The Trail of Blood

The Trail of Blood, a 1931 book by American Southern Baptist minister James Milton Carroll (1852-1931), comprising a collection of five lectures he gave on the history of Baptist churches, which he presented as a succession from the first Christians.

Timeline from 'The Trail of Blood


The full title is The Trail of Blood: Following the Christians Down through the Centuries: or, The History of Baptist Churches from the Time of Christ, Their Founder, to the Present Day.[1] Carroll presents modern Baptists as the direct successors of a strain of Christianity dating to apostolic times, reflecting a Landmarkist view first promoted in the mid-nineteenth century by James Robinson Graves (1820-1893). Graves had started an influential movement in Tennessee and the western states. The Landmark controversy divided many Baptists, and ultimately led to the formation of the American Baptist Association in 1924, as well as of Gospel Missions[citation needed] and unaffiliated churches. This is a belief called Baptist successionism.

Carroll claims that modern Baptists descend from such earlier groups as:

Carroll acknowledges a number of other writers, including G.H. Orchard (1796–1861) and John T. Christian (1854-1925). The title is taken from James Robinson Graves' The Trilemma.[1] The book was published in the year Carroll died.

James Edward McGoldrick wrote a response to Carroll's work called Baptist Successionism which gave researched opposition to the theory of "Baptist successionism."[citation needed]

As of 2010 Ashland Avenue Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky held the copyright to Carroll's book.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b William Hull, "William Heth Whitsitt: Martyrdom of a Moderate," Distinctively Baptist: Essays on Baptist History, ed. Marc A. Jolley, John D. Pierce, pp. 237-78, p. 255, note 70.

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