TSGS Cruiser Blog

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

"Elder Benoni Stinson"


My connections to Benoni Stinson...

As a kid growing up in northeastern Warrick County, Indiana, I attended a small General Baptist Church in Heilman, Indiana. The church often spoke of the Oakland City General Baptist College (now University) and one of its founders, Benoni Stinson. He organized the Liberty Church in Evansville in 1823... now known as Howell General Baptist Church. He founded the present day General Baptist denomination.

Later in life, during the summers between attending classes at Evansville College (now University), I worked at George Koch Sons where I met Allan Puckett, who was my age and was an associate pastor at Evansville General Baptist Church. I began attending this church on a regular basis with Reverend Floyd Kirves the head pastor. I learned a lot of what a Christian was all about from Rev. Kirves and Brother Puckett. Just before, I answered the call to service during the Viet Nam conflict, I moved to Sterling, Illinois to help Allan with his first church... I was appointed the Sunday School Superintendent... here I was baptized in the General Baptist denomination. While I was in the U.S. Air Force, I met and fell in love with Becky and was married in a Southern Baptist Church by a General Baptist preacher, Allan Puckett (one of my two best friends). Dennis Avery was my other friend who served as my "best man."

After serving my 4 years in the USAF, Becky & I came home to Evansville and began raising a family and began attending Rev. Kirves' General Baptist church again. I had worked on my family history research since I was 12 years old, but did little letter writing or research while in the service. I got back into working on my family history. I learned and have documented that Benoni Stinson married a family member Ruth Martin. Ruth's father was John Martin, Jr. brother to my direct ancestor Thomas Martin. My ancestor Joseph Martin was the son of Thomas and a first cousin to Ruth Martin who married Benoni Stinson! I had grown up admiring Benoni Stinson not knowing that he had married into my father's family.

The December issue of our society's quarterly journal Tri-State Packet will have an article submitted by a Stinson descendant that includes Benoni & Ruth Stinson. Below are photos connected with Liberty General Baptist Church in the Howell west side neighborhood of Evansville. Click on photos for a larger, better image of each.

There are several grave markers for Benoni located in many sites... this is one erected in honor of his establishment of the Liberty Church

This is the south side of the former Liberty G.B. Church.

Above is a full view of the front side of the church.

Above the front doors of Howell General Baptist Church is the former Liberty name engraved in white stone.

As you could see in the photos of the church building there were several additions. Across the street to the west is the newest addition to Howell G.B. Church - the Family Life Center.

Be sure to read more about the Stinson family in The Tri-State Packet (edited by Brenda Legate).

- Photos taken & submitted by JGWest. Article written by JGWest.

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