Friday, March 26, 2010


My 3rd great grandfather, Robert Boyd Dobbins, was ordained a Presbyterian minister in 1804. From then until his death in 1854 he offered classic Presbyterian faith and practices to his flock, whether they liked it or not. Some who didn’t like it were relatives. Here’s an example taken from the original Session minutes now residing in a bank vault in Ipava, Illinois, a copy of which I was able to obtain back in 1987.

In the spring of 1838 “Abraham Miller appeared before Session and confessed that he had been guilty of the sin of profane language, for which he was sorry, and asked the forgiveness of the Church, which was granted, and he was continued in the Communion of the Church.”

Four years later, in 1842, the Session decided that they had unfinished business with Abraham Miller for neglecting the ordinances of God’s house and neglecting family worship. He was cited to attend the March 12th meeting in Rev. R. B. Dobbins house to receive a copy of the charges and citations for witnesses if he wished them, or to answer to the charges if he chose to do so at that time, and that the Moderator (RBD) serve the citation.

On March 12, Abraham Miller appeared once again before the Session:

(He) being present, was asked by the session if he wished to receive a copy of the charges and citations for witnesses. He replied that he wished to hear the charges read a second time. Which was done. He acknowledged the facts stated in the charges, but denied that he was under obligations to maintain family worship, and said the Session could not prove it from the bible or Confession of Faith. Session labored with him for two hours to convince him of his error, when he replied that he considered he had defended himself in what he had said. He rose up and said there was a great deal of hypocrisy in family worship, and a great deal of devilishness carried on in it, and left the house. Session decided that from his own acknowledgements he ought to be suspended from the communion of the Church. And he is hereby suspended until he gives satisfactory evidence of repentance.

Abraham Miller was married to Rev. Dobbins’ daughter Mary. There is no record of whether or not he ever repented.

Genealogy is SO much fun!

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