1881 HISTORY OF SANGAMON COUNTY, ILLINOIS
Inter-State Publishing Company
Chicago, Illinois, 1881



Page 737

GEORGE BRENT , pastor of Zion Baptist Church, was born near Greensburg, Green county, Kentucky, July 2, 1821. His parents were both slaves, the property of Louis C. Patterson. His father in some manner secured his freedom and moved to Lexington, Kentucky, where, by excellent deportment, he won the regard of many of the best families of white people in that city. George continued to work for his master until August 2, 1850, being placed in a blacksmith shop as soon as he was able to wield the hammer. The elder Brent enlisted the sympathies of eight persons, among whom was Rev. Mr. Brown, subsequently pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Springfield, and the eight on the date heretofore given signed a note for the sum of $1,200, to purchase the freedom of George. In one year afterwards they paid the note, and insured the life of George to secure them from loss in case of his death. George, in the meantime, secured a position in a blacksmith shop in Lexington, and working faithfully at his trade, in three years he paid the entire amount of $1,200, and thus became truly a free man. The year before George secured his freedom, he was married to Mildred Smith, a free-born woman, in Campbellsville, Kentucky. Thirteen children have since been born unto them, only five of whom are now living - two of the dead being killed by a stroke of lightning, an account of which is given on a previous page. While at work in Lexington, Kentucky, he endeavored to learn to read by the aid of a fellow workman, whom he paid five dollars to teach him. He in time was able to read the Bible, the book of books, and which has since been his constant companion, and almost the only work he has ever read. He learned to write since coming to Springfield. The efforts made to secure the little knowledge obtained, would have discouraged nine hundred and ninety-nine men out of one thousand. In 1857, Mr. Brent and family came to Illinois, and settled on a farm on Richland Prairie, remaining only during the fall and winter. He then took his family to Menard county, where he worked at his trade some two years, when he purchased a farm on Richland Prairie, and moving on to it, continued there about six years, when he purchased a residence at 1417 East Adams street, Springfield, where he has since resided. When twenty-one years of age, Mr. Brent made a profession of religion, and while living in Lexington, Kentucky, commenced to talk in public in an acceptable manner, with probably no thought of ever becoming a regular minister. It was not until May, 1864, that he was regularly ordained to preach the gospel. In May, 1865, he was called to the pastorate of the Zion Baptist Church, where he has since labored to the best of his ability in his Master's cause.


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