On this day in 1817, Isaac McCoy accepted an appointment from the Baptist Convention as a missionary in the Mississippi Valley, where he would work among the settlers and Native Americans. The first baptist missionary in the Mississippi valley, McCoy played a vital role in both the physical and spiritual development of the region. His missionary career would span thirty years.
In 1700, James McCoy, a ten years old Scottish emigrant orphan, landed at Baltimore. As he grew older, he married and settled in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, where he had a son, William McCoy. William would become a Baptist pastor and the father of Isaac. As Isaac grew up in the home of his godly father, he was taught to love and serve Christ. Soon, Isaac was also pastoring a church. But in order to support his family, he took a job as a wheelwright. As he worked on wheels of the covered wagons moving west, he heard stories of the wild and wonderful wilderness that lay ahead. When the opportunity came for Isaac to take the gospel to this amazing place, he readily agreed.
Though commissioned to work with both the settlers and the native Americans, the Natives soon became McCoy’s passion. He started schools and churches in many villages and became a strong advocate for their rights. It was written that “the most conspicuous monument to the memory of the McCoys was the marked advance in civilization and religion of those tribes whom they served.”
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