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An (1891) extract from:

"Historic Memorials of Barton & Melbourne
General Baptist Churches"

THOMAS KIRKMAN was the youngest son of his parents, and was born at Cauldwell, near Burton-on-Trent, on October 11th, 1772. He was the subject of serious impressions from his boyhood, the result of his mother's prayers and the religious customs of his home life. He early began to pray, and to make known his trials to God as well as to recognise the divine hand in the blessings he enjoyed; and he believed answers were given to his requests on a number of occasions. He narrowly escaped being gored by a bull, and afterwards from being injured by an excited cow which had knocked him out of an elder brother's arms. Crossing one day the then open forest of Charnwood with a mule laden with groceries, it managed to break away from the gate of a house while he was inside and got lost. Night coming on he betook himself to fasting and prayer, and in the early morning he found his animal and its load uninjured. .

But as he grew older sin became stronger within him, and in spite of repeated good resolutions, often gained a mastery over him. He, however, sought humbly divine aid and received strength to resist temptation. When seventeen he lived with a brother in Loughborough who was a grocer, a sister keeping house for them, but his health failing he returned home. Both elder brother and sister lived only for self and the world, the sister indeed yielding to the power of strong drink. Mr. Kirkman was ultimately successful in leading this sister to a better life, and she became an exemplary Christian, being baptized by Mr. J. Goadby, of Ashby-de-la-Zouch. He found more joy in this salvation of his sister than in anything else he ever tried to do. Though diligent in listening to gospel preachers he did not gain clear views of the way of salvation until he read Harvey's "Theron and Aspasio". While perusing that book he was enabled to trust in Jesus and to realise the joy of God's salvation. Having come to live on a farm at Bagworth he heard Mr. Deacon preach in the open air, was attracted to the General Baptists, and was baptized at Barton, November 2nd, 1796, being received into church fellowship the same day.

Fifteen years afterwards he was elected a deacon, and one more fitted for the office never served the church in that capacity. He was humble, earnest, devoted, liberal - loving God's house with intense affection, and finding great delight in association with God's people. When he resolved to join the Barton church his brothers were much opposed to his so doing, saying he would be sure to marry a Methodist and ruin himself. He did marry an earnest Christian woman, a daughter of Mr. Bassett before referred to, but while other members of the family got ruined through their sin and folly, he was saved both for this world and that which was to come. He was for many years an acceptable and useful assistant preacher. His home was the abode of piety and peace, and ministers of the gospel were ever welcome to his hospitable entertainment. One of his daughters became a missionary in Orissa, and the wife of Mr. Stubbins. He was very deaf in his later years, but with his horn to his ear took his place near the preacher as long as he was able to get to the sanctuary. He passed away in the full triumph of the gospel on August 22nd, 1861, in the 89th year of his age, and the sixty-fifth of his membership of the church.

THOMAS KIRKMAN, eldest son of the before-mentioned Mr. Kirkman, was born at Garland's Lane, Barlestone, November 20th, 1813. He had the privilege of a Christian home, his parents seeking to train him up in "the nurture and admonition of the Lord." From boyhood he manifested a strong love of truth and reality, and a hatred of what was false and mean. At what exact period he was led to put his whole trust in the Saviour is not known, but being naturally somewhat retiring and diffident, he did not avow his attachment to Christ until he had reached manhood's years. To the great joy of his parents and friends he at length resolved to take up his cross, and seek fellowship with God's people in the divinely-appointed way. He was baptized on November 17th, 1844.

His uprightness, piety, and wisdom were so obvious as the years passed along. as to lead to his being elected deacon in 1858. For twenty years he faithfully discharged the duties of his office, to the welfare of the church and the glory of God. He did not thrust himself forward, but was ever ready at the call of duty. Being blessed by God in material things he recognised his responsibility, and in many ways acted as one who knew that he would have to give an account of his stewardship. As the head of a family, as an employer of labour, as a neighbour and friend, as a citizen of a great commonwealth, as well as a member and officer of a Christian church, he sought to discharge the duties of his position in harmony with the principles of the gospel of Christ. He was a thorough Nonconformist both by training and conviction, and in the church rate controversy did not hesitate to appear before the magistrates in defence of his principles. He loved the Foreign Mission and liberally supported it, and all the more so as his sister Mrs. Stubbins was engaged in the work. But he did not fail to help the other institutions of the body. His beneficence was also manifested in private ways - the widow's heart being made to sing for joy. He was called to his heavenly home suddenly on November 13th, 1878; and amid general sorrow and deep regret his mortal remains were laid in Barton graveyard until the resurrection of the just. Five out of seven of his children are followers of the Saviour, the eldest being also a deacon of the church.

Quoted from:
"Historic Memorials of Barton & Melbourne General Baptist Churches"
by J R Godfrey, Senior Pastor of the Barton Church
Leicester: Printed & Published by Buck, Winks & Son, High Street
London: Elliot Stock, Paternoster Row (1891)

Note: I am not a lawyer, but this book having been published in 1891, I understand it to be well out of its 50 years' copyright. Should I be badly informed, please contact me and I will remove this page immediately. Meanwhile, Baptist records being notoriously difficult to source, I hope that it will be as helpful to others as it has been to me.


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