Laura Davidson Baird was a grand-daughter of Rev. Alexander Davidson. In 1905 she wrote the following letter.: “My great-grandfather Alexander Davidson II, was a native of Scotland, lineal decedent of an old Scotch family. He emigrated from his native land in an early day, and located in Gloucester County, Virginia, before the days of the Revolution. Rev. Alexander Davidson III was my grandfather. Grandfather’s first wife Anna Bridges, she was a very pious lady, and she finally wished to unite with the Baptist Church. It was with reluctance that Grandfather gave his consent for her baptism. At that time he was opposed to religion. He only owned one horse, so took his wife riding behind him to the baptismal waters, and as he rode home he said he felt just like she was not his wife any more. Not long afterwards, he went with her to prayer meeting at church, to which an old colored brother was a member. He was absent on that occasion and one of the brethren asked where he was. Grandfather rose to his feet and replied that he did not know unless he was ‘robbin some one’s hen roost’! Not a great while after this, he was convicted of his sinfulness and sought mercy at God’s throne of grace; and eventually he obtained that peace of mind this world can neither give nor take away. Some years afterwards, the wife of his early manhood, the mother of his children, passed away, leaving him and the children very desolate. After the demise of his first wife, he was wedded to Miss Mary Ellis, daughter of Jacob Ellis. Her parents were of English descent and were natives of Virginia. In those early days of the Revolution, our grandfather and his family, consisting of six sons and three daughters, were exposed to many hardships. The country was infested with Tories, who often robbed them of the little they had accumulated. On one occasion they came at night, searched grandfather’s cabin, only found a few dollars and a pair of steelyards. Fortunately, he had most of his money in the pocket of some old pants hanging to the wall, which escaped their notice. Often, they would be driven from their homes, perhaps get another cabin built and a few acres in cultivation and be driven miles away. Grandma Ellis related to me many thrilling incidents in which her father and family passed through. When quite a girl, Grandma saw General George Washington crossing the James River with a company of soldiers. Grandfather subsequently became an eminent pioneer minister of the Gospel, and was pastor of several churches in Kentucky. Grandma told me Glasgow was a small town, and that calico was one dollar per yard; coffee, one dollar per pound; and everything else in proportion. Grandfather’s home was three miles south of Glasgow. That homestead is now called South Fork, taking the name of the creek, which ran through Grandfather’s farm which contained seven hundred acres. The neighbors were located far apart. Col. George Murrell, who emigrated from Virginia, was at one time Grandfather’s nearest neighbor. There were no better citizens to be found anywhere than those primitive settlers. The neighbors were more devoted to each other then, than at the present time. Grandma told me that Grandfather’s liberality knew no bounds. He never would let little Mill Boyd pass his home of evenings. Had him (and others) stay over night and after breakfast start them on their way home, which, perhaps, was several miles distant. Grandfather and Col. Murrell were Barren County delegates to the Second Constitutional Convention of the state of Kentucky. It must be remembered that Barren County, at that date, was yet a part of Warren County. With the aid of his sons and slaves that he brought from Virginia, soon a plantation was cleared. Everything, almost, in the way of clothing was made on the farm. Even the hides of the beeves killed for family provision were tanned in large troughs down by the wide, flowing spring branch, for shoe leather, with sap bark. The hair, also, was utilized, mixed with cotton, carded, spun, and woven into blankets for the colored family. A blacksmith shop was built close by and Grandfather did his own smithing and some for others. On one occasion a widow lady sent her plows by her son, putting in some old castings in the wagon for Grandpa to use on her plows. It fretted Grandfather. He stepped to a briar patch near by and tossed the old pot lids as far as he could send them. I told Grandma I imagined that Grandfather’s Scotch temper rose. The old lady that sent them perhaps knew no better than to suppose that a blacksmith could use any kind of iron in his shop. She knew better, afterwards, I imagine.. Uncle Hezekiah, Grandfather’s fourth son, was a splendid gunsmith and made many guns in those early days. Grandma had a table made by him when they first came to Kentucky. The walnut timber was just hewn. He had neither saw nor plane to work with. Some may think this incredible; nevertheless, it is true. I had it from the lips of dear Grandma. Uncle John Davidson (he was a Chain carrier for Edmund Rogers) went to visit a neighbor, who lived some distance across the creek from his home. He wished to borrow an augur. At late bedtime he started home, had not gone very far before he found he was pursued by a panther which screamed. Uncle would turn and wave the augur to and fro at the panther and scream back at him as loud as possible, but still it followed on until the creek was reached. Uncle crossed over on the footlog; I suppose in that way Uncle’s life was saved for he did not have even a pocket knife with him to defend himself. He was united in marriage to Miss Sarah Ellis a sister of Grandmother, much younger than herself. She was quite a Doctress, using medical herbs, performed many cures, and was held in high esteem in the community in which she lived. Uncle John was captured by the Indians; I don’t know how long he was held a prisoner, but in their travels he had to sit in a circle with the Indians around a large kettle and take mouthfuls about with the Indians, using a large iron paddle. When he was at home, he was particular; would not use a spoon even that his wife had used. I told Grandma it was a bitter dose, but better than starving. Mt. Tabor Church is located on Beaver Creek some two miles west of Glasgow in Barren County; it was fathered by Alexander Davidson and was constituted of seven members by the assistance of the famous old pioneers, William Hickman and Carter Tarrant. November 5, 1798, Alexander Davidson was chosen pastor; John Murphy was elected clerk; and John Bough was appointed to hold meetings in the absence of the pastor Alexander Davidson. I regret so much not having more of the early ministry of our beloved Grandfather. All the information from my dear Grandma and all obtained from her youngest sister’s son, memory and shall be faithfully preserved for the benefit of our dear kindred. In the early days of the year eighteen hundred, Grandfather visited Grandmother’s father, Jacob Ellis, who resided fifty miles distant, and on Sunday a stand was erected in Shady Grove for Grandfather to preach. A large congregation assembled and Grandfather’s text was “is there no balm in Gilead, is there no physician there?” It will be found in the book of Jeremiah, 8th chapter, and is a part of the 22nd verse. There were but few dry eyes in the congregation when preaching was over. How sad that this is the only text of Scripture we know that he used for a foundation for his sermon."
Is There No Balm in Gilead? A Sermon by Rev. Alexander Davidson - Spring 1800
Seated in the congregation were some of the most rugged yet noble men of God that could be found west of the Appalachian Mountains. These men, in the face of untold difficulties, had plunged into the howling wilderness of the American frontier, and in the face of their bitter enemies, had conquered the land for Christ. When the legal persecutions against the Baptists began in Virginia and North Carolina. where many were imprisoned for preaching and their possessions, gained by hard labor, were taken from them, they had fled into the hills of Tennessee, then to Kentucky and there suffered incredible hardships. They endured hunger, fatigue, cold, and nakedness. The only clothing which many of them could obtain was the skins of animals. And yet the scattered and homeless ones would assemble to unite their voices in singing, and praising God. They encouraged and cheered one another, and were grateful for even their miserable retreat. Many of their children sickened and died from cold and hunger, yet the parents did not for a moment think of yielding religion. They praised the love and favor of God far above earthly ease or worldly riches. If there ever was a religion that functioned during the week-days as well as on Sundays, it was the type found among the pioneers.
Present were such men as Robert Stockton who was said to have been thrust into jail at one time 'for preaching the gospel and William Matthews who, for religious sake, was almost drowned by wicked men while on his way to preach. Also present was Richard Skaggs, one of the old "Long Hunters" who had explored Kentucky, and blazed trails to lead settlers there. He was a man who knew how to survive in the wilderness surrounded by fierce animals and warring Indians. Others included Rev. Benjamin Lynn, for whom No-Lynn (Nolin) River was named. His knowledge of Indian wiles and of the wilderness ways had saved many a settler's life. He had performed the first baptism in Kentucky, in the waters of Nolin River, while men armed with rifles had guarded them against the Indians, which were lurking in the surrounding trees.
Many of the old soldiers of the Revolutionary War were present. Such men as Jonathan Cowherd, who participated in the Battle at Great Bridge near Norfolk, Virginia; Philip Crowder, who was with George Washington at Yorktown and saw the British commander hand his sword to Washington when the war ended. Abraham Harding, who served in Capt. Shin s Company in Pennsylvania and came to Kentucky to assist the recovery of his sister from the Indians; and many others whose countless acts of valor would fill a book of great size.
One participant afterwards said "I have seen a rural audience in those backwoods, made up of men and women of strong nerve, and not to be moved by any story of pain, danger, or death, weep with the deepest emotions."
Note: These early outdoor sermons were often all day revivals, sometimes lasting over the duration of 2 to 3 days. We do not have the actual sermon that Alexander Davidson preach, but what we do know, is that his sermon was based on the scripture from Jeremiah chapter 8, verse 22 "is there no Balm in Gilead?"