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MCINTOSH, JOHN (1833-1906)

Born August 11, 1833, John McIntosh served as the first Christian missionary to the Plains tribes in Oklahoma. A descendant of the famous Creek chief William McIntosh, Jr., of Georgia, McIntosh became a Christian and was baptized in 1866. His initial attraction to the Christian faith came as a result of his attendance at camp meetings held by African American slaves, whose singing he admired. McIntosh sought the counsel of one of the older slaves, who led him to accept the Christian gospel.

The Baptists ordained McIntosh to the ministry two years later. At the time of his ordination he lived near North Fork Town in the Creek Nation near present day Eufaula, Oklahoma, where he had assisted Baptist missionaries in their work. He expressed a desire to preach the Christian gospel to the Plains tribes in the West but did not have the financial means to do so. In 1874 Texas Baptists agreed to support McIntosh's mission work among the Wichita, who resided on the western plains of the Indian Territory. Unsure of the distance to his destination, McIntosh loaded his horse with supplies and traveled more than two hundred miles to the Wichita Agency at Anadarko.

McIntosh soon met a Delaware named Black Beaver, who spoke English and several dialects. Black Beaver took McIntosh to a village about four miles from Anadarko, where he found a large Wichita camp. McIntosh, who spoke English, had short hair, and dressed like the whites, preached to the people, utilizing Black Beaver as his interpreter. In August 1874 McIntosh delivered his first sermon, a two-hour address from the John 3:16 biblical text. Over the next few years McIntosh, aided by other missionaries, won a number of converts, and in 1880 they organized the Rock Springs Baptist Church, the first Baptist church among the Plains tribes in the Indian Territory. Constructed of black walnut lumber, the building still stands.

In 1910 church members erected a new building near the first one. Over the years the church has served the Wichita, Caddo, Pawnee, Seminole, Creek, Choctaw, Delaware, Comanche, and Kiowa peoples. McIntosh continued his mission work with the Plains tribes and served as a tribal judge until his death on December 25, 1906. His son, Jobe, then took over the work and continued it for many years. At the end of the twentieth century some members of the McIntosh family still lived near Eufaula, the county seat of McIntosh County, named in honor of the family. Acee Blue Eagle, the noted American Indian artist, was a nephew to John.

SEE ALSO: AMERICAN INDIANS, AMERICAN INDIANS AND CHRISTIANITY, RELIGION.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Glenwood Buzbee, "McIntosh, John," in Encyclopedia of Southern Baptists, Vol. 1 (Nashville, Tenn.: Broadman Press, 1958). J. M. Gaskin, Baptist Milestones in Oklahoma (Oklahoma City, Okla.: Messenger Press, 1966). J. M. Gaskin, Trail Blazers of Sooner Baptists (Shawnee: Oklahoma Baptist University Press, 1953). Louise Haddock and J. M. Gaskin, Baptist Heroes in Oklahoma (Oklahoma City, Okla.: Messenger Press, 1976).

Jerry L. Faught II

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