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HISTORY OF HILLSDALE COLLEGE

BY HON. JOHN C. PATTERSON, 1883

Elder Samuel Whitcomb and Elijah Cook, Jr., were among the early Free-will Baptists who settled in the territory. They came together from Western New York, and located on Cook's Prairie, in the township of Eckford (then in the township of Homer), in Calhoun county, in 1834. They were men in middle age, with families of grown up children. Before they were fairly settled in their log cabins, the organization of a Free-will Baptist church was determined upon, and on the 12th day of March, 1836, the Free-will Baptist church of Cook's Prairie was organized by them at the school-house, then standing near the site of their present tasteful church edifice. Elder Samuel Whitcomb was the first pastor of this new church. A native of New Hampshire, he had removed to Michigan from Alabama, Genesee county, N. Y. He was a tall, spare man, with a large mouth, prominent nose, and heavy eyebrows, and of a commanding presence. Nature had endowed him with a good voice and a fluent com-mand of language. He also possessed that emotional nature, and magnetic power which hold and move the hearer. He was especially gifted in prayer and exhortation, and his power as a preacher was due to these gifts, rather than to his logic or his homiletics. He was a man for the times, and became one of the leading ministers of the denomination. Elijah Cook, Jr., soon began to preach, and was ordained as a minister. He was a native of the State of New York, and removed from Clarendon, Orleans county, to Michigan. He was a tall, square-shouldered man of marked presence. Positive, energetic, and possessed of an indomitable will, he had that zeal and force which overcome all obstacles. His command of language was poor, it was sometimes painful to listen to him, but he was a great singer.

EARLY MICHIGAN


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