1846: Rev. Isaac Shook to Joseph Hyde

This letter was written by Rev. Isaac Shook (1803-1866) of Columbus, Mississippi, who was formerly an agent for the American Bible Society. The following biography comes from the Cumberland Presbyterian, March 11, 1897:

shookisaacBorn Oct. 30, 1803, in Bedford County, Tennessee, Shook was trained for his life-toil upon his father’s farm, never a bad preparatory school for a boy. Enabled to attend the crude schools of his neighborhood but little, he obtained the greater part of his education after working hours and at night by the flickering light of burning bark in the great fireplace of his boyhood home. Read that again, young man, you who are accustomed to complain at your hard lot in securing an education in these days of opportunity; read that again, and hush your complaining with loud thanksgiving for improved conditions. A Christian and a Cumberland Presbyterian from early boyhood, Mr. Shook soon after reached his majority was licensed to preach by Elk Presbytery. He spent the first years of his ministerial life riding the circuit in Middle Tennessee, preaching in the rude cabins of the early settlers, and often sleeping with the snow drifting upon his bed. Such exposure brought on a cough which lasted him through life and finally caused his death April 11, 1866. In 1832 he went with Rev. S. W. Sparks to Gallatin, Miss., to organize a presbytery. On his way home he stopped at Columbus over Sunday, it being a fixed principle with him never to travel on the Lord’s day. He was asked to preach in a Baptist church. The Lord blessed his sermon and a revival began which lasted two months, Mr. Shook preaching every day. He organized a Cumberland church which afterward called him as pastor. In 1835, Rev. Jacob Lindly sent for him to go to Cumberland, Ohio, where he organized a church. He afterward traveled and preached through a large part of that State. During this trip he stopped at the parental home of A. J. Baird, then a little boy. Taking the child upon his knee Mr. Shook talked to him of God and heaven. Dr. Baird often afterward said that an impression was made then which never left him until he was a converted man. While at Marietta, Ohio, Mr. Shook also met Miss Maria Shipman whom he afterward married. She was indeed a helpmeet, teaching school to support the family, while her husband preached.

Mrs. Julia M. Baker, of Belvidere, Tenn., a daughter of Mr. Shook, writes: “The most noticeable trait in my father’s character was his strong faith in his Heavenly Father, whom he trusted for both temporal and spiritual blessings. I will give one incident: At the commencement of the late war his nightly prayer at the family altar was for the safety of the husband of his only daughter. After awhile the petition ceased. On being asked about it his answer was, ‘I don’t want to mock God. My prayer is answered.’ That son is still living, and is an elder in the church.” From 1851 until 1854 he was secretary of the Board of Missions. During that time he began the publication of a monthly missionary magazine. In the second year after its removal to Nashville Mr. Shook was made financial agent of the Publishing Work of the Church, serving some three years. It was his great desire, during the closing years of his life, to see the war ended and peace restored, and then to attend the first post-bellum meeting of the General Assembly. While his first wish was gratified, he was called from labor to reward before the historic Owensboro (Ky.) meeting of our highest church court.

Image 7

Addressed to Joseph Hyde, Esq., Gen. Agent &c. American Bible Society, No. 115 Nassau St., New York [City]

Columbus, Mississippi
January 29 [1846]

Mr. Joseph Hyde
Dear Sir,

Image 6I am directed by the Executive Committee of the Tamligly Bible Society to send the foll[ow]ing order for books which we hope you will fill with as little delay as may be [possible]:

10 Quarto Bibles Sheep lettered raised hands
10 Royal Quarto ”  ”  ”
75 Nonpariel ” with ref ”  ”  ”
100     ”   without  ”   ”   ”
12 Brener Test. ” Muslin
12 Pearl Ref ” Ref ” [?]
25 32mo Pocket ” sheep lettered
500 32 mo ” Muslin

Image 5We have just paid your agent, Dr. Kane, $177.70 which you will place to our credit. James H. Southall paid him $10 in part to constitute himself a life member. James Hayden of this place $30 to constitute himself a life member of A.B.S.  You can send his certificate in the box & if it meets your views, it would be gratifying to then for you to send the worth of their $40 to this society in cheap bibles & testaments to be distributed in Marion & Fayette Counties, Alabama, as we have resolved to make an effort to supply every family in those counties this year.

Please send in this box the amount of your cheapest testament for gratuitous distribution to which myself & wife — Mrs. Maria Shook — are entitled by virtue of our life membership.

Yours truly, — Isaac Shook, Treas. Tamligly Bible Society

Image 8While about from home traveling for my health in 1843, I had the misfortune to have the certificates of life membership of myself and wife destroyed by the person who had charge of my affairs. If it would be consistent for you to send us duplicates, it would afford us much gratification.

Yours, — I. Shook


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