Baptists We Should Know: John Conant

Dr. Mark Rasmussen

John Conant was the son of Ebenezer Conant, Jr., who was a soldier in the Revolutionary War and a deacon in two Baptist churches. John was born in Massachusetts in 1773 and died in Vermont in 1856. As a very young boy, he felt the Lord working in his heart and expressed to others the fact that Christ in him was both the inspiring and controlling influence in his life.

In 1786, when Conant was only thirteen years old, a preacher came and asked permission of his parents to meet with the children. He preached from the book of Genesis, “Up, get you out of this place.” Conant said it seemed as if the Holy Spirit overshadowed the entire place, and a revival followed. His life was never the same.

After battling a long sickness, his father was about to pass away. His mother asked his father to give away some of his children to those who could care for them, but his father said, “My dear wife, I have already done that. I have given away all your children to the dearest Friend in the world.” John said that this spirit of dedication may have resulted in every one of his siblings being saved.

When John’s father died, John and his mother became responsible for providing for the family. By the age of seventeen he and his mother were operating a saw mill that he had built himself. The closest church was a Catholic church, but knowing the doctrinal error, the Conants would walk five miles each Sunday to hear a Baptist preacher.

Conant was like so many believers in that time. He was faithful to his church. He used his skills to build a church house, and he erected a large seminary building for a high school that was to be directed by a Baptist church.

Conant gave God all the glory for every success he had in his life. He served his church as a clerk and a deacon. He said in his diary about being a deacon, “This office I have considered the most responsible and honorable ever conferred on me by man. I have always felt myself unworthy to hold it, seeing as I do so much unfitness in myself.” Conant gave regularly and generously to foreign missions, and he was even one of the original supporters of Adoniram Judson. Conant died at the age of eighty-three, and he lived a life that was well respected by those both within and without the body of Christ.