Soon after the first baptism another one was announced to take place at the same spot. Crowds came from far and near filling the bridge and all around that part of the river. Wild rumors and threats of violence against Mr. McEwen if he dared to baptize any more went around, but Miss Margaret King, Miss Emma Copp, and others obeyed the Lord and were full of joy. The minister who opposed the baptism came along in his buggy and had to sit on the bridge because of the throng while the service was conducted and nothing violent happened. Miss Copp afterwards went to Boston and trained as a nurse. She became the wife of the well known evangelist, William Matthews, whose labors for the Lord in Ireland and in America bore much fruit. This was the beginning of the work of God in the Copp family.
Dr. James Kennedy from Boston, younger brother of Dan and Levi, paid a visit to his home and he turned Levi so much against Mr. McEwen that he went home full of wrath intending to turn him out at once. Mr. McEwen was sitting reading his Bible and the serene look on his face disarmed him and he said nothing. Years later Dr. Kennedy was saved through Mr. McEwen and was faithful in Boston and Cambridge assemblies until he was called home to heaven in 1933.
Mr. McEwen desired greatly to preach the Gospel in Mount Pleasant, ten miles from Port Howe. One day as he was distributing tracts a man overtook him with a fine horse and buggy. In a gruff voice he said, “Jump up, sir, and I’ll give you a lift.” Mr. McEwen saw that he had been drinking and his wild-looking appearance made him nervous. However, he gave him a tract and asked him to read it. “I can only spell,” was the reply. “Well, spell out John 3:16 and God can save you.”
A number of men were in a blacksmith’s forge one morning after a heavy snowfall. The current news of the day seemed to center around this terrible preacher called McEwen and how he was telling everyone they were going to hell. James Mattinson (a pugilist and moose hunter), who had given Mr. McEwen a lift in the buggy, was there, and after listening to what had been said, clenched his big first and said, “If he ever tells me I’m going to hell, I‘ll fell him like an ox.” One man looked out and saw Mr. McEwen coming up the road through the snow. Jim went out to meet him and said, “You have not come to Mt. Pleasant yet.” “No,” Mr. McEwen said, “but I am ready any time.” “Well,” he said, “I’m one of the trustees of the school and you can have it.” He arranged to have a meeting on Lord’s Day evening.
Jim went back to the rather disappointed company in the forge who had expected to see a row, and said, “That is a fine man and I am going to get Mt. Pleasant school for him.” Moreover, when he went home he saddled a horse and rode through the country announcing the meeting.
When Mr. McEwen arrived on Lord’s Day he found that nearly all the young men in the community were present, evidently for the purpose of having a good time. But the power of God fell on the meeting and they were unable to move.
The next meeting was on the following Sunday and Mr. McEwen tells us, “It was a pleasure to preach. Souls were weeping as I depicted Christ in the love of His heart dying for the ungodly.” Jim Martinson, the former pugilist, was saved the following week in his own field. His conversion caused many to say, “We have seen strange things today.”
In 1922 at a morning meeting in Port Howe, Mr. McEwen was present and Jim Martinson, old and feeble, came in and sat down beside his old friend. They remembered the Lord together for the last time, for soon brother Martinson, at a good old age, went to be with the Lord.
It was in 1885 in the home of the widow, Mrs. Hume, that the Lord’s table was spread and the assembly planted in Port Howe. Many were the sweet scenes those saints enjoyed as they came together for worship and praise while bearing reproach for Christ. The number increased as during that fall Sandy Dunbar, Joseph O’brien, Alex Cameron and some others were saved and added to the assembly. They became exercised about building a hall but it seemed impossible. However, Mr. McEwen and Mrs. Hume with other saints prayed much about it. One sister working in a mill in the United States, hearing of their purpose, sent him fifty dollars. Another sister sent fifty dollars and soon he had quite a little money on hand. A comfortable hall was built that has been the birthplace of many souls in the years that have followed.
The work was established in Port Howe and many outlying districts were visited resulting in souls being saved. When Joseph O’brien was a year in Christ he gave Mr. McEwen one hundred dollars as fellowship in the Gospel. Mr. McEwen told him that was likely more than he could afford. “Take it, Mr. McEwen,” said his wife. “If you had not come here he might have been a drunkard.”
Mrs. Kennedy was still bitterly opposed to the Gospel. She seemed to hate Mr. McEwen especially. Her son, Dan, witnessed a good confession. He and Fanny King were married and a christian home was established. Mr. and Mrs. Dan Kennedy were among the first who were baptized and, when the assembly was planted, they took their place at the Lord’s table. They had an open door for the Lord’s people for many years. Many servants of Christ, including the writer, shared the loving hospitality and the godly sincerity of that home.
When Mrs. Kennedy was about eighty years old, a telegram was sent to Mrs. Marshall in Boston, Massachusetts asking her to come and see her dying mother. From the time she received the wire she never ceased praying until she knelt at her mother’s bedside. When she arrived she was told of the doctor’s orders that her mother must be kept perfectly quiet as any excitement might prove fatal. Mrs. Marshall brushed them all aside and said, “My darling mother is not saved, and I’m going to speak to her about her soul.”
She entered the chamber and found the minister there who was speaking to her mother. Mrs. Marshall listened until he was finished and then addressed him, “Mr. M , I have often wished to ask you if you were born again but I do not need to do so now, as I heard you speak to my darling mother and you are deceiving her.” This aroused him greatly and Mrs. Kennedy was also angry. However, Mrs. Marshall continued to cry to God and to preach to her mother. One day with broken heart and weeping eyes her mother said, “Oh, Mary, what am I to do to be saved?” Mrs. Marshall had the joy of pointing her dear mother to the loving Saviour, dying on the tree and now living on the throne. She was gloriously saved. Mrs. Marshall’s joy knew no bounds and she ran to the field with the good news to Dan.
They all rejoiced together and a message was sent to Mr. McEwen who sent word that he was coming to see her. This was surely a test. The man she despised so much coming to see her, but she watched through the window and often said, “Oh, I hope hell come.” When he arrived they all sang and wept for joy. She requested him to sing, “Christ Is All.” As he sang the whole piece, the newborn soul sat and wept. Also her son, John, who had bitterly opposed the gospel, sat there while tears ran down his face.
One day shortly after this Dan came in from the barn and found his mother and John in each others arms, weeping for joy. John had just received Christ. Both were baptized together in the open sea and took their place at the Lord’s table in the assembly in Port Howe.
In 1910 I met Mrs. Kennedy and, although four score and ten years lay behind her, she was still joyful in the Lord and interested in the salvation of souls.
Over sixty years of faithful testimony, and tests by the way did not dim the great joy of Mrs. Marshall’s salvation. Loved by all the saints who knew her, esteemed by the unsaved, beloved Mrs. Marshall (mother of the well known Mr. Lawrence Marshall, inventor and founder of “Raytheon” in Boston) continued with unabated zeal in her own motherly way to speak to old and young of the wonderful Saviour she found on her vacation in Nova Scotia in 1884. She passed into the presence of her Lord in 1960 at the age of one hundred and two.
In the original there was a picture of a letter, and the following is a response:
25th November, 1944
My dear Charley,
Thank you for your letter. I heard only yesterday that your dear father had fallen asleep, and I now write to express our sympathy with and your dear mother. Please find a letter to her enclosed herewith from Mrs. Vine and me. We can understand that a large number would attend the burial last Monday. Your father was so well-known and has spent a long course of faithful testimony for Christ in many parts. The Lord has his reward in store in the coming day. Meanwhile, it is good to think of a warrior at rest. The Lord will bless you for caring for him and your mother during all these months. Thank you for your kind enquiry; we are much blessed in health through God’s mercy.
With very hearty greetings and every good wish.
Yours in Christ,