church three times and baptized 10 blacks in 1842.10

Quite evidently Dr. Ware was involved in a matter introduced to the Association by the Rehoboth Church in 1848. The black population of the church had grown considerably with the church reporting 44 whites and 162 blacks. Consequently, the church asked the Association to assume a more intentional posture in providing religious education for blacks. Dr. Ware, along with four others, was charged with looking into the request. Perhaps the vacuum of leadership left by the death of Caesar the previous year highlighted the need for religious instruction among blacks.

Dr. Ware would chair the committee and report on its behalf. The report deals seriously with the matter and suggests that churches rally around the cause of providing religious instruction to the black population. For those willing to work among blacks, a financial incentive was provided in the amount of $500 per year per minister as long as funds were sufficient. One resolution called for a survey among the slave population which would reflect the following:

How many slaves never hear the gospel preached?
How many are without religious instruction whatsoever?
The number of times sermons were preached, where, and how many baptized.
The number of slave owners preventing their slaves from going to church and enjoying
church privileges (without naming individuals).
The report was adopted and ordered sent for publication to THE ALABAMA BAPTIST.11

In 1850 the always-simmering conflict with the anti-missionary proponents surfaced when W. N.
Cone presented a preamble and resolutions addressing the issue. We have no record of their content. Robert J. Ware was among five who was to study and report on the document. When this was done the following year, the matter was tabled and successfully killed.

Ware would be authorized to represent the Association at meetings of the Alabama Baptist Convention held in Marion in 1854 and the Southern Baptist Convention held in Louisville in 1857 and in Richmond in 1859. One of the last Associational causes supported by Dr. Ware was expressed in a leadership role in the Alabama Bible Association in which he was made a lifetime member.
One might well imagine the intense involvement of Dr. Ware when Rehoboth hosted the annual
meeting of the Alabama Baptist Association in 1854. The responsibility of accommodating
representatives of 33 churches was no small task. Did the Wares house and fete some of the
delegates at The Laurels some 4-5 miles to the west?

The Laurels was an impressive plantation home. Edward Pattillo graphically describes the opulent design of The Laurels:It had a two-story portico, pedimented and with two groups of four columns each, one set above the other. The entrance door was fanlighted, and the handsome windows were twelve panes over twelve. It had nine large rooms and a notable entrance hall in two sections, divided by an elliptical arch, the stairway in the second part rising in a graceful curve against a curved wall. The house had particularly fine carved woodwork and elegantly molded ceiling and cornice plasterwork, both typical of Daniel Pratt’s work. The drawing room was noted for its hand-painted scenic French wallpaper (stripped off by post WWII owners, who preferred not to have it restored), and the grounds were remembered by a descendent:

‘… an orchard containing plums, currents, jujus, peaches, raspberries, scuppernongs, and grapes. Laurel trees were on one side of the house and under these was a croquet ground. A picket fence surrounded the houses and a lane of cedar trees led up to it.’ The house was, as usual, situated on the edge of the ‘table,’ with a fine view of the sweeping valley below. In this setting Ware ‘was surrounded with every comfort and convenience for country life. He had a park, stocked with deer, the only one ever seen by the writer.’ So reported Robertson, an eyewitness.”12 The house was well built and stood until 1972 when it was struck by lightning and quickly burned with the exception of the wine cellar.

What Happened to Rehoboth Baptist Church?
When reading the minutes of the Alabama Baptist Association, it becomes apparent that by the early 1860s, the Rehoboth Church has virtually ceased to function. Although the church name has been retained in the minutes, no statistics have been submitted for publication. It is probably safe to assume that the intense advent of the Civil War and the winds of freedom blowing strongly for the abolition of slavery brought about a swift demise for the small and fragile church. In 1867 a strong black population in the area founded the Rehoberth Baptist Church with its variant spelling.

Pattillo speaks to what happened to the building and the church: “It was burned, supposedly by
Negroes, during Reconstruction, and finally in 1875 reorganized, moved, and the name changed to Bethany.”13 The Bethany Baptist Church, comprised of a few former Rehoboth members, became a charter church of the Montgomery Baptist Association when it was formed in 1882. Bethany met in a large wooden structure which housed a store and post office at Ware, Alabama.

Today the structure has fully collapsed and is obscured by dense foliage and woods at the northeast quadrant of the Ware intersection (Elmore County Rd 4 and County Rd. 129). The Bethany Church had a short life of a few years. On March 7, 1915 members of the dissolved Bethany Church convened and constituted today’s Rock Springs Baptist Church of Sistrunk.14
The Declining Years and the Aftermath of War

While in his early fifties, Ware’s primary residence changed. He began staying for longer periods at his newly acquired townhouse in the city of Montgomery. After living in the house for several months, Dr. Ware finally purchased it from Henry Milliard with $25,000 in gold. Pattillo describes its architecture as “Italiante or Tuscan style.” It monopolized an entire city block and was adorned by six acres of gardens and orchards. The house itself was located at the head of Washington Street.15
Dr. Lee N. Allen tells of the formative beginning of Montgomery’s Second Baptist Church when a nucleus of persons in the downtown church started a new work on the city’s eastside in 1859. Allen states, “For several years Second Baptist Church met in a small frame building on Washington Street, directly south of the capitol, in the block now occupied by the state archives building. Later a piece of property around the block on the north side of Adams Street (later Avenue) was donated by Gov. T.H. Watts and Dr. R. J. Ware.” After occupying several locations, the church is known today as Eastmont Baptist Church.16
Dr. Robert J. Ware was strongly sympathetic with the principles which galvanized the Confederacy. Now occupying his townhouse in Montgomery, the Ware family was among the city’s upper social class which loved to entertain the Confederate elite in their homes. Invitational cards were issued to dinner parties and teas. “Such elegant dinners might start with a first course of oyster soup, followed by fish salad and oysters, with ham, turkey, mutton, or beef- often in combination – as the entree. Waffles and coffee or tea followed, and a choice of cakes, jellies, charlotte russe, and ambrosia frequently completed the fare…Each course included libations, from wine to brandies to liquor.”17

The first year of the Civil War brought about much tension in the city. A loyalty oath was drafted by the city council and wholeheartedly endorsed by citizens on August 2. “Concerned citizens meeting at Estelle Hall a week later established a twenty-four person Vigilante Committee. Some of the city’s best known residents – Dr. Robert Ware, Frank Gilmer, James Farley, and Judge Abram Martin – were members. The charter enjoined everyone to monitor ‘suspicious’ persons at the railroad depots, steamboat landings, and other public places. Strangers whose reason for visiting was not clear could be brought before the Vigilante Committee for questioning.”18

One can only surmise the disillusionment and heartache experienced by Dr. Ware when the Civil War erupted and brought tremendous societal change in Montgomery County. The Rehoboth Baptist Church seems to have ceased functioning around 1860-61. The minutes of the Alabama Baptist Association reflect the absence of reports from the church which had once been one of four founding congregations. Bethel in Pintlala and Antioch and Elim, all of Montgomery County, were the other three.

Dr. Ware’s last years witnessed the defeat of the Confederate troops, the emancipation of slaves, and the dismantling of the plantation system. As the war was brought to a conclusion, Ware and his family were forced to live in the upper level of his townhouse because the lower level was occupied by Union officers and by Major General James H. Wilson himself.
The diminishing of his financial assets left Dr. Robert J. Ware faced with thoughts of an uncertain future. Death intervened on November 1, 1867. Religiously, politically, and socially the influence of this one-time physician, planter, politician, and churchman provided a pivotal, shaping influence in central Alabama.

1833 Monday, October 14
#13 Motion is approved to revise Constitution, Rules of Decorum, and Articles of Faith
Committee is comprised of Moderator (James McLemore), McWhorter, Baker, Larkin, Davis, Browning, Peebles

1834 Monday October 13
#9 Committee failed to meet with a majority and was discharged
#17 Resolved, To create a committee of 7 to draft a Constitution, Rules of Decorum, and
Abstract of Faith: Browning, Lee, Robertson, Lamar, Nix, Larkins, Davis
Resolved, Committee was requested to meet at Mount Gilead in November and member churches were to be supplied copies of the proposed revision.
Resolved, the committee was to submit a form for letters of dismission to be used by local churches.

1835 Friday, October 9
#8 The committee was prevented from meeting. Ware and Harralson were added to replace two who were not present. The report was due on Monday, 10:00 A.M.

Monday, October 12
#19 The committee’s revisions were approved.
#20 Six copies were to be distributed to each church including the Constitution, dismissal forms, ^nd Abstract of Principles. #29 The Association would vote again next year.

1836 Friday, October 7
#8 Majority of churches disapproved of the previous year’s revisions.
Resolved, Since the revision was rejected, the “Original” documents were retained. #28 Monday, October 10
Differences within the Association are acknowledged. A meeting at Shiloh Meeting House in Dallas County will be held in May in order to cultivate love and union and that Ministers in particular are invited along with members of the Association and brethren from sister associations. #29 Churches will be provided proposed revisions in order to determine if they actually desire the revisions and delegates/messengers are to be duly authorized.

1837 Friday, October 6 Bethel Baptist Church, Pintlala
#1 Dissent is expressed over the Centre Ridge Church’s petition for membership. The petition was withdrawn by the church’s delegates.

Saturday, October 7 Bad weather, no meeting

Monday, October 10
#15 Majority of churches opposed revisions #27 Dr. Robert J. Ware presents a preamble with 9 resolutions

1838 Friday, October 12
#5 Four churches, Centre Ridge included, are accepted for membership with no dissent recorded.

Tuesday, October 16
#20 The defection of churches is formally acknowledged. The defection was because the Association refused to disfellowship churches which were affiliated with Bible Societies, Missionary Societies, etc.

1839 Saturday, October 12
#20 A committee was selected to report on the defecting churches.
#32 The report was made with a recap of defecting churches and a list of them.

NOTE: It is important to compare the 1835 Abstract of Principles with the 1838 Articles of Faith. The 1838 Articles of Faith accompanied the original constitution supported by the anti-missionary group. It re-emerged with the defeat of the 1835 revisions. Once the anti-missionary constituents left the Association, a new Declaration of Faith was adopted in 1844. The 1835 Abstract of Principles reflect the revisions supported by Dr. Robert J. Ware and others who served on the Revision Committee. The differences are glaring. Note the emphases:

1835 Abstract of Principles
Right to private judgment
Disclaims spirit of intolerance/persecution
Emphasis on the Trinity
Man as a free moral agent
Total Depravity
“Quickening” of the Holy Spirit
Two Ordinances: Baptism /Lord’s Supper

1838 Articles of Faith
Emphasis on the elect
3 Ordinances: Baptism, Lord’s Supper, Footwashing
No reference to the Holy Spirit

1. W.G. Robertson, Recollections of the Early Settlers of Montgomery County and Their
Families (Excelsior Printing Company: Montgomery 1892), n.p.
2. Obituary of Robert Ware, Alabama Journal, May 18, 1827
3. “Unveiling at Four Baptist Churches,” Montgomery Advertiser (Montgomery, Alabama),
Novembers, 1923, p.3
4. Edward Pattillo, “Robert James Ware,” (Unpublished Monograph, n.d.), p. 6
5. Ibid.
6. William Garrett, Reminiscences of Public Men in Alabama for Thirty Years, (1872:
Spartanburg, S.C.: Reprint Company, 1975), p.321
7. Minutes, Alabama Baptist Association, Item 8, 1835
8. Garrett, p.321
9. Minutes, 1840, Item 20
10. Minutes, 1842, Items 3, 11, 14
11. Minutes, 1848, pp. 10-12
12. Pattillo, p. 11
13. Edward Pattillo, “Planters of the Tallapoosa River Valley Prior to 1860,” Tallassee Tribune,
December 23, 1971, n.p.
14. The Heritage ofElmore County, Alabama (Heritage Publishing Consultants, Inc., Clanton,
Alabama, 2002), p. 125
15. Pattillo, “Robert James Ware,” p. 13
16. Lee N. Allen, The First 150 Years: Montgomery’s First Baptist Church, 1829-1979,
(Montgomery: First Baptist Church, 1979), p. 62
17. William Warren Rogers, Jr., Confederate Home Front: Montgomery During the Civil War,
(Tuscaloosa and London: The University of Alabama Press, 2001), p. 33
18. Ibid., p. 109


Dr. Robert James Ware and the Rehobeth Baptist Church Montgomery, Alabama — 4 Comments

  1. Very interesting article. I grew up in Rock Springs community. In 1960 my family lived in the Dawson Plantation home. I would like to get more information on Ware, Al and the other plantation homes of this era. Thank you.

  2. I am a member of Rock Springs Church and we celebrate our 100th anniv this year, 2015. I have been studying the history that links Rehoboth and Bethany with Rock Springs for the last 4 years and have thoroughly enjoyed the hours spent researching. I have referred to the contents of this article so many times. Recently talked with someone who can point out where the Ware mansion stood.

  3. Loved the article. I have a connection to his step mother, Judith Green Ware. Just starting to research this side of the family.

  4. Nice article Judi. I too, have tried to connect my ancestors back to James Ware I and Agnes Todd, but haven’t been successful yet. Wish you the best of luck on your search and thanks for this great piece of documentation.

    C. Wayne Ware
    Cedar Falls, IA

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