This is from Chapter VIII of the memoirs of Rev. David Rice, which were included in An Outline of the History of the Church in the State of Kentucky, During a Period of Forty Years by Robert Hamilton Bishop and published in 1824.
The duty which a christian minister owes to his family is of a varied kind. With every other christian parent he is indeed to be deeply concerned for their eternal welfare, but he is also to have a due regard to their temporal comfort; and to their temporal comfort not only when they are under his roof, in a great measure incapable of providing for their daily wants -- but his views and arrangements ought also to extend as far as possible to the mode in which they may provide for themselves and others when they shall have arrived at maturity, and have other families depending upon them. Now, in what particular way, and to what particular extent a provision of this kind is to be made, is often with a conscientious servant of the cross, a question of difficult solution.
It is doubtful whether any christian parent ought to form and attempt to execute plans having for their chief object any independent fortune either for himself or for his children. All agree that such a spirit cherished in a christian minister is utterly incompatible with his character. Yet a preacher of the gospel, who has a rising family, must look a little ahead and contemplate a period when perhaps he himself may depend entirely for his support upon his own children. It is of importance, then, that as soon as possible these his children be placed in some such situation in which, with the blessing of providence, they may discharge at once parental and filial duties.
It was under circumstances of this nature that Mr. Rice first turned his attention towards Kentucky. It was spoken of and recommended to him as a country where the best of land might be procured with little more expense and trouble than that connected with having it entered and surveyed as the law directed. He accordingly was induced at a convenient time to ride out and see the country, not principally with the view of preaching the gospel, nor even with the view of moving there soon, if ever; but merely to become acquainted with the country, and if all circumstances were encouraging, to procure settlements for some of his numerous family.
|Kentucky Landscape by James Pierce Barton; courtesy of Google Cultural|
A land office for Kentucky had just been opened, and swarms of land speculators were pouring into it. -- Though he was charmed with the country, neither the mode appointed by the Legislature of Virginia for taking up land, nor the character of the settlers generally, pleased him. "I saw," says he, "that the spirit of speculation was flowing in such a torrent that it would bear down every weak obstacle that stood in its way. I looked forward to fifty or sixty years, and saw the inhabitants engaged in very expensive and demoralizing litigations about their landed property. I knew the make of my own mind, that I could not enjoy the happiness of life if engaged in disputes and law-suits. I therefore resolved to return home without securing a single feet of land."
While in Kentucky he preached when opportunity offered. On his return he met with upwards of four thousand people moving out. Shortly after his return he received a verbal invitation to come to Kentucky and officiate as a minister. He replied, that if a written invitation were sent him, signed only by those who were permanently settled, and who wished to attach themselves to religious society, he would take it into consideration, and return an answer in due time. After a few months a call, subscribed by three hundred men, was forwarded to him; but from the face of it he had strong suspicions, that his request, respecting the situation of subscribers, had not been attended to. However, he, upon the whole, resolved to remove to this new country, which he did in Oct. 1783.
To be continued...
I am publishing a chapter of Rev. David Rice's memoirs every Monday.
Rev. David Rice (1733-1816) was my fifth great grandfather.
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: His Comfort and Success among the Peaks of Otter
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Scene of His First Labors
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Devotes of Himself to the Ministry
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Introduction of the Gospel into Virginia
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Relief Obtained
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Further Convictions
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Birth, Parentage, and First Convictions
Preparing for the Revolutionary War
Pray Together, Stay Together
Apostle of Kentucky