Rev. Ashley Vaughn
Ashley Vaughn was born in 1807, and arrived in Natchez, Mississippi, in 1835, from the First Particular Baptist Church, West Troy, New York. In December 12, 1835, he and his wife Eliza joined the Clear Creek Baptist Church, near Washington, Mississippi (home of historic Jefferson College), and he became pastor of the church. Baptists had migrated to Mississippi in the late eighteenth century, and the first Baptist church─Salem Baptist Church─in the Mississippi area formally was constituted in October 1791 on Cole's Creek, Jefferson County, twenty miles northeast of Natchez. Rev. Richard Curtis, Jr., served as the pastor.
Vaughn established and edited the Southwestern Religious Luminary, the first Baptist newspaper in the area. Advocating the formation of a state convention of Baptist churches, Vaughn succeeded in leading the organization of "The Convention of the Baptist Denomination of the State of Mississippi" at Clear Creek Baptist Church, December 23-24, 1836. At that meeting, Vaughn was elected president of the new Convention.
In February 1837, Vaughn moved to Natchez and helped to reorganize the First Baptist Church of Natchez, and he became its pastor. Vaughn died two years later on March 29, 1839.
As editor of the Southwestern Religious Luminary, Vaughn highlighted the mission work of Baptists in India. In 1838, he published two cutout articles on "Heathenism." The articles derive from the 1824 London edition of Evangelical Rambler. In the articles, Vaughn highlighted the Hindu practice of sati, a Rajpoot's slaying of his daughter who was not chosen for marriage, and the disregard shown to the elderly in non-Christian societies. To review these brief presentations by Vaughn, click on the links below.
Southwestern Religious Luminary, 1838
"On Christian Missions," Part I, in Evangelical Rambler, no. 48 (London, 1824):8-12
Buried in the Natchez City Cemetery, Natchez, Mississippi, alongside Richard Curtis, the first Baptist pastor in Mississippi, photographs of Vaughn's grave appear below. Note the phrase "Alfred the Great of Mississippi Baptists" applied to Vaughn.
Photographs, courtesy, Dr. Daniel P. Caldwell, Professor of Religion, and Dean,
Cooper School of Missions and Biblical Studies, William Carey University, Hattiesburg, Mississippi
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Created: March 31, 2010 Updated: April 5, 2010