Rev. Oliver Hart

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Rev Oliver Hart

Birthdate: (72)
Birthplace: Warminster Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania
Death: December 31, 1795 (72)
Hopewell, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, United States
Place of Burial: Southampton, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of John Hart, Jr. and Eleanor Hart (Crispin)
Husband of Sarah Hart (Breece) and Anne Maria Hart
Father of Seth Hart; Eleanor Screven; Hannah Hart; Oliver Hart; Captain John Hart and 5 others
Brother of John Hart, III; Susanna Price; William Hart; Colonel Joseph Hart; Silas Hart and 6 others

Occupation: Pastor Of Baptist Church 30 Yrs, Charleston, South Carolina
Managed by: The Rev. Charles R. Butler Neto
Last Updated:

About Rev. Oliver Hart

A Patriot of the American Revolution for SOUTH CAROLINA. DAR Ancestor # A051677

Rev. Oliver Hart was the son of John Hart, a deacon at Southampton Baptist Church, and Eleanor Crispen, a cousin of William Penn. His family originated in Witney, Oxfordshire, England. Oliver Hart was born in Warminster Township, in Buck County, Pennsylvania in 1723. He grew up learning the carpentry trade and studying the Gospels. By age eighteen, in 1741, he was baptized and began pursuing a career with the church.

Preaching his first sermon February 21, 1748, Rev. Hart impressed his congregation and the church leaders and he was told he was free to preach anywhere he was needed. Coincidentally, there was a great need for a pastor of the Baptist church in Charleston, South Carolina. Rev. Hart left Pennsylvania for Charleston on November 13, 1749, arriving at his destination, fortuitously on December 2 of the same year, the date of the burial of the late pastor of the church. The Charlestonians felt his arrival was providential and by February of 1750 Rev. Hart was installed as the pastor of the Charleston Baptist Church.

In 1751, Rev. Hart founded the Charleston Baptist Association, only the second such association in the country and the first in the South. He modeled this association on the Philadelphia Association, founded in 1707, hoping for similar results from the “union and regular intercourse among those churches that maintained the same faith and order.” For the next 25 years, Rev. Hart built up his new association and devoted his time to the growth of the Baptist church in Charleston.

When war broke out in 1775, Rev. Hart sided with the colonists. He was sent by Provincial Congress of South Carolina to the upstate to spread word of the growing conflict and “enforce the necessity of a general union in order to preserve themselves and their children from slavery.” Rev. Hart, among others, dutifully fulfilled this task, and made a similar trip to High Hills of Santee in 1776. By 1780, the British were about to take the city of Charleston, and Rev. Hart was begged to flee the city. He did, leaving his family and personal effects behind. He returned to his home of Warminster, Pennsylvania, and began preaching there for several years. In 1783, when Charleston was reclaimed by the colonists, Rev. Hart was asked to return by Rev. Richard Furman. Hart declined, saying he had been called to serve in Hopewell, New Jersey, rather than return to South Carolina. Upon declination, the Charleston Baptist Church chose Rev. Furman to take his place, opening a new chapter in the life of the church.

Rev. Hart remained at Hopewell, New Jersey for the remainder of his life. Rev. Hart passed away on December 31, 1795, his family by his side. He was buried at the Southampton Meeting House, in the city where he first preached. Rev. Hart was best known for his founding of the Charleston Association and for his emphasis on education through the Baptist church and is even known as “the father of the education movement among South Carolina Baptists.” He was also awarded an honorary Master of Arts from Rhode Island College (now Brown University) in 1769.

Many of Rev. Hart's papers are housed at the James B. Duke Library, Furman University, Greenville, SC.

Links to additional material:

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Rev. Oliver Hart's Timeline

July 5, 1723
Warminster Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania
April 3, 1741
Age 17
Southampton, Bucks, Pennsylvania
November 18, 1748
Age 25
Southampton, Bucks County, PA
May 22, 1750
Age 26
Southampton, Bucks, Pennsylvania
December 6, 1752
Age 29
Charleston, Charleston , South Carolina
November 7, 1754
Age 31
Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina
March 6, 1758
Age 34
Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina
November 12, 1760
Age 37
Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina
September 6, 1762
Age 39
Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina