Saturday, December 22, 2007

Notes From My Knapsack 1-6-08
Jeff Gill

So Much Amazement, So Little Time

2008 is off to a flying start, and there is so much to marvel at and be surprised by.

We have an awesome bowl game here at the end of the college football season, begun back in August (or was it the spring scrimmage, which is just a few months ahead).

Many, many fans in central Ohio, more than just alums, and quite a few traveling to watch them battle it out against a wily opponent. And think about going down into the heart of the area devastated by Hurricane Katrina just a few years ago, now the place again for vacationers and warmth-seekers who will be in a stadium tonight to watch . . .

No, you think I mean tomorrow, Monday night, Jan. 7? Sorry, I was talking about the GMAC Bowl with Bowling Green playing Tulsa, in Mobile, Alabama. That’s Sunday night, Jan. 6, and it oughta be a barn-burner.

Sure, I’ll watch the thing Monday, too; who were the Bucks playing? Actually, I may watch “Good Eats” instead. Tune in for the last quarter, late.

What we can reflect on to our mutual benefit is a year that is still early in a new millennium, where fears about resurgent militant Islam and internal conflict among Western nations can and should be balanced with the rise of new technologies and strengthened religion in some nations that had in recent years become indifferent. New initiatives to build relationships between Islamic and Asian nations make some in the West nervous, but a new global economy is starting to benefit those who had formerly been at the very bottom of society.

I’m talking, of course, about 1008.

Then there’s . . . ok, I won’t go for the same cheesy effect for describing 1808, but you know I could! They had their own worries and unique challenges when the State of Ohio was young, but the human condition was not so different that you can’t find much to empathize with in their struggles and small victories.

Even a few big victories.

What I will do is invite you all to come next Sunday, Jan. 13, to “The Works” just south of Newark’s Courthouse Square, for a 2:00 pm lecture given by . . . well, me, sort of.

I’m coming in the garb and guise of one Chaplain David Jones, the second recorded European visitor to the terrain of what’s now Licking County, a county that formally came into being on March 1, 1808, carved out of Fairfield County which itself was taken from Washington County, which was originally the entire expanse of the Northwest Territory.

This year is the bicentennial of Licking County, and the “kick-off” event of a series of talks and programs is my presentation on, or as “Chaplain David Jones: The Lost Founder of Licking County?” I want to tell the story not only of his remarkable 1773 visit to the area, but of his many other visits through his death in 1820, the people he sent to this region, the institutions he directly or indirectly helped found, and his role in American history from Valley Forge (chaplain for Anthony Wayne) to the Battle of Fallen Timbers (he was there, with Wayne) to the Treaty of Greenville (he’s a signer), and beyond.

Granville and Union and Licking Townships, Baptists in general, and Owl Creek Baptist Church in particular up into Knox County, maybe even Newark itself all owe Rev. Jones some modest acknowledgement of his role right here. I can’t think of anyone I’d rather talk about to launch the bicentennial celebration of Licking County as a cultural and political institution than Chaplain Jones.

Come on by, won’t you? It’s not everyday that it’s 1808.

Jeff Gill is a writer, storyteller, and supply preacher around central Ohio; he’s been digging away at the story of Rev. Jones since 1989, and can’t wait to tell someone about it. Tell your unappreciated story to him at

No comments:

Post a Comment