Tri-Counties Genealogy &
History by Joyce M. Tice
||Mt. Pisgah Praying Band
Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
Photo of Moses Gustin's Tower on Mt. Pisgah
The Mount Pisgah Praying Band
Joyce's Search Tip - November 2008
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Recollections of Guy S. Ballard - Written in 1927 - W. D. Morse -
In the year of 1866 or 1867 on the southern slope of Mount Pisgah a
young Married woman, the mother of two small children, Martha J. Ballard,
wife of L.J. Ballard became concerned in relation to the proper training
of her small children and in that locality was only one family of professed
Christians, Uncle Billy McKean and wife. No religious services were conducted
in that locality. The inhabitants were not church going people. Martha
J Ballard whose maiden name was Martha J. Blakeslee became converted to
Christian faith without preacher or evangelist, but through prayer and
at once began missionary work in her own home. Her husband was rebellious.
He was kept awake by the vocal prayers of his wife. He threatened to leave
the farm, buy for his wife a small house and lot near the church which
was located some distance away and he would get away from a praying wife
and go to the west. Conviction overcame him and he soon become a praying
Christian and from this family the religious fire was kindled and personal
evangelism began with the organizing a prayer meeting at the nearby school
house. The wave of Christian sentiment swept the community. These prayer
meetings continued regularly and often were conducted in other school houses
and the praying families established a monthly gathering at the home of
one of its members and then rotating monthly with the other members.
Many of the young men became noted for their ability in prayer and were
invited to attend the religious meetings in other localities and in the
year 1870 on the bank of the Cowanesque River in Tioga County, Pennsylvania,
under the shade of a spreading elm tree, a company of praying farmers assembled
and organized what was after to be known as the Mount Pisgah Praying Band.
This organization consisted of Guy S. Ballard as organizer and now residing
at Leona, Springfield township, Bradford County, Pennsylvania, at the advanced
age of eighty eight yearsand a fine specimen of a Christian gentleman.
Mr. Ballard is the only surviving member of the "Band" all others have
gone to their reward.
|Laertes James Ballard
||Martha J. Blakeslee "Ballard"
The names of the other members of the "Band" were L.J. Ballard, Robert
Ballard, Edward Partridge, D.G. Smith, Alvin Smith, D.A. LaMent, John Miller
and Gideon Baxter. L.J. Ballard was active member until about the year
1876 when he removed to Troy, Pa., and engaged in the mercantile business.
LaMent and Robert Ballard were active only for a short time and John Miller
became a minister and the "Band" was reduced to five members and their
work continued until about the year 1882. In the later years of their service
these five members were divided, Guy S. Ballard and Gideon Baxter forming
one team and Partridge and the Smith brothers were members of the other
gospel team. The latter team did little after the division of the "Band"
and Guy S. Ballard and Gideon Baxter continued the work for about three
Evangelistic services were conducted in the following places during
the 12 years of active service, as follows: Aspinwall Corners, Austinville,
Daggett Hollow, Blossburg, Wellsboro, Tioga Village, Mainsburg, Nelson,
Elkland, Knoxville, Westfield, Alder Run, Meclinburg, Cohocton, Naples,
Liberty Corners, Durell, Susquehana, Binghamton, Owego, Nichols, Barton,
Smithboro, Athens, Milan, Ulster, Orwell Hill, LeRaysville, Meshoppin,
Tunkhannock, Pittston, Wyoming, Scranton, Smithfield and Carbondale. At
the services in Binghamton there were more that 600 converts. At the beginning,
the "Band" did not keep a list of the names of converts but later began
a list which exceeded 5000 names of converts. Many ministers resulted from
this organization's activities. From the small village of Tioga, three
of their converts became ministers.
Eternity alone will be able to measure the wonderful work of these praying
farmers who professed little educational training, but whose souls were
on fire with Christian zeal.
Subj: The Mount Pisgah Praying Band
Date: 7/29/2002 11:30:49 AM Eastern Daylight Time
My 2gr grandparents, Martha J. Blakeslee "Ballard" and
Laertes James (L.J.) Ballard are the 2 people mentioned at the beginning
of this great article you posted as the founders of the "Mount Pisgah Praying
Band". I have a picture of each of them, if you would like to have
them and post them on the site. L.J. (Lert, for short) was also in
the Civil War, Co.D, 132nd Pennsylvania Volunteers. Thanks for all
you do. Let me know if you would like to have these pictures to post.
Linda Smith, Nashville, Tenn. 37221