Last Sunday we honored our fathers, and I have something of a Father’s Day story to share. Not only did my family celebrate two graduations and our daughter’s first job in the past few weeks, but I finally discovered who I am. And it’s only taken 50 years!
Up until now, my family could only trace our Deaton roots back to my great-grandfather, Charlie C. Deaton, who grew up in Mooresville, N.C. My grandfather died when my Dad was 13 years old, and Dad had visited just a handful of his uncles and aunts long ago. After that, the trail went cold.
Then, I found a genealogical document online that mentioned my great-grandfather’s name and that of his father. Suddenly, a path was lit all the way back to the first Deaton to set foot on American soil in 1701 in Virginia—75 years before the birth of our country.
I was surprised to learn that there was a town called Deatonville. Though little more than a crossroads today, it once played a role in Gen-eral Lee’s retreat before the Confederates surrendered at Appomattox. And, we have distant ties to some of the Deatons of East Kentucky and to the early pioneer families of Texas.
My curiosity sparked, I began also researching my mother’s Watts lineage. Some of our Watts and Deaton family members had fought on both sides in the Revolutionary War—one was a notorious To-ry—and some of the epic battles of the Civil War, such as Manassas. I learned that Papa Watts fought in some horrific con-frontations against Nazi forces in the Italian Campaign during World War II, though he’d never speak of it.
I now have a sense of my family heritage and a growing appreciation for how we got to where we are today. Why do I share all this with you? Knowing our heritage—both familial and spiritual—and having an understanding of the events, cul-tural forces, beliefs and values which shaped our fathers’ lives and, in turn, our own—are important in keeping us anchored for the fu-ture.
This December, the Western Re-corder will observe its 190th year of service, tracing its denominational heritage back to 1825—a decade before the birth of the Kentucky Baptist Convention itself. And, it occurred to me that along with telling the news of Kentucky Baptists today, an important function of the Western Recorder is writing our Baptist story for future generations of Kentuckians.
On the Western Recorder’s pag-es, we are reminded of who we are as Kentucky Baptists; we meet our lead-ers and forefathers in the faith and see how their beliefs of cooperation and missions have shaped our lives; and we gain an appreciation for how we got to where we are today. We discover our on-mission stories, our dreams, our hopes, our goals, our struggles, and see how God has been faithfully at work among us, blessing the work of Kentucky Baptist churches through the years. And, these all serve to anchor us today and chart a course for tomorrow.
Let me invite you to discover and be a part of Kentucky Baptists’ ongoing story—His story. See how God is at work in and through Kentucky Baptists. Gain a deeper ap-preciation of our rich heritage of being on mission together, taking the gospel to the nations. Subscribe to the Western Recorder. Provide the Baptist state newspaper for your church members, and help them under-stand and appreciate who we are as Southern Baptists, and tell your story of how God is working among our churches today and continuing to bless Kentucky Baptists.