History of the Connecticut Baptist State Convention 1823-1907

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One great thing about history is that you can always learn something new even though it is about something old! I wanted to share a wish that all Connecticut Baptists might read the book History of the Connecticut Baptist State Convention 1823-1907 by Rev. Philip S. Evans, D.D. You don’t even have to buy this book because it has been scanned and is available to read on-line at Google books. It really paints a wonderful and vivid picture of our ABCCONN history, our many ministries and accomplishments together. I have referenced this book many times for research, but recently I decided to discover and share more about its author!

Rev. Philip S. Evans
Stamford Baptist Church
Philip S. Evans (pictured at right about 1895), one of nine children, was born in September, 1828 in Bristol, England, the son of Rev. Charles Evans, a missionary to the Island of Sumatra for eight years. Due to ill health, Charles returned to Bristol for several years, ultimately moving his family to America in 1841. It appears they settled in the Brooklyn, NY, area. Philip had to earn his own living from an early age and with that fortitude, graduated from the University of Rochester in 1855 and in 1858 from the Rochester Theological Seminary. He took his first ministerial position at the Thirteenth Baptist Church (name changed later to the Shawmut Avenue Baptist Church) in Boston for a little over a year. From 1859 to 1865, Rev. Evans served at the Stamford Baptist Church (pictured at left) in CT. While at this church, he married Isabel Susan Ovington (born May 30, 1834) from Brooklyn, NY, in 1860. In April of 1861, Rev. Evans can be found addressing a meeting “to raise the men and means for war” and later that same month addressing the first company of 39 Stamford recruits for the Civil War effort. In 1865 he is found serving as the chaplain in the Thirteenth Regiment of the New York Heavy Artillery.
Civil War encampment at Petersburg, VA
Pictured below is his unit’s winter encampment in Petersburg, Virginia. He was present as his unit came under active fire at the Siege of Port Hudson. Here Union Troops attacked and then surrounded the town of Port Hudson, Louisiana, during Grant’s operation against Vicksburg. The siege lasted 48 days, ending when the Confederate stronghold surrendered after Vicksburg’s fall. Shortly after President Lincoln’s assassination, Rev. Evans is found April 19, 1865, delivering an eulogy before the military authorities in Norfolk, VA. This eulogy is in the ABCUSA Historical Archives in Atlanta.
Soldiers and Sailors Monument at East Rock Park, New Haven
From 1869 to 1873 Rev. Evans served the Willimantic Baptist Church as pastor, working also as a school visitor for the Connecticut State Board of Education. From 1874 to 1877 he served the Baptist Church in Shelburne Falls, MA, followed by serving the Amesbury, MA, Baptist Church into the 1880s. Returning to Connecticut, he became the pastor of the Grand Avenue Baptist Church in New Haven, CT, and was honored in 1877 as an assistant marshal in the parade dedicating the Soldiers and Sailors Monument at East Rock Park (pictured).

After finishing his service at Grand Avenue Baptist, he became Superintendent of Missions for the Connecticut Baptist State Convention, one record showing for eight years. Serving simultaneously as Superintendent, Rev. Evans began served as Secretary of the Connecticut Baptist State Convention until 1902. Much of his labor was spent in helping along the formation of Calvary Baptist in Torrington, and being so well loved, he became their first pastor at its formation in 1895. Essentially retiring in 1904, Rev. Evans took a trip around the world, afterwards often lecturing on his trip.

Emanuel Baptist Church, Brooklyn, NY
Having the knowledge of 16 years served as secretary of our State Baptist Convention, in 1906, the Historical Committee was authorized to secure the expertise of Rev. Evans to write a history of the Convention. The resulting history, in book form, was published in 1909.

On Wedesday, Feb. 19, 1913, Rev. Philip Saffery Evans died at his home in Brooklyn, NY, leaving behind his wife and four adult children. Funeral services were held at the Emanuel Baptist Church in Brooklyn (pictured right).

Submitted by Kerry Holloway, Member

ABCCONN Historical Committee and Quaker Hill Baptist Church