Dr. Pound knows more about the history of the Hardshells than any man, though he is not affiliated with those who call themselves "Primitive Baptists." His writings can be found at
Dr. Pound believes many of the errors of the first Hardshells, such as being a denier of the Trinity, a believer in eternal vital union, etc.
The only other man I know who knows as much or more than I do about Hardshell history, is professor John Crowley, author of "Primitive Baptists of the Wiregrass South."
Here is what Pound wrote about the first generation Hardshells:
"In those days the Old School brethren were in three groupings on theology: 1. The Delaware River and the Warwick, Samuel Trott, grouping, the deniers of Nicenism; 2. The Ketocton association, with John Clark, the followers of Niceinism; 3. The followers of Wilson Thompson, a Sabellian, who denied that the Father and the Son entered into an eternal covenant because these were not two distinct Beings, but only personalities of the One Divine Being. It seems to me that at the first, these divisions among the old schoolers was not over absolute predestination, but OVER NICENISM."
Most Hardshell preachers do not know this about their history. Those that do know these things want to keep it all swept under the rug.
I would add one thing to what Dr. Pound wrote. Not only was the absolute predestination of all things not an issue in the 1830s and 1840s, but neither was the issue of gospel means in the new birth. All the first Hardshell leaders all professed a belief in means and in absolute predestination.