Daniel Marshall
The One-Talent Man Who Produced Five-Talent Results

Daniel Marshall was born in 1706 in Windsor, Connecticut, to parents who were Godly Congregationalists and through their influence and example Daniel was converted at the age of twenty. About 1744/5 Marshall heard the great Evangelist George Whitefield. This encounter produced a spiritual awakening that transformed and forever changed the focus and direction of his life. In 1751/2 he left his home to serve as a missionary among the Mohawk Indians. But after eighteen months of difficult but fruitful ministry, war among the tribes forced him to withdraw. Seeking for a more productive field of labor he traveled to Opequon, Virginia where he joined his brother-in-law Shubal Stearns. It was in Virginia at the age of forty-eight that he and his wife officially embraced Baptist principles and he was licensed to preach the Gospel. From Virginia, Marshall and Stearns traveled to North Carolina where they established the Sandy Creek Baptist Church in 1755 with Stearns as pastor and Marshall as his assistant. In 1756 Marshall founded the church at Abbott Creek with 240 members and he was ordained as their pastor. From his base at Abbott Creek he launched into Virginia preaching, establishing churches and baptizing hundreds of converts. Marshall is credited with helping lay the foundation that produced the phenomenal growth of the Virginia Baptists. Sensing the Holy Spirit’s direction he left his Virginia and North Carolina labors and moved to South Carolina. In less than ten years he established eight churches with numerous branches and laid the groundwork for countless others. Around 1770 he began making excursions across the Savannah River into Georgia. It was on one of these tours that he was arrested for illegally conducting a religious service. When he appeared before the magistrate, Col. Barnard, he forbid him to reenter Georgia to hold religious services. An interesting result of this encounter was that Samuel Cartledge the man who arrested Marshall was later converted and became a faithful Baptist pastor for over fifty years and the magistrate, Col. Barnard, became a zealous and effective Christian. On January 1, 1771 Marshall choosing to obey God rather than man, moved his family into Georgia. When he entered Georgia he was sixty-five years old, a time when most ministers think about retiring, but Marshall had no plans to retire. In 1772 he founded Kiokee, the first Baptist church established in Georgia. During the last thirteen years of his life he was able to organize several churches and at least fourteen ministers were either called or influenced by his ministry. These men were known as “Marshall’s Mighty Men.” William Whitsitt, the historian, states that nine-tenths of our denominational strength was derived from Whitefield through the agency of Stearns and his co-laborer Daniel Marshall. When you read about Marshall’s achievements you can’t help but conclude that he must have been a man who possessed extraordinary ability. However before you jump to that conclusion, listen to those who were intimately acquainted with him. His son, Abraham Marshall, said his gifts were not above mediocrity. Morgan Edwards, the pastor-historian, who was surprised at Marshall’s success, commented after hearing him preach that he lacked eloquence, was a stammerer and no scholar. However, Edwards reveals the secret of Marshall’s success when he added that his only qualities were “piety, earnestness and honesty.” We would add to those qualities a deep abiding love for Christ and the souls of men, prayerfulness, steadfastness, a commitment to personal evangelism and an untiring zeal that has seldom been equaled. Surely these qualities are available to all of us regardless of our gifts.