Stanley Phillips, a present day elder with the Absoluter faction of Hardshells, and editor of the Hardshell web page "asweetsavor," wrote:
"Between 1814 and 1840's, this “Means and Measures” Old School party grew rapidly on the frontiers, and were basically considered “brethren” by all other Old School groups. The Means Baptists had no particular quibble about suing churches of our Lord, “brethren” or not; and in the 1840's law-suits by them to claim church properties, strained that relationship between them. By the 1850's the separation between the “Means Baptists,” and the “Anti-Means” Baptists was close to completion. Some who were members of Predestinarian Old School Baptists joined in fellowship with the Means Baptists. The Means Baptists found these former Predestinarians very capable leaders, among the most notable was John Clark, WITH the Ketocton, and William Conrad of the Licking Particular, and their law-suits and bitter slanderous misinformation is still correct tidbits today." (Stanley C. Phillips January 2009 - see here)
Elder Phillips admits that for many years the "Primitive" or "Old School" denomination had within it many who believed that God saved (regenerated or begat) by means of the Gospel during the first generation of the anti mission movement. He says that "by the 1850s the separation between the 'Means Baptists,' and the "Anti-Means' Baptists was close to completion." Actually, however, it was not till about 1890 when there was a formal division. This is an admission that many of today's Hardshells are not willing to make, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. Most Hardshells have been led to believe that the Hardshells have always rejected means, and that the original division in the 1827-32 period was over the question of means. But, the fact is, the original division was not over the question of the use of means in salvation, but over methods, and over "humanly devised means," such as mission organizations and Sunday Schools.
Elder Phillips also acknowledges that Elders John Clark and William Conrad, who I have cited in previous postings, were "Means Baptists." Yet, many Hardshells today acknowledge that Clark was "one of them." It just shows how little they really know of their own history and how far they have removed from what was originally believed by their founding fathers. Further, Elder Conrad was fellowshipped by Elder Wilson Thompson and labored together. The first Hardshells could recognize and fellowship those who believed in means but today's Hardshells will not.