Albert Cartwright - A Call to Preach

Swan Quarter, N. C., Aug. 27, 1917

Dear Brother Gold: -- If it is not asking too much, would be glad you would republish my fatherís experience and call to the ministry. I have been requested by several of the brethren and friends to have it republished. After my mother died I found the Landmarks carefully wrapped in paper and put away. I thought then that I would send it to you but often neglect doing things that I should. My sister Eliza Bridgman spent last week with me, so she and I have drawn it from the Landmark. It was published in 1877, September 1st or 15th.

Brother Gold, we are living in perilous times now, so much strife and confusion and wars and we are almost destitute of preaching except when our pastor, Elder E. E. Lundy comes. I take the Landmark and enjoy reading it especially the editorials. If you republish this will you please send me an extra copy. My sister does not take it and would like to have one for her.

Your sister in Christian love, Martha E. Credle


Elder P. D. Gold, Dear Brother in the Lord:--I have for many years been thinking of writing a few lines for publication in your valuable paper, the Landmark, but feeling my unworthiness I have deferred it until now. But notwithstanding, unworthy as I am, I feel willing for the dear brethren and sisters, who I have never seen in the flesh to know some of the travails of my poor soul from natureís night to the marvelous light of Godís dear Son.

I was born in 1816 and was raised by pious parents. They belonged to a religious order called Friends. They used to take me with them to their meetings, but I knew nothing about religion and was not concerned about my poor soul, but lived in open rebellion against God until the 33rd year of my life, at which time I attended the Kehukee Baptist association. I cared nothing for the preaching until Monday. While with some of my associates outside of where the congregation were seated, engaged in talking and laughing; before the close of the last sermon which was delivered by Elder John Stadler, I became very much alarmed, so much so that I dropper my head. My comrades seemed to take no notice of me, of which I was very glad. As soon as I could gain strength and courage I turned my back on the young men and walked around on the other side of the congregation and took a seat near the stand and listened to the latter part of the sermon, which was very alarming to me. The Association broke up and I went home in much trouble about my poor soul. I thought I soon would die, I could not tell what was the matter with me. In all my life I never had such feelings before, which caused me to plead for help. I had read of a God, of heaven and a hell. All of this seemed to come up before me and which way to turn I knew not to gain comfort or ease. It seemed that my poor heart would burst. I did not want anyone to know how bad off I was. The trouble, after a while wore off. I began to think that after a little I would be all right. I thought it was not worth while to give up everything and think of nothing but death and judgment and see no more pleasure in this world. I was unwilling to die in such a condition. There seemed to be no real pleasure for me in this sinful world. Sometimes the distress would wear off a little and then it would return and seem to be worse than before. I thought if I woud get married all this trouble would leave me. and I would live free from trouble.

In 1841 I was married to Nancy M. Jordan. We lived agreably together; but this did not relieve me of the trouble of my poor soul. I was afraid that my wife would find out that I was in trouble. I felt that I ought to pray and for a long time I put it off, though the very breathings of my poor soul was, Lord have mercy on me. My troubles increased so that I came to the conclusion I was going crazy, and that my mind would soon be gone and I would be an object of pity and distress to my dear companion.

I used to be a great hand for sporting with my gun and dogs and spent many a Sabbath day in that way. By this time, being in so much trouble I had not much love for sporting on the Sabbath. My wife began to find out that something was the matter with me and would ask me to tell her what it was, if it was anything she had done to hurt my feelings. I would tell her no, and that there was nothing the matter. I spent much time in going from place to place in search of a spot to kneel down and pray to the Lord to relieve me from this burden of guilt and condemnation. At length one day I left the house not knowing that I would ever return again, and went where no one could see me by the side of a certain water and there for the first time got down on my face to ask the Lord to have mercy on me a poor miserable sinner. When I was on my face I felt that I was not low enough, but it was all I could do to give myself up to the Lord to dispose of me in that way which seemed good in His sight. It seemed to me I could not live much longer. I could not sleep much, for all my groans and sighs amounted to nothing in relieving me. I sometimes would steal off with my gun and dogs to the woods where no one could see me. I thought sometimes that I would shoot myself and put an end to my existence in this wworld. Often I would have to leave the house with tears streaming down my cheeks. I did not want anyone to know how wretched I was. If it had been possible I would have exchanged conditions with the brute creation that had no soul to be saved or lost: for it seemed that with all my prayers and groans and cries my case seemed to get worse. Continually it seemed that the day of grace had passed and there was no chance for me. Nearly ten years had rolled by since I first was alarmed on account of my sins and transgressions.

In the month of May 1840, my case, apparently, was an outside one; for it seemed that if God dealt justly with me I was forever gone. I had no hope of fear being one of his favored ones. One night while lying on my bed, it seemed that something said to get up and open the door and look out. After some time I got up and opened it. As I opened it there was a light sprung up so bright that it seemed that I could have seen a pin out at the door. It disappeared in a moment. After closing the door and thinking for a while what this light meant I went back to bed. I fell asleep and rested much easier than I had before. The morning came but all was not well with me. I could not understand the meaning of this great light. It seemed that it was a token of something I could not tell what. I could not rest by day nor by night. I thought I soon should leave the shores of mortality and that my troubles soon would end in this world and in the eternal world I had no hope of being at rest. I could only cry, Oh, that God would have mercy on me a poor lost sinner.

Dear brethren and sisters in the Lord, it seemed that all hope was gone, and that, as I then thought, my poor heart was to beat but a few more times, and that my poor stammering tongue would move but few more times in asking God to have mercy on me a poor sinner. Friends and relatives were no pleasure to me. Nothing but the monster death was staring me in the face all the time.

In May, about the middle of the month, 1849 at a time unexpected to me, if I am not deceived the Lord heard me in my trouble and delivered me out of my distress, while lying on my bed, about to breathe out my last breath. It seemed that my flesh had lost all feeling and was nothing but a lump of something I could not tell what, and everything seemed perfectly still. It seemed that I could not move. All of my natural strength seemed to be gone. It appeared that I was as helpless as a little child. My mind was directed to the east. I thought that I could hear something like music. It was the sweetest of any thing that I had ever heard in all my life. It seemed to be moving westwardly. The whole firmament seemed to be filled with the sweetness of it. It passed over the room where I was lying, and as it passed over there was a light shone in the room, brighter if possible, than the sun. Then it was that all my troubles left me. The light disappeared and the sweet music moved on westwardly until it was out of my hearing. If it had been possible I would have left this world then and gone with it. All my troubles were gone and I felt as light as anything imaginable. I was filled with praises, and if I had had ten thousand tongues they would all have been engaged in praising the Lord for what great things he had done for me: How happy is every child of grace who feels his sins forgiven.

I then had love for the Primitive Baptists and felt like I wanted to be with them, but felt too unworthy; though everything seemed to bear a new aspect. Everything looked lovely, but they were the people that I wanted to be with. Nearly ten years of trouble had passed off with me, but I soon began to be in trouble again, but not like the first. I felt that I ought to follow the Lord into the water. I loved him and his dear people, but if I could have stayed away from them in peace I would never have united with them. But I was constrained by love. On Saturday before first Sunday in May 1851 to tell the dear brethren what I believed the Lord had done for me. They gave me the right hand of fellowship. I was baptized on the day following by Elder George W. Carawan.

Brethren pray for me a sinner saved by Grace.

Albert Cartwright (see obituary below)


Fairfield, Hyde County, N. C. June 6, 1877

Dear Brother Gold, and All Whom it May Concern:--As I have been impressed for some time to write something concerning my call to the ministry (if I have one) I now make the attempt through feeling my weakness and imperfections, I almost shrink from it, yet I pray the great God of Israel that He may direct my mind and pen.

The first Sunday in May 1851 I was baptized. Then I thought all my troubles were over; but alas! how much I was deceived, though I got along tolerably well until the following August. On the 4th of that month at night I went to bed with my mind at ease. My eyes closed in sleep after a little while, but soon I was aroused and great fear came over me. It seemed that some great power that I could not resist seized and carried me a great way from home and set me down in the strangest place I ever saw, with my face turned toward a small tent or cabin through which was a passway that seemed to be crowded all the while with footmen, which filled me with amazement. After standing there some minutes, not knowing where I was, I thought I was in the way, though no one noticed me. I then thought I would step across to the passway, and did so, and turned to my right, and I was still unnoticed by any one. O, how miserable I was. I felt that I was one alone in a foreign land. I lifted my eyes and looked out upon a large place that was full of rivers and creeks, and streets, and lanes seemed very narrow, running in every direction, divided by narrow streams of water. The places seemed to be crowded with all sizes of footmen going in every direction; some moving very slowly, and some a little faster, until they seemed to be going as fast as horses could run, with all manner of dressing and fashions that ever was worn. After viewing all of their movements I still felt as one alone. I knew not what to do. About this time I saw as it were 3 persons making their way towards me side by side all apparently about the same stature. They seemed to come near enough in front of me for me to lay my hand on them. They stood aside and looked me in the face. After a little, one of them said to me. You are a preacher. I opened my mouth to say that I was not, but before I could speak the second one said he is not. Now the third one spoke and said, you will be. They all, after speaking to me, dispersed, so that I saw them no more. This filled me with great fear so that I could not rest day or night. I kept all of this to myself and thought I would never reveal a word of it anyone. Feeling that I was slow of speech and ignorant and unworthy, I could cry, O wretched man that I am, shall I ever be delivered out of this great trouble? It seemed that the Scriptures were on my mind continually I thought I could never undertake so sacred a task as preaching. Other serious circumstances took place with me. When asleep my mind would be wandering from home; sometimes I would be from home meeting with a large assemblage of people, and on one occasion was preaching to them.

Once when asleep I saw a large congregation of people of both sexes; I walked around them on the East side until I reached the South side, I turned around and saw coming from the north the most beautiful man I ever saw, very fair to look upon with a book in his right hand; he went around where I was and presented the book to me and said, take this book and read it to the people. I took the book and the man left. I then began to read it. By this time I thought it was my duty to speak in the ears of the people, but I felt so unworthy that I was lacking in every capacity, so much so that I thought I never would expose my ignorance before the world. I have often prayed to the good Lord to take me out of that horrible condition. I was compelled to weep by day and by night, going from place to place seeking rest but could find none.

Time had passed on until twelve months had passed away. August the 14th 1852 after going to bed not as well in mind as I was twelve months previous to this time, I fell asleep and soon was alarmed again with nearly the same thing in appearance that happened with me twelve months before. It seemed that my troubles increased greatly. The impression to preach seemed more forcible than before, though I thought I would never let anyone know anything about my feelings in regard to preaching the gospel. When in company with the brethren I was afraid to talk to them concerning the Scriptures fearing they would mistrust my having some light in spiritual things. Time passed on until June 1853. A little before this one of the brethren spent a night with me; we walked out and I for the first time told the impressions of my mind. He encouraged me to enter into my duty. I could only speak of my weakness.

At our conference in June, with all of my weakness, I told the church some of my feelings, and asked liberty to hold prayer meeting which was granted. I made my appointment for the second Sunday in June. There was quite a number attended. With all my unworthiness and weakness I entered into that duty I felt was so sacred to God. From that time I held prayer meetings with the brethren and began to exercise a little. I tried to stop for I was not satisfied with the impression I had made. Time passed on and trouble seemed to be my lot. I did not know what to do. At length to my astonishment one night after retiring it seemed to me that I had left home on foot. I had not gone far before I came to a straight broad road. When I looked to my right I could see for many miles. This road was perfectly straight and led to the place where I first saw that great sight. At the end of this road there appeared a lone tree of considerable size with a cross on it. When I first stepped in this way my eyes were fixed on the cross which was a white as white could be and most beautiful to look upon though it seemed many miles ahead. At length I came near the tree of the cross and stppped and a voice said turn to the right. I turned a little to the right and beheld another road I could see no end to it; it was straight and narrow, just wide enough for one to travel on, which led through a beautiful forest, both sides equally alike with the growth low and small. After a little a voice said, you must travel this road. I stepped into it, and as I started I looked to my right and beheld a large flock of sheep standing in the most beautiful grove I ever beheld. They all seemed to be at peace together. As I was passing by them viewing the beautiful sight a voice said, turn to the right. This brought the sheep before me. The voice again said, There is a sheep in that flock that you must call out. I commenced calling and one of them started toward me; it came bleating and then the whole of the flock followed it. Then and there I was made willing to go and with the assistance of the Lord try to preach Christ to a gainsaying world.

I was set at liberty by the church to exercise in the ministry. That was all the liberty I wanted and more than I asked for. I have met with some refreshing seasons since that time. Time rolled on until the 4th day of June 1855, when the church saw fit to set apart that day for my ordination. With all of my weakness and unworthiness to gratify the church I accepted of the ordination. Ever since I have felt to be at the feet of my brethren. God forbid that I should ever undertake to lord it over Godís heritage.

If I have any call to the ministry I have tried to set it forth in as brief a way as possible. I must say in conclusion, pray for me brethren that I may be kept by the power of God in the pathway of duty.

Yours in love, A. CARTWRIGHT

(Extracted from Zionís Landmark, pages 540-545 (volume, date, and number not included)

I want to express my thanks and gratitude to my cousin, Kathryn Humphries of Oxford, NC (a distant FULFORD cousin), who found this document at the Pembroke Baptist Church Library near Elon College some while back. Kitty felt led to make copies of these documents for future reference. When we first met on Saturday, May 13, 2000, and were getting to know each other and our familial backgrounds, I mentioned my Credle and Cartwright lineage. Kitty said she knew then why she had made the copies, and she mailed the Cartwright texts to me. I have transcribed this text as nearly from the published word as is possible, including all misspellings, syntax, and punctuation. Albert Cartwright is my motherís (Thelma Credle Fulford) grandfather, therefore, he is my great-grandfather, and I take pride and joy in sharing this message with you, each and every one. Florence Fulford ďMaryĒ Moore - May 26, 2000

(See also: The Kehukee Baptist Association & the South Mattamuskeet Baptist Church)

Albert Cartwright Obituary

At half past twelve oíclock Friday evening, June 3rd, 1892, Elder Albert Cartwright at the residence of Mr. John W. Jester, in Swan Quarter, N. C. after a severe illness of five days, and in the seventy sixth year of his age gently fell asleep in the arms of his most merciful Redeemer. He was born July 3rd, 1816 on the north side of Mattamuskeet Lake, Hyde county, N. C., at which place he lived until a few years after the late war when he moved to a settlement called Rose Bay in the same county to be more central among the churches he served. At his death he had the pastoral care of three churches, two in Hyde and one in Tyrrell counties, and when not providentially hindered, was ever faithful in attending them to the edifying of his brethern and the honor of his Lord and Master.

In 1841 he was married to Miss Nancy M. Jordan who it is said was a great beauty of her day, and with whom he lived happily for nearly fifty-three years, or until they were separated by his death. When they had lived together fifty years, their children gave them a golden wedding, to which their neighbors and friends were invited and were present to partake of the fine costly supper which they gave them. The writer of this sketch was present and enjoyed the occasion very much, in singing and praying with them and addressing the people relative to that special occasion.

From the union of the above couple were born several children--the exact number I do not know--only three survive him, one son and two daughters, with several grand children. Our beloved brother was received in fellowhsip of the Primitive Baptist church on Saturday before the first Sunday in May, 1851 and was baptised on the following day by Elder G. W. Carawan. Sometime after he united with the church he felt called by his divine Master to preach the gospel of the son of God, which he did very acceptably to his brethren the remainder of his days.

Returning from meeting at Juniper Bay, Elder Greenwoods appointment Sunday evening in company with his wife and myself, he and wife stopped out of a shower of rain, at the house of Mr. Jesters, and during the night he was taken very sick with a chill and vomiting, and was no better next morning. Dr. Credle was sent for, and came and did all in his power to relieve him, but all human efforts were vain, he gradually kept sinking until Friday a little past the middle of the day, which was the 3rd of June, the Lord whom he so much loved and served called his faithful servant away from earth to Heaven, where for him there will be no more suffering pain and sorrow, but all will be pleasure joy and peace forever. He doubtless called his aged servant away from the evil to come, to receive the crown of righteousness which was laid up in Heaven for him and for all that love the appearing of our Lord Jesus.

On the following day his remains were conveyed to the north side of the Lake near Bethel church to the house of a friend where it remained for the night, and on Sunday morning, first Sunday in June, and the time of the churches quarterly meeting--was taken in the church house, where Elder E. P. Hudson preached a sermon to a congregation numbering I supposed five or six hundred. After services were ended, the pall bearers conveyed the corpse of the dear brother to the grave in the church yard to its last resting place on earth, where it will remain until the morning of the last day when the body thus sown in weakness and dishonor, will be raised in power and glory, where its inheritance will be pure and undefiled enjoying the blissful presence of his Lord forever. May Divine grace prepare us to meet our dear brother there.

Elder Cartwright was deservedly beloved by all the brotherhood that knew him, and even other denominations and the world generally spoke well of him, carrying out the Psalmist declaration ďthat even the rich among the people shall entreat thy favor,Ē a man of this class said at the burial that he wanted all to join together and build a monument to his memory. Such is the result my brethren, of leaving a good name for honor virtue and honesty, these are the fruits of Christianity which will perpetuate a name, when the high shaft raised by man to the honor of man will crumble away and be forgotten. The memory of our brother is specially dear to me from the fact that he baptized me, and he also was one of the Presbytery that ordained me and was spiritually to me, as a father to a son. May the memory of his virtues sink deep into our hearts and may we follow his footsteps as he followed Christ.

signed: L. S. Ross

(This material was extracted from pages 300 and 301, Vol. 25, July 1, 1892, No. 16, of Zionís Landmark, published semi-monthly at Wilson, North Carolina, P. D. Gold, editor, P. G. Lester, Associate Editor., Zionís Landmark Print, Wilson, N. C., [from the records of the Primitive Baptist Church Library near Elon College, NC,] and graciously donated to Florence Fulford Moore by her cousin, Kathryn Humphries, of Oxford, NC).

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