This letter was written by Rev. James Garland Hamner (1798-1887), the son of Samuel Hamner. He attended Hampden-Sydney College, graduating in 1819 and was a theological student under the Rev. Moses Hoge, 1819-20, and at Princeton Theological Seminary, 1820-23. He received an honorary doctorate in 1846 from the University of Delaware. He was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of East Hanover on October 16, 1822, ordained July 24, 1824, and was pastor at Pole Green Church, 1824-26; stated supply at Fayetteville, N. C., 1826-29; pastor at Frederick, Md., 1830-33; organizer and pastor of the 5th Church of Baltimore 1833-52; infirm, 1852-55. He was Pastor at New Haven, Conn., 1855-60; Park Church, Newark, N. J., 1860-61; and voluntary evangelist in Maryland and Virginia, 1861-77. He resided in Baltimore, 1861-87, where he died on January 29, 1887. He was received by the Presbytery of Winchester from Baltimore, April 20, 1866; dismissed to Chesapeake, March 8, 1870; moderator of the Synod, 1867. He married Olivia Murray in New York City about 1827 and Jane McElderry, in Baltimore December 9, 1830.
George Morrison was invited to be the pastor of Fredericktown utill after 1833.
Addressed to The Rev’d Absalom Peters, Corresponding Sec. of Home Missionary Society, New York
Frederick City, Maryland
August the 30th 1831
My Dear Sir,
At the special request of a number of gentlemen in the lower part of this county (Frederick) & in their behalf, I address you at this time. They are very anxious, as represented to me, to obtain, if practicable, a Presbyterian Preacher to supply the n___ & truly deplorable destitution in the Town of Westminster & the region round about. I am authorized to say, that a brother, going there at your direction, shall find board at the outset, without cost to him, & if the people are pleased, after the lapse of a few months, they think it practicable to provide him a support without drawing, save very moderately, on the funds of the society. Such, my dear Sir, is the request. It has been desired I should present to you & such its adjuncts.
Now, in reference to the field to which some brother is this invited, I have to say it is an exceedingly destitute one. The Methodists & Baptists are pretty much the only preachers they hear — except incidentally. This is a cogent ____ment in enforcing the request on your attention. Westminster is to be the central point of operation. Union Town & Rire’s Town are both within reach & would come under the review of a brother in Westminster.
Westminster is located on the turnpike leading from Baltimore west & into Pennsylvania, & at a point where three turnpike roads unite, & at what is expected to be the termination of the called, “Susquehannah Railroad” & has a population of about a 1,000 persons.
Union Town is also on one bi___ of the turnpike road & has a population of about 3 or 4 hundred, and Rire’s Town a smaller number. But then around all these places are fine tracts of country which would naturally come under the influence of a brother’s labors. There are some Episcopalian’s, some Lutheran’s, & some German Reformed thro’ this population, all of whom — as the matter is represented to me — will fall in with a Presbyterian preacher if he be of the proper stamp.
I feel very anxious about the early occupancy of this ground. I have been over a part of it & am fully persuaded that after some time, a firm foothold may be gained for us in it. No attempt has been made, I think, to plant a germ of Presbytery in it. The space of three months specified by the gentlemen is designed merely as a trial.