1791 Born, March 7
1798 Separated from his father and
mother and lived “under a strange and
inhospitable roof” in hope of attending
1800 His brother took him into his
home and put him in school.
1803 Attended school in Giles county, “kept
  by Mr. R. Curry, an excellent teacher.”
1806 Returned home and deeply convicted
  of sin at a camp-meeting under the
  preaching of William Guirey.
1807 After much private prayer
     he received “evidence of
   pardon”. Felt he was chosen
    to preach the gospel and
      suffer persecution and
1807 Attempted to join Methodists,
  Freewill Baptists and
  Presbyterians but did not receive
  encouragement as a preacher.
 Benjamin Rainey taught him the
  “doctrines and government of the
1809 Became a member of the church and
  began to preach.
 At General Conference in Raleigh he was
  “baptized” by John O’Kelly (poured).
  Licensed to preach.
 Met Rice Haggard at Grayson County. . “I
  found him to be of strong intellect, and of
  profound piety.
“He exhorted me to be faithful, and the Lord
  would make me useful. I loved him and received
  with joy his counsels.”

Planned a tour of the West with Haggard but took
  sick. At Liberty meeting house he met James
  O’Kelly and traveled several days with him.
1810 Visited John Mulkey. “I held two days
  meeting at brother Mulky's. Here I was
  met by my dear brother Dooly.

  “We had a crowded house on Saturday.
 The people felt the weight and power of
1811 Ordained to preach. Visited Cane
 Ridge. “I returned to Lexington,
 where I met with five preachers of
 the christian church,

 one of whom was B. W. Stone. This
 evening he delivered a sermon on the
 pre-existence of Jesus Christ.”

After tour he went to Philadelphia and
 was immersed.
1812 Married Christiana Ritttenour.
  Purchased a home in Orange County, N.
1813 Sold farm and moved to Madison
  County, Ohio.
  1814 Put off “fashionable
     clothing” and “dressed
agreeably to the impression of
 his mind in white”. Hence his
  name of the “White Pilgrim.
1815   Published the “Pilgrim’s
        Hymn Book”
Thro’ Ev’ry Age, Eternal God (Sung
   to tune of “Sun of my Soul”)
Thro' ev'ry age, eternal God, Thou
 art our rest, our safe abode
High was thy throne, e'er heaven
 was made, Or earth thy humble
 footstool laid!
When Jesus Calls Us To His Arms
 (To tune of “Amazing Grace”
 Why should we mourn departing
    Or shake at death's alarms?
Tis but the voice that Jesus sends,
       To call us to his arms.
Are we not tending upward too,
   As fast as time can move?
 Nor should we wish the hours
           more slow,
   To keep us from our love.
 The graves of all his saints be
    And soften'd every bed-
Where should thy dying members
  But with their dying head?
  1835 After visiting New York, he
  was took smallpox while walking
  through the streets.
 “Now with this smallpox I fear I shall
  never see my family again.”
 “Every possible comfort was
  administered to him, but the skill of
  physicians and the aid of friends was
 “We entertained strong hopes of
his recovery until one or two of the
   last days of his life. His earthly
      sufferings were closed on
Thursday, the ninth of this month.
 He is buried
 New Jersey.
     Joseph Thomas
 Minister of the Gospel of
   the Christian Church
  Known as the “WHITE
 PILGRIM,” by reason of
  wearing white raiment
Died April 9th, 1835, Aged
Years, one month and two
       Thomas’ Wife’s Response

“When I joined him in matrimony I agreed
  never to stand in his way in preaching the
“and I have reason to be thankful that God
  has to this day enabled me with all
  cheerfulness. . .
“To aid him by my prayers, industry and
  economy to continue and extend his
  itinerant labors over the world.
“He has suffered much for Jesus’ sake, for the
   salvation of perishing sinners he has sacrificed
   the world. . .
“I have gladly suffered with him for the sake of
   Jesus, and I strongly hope I shall be a sharer of
   his reward in heaven.”
“Let all sisters who have preaching husbands,
   whose hearts burn with the holy fire of the
   ancient evangelist,
give them up to God, and be willing
 to partake of their sufferings that
   they may share their reward. I
    remain the Pilgrim’s wife. . . “
Words by John Ellis, 1838,
    upon visiting the
 grave of Joseph Thomas
1.I came to the place where the
 lone pilgrim lay,
 And pensively stood by the
When in a low whisper I heard
 something say,
How sweetly I sleep here alone!
 2. The tempest may howl, and the
         loud thunder roar,
  And gathering storms may arise,
But calm is my feeling, at rest is my
  The tears are all wiped from my
3. The cause of my Master
  compelled me from home,
  No kindred or relative nigh;
I met the contagion, and sank to
  the tomb,
My soul flew to mansions on high
4. O tell my companion and
 children most dear,
To weep not for me now I'm gone;
The same hand that led me
 through scenes most severe,
Has kindly assisted me home.

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