Two wives of Richard Furman - Elizabeth and Dorothea - are the 16th essay in A Noble Company, Volume 5.

7th Oct 2014

The next essay (XVI) in A Noble Company, Volume 5, covers two ladies -- Elizabeth H. Furman (1755-1787) and Dorothea M. Furman (1773-1819). Each were successively the wife of Richard Furman, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Charleston, SC. How much is known of these two women, his first wife, Elizabeth Haynsworth and, two years after her death, Dorothea Maria Burn? Precious little. But Baptists of this century and this new millennium have historical and personal connections with those pioneer women who had so much to do in shaping who we are individually, and as a nation. These women, these nurturers who gave birth, taught, trained, loved those little ones and formed the nucleus of the home that drew Richard Furman there for warmth, support, and love, had to be women of skill, courage, strength and determination. What we do know of their lives reminds us of these things. The period during which Richard Furman and his two wives lived and worked was one of profound change and progress in America, including among Baptists. The married life of Richard and Elizabeth spanned the chaotic years of the Revolutionary War, while that of Richard and Dorothea flourished during the postwar and early national decades. Readers will find their lives to be an interesting look back at what it meant to be a Christian woman at the very center of Baptist life in the South.