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Mt. Pisgah Praying Band
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The Mount Pisgah Praying Band

Recollections of Guy S. Ballard - Written in 1927 - W. D. Morse - Athens, Pa.

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 years.

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
From:  Nanapapahouse
To:  JoyceTice

Dear Joyce,
   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
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