Baptist Minister John Gano, BAPTIZED GEORGE WASHINGTON
Baptist Minister John Gano, BAPTIZED GEORGE WASHINGTON
John Gano (Hopewell Township, New Jersey, born on July 22, 1727 - August 10, 1804).
Pastor, Chaplain and Evangelist Gano was a Baptist minister - founder of the First Baptist church in New York City - and Revolutionary War Chaplain who baptized his fellow-soldier and comrade: General George Washington.
Pastor, Chaplain and Evangelist Gano's Background:
John Gano was raised as a Presbyterian and his father was a descendant of Huguenots - the Radical Calvinist Christians and First Martyrs of the Americas - and his mother of English Baptists.
After a powerful conversion experience, John Gano eventually became a Reformed Baptist (Calvinistic) as a young man after a period of intense study.
Pastor, Chaplain and Evangelist Gano left the family farm to study at Princeton University - a bastian of Reformed Theology led by Jonatyhan Edwards, John Witherspoon, etc., (then the College of New Jersey).
Pastor, Chaplain and Evangelist Gano was ordained as pastor of the Scotch Plains, New Jersey, Baptist Church on May 29, 1754.
In 1760, he became the founding pastor of what became two years later the First Baptist Church in the City of New York, now located at the intersection of Broadway and 79th Street.
Pastor and Evangelist Gano served as pastor of the New York Church until 1787, however, he made long itinerant Revival Type-Preaching trips evangelizing throughout the thirteen colonies, asserting
I...had a right to proclaim free grace wherever I went.
Pastor, Chaplain and Evangelist Gano travelled throughout the South, Middle Atlantic States, and New England, sometimes being away from home for as long as two years.
In 1764, Gano joined several others as an original fellow or trustee for the chartering of the College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations (the former name for Brown University, originally a Baptist school).
During the American Revolution, Pastor and Evangelist Gano served as a soldier and a Chaplain for the Continental Army, and was chosen by General Washington to say a prayer marking the official end of the American Revolutionary War in 1783.
After the War, Gano returned to his congregation in New York, and in 1787 he moved to Kentucky where he lived until his death in 1804.
Gano is buried in the Daughters Of The Revolutionary War Section of the Frankfort Cemetery in Frankfort, Kentucky just beyond Daniel Boone's grave.
The Washington family Bible, preserved at Mount Vernon, has the following entered within its covers (all written in the same hand with the latest date being in 1797):
George Washington, son to Augustine & Mary his Wife, was Born ye 11th Day of February 1731/2 about 10 in the morning, & was Baptis'd the 5th of April following Mr Beverley Whiting & Capt. Christopher Brookes Godfathers and Mrs. Mildred Gregory Godmother
Daniel Gano (a nephew of Rev. John Gano) said that, when he was seven years old, he witnessed a Baptism of Gen George Washington. He, (Daniel Gano), later moved to Kentucky, and lived there to past ninety years of age, and often related the circumstances of this baptism to his neighbors and friends.
September 1908, at dedication of organ First Baptist Church, Asbury Park, New Jersey, Pastor M. V. McDuffie, gave this instance: "During the Revolutionary War, George Washington approached John Gano, a Baptist minister and said: 'I have been investigating the Scriptures and I believe immersion to be the baptism taught by the Word of God, and I demand it, at your hands. I do not wish any parade or the army called out.' Chaplain Gano took George Washington into the Potomac river and immersed him in the presence of forty-two witnesses." http://www.cragun.com/brian/hearne/history/hh771m.html
While there are historians who doubt the account, because there is no written record in Washington’s papers and the chief source was a boy of only 7, who still gives an extraordinarily detailed account for a 7 year old boy. Though, it is obvious that Washington did not want to make a public display of it, that would not prevent his mentioning it to someone or writing about it in his journal.
Time magazine, September 5, 1932, on the bicentenary of the birthday of George Washington, carried an article giving the account of General Washington being baptized by immersion by Chaplain Gano.
Another account tells of Rev. John Gano having baptized General Washington in the field by immersion, as “Gen. Washington had become dissatisfied with the baptism which had been administered by his own church” (the established Church of England). The baptism of General Washington was performed in the presence of about forty people, according to the same account.
“Very little was said about this, as the Rev. Mr. Gano transgressed the rule of his church by baptizing anyone who was outside the pale of his own denomination, but felt that he could not draw church lines too close to the Army, and so all were baptized by immersion who desired.”
Rev. John Gano, Baptist preacher, is said to have cut the ice in the river, and baptized the commander-in-chief by immersion in the presence of 42 people, all sworn to secrecy! And this has been confirmed by a grandson of the Rev. Gano in an affidavit made at the age of 83 years!
Gano's descendants include billionaire Howard Robard Hughes, Jr., whose mother was Allene (Gano) Hughes; Rev. Stephen Gano; Admiral Roy Alexander Gano; Confederate States of America General Richard Montgomery Gano, and Union General Stephen Gano Burbridge.
War Baptism of George Washington
In 1889 two of Gano's grandchildren claimed in an affidavit that Gano's eldest daughter told them that Gano had baptized Washington by immersion at Valley Forge when he was chaplain.
 Gano Chapel at William Jewell College in Missouri is named after John Gano, and displays a painting of Gano baptizing Washington. The school takes no stance on whether the baptism of Washington actually took place. The chapel also contains a sword owned by the Marquis de Lafayette that Washington gave to Gano.
We have no direct evidence as to the views of John Gano on this subject. But it is, at least, interesting to note the views and practice of his son Rev. Stephen Gano, M. D., who was for thirty-six years pastor of the First Baptist church in Providence, R. I. In a pamphlet register of members of that ancient church, published in 1832, four years after his death, is a biographical sketch of Pastor Gano. It contains this paragraph,
“As to his denominational views and attachments, Dr. Gano was a Baptist of the o1d school, of the true, regular and orthodox cast, be was also a thorough-going adherent to all the peculiarities of his favorite sect, with the exception of the treatment of persons baptized by immersion in other communities. He had no scruples at administering the ordinance of baptism to all in whom he could recognize the characteristics of genuine discipleship to our blessed Lord, whether they were about to become church members with his own denomination or to unite in other communities. He was also fully settled in the belief that Baptist churches ought, in consistency with their principle, to admit to their communion table all real Christians who have been baptized by immersion on a profession of their faith, to whatever denomination they might belong. Many were the cases of his performing the baptismal rite to members of Pedobaptist churches.”
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