PRIMITIVE BAPTISTS IN THE UNITED STATES
“…Baltimore Association.—The first meeting of the Baltimore Baptist Association (called in its printed Minutes “The Baptist Association on the Western Shore of Maryland”) was held at Frederick Town, August 10, 11 and 12, 1793. There were then six churches represented, viz.: Harford, 106 members; Frederick Town, 36; Hammond Branch, 29; Taney Town, 27; Seneca, 52; and Huntington, in Pennsylvania, 16; total, 226 members.
*One of these churches is at Woburn, Middlesex County, Mass., and contains about twenty members; the other is at North Berwick, York County, Maine.—S. H.
Elder John Davis preached the introductory sermon, from 2 Corinthians 8:23. Elder Absalom Bainbridge was chosen Moderator, and Thomas Beatty was chosen Clerk. Most of the time was occupied in preaching and other religious exercises. At this meeting a committee was appointed consisting of John Davis, James Beatty, Howard Griffith, William Clingham and Absalom Bainbridge, to prepare a Constitution and Rules of Decorum. On motion by A. Bainbridge, the Association agreed to alter its name, so that in future it should be called the Baltimore Association. In 1794 the Association consisted of seven churches, two of them in Pennsylvania; membership, 251. After a delightful season the Association adjourned to meet in the town of Baltimore August 8th, 1795. The church in Baltimore at this date had a membership of sixty-five.
The Association met in Baltimore, according to appointment. The church in Baltimore, having been dismissed from the Philadelphia Association, petitioned and was received a member of this Association, after giving the Association satisfaction that she was orthodox in principle and practice. Brother Richards proposed a correspondence with sister Associations, and the Philadelphia, Salisbury and Ketockton were selected as most convenient. The time of holding the Association was changed to September, and the next was to be held in that month with the church at Taney Town, September 24, 1796. The next was to be held in August with the church at Seneca. The membership at this time was 345. The body met at Tuscarora, August 3, 1798; membership, 367. Met at or near Reisterstown, Baltimore County, May 24,1799. The next meeting we find mentioned was at old Seneca, in 1802; membership, 668. Met at Harford in 1803. The Circular Letter of this year contains the following statement: “From the letters laid before us we gather the pleasing intelligence that the cause of Christ within our bounds is generally flourishing; some of almost every age have been made willing in the day of Divine power to lay down their arms of rebellion and bow to the sceptre of King Immanuel.” The addition this year was 126.
The Association was held at Side Hill, Pa., in October, 1804. The Minutes for 1805 are missing. In October, 1806, the body met with the church at Conoloway’s, Bedford County, Pa. Three newly constituted churches came in at this time, viz., Gunpowder and Saters, in Baltimore County, and Upper Seneca, in Montgomery County, Md. In October 1807, the Association was held at Pleasant Valley, Washington County, Md. In the Minutes of this year appear for the first time the names of First and Second Baltimore churches. The Association was composed of sixteen churches, viz.: Harford, First Baltimore, Frederick Town, Taney Town, Tuscarora Valley, Old Seneca, Huntington, Hammond Branch Sideling Hill, Pleasant Valley, Washington City, Conoloway, Gunpowder, Saters, Upper Seneca, and Second Baltimore.
The ministers in the Association were John Davis, Lewis Richards, Absalom Butler, William Perkinson, William Gillmore, William Clingham, John Welch, Thomas Runyon, John Cook, Samuel Lane, Benjamin Green, O. B. Brown, George Grice, Edward Chote and John Healy—fifteen in all; and membership, 748. A committee, composed of brethren Richards, Griffith and Polk, was appointed to prepare an address to Thomas Jefferson, President of the United States. The address was presented and reply received.
The session of 1809 was held in Baltimore; in 1810, with Harford; in 1811, with Gunpowder. At this last named Association a resolution was adopted that each church should establish a “mite” society, each member to pay one cent per week to raise a fund to meet the ordinary expenses of the church. Here was a new thing brought in, which proved the germ of “missionism”—nothing heard or seen of such trash before this.
In 1812 the Association was held at Saters; in 1813 with the Second Church in Baltimore. The time of holding was again changed to September. In 1814 met at Upper Seneca. In 1815 met with Old Seneca; in 1816 at Pleasant Valley; total membership, 1,016. In 1817 met at Sideling Hill, Pa., at which time a new church was received called Mill Creek. In 1818 met with the church at Patapsco; 107 added this year; total membership, 1,228. In 1819 met at Alexandria, D. C., in May; and in 1820 with the First Church in Baltimore. In 1821 met at Warren, Baltimore County. In 1822 met with the Pleasant Valley Church; in 1823 at Taney Town; in 1824 with the Ebenezer Church in Baltimore; in 1825 with church at Bethel; in 1826 with the church at Harford; in 1827 with the church at Pleasant Valley; in 1828 with the church at Black Rock, Baltimore County; in 1829 with the church in Washington City; in 1830 with the Upper Seneca; in 1831 with the church at Frederick Town; and in 1832 with Warren Church.
After the adjournment of the Association at Warren in 1832, it was proposed that ministers and messengers should form themselves into a meeting, for the purpose of consulting about the present state of the cause of Christ, and the best means of advancing the interests of the Baptist cause. Elder Reis in a short address thanked God that He had opened the eyes of the brethren to see these evils that had come upon them; and that they were now ready to oppose all those inventions of men, and denounce “Missionary,” Bible and Tract Societies, Sunday Schools, etc., as they were the progeny of Arminianism.
The Clerk of the Association, Elder J. H. Jones, also addressed the meeting at the close of Elder Reis’s remarks, and inquired if Elder Reis had stated correctly the design of the meeting; if he had, then he (Jones) could not act with the meeting, much less as its Clerk. That as to every society Elder Reis had named, he (Jones) was their decided advocate and supporter. Elder Jones afterwards wished all to know that he was the first man to oppose Black-Rockism.
The call was made by this meeting for all Old School Baptist Churches to send delegates to a convention to meet at Black Rock, Baltimore County, on the following September, from which emanated that memorable address, upholding the principles of genuine Christianity, and denouncing the Arminian men-made societies that had so rapidly increased in number and influence within a few years, and which seemed designed to supplant the church of God itself, and scatter to the winds the faith and practice and all the ancient landmarks of God’s chosen people. 
In 1833 the Association met with the Pleasant Valley Church; in 1834 with the Black Rock Church. At this time there were sixteen ministers and 831 members.
In 1835 met with the Ebenezer Church; in 1836 with the Black Rock Church, Baltimore County, May 12th.
This was a meeting long to be remembered by the friends of the Baltimore Association and all true friends of our Baptist Zion throughout the land. On Friday morning the following resolution was offered by Elder Polkinhorn:
WHEREAS, A number of the churches of this Association have departed from the practice of the same, by following cunningly devised fables, uniting with and encouraging others to unite in worldly societies, to the great grief of other churches of this body, as there cannot be fellowship between principles so essentially different; therefore,
Resolved, That this Association cannot hold fellowship with such churches, and all that have done so be dropped from our Minutes.
After preaching the resolution was further discussed, and was adopted by a vote of sixteen for and nine against it. Whereupon the following churches withdrew: Rockville, Pleasant Valley, Singamore, Second Baltimore, Mount Zion and Frederick Town. It was also resolved that the church at Gunpowder be dropped from the Minutes. And it was also resolved that whereas the Philadelphia, Hudson River and New Jersey Associations had departed from the faith and practice as formerly held by them and all Particular Baptists, correspondence with said Associations be dropped.
The above-named withdrawn churches met with the Second Baltimore Church (so-called), and resolved to maintain the name of the Baltimore Baptist Association, and appointed to meet in Washington September 1, 1836. But this was presumption; for as they were fairly excluded by the Baltimore Association, having departed from her ancient principles, they had no moral right to take that venerable name to themselves.
The meetings of the Association since 1833 have been harmonious and edifying for the most part. The author has attended several of them, and enjoyed the preaching and the society found at these meetings very much.
Gifted ministers of our Lord Jesus Christ from North, South and West are generally in attendance at those meetings, and the principles of the gospel kingdom are, on such occasions, at least, ably proclaimed.
We have been thus minute in describing the origin and progress of this old Association down to 1836 because of her position taken against the modern men-made religious institutions of the present century, and because of the anathemas of the North that have been hurled against her from then till now as a counterpart to those in the South hurled at the Kehukee Association.
What is Black-Rockism? Simply a stand taken by an Association of churches to adhere to their ancient faith and practice, while their adversaries and denouncers are those who have left the ancient landmarks which their fathers established and gone off into the wild vagaries of a new-fangled Pharisaic religion.
Reminiscences of some churches in the original bounds of the Baltimore Association:
The first Baptist Church in Maryland of which we have any account is that of Chesnut Ridge, afterwards Saters, Baltimore County. It has passed away into the hands of the New School Party, not having at present among its members, as is supposed, but one Old School Baptist- a brother Burnham, who is, if living, over one hundred years old.
Mr. Sater came from England in 1709. The church was constituted in 1742 with fifty-seven members, and bore the name of General Baptists.
The oldest church bearing the name of Particular Baptist in the Baltimore Association was called Winter’s Run, afterwards Harford, Harford County.
It is said that about the year 1747 some of the members of Chesnut Ridge being inclined to the sentiment of the Particular Baptists, invited their ministers to preach amongst them, who continued their visits until fourteen persons had embraced their sentiments, and these were constituted into a church in 1754, by the assistance of Benjamin Griffith and Peter Vanhorn, and the church was that same year received into the Philadelphia Association. In 1772, besides the main establishment at Winter’s Run, the church consisted of three other branches; one near Chesnut Ridge, which met for worship in the house belonging to the General Baptists; the second was at Patapsco; and the third near Winchester; and there was, in all, at this time, a membership of 138.
Elder John Davis continued in the pastorate of the church for more than fifty years; and established the First Baltimore, Taney Town, Gunpowder and Sater’s Churches. The First Baltimore was established in 1795 with eleven members, all of whom except Elder Lewis Richards were dismissed from Harford Church. The second church of Baltimore was constituted by Elder John Healy and a few English Baptists, and their meeting-house built in 1797. This church may be called, in the Baltimore Association, the mother of preachers, as Harford was called the mother of churches. The first licensed in this church was Elder Daniel Dodge, after him was Lawrence Greatrake, William Brinkers, Joseph Trapnell, W. Curtis, William Reck, Joseph Cone, Bartholomew T. Welch and Joseph H. Jones.
In 1822 Seneca Church had thirty members, under the pastoral care of Elder Francis Moore. This church became in favor of “missionism.” Elder P. Waters constituted about fourteen of her members into a church called Upper Seneca (Old School). Patapsco contained at this time about thirty-one members, with Elder Edward Chote as her pastor.
The Second Church in Washington City contained twenty members (without a pastor), most of whom had been members of the First Church; after her reception into the Association she was supplied by Elder P. Waters; occasionally by Elder Thomas Barton. Her numbers increased, so that in 1830 she had 115 members. The church at Black Rock was constituted March 29,1828, with fourteen members dismissed from the church at Patapsco. Elder Edward Chote was her pastor. Their letter of dismission is dated February 27, 1828….”
What is "Black-Rockism"? Is this term still used today?