Matthew Floyd was by far the most influential and effective preacher in South Concord Association, and became the leader of the missionary party, and, in the new organization, exerted the measure of his influence in favor of missions. South Cumberland Association has shown much interest in home missions, from the time of its constitution, and has usually kept one or more missionaries employed within its bounds. It has enjoyed peace, and has had a steady, though not very rapid growth. In 1850, it numbered 10 churches with 546 members; in 1860, 14 churches with 962 members, in 1870, 22 churches with 1,610 members; in 1879, 22 churches with s, 708 members, and, in 1883, 24 churches with 1,856 members.
Matthew Floyd was one of the most popular, beloved, and efficient preachers in Kentucky, in his generation. His grandfather, Col. Matthew Floyd, came to America in command of a regiment of British soldiers, in time of the Revolutionary War. Being in sympathy with the cause of the Colonists, he succeeded in winning his regiment to his views, during the voyage across the ocean. Accordingly, on landing at Charleston, South Carolina, he, with his entire command, entered the service of the United Colonies, and fought on the side of American independence, during the War. His son, Abraham, who, as was his father, was a native of Ireland, came to America in command of a company in his father's regiment, and continued in the service of the Colonies, during their struggle for liberty. After the close of the War, Captain Floyd moved to Madison county, Kentucky, where he followed the occupation of school teaching. He finally moved to Indiana, where he died, at the age of 104 years.
Matthew Floyd was the son of Captain Abraham Floyd, and was born in South Carolina, in the year 1778. In 1796, he migrated with his parents to Kentucky. He was brought up in the Episcopal church, of which his parents were devout members He received a common English education, probably under the tuition of his father, and, in early life, joined the
Methodist society as a seeker. Subsequently, he professed conversion, and united with a Baptist church near the residence of his parents. Coming home from the baptizing without having changed his garments, his father was so angry with him for having joined the Baptists, that he drove him from his house, with his wet clothes on. However, he continued firm in his new faith. Arriving at manhood, he married Susannah, daughter of Charles Warren, and settled in Pulaski county, near the present location of Old White Oak Baptist church. Here he commenced his long and eminently successful ministry, about the year 1811. White Oak church was probably the fruits of his first labors in the gospel. He was called to the pastoral charge of this organization about the time of its constitution, and served it with great acceptance, about 51 years. He also served with equal acceptance the churches at Monticello, New Salem, Big Spring and Beaver Creek, all in Wayne county. The churches he served belonged to the old Cumberland River fraternity, till that body became so large as to render attendance on its meetings inconvenient. In 1825, Mr. Floyd's charges, with seven other churches, entered into the constitution of South Concord Association. Mr. Floyd had now become the leading minister in the Cumberland Valley. His great popularity was evinced in his being elected Moderator of the new Association, seventeen years in succession. Meanwhile, he preached the introductory sermon before the body, as often as three times in succession.
Soon after the constitution of the General Association, in 1837, the subject of missions began to agitate South Concord Association, and there are good reasons for believing that it would have followed the example of Stocktons Valley, in declaring unanimously against missionary operations, had it not been for the influence of Mr. Floyd, who exerted his entire energies in favor of missions. The opposition in the Association had a small majority, including all the preachers of any considerable influence, except Mr. Floyd, whose personal popularity still gave him the moderatorship. But it became manifest to him, that the two parties could not live together in peace. His prudence secured a peaceable and orderly separation, by the dismissal of the missionary churches, by letter. He immediately secured the calling of a convention of these churches,
and South Cumberland River was constituted, in 1842. He had been Moderator of South Concord from its constitution, and he was now elected Moderator of South Cumberland River Association, a position he continued to occupy, until his death, a period of 21 years.
Besides his pastoral labors, Mr. Floyd preached abundantly among the destitute in Wayne, Pulaski and Russell counties, during his entire ministry of 52 years. He is believed to have been, at least, one of the first missionaries employed by the General Association in his part of the Sate. His success in the ministry was extraordinary, and he baptized a great many people. He was a wise man in council, as well as an efficient laborer in the field. But his work was finished at last, and, on the 19th of August, 1863, he answered the summons to come up higher.
His son, John W. Floyd, entered the ministry and labored in that capacity for a time, but, anon, yielded to the temptation that has destroyed the usefulness of many of the preachers in the mountain counties -- the practice of physic.
[From J. H. Spencer, A History of Kentucky Baptists, Volume II, 1886, reprint 1984, pp. 554-556. - Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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