Apostle of the Chesapeake

Littleton Purnell Bowen (1833-1933), the great biographer of Francis Makemie, often considered the founder of Presbyterianism in America, also wrote of him in verse. 

In his volume of prose and poetry titled Makemieland Memorials; With Eastern Shore Wild Flowers and Other Wild Things (1910), there is a 4-page poetic tribute to Francis Makemie, "the Paul of Accomack, the Knox of Pocomoke...the Apostle of the Chesapeake...this Calvin of the Eastern Shore." 

As Paul on every shore sought God's elect
And faced unmoved the Mediterranean gales,
So went Makemie forth to all the winds;
His sloop Tabitha to a hundred streams,
His faithful Button trudging pathless swamps.
He planted Churches as he planted corn —
Rehoboth, Wicomico and Snow Hill,
Monokin, Rockawalkin and Pitts Creek —
From fair Onancock up to Buckingham,
The lilies and the seabirds tracked his course.

Having explored the barrier islands and farm fields of the Delmarva Peninsula, visited the churches planted by Makemie which are still standing, and stood myself on the banks of Holden's Creek in Temperanceville, Accomack County, Virginia, the spot where Makemie is buried and his statue stands today - his burial place was discovered by Bowen himself through tireless research - in reading Bowen's tribute this writer is whisked away to a time when a pioneer Presbyterian from Ulster brought the gospel to a colonial frontier. 

Upon the banks of Holden's Creek he sleeps.
The sparkle of the wavelets tell the tale
Of crystal River and the Great White Throne.
Since then what multitudes of graves on all
These landscapes rest, tombs of the fathers,
Blood of Covenanter, blood of Huguenot.
Where ever soared a sounder Creed to Heaven!
Take off thy shoes; we stand on holy ground,
The burning bush burns on and unconsumed.

This poem tells the story in brief of a man who is a true American hero of the faith. It begins on p. 75 of Makemieland Memorials. If you enjoy church history and poetry together, take a moment to read Bowen's tribute to Francis Makemie, the Apostle of the Chesapeake.