Boone County, Kentucky,
Bullitsburg Baptist Church Members,
By Stephen W. Worrel, revised 2020
Download PDF Listing of Members
This alphabetical table contains some 1,500 names of members of Bullittsburg Baptist Church, the oldest and largest--in its heyday--of the churches of the North Bend Association of Regular Baptists in Boone County, Kentucky. The membership lists are transcribed from the minutes of the church and also contain the names of slave members of the church.
The lists are invaluable for genealogists since they contain the names of many women members, death dates for many members, and often dates when members and their families joined another church or moved from the local area. Virtually none of this valuable information appears in civil records until much later. Additional interesting information about many members whose names are in the lists may be found in the minutes, or record books, of the church. So when a person of interest is found in the membership list, make a note of their dates of admission to and dismission from the church and search the minutes for that period for any other mentions of that person. Through 1842, the minutes are transcribed and searchable (but not the membership lists) on this web site (URL below). From 1843-1972 the digitized minutes may be found on the Boone County Public Library web site (URL below).
The Baptist Church of Christ at Bullittsburg, was constituted in June 1794 in what was then Campbell County, Kentucky. It adhered to the Philadelphia Confession of Faith and was a member of the Elkhorn, then the North Bend, regional association of Baptist churches. Many early Bullittsburg members were from Madison County, Virginia, as was one of its longtime leaders, the Rev. Absalom Graves. At its height the church had some 428 white and 149 black members - a total of 577 adherents.
As Bullittsburg and Boone County grew, some of its members left to start other churches in the area. (These are the references in the records and membership lists to "Dismissed by constitution" or “C.”) Many members left to join the Woolpers Creek Baptist Church, which was in existence only from 14 March 1801 until June of that year when the two churches reunited. Another "daughter" was the [Forks of] Gunpowder Baptist Church in central Boone County, founded on 29 April 1812. Other progeny were Sand Run, founded on 20 March 1819 by some 77 Bullittsburg members, and Middle Creek, founded 12 March 1803.
In addition to ministering to the spiritual needs of its members, the church served as a sort of moral court, where alleged transgressions could be "laid in" either by the member himself or his neighbors (white or black). If found guilty of sin by the church, punishment, as noted above, consisted of suspension, exclusion, or excommunication in ascending order of severity. Reinstatement was possible. The church even dealt with some commercial and debt disputes and provided (albeit rarely) for the upkeep of needy members.
Interestingly, slave members were active participants in this process. Of course they never accused their white masters, but they did accuse themselves and each other. Whites also accused other owners' slaves - and even their own. By mid-century, moral accusations appeared to be winding down, and many of the cases were of whites accusing blacks.
Judging by the number of cases in the minutes, leading the list of sins were drinking too much (intoxication) and fighting and disorderly conduct. Also near the top sins was failure to attend church services (a good excuse was required). In the middle of the list of sins were "purloining" (stealing) and "absconding" (running away) on the part of slaves, along with joining another religious denomination, which violated the beliefs of the Baptist Church (Methodists, Presbyterians, Campbellites, or a Masonic Lodge) and commercial/debt disputes. The fewest cases of sins concerned fornication, adultery, dancing, gambling, and horse racing. At the bottom was the sin of "keeping a fiddle," although interestingly the church now and then named "singing clerks" (music directors).
A large number of Boone County church members moved on west, many to Indiana and on to Missouri.
The Name Table
Names are arranged alphabetically in the "Member's or Owner's Name" column. The next column contains the "Slaves' Names." (If column 3 is blank, that means the information in that row refers to the white principal member or slave owner.) Columns numbered 2 and 3 contain letters referring to the type of action that occurred when church members were admitted to membership in a given church or left that church. The keys to the letters are at the top of the table. Most members were admitted by baptism (B), by letter (L) from another Baptist church stating that they were members in good standing when they left, or by "constitution," (C), viz., they were founding members of a new church. Most members left the church by death (D) or by receiving a letter (M) they could use to join a new church when they moved. Members could also be sanctioned (in increasing order of severity): suspended (S), excluded (E), or excommunicated (X), as well as restored (R) or reunited (U) when they made proper amends.
The "Comments" column contains, among other things, "aliases," that is, the unmarried or previously married surnames of married female members.
In the original records, the names of a married couple often, but not always, are entered together. In alphabetizing the table, these pairings have mostly been lost. They may be seen, of course, by consulting the original records (below). In the name table these couples can often be reconstructed by noting the dates of admission and dismissal: usually, but again not always, they are the same for married couples. Of course, the Boone County marriage records also may be consulted, although one or two marriages, judging from the aliases, do not appear in the civil records.
Note that the names Clore/Glore apparently were used interchangeably, as were Cristy/Christy and Deer/Dear. Every conceivable spelling should be checked, since clerks often spelled names phonetically when the subject was illiterate.
Bullittsburg. Church records (“minutes” or “ledgers”) are extant at the church itself, but available no later than about 70 years ago for privacy reasons (like the U.S. census records). Most of the church’s then-available records were microfilmed by the Kentucky Historical Society in 1986, and a copy is available there and at the Boone County Public Library. Digitized copies of the original records through 1943 are on the BCPL web site at: https://bcp.ent.sirsi.net/client/en_US/history/search/results?qu=bullittsburg+baptist+church+ledger+books&lm=LHDC&st=PA)
The church’s records through 1842 have been transcribed on this web site and are searchable via the search link on the home page or on the “Early Boone County, Kentucky Baptists” http://baptisthistoryhomepage.com/boone.baptist.index.html web page. However, the membership lists from the minutes that were used in compiling this table are not contained in the web site transcription. But the original copies are available at the BCPL web site (above).
The names in the table were transcribed from photocopies of the membership lists contained in the original church minutes and in the digitized BCPL copies as follows below. The lists appear randomly in the filmed version, but often at the beginning or end of the books. A list was drawn up on a given date, and notes were made about changes in status of various members until the next list was made. [BCPL digitized ledger books (LB) and page numbers for the lists are in brackets]:
1. An undated list of 162 white members through 1801, 4 pages [BCPL, LB 1794-1813, 100-101]
2. A list of 428 white members through February 1813, dated 7 June 1801, 9 pages [BCPL, LB 1794-1813, 102-107]
3. A list of 327 white members through November 1818, dated 23 May 1813, 9 pages [BCPL, LB 1813-1842, 171-173. 2 additional pages of this list are at pp.135-136 and 2 other pages are missing from the KHS film. The missing information is contained in this name table list from the original book, although on 2 of the pages, years are illegible on the dates at the side of the page.]
4. A list of 361 white members through May 1835, dated 28 December 1819, 10 pages [BCPL, LB 1813-1842, 173-178]
5. A list of 215 white members through 1834-35, dated 7 February1829, 3 pages [BCPL, LB 1813-1842, 185- 186]
6. A list of 158 white members through July 1839, dated 15 July 1835, 5 pages [BCPL, LB 1813-1842, 168-170]
7. A list of 193 white members through November 1842, dated 22 January 1840, 3 pages. [BCPL, LB 1813- 1842, 187-188. This list contains only admission date, name and action and was only spot checked given the more complete information in list #8 below.]
8. Another list of 194 white members through December 1842, dated 22 January 1840, 6 pages [BCPL, LB 1813-1842, 164- 166]
9. An undated list of 33 black members through April 1801,1 page [BCPL, LB 1794-1813,108]
10. A list of 113 black members through 1812 dated 7 June 1801, 3 pages [BCPL, LB 1794-1813, 108]
11. A list of 149 black members through November 1818, dated 25 July 1813, 3 pages [BCPL, LB 1813-1842, 180- 182]
12. A list of 139 black members through July 1832, dated 28 December 1819, 4 pages [BCPL, LB 1813-1842, 183-185]
13. A list of 92 black members, dated February 1829, 1 page. This list was not found in KHS/BCPL film.
14. A list of 109 black members through November 1842, dated 25 January 1835, 3 pages [BCPL, LB 1813-1842, 179-180]
15. A list of 178 white members through 1849, dated 1 January 1843,5 pages [BCPL, LB, 1843-1866, 5-7]
16. A list of 109 black members dated 1 January 1843, 4 pages. [BCPL, LB, 1843-1866, 148-150]
17. A list of 78 white male members dated 15 November 1853, 2 pages. [BCPL, LB, 1866-1892, 159-160] The list at the end of this reel contains names only, including women, despite the title.
18. An unnumbered list of “…persons united with the church…Sept 1853” (through baptism), 1 page. [BCPL, LB,1866-1892, 159]
19. A list of 142 white male members through September 1854?, dated January 1854, 4 pages [BCPL, LB, 1843-1866, 8-9.In fact women are included.]
20. A list of 109 black members through 1871, dated 1 January 1843, 5 pages. [BCPL, LB, 1843-1866,148-150]
21. A list of about 190 white members through 1874, dated 1 January 1857 [BCPL, LB, 1843-1866, 144-147]
22. An undated list of 10 colored members from 1840-1878, 1 page. [BCPL, LB, 1866-1892, 158]
23. An undated, unnumbered list of members through 1880, 6 pages. Two following pages that may or may not contain names were missing at the time of filming. The names in this list are not included in the name table. [BCPL, LB, 1866-1892,7-9]
24. An unnumbered list of members dated 4 August 1880, 8 pages. The names in this list are not included in the name table. [BCPL, LB, 1866-1892, 149-153]
25. A list of the ordained ministers and officers through 1879, 2 pages. These names are included in the name table. [BCPL, LB, 1866-1892, 6]
A separate Bullitsburg Church ledger book exists for 1820-1857. It was also filmed by KHS and digitized by BCPL on their web site. This book seems to consist of rough drafts of the same material that is in the other ledger books that cover the same period. It is sort of like the difference between a county court minute book and the corresponding court order book. Indeed the authors even could well have been the same person for the church and the court. There are no membership lists in this book, however.
The file showing the list of church members has over 1,500 names and is in PDF format. You must have Adobe Reader to use this file.
Download PDF Listing of Members =============
[By Stephen W. Worrel, rev 2020. Mr. Worrel is a long-time genealogist with Boone County ancestors. He has compiled several books of Northern Kentucky records, a number of articles in the Virginia Genealogist, and a book on Wardens of the Poor in Northampton County, North Carolina, among other endeavors.]
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