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William Hickman
"A Short Account of my Life and Travels. For more than fifty years; A Professed Servant of Jesus Christ"
To which is added a narrative of the rise and progress or religion in the early settlement of Kentucky: giving an account of the difficulties we had to remember.

His Early Life
If I had something better to leave behind me, it would be a greater satisfaction to my own heart, but such as it is, you may examine it; it is principally intended for my rising large family, when I am no more in this world of trouble. I have been solicited by my brethern and friends to leave something behind me; if my children and friends think it worthy to go to the press, they may do as they please. I have no money object in view; a small pamphlet will contain the whole I shall give you, which is a brief sketch of my life from my youth up to the present date. I was born in the county of King and Queen, Virginia, on the 4th day of February 1747; my father of the name of Thomas Hickman; my mother's name was Sarah Sanderson before marriage. They died young, leaving only myself and a dear little Sister; the youngest child a Son, died in infancy. My Sister and myself were taken by a loving old grandmother, that did her best for us and tried to impress our minds with a solemn sense of eternal happiness, or the torments of hell. These things bore heavily on my mind, and more so on the death of our parents; the thought of my father, fearing he was miserable, deprived me of hours of sleep; my mother, I hoped was in the glory. With these thoughts I determined not to be wicked, especially to keep from evil words. My chance of learning was very small, having little time to go to school, I could read but little, and barely write any; my sister, also, had very little chance of learning, for we were two little orphans; but our God has been our protecter and we have lived to a great age. At about fourteen years of age, I was put out to a trade; the family I had lived with since the death of my parents were orderly without any real knowledge of true Godliness, all upon works to save their Souls, none of us knew any better in those days. When I went to the place about twenty miles off, I thought if they were wicked and profane I could not live there. I found them notoriously wicked, and I thought I could not stay there. My Sister was now nearly grown. She married young and we were little acquainted for near thirty years. I had not lived long at my new habitation before I fell in with evil habits, for master, mistress, children, apprentices and negroes were all alike in their wickedness; "evil communications corrupt good manners" I may speak with Shame, it had not been three months before I fell in with their customs and evil habits, though my dear old grandmother gave me a Bible, with a charge not to neglect reading it as I was accustomed to do when with her; after awhile I will make us leave off sinning. I lived at this place seven years. I often went to church to hear the parson preach, when he was sober neglected it. I left off saying prayers, and I learnt to curse and swear, for sinning will make us leave off prayer, or real prayer enough to go through his discourse; but no longer pipe, no longer dance. Toward the last of the seven years, I heard talk of people called Babtists [sic], though at a great distance; they told us they would take the people and dip them all over in the water: I drew the conclusion they were like Sturgeons out of the Seine, wallowing in the sand; that I was sure they were false prophets; I hoped I never
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should see one, neither did I for several years after that.

His Marriage and Conversion
In the ninth year I married my master's daughter, both of us poor careless mortals about our poor immortal souls; my wife was fond of mirth and dancing, etc. In the year 1770 then living in Buckingham County, Virginia, the Lord sent these new lights near where we lived; curiosity led me to go some distance to hear these babblers; the two precious men were John Waller and James Childs, from the North side of James [R]iver; when I got to the meeting the people were relating their experiences, but I could not get sight of the preacher till they were done there was such a multitude of people. At last they broke; the two preachers sat together. I thought they looked like Angels; then each of them preached. God's power attended the word, numbers falling, some convulsed, others crying out for mercy; that day's worship ended. The next day they were to dip as they called it in those days. I went home heavy hearted, knowing myself in a wretched state; I informed my wife what I had seen and heard. She was much disgusted for fear I should be dipped too; she begged I would not go again, but I told her I must see them dipped. I went, and an awful day to me it was; one of those ministers preached before Baptism and then moved on to the water, near a quarter of a mile; the people moved in solem order, singing "Lord, what a wretched land is this etc". Though it was a strange thing in that part of the world, yet I think the people behaved orderly; a great many tears dropped at the water, and not a few from my eyes. The first man brother Waller led in had been a dancing master to whom brother Waller said he had given a gold piece to learn him to dance, and now he was about to baptise him in the name of the Lord Jesus. I think eleven were baptized that day, among the rest was that very valuable minister of Christ, Rana Shasteen, who labored faithfully, I suppose half a century, but has lately gone home to rest; William Johnson, a worthy man and a good minister, baptized that day, moved to the back parts of Virginia. In the fall of the next year I moved down to Cumberland County; there I shook off the awful feelings I have named above, and yoked in with a parcel of ruffians and took to dissipation, but with a guilty conscience. The Lord sent his servants in that part, as under Shepherds, to hunt his lost sheep, and pretty soon a number of our dear neighbors were converted to God; brother Bondurant, his wife and most of his children; brother Maxey and wife; the Eppersons etc., and among the rest, my wife, though she once opposed me, She was the first effectually called of God. This set me to serious thinking; I began to lop off my worst sins; it was difficult to give up my old comrades, but I thought soberly about the worth of my soul ahd eternal hell; I could have no solid rest and began to think I must pray. I tried, but I was ashamed, I feared somebody would see me; however, I had left off my wicked course, and continued saying prayers till I had got very good as I thought nearly good enough to go to heaven. My wife enjoyed a great deal of the life of religion; she offered to the church in my absence. The spirt of the bond woman and her son was prevailing in me to persecute the son of the free woman. Down came all my goodness, with shame I kept her from being baptized for months, but went with a guilty conscience. I advised her to converse with parson M'Roberts, that appeared to be a zealous Episcopalean [sic] minister, he would convince her that infant baptism was the right mode; She replied that she was fond to hear him preach, but she could
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not pin her faith to his sleeve; all my goodness was like the morning clouds that vanished away. One evening, being alone, meditating on the right way, I recollected Paul's conversion in the 9th Chapter of Acts. I took the book, and thought I would search that chapter carefully. If I did not find it there I would oppose the Baptists as long as I lived, but to my great mortification, Ananias says to Paul "Why tarriest thou, arise and be baptized;" I knew he was a man not an infant; I closed the Book and thought I would oppose no longer. After this I submitted, and saw her buried with Christ in baptism; from that day to the present my mind was made up, but, God help me, I had no evidence from God; but my mind was in foment, still striving under the law, still had little hope to get to heaven that way. There was a certain preacher of the name of David Tinsley, who my wife was fond to hear preach; the son of the bond woman was not killed in me, I disliked him in my heart, for no other reason than his faithlulness and candor. The devil was very unwilling to give me up, but, blessed be God, though the Devil is strong, the Lord Jesus Christ is stronger than him. I shall now proceed to give you some account of what the Lord has done for my poor soul. That same preacher last alluded to, had meeting in the neighborhood; I concluded to go with my wife to meeting and after singing and prayer he took his text, which is found in the 5th chapter of Daniel, 27th verse, "Thou are weighed in the balance and found wanting". It was a glorious day to me, for God made use of it to show me what a wretch I was. By a metaphor he made use of supposing a man to go in debt five hundred pounds to a merchant and he proved insolvent and had nothing to pay, he would say to the merchant, I can't pay the old debt, but I want more goods, I will now pay as I go; he stormed out, for he was a son of thunder, says the preacher, would that satisfy the merchant? No, he would take him by the throat, say "pay me what thou owest" then calmly let us know how we were indebted to God's righteous law, and now if we could live as holy as an angel in Heaven, to the end of our days, how were we to atone for all our past sins? God, by his holy spirit I trust, sent it home to my heart. That night I withdrew in secret prayer; there I found the wretchedness of my wicked heart. I could not pray, but sin and evil thoughts were in my best performance; considering that God was holy, and how I was to stand before Him, condemnation seized my troubled soul; from that time I thought I grew worse and worse, for I saw sin enough in my best performance to sink me to hell; when I heard the truth preached it all condemned me. I often wished I had never been born, or that I had been a brute, that had no soul to stand before the holy God; for months I tried to pray, but thought I grew worse and worse, till all hopes of happiness was almost gone; when I heard preaching I was condemned, I often went to meeting to get converted, I heard the gospel was free, but not for me, I was such a wretch, and condemned. One cold and gloomy afternoon, the 21st of February, 1773, I went over a hill to try to pray, my heart appeared to be hard as a rock; when I got to the place I put myself in every position of prayer, I must have been an hour in that dismal condition, it was so cold I had to return to the house and sit awhile beforo the fire; I thought that hell was my portion. There was a young woman that lived in the house at that time, a professor of religion, in passing by where I sat, and in a kind of ecstacy, said I was converted; I thought she spoke unguardedly, but said not a word; I got up immediately and went out and walked about
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fifty yards, about the setting of daylight, all at once the heavy burden seemed to fall off, I felt the love of God flow into my poor soul; I had sweet supping at the throne of grace; my sins pardoned through the atoning blood or the blessed Savior; I heard no voice, no particular [S]cripture applied; I continued there sometime, I went back to the house. Made no ado for fear of losing the sweet exercise; the same woman cried out and praised God; I lcept still. That was one of the happiest nights I ever experienced in all my life; the next morning when I arose and looked out, I thought everything praised God, even the trees, grass and brutes praised God; I thank God for all his favors. In the month of April I was baptized by that worthy old servant or God, Reuben Ford, who baptized my wife the fall before; we both joined the church after my being baptized as above written. It being a time when preachers were very scarce, traveling preachers would pass once in every two or three months, a number of us were the two Dupuys, the two Smiths, brother Edward Maxey, brother Jeremiah Hatcher, and my poor self we would meet, sing and pray and exhort one another. We continued in this way near three years; we then esteemed others better than ourselves, till brother John Dupuy was ordained. A large church arose and lived in harmony. After a few years the whole above written preachers became ordained; many of them are now gone to their long, eternal homes.

Kentucky Looms in the Distance
In the beginning of the year 1776, I heard of a new country called Kentucky, my circumstances being low in this world, and having a young and growing family of children, I concluded, like Abraham of old, to go and see for myself, although it was a great undertaking. On the 23rd of February 1776, I started from home with five others, to wit: George S. Smith, Edmond Woolridge,William Davis, Thomas Woolridge and Jesse Low, and in the back parts of Virginia we were joined by three more: Peter Harston, Christopher Ervin and James Parberry. We came to the resolution, three of us professors to go to prayer every night; our new companions in their hearts opposed it, but submitted and behaved well. It is too tedious to name everything that transpired in our disagreeable journey; we had to travel in small and miserable tracks, over mud and logs and high waters; before we got to Cumberland River we met three or four men turning back, like poor cowards, and no doubt like the ten spies of Cannan, carried back an evil report; but one of the name of Harrod fell in with us and went on; we thought him much of a coward though he boasted very much; we went on and crossed the river, saw no Indians or signs. It was on Sunday, early in March one of the company killed a buffalo, which suited us for provisions, and we prepared it by jerking, which made it necessary for us to stay all night; it being on the Indian war road, there was abundance of cane, two large log fires were made. Late in the night a dreadful alarm was made, the dogs broke out like they had seen something; poor Harrod rose up scared half to death, to appearance cursed and damned the Indians, and said there they are; the men rose and flew to trees. I did not believe there was an Indian there, or that Harrod saw any; I did not think that I was to be killed by an Indian. I there fore kept my station by the fire; no doubt the wolves smelt the beef, and the dogs were after them; after a little they left the trees and came to their rest again. Probably my readers think my behavior at the fire
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was foolhardy, but I could not believe I should be killed there; I am that kind of a man who never believed anything could happen by chance-however, we were all spared. Next morning we all started on our way, and nothing of moment transpired till we came to the Crab Orchard; there we discovered a wonder. Part of the company went on to Boonesborough and the rest of us went on to Harrodstown, near Harrodsburg. When we came to the beauty of the country, I thought of the Queen of Sheba, that came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon and she said the half was not told. So I thought of Kentucky; I thought if I could get but ten acres of land, I determined to move to it. I have ever been a true whig of the country. God never intended me to own much of it; my thoughts were if I could get my children in this rich new country, it might be to their advantage, which I hope it has been. We got to Harrodstown the 1st day of April, and a poor town it was in those days, a row or two of smoky cabins, dirty women, men with their britch clouts, greasy, hunting shirts, leggings Ilnd moccasins. I there ate some of the first corn raised in the country, but little of it, as they had a very poor way to make it into meal; we learnt to eat wild meat, without bread or salt. Myself, brother Thomas Tinsley, my oId friend Mr. Morton took our lodgings at Mr. John Gordon's four mile from town. Mr. Tinsley was a good old preacher, Mr. Morton a good pious Presbyterian, and love and friendship abounded among us. We went nearly every Sunday to town to hear Mr. Tinsley preach; I generally concluded his meetings. One Sunday morning, setting at the head of a spring at this place, he laid his Bible on my thigh and said to me, you must preach today; he said if I did not he would not. It set me in a tremor. I knew he would not draw back. I took the book and turned to the 23rd chapter of Numbers, 10th verse: "Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be as his." I suppose I spoke fifteen or twenty minutes a good deal scared, thinking if I had left any gaps down, he would put them up; he followed me with a good discourse, but never mentioned any blunder. Our tour of the country answered us, but little good or advantage, for the rights of land and how it was to be got was uncertain; whether Henderson's rights would stand good in the law, whether the cabin rights would stand, between those few that were already here, such disputes were raised among them that we did nothing.

The Return to Virginia
The first day of June we started back -- we three alone -- trusting alone upon kind providence to bring us safe to the bosom of our dear family . Our journey back was distressing; on going up the Cumberland river, we discovered moccasin tracks. We had a long and hot day[']s travel; we passed three men, expecting they would overtake us at night, but they failed until the next night. We came to the place we intended to encamp, and just as we were taking off our saddles those menon rode up and said they saw Indian tracks on ours, which caused us to move off, which was much against my will. I would have been willing to have stayed there, and trust in Providence, but I soon found if I did, I must stay alone; we moved off, traveled as long as we could keep the tracks, until we entirely lost it. We concluded to get down and tie to trees, keep the bells stopped, and have no fire.
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I let my mare loose, knowing the Indians could not catch her, for I knew she would not leave the other horses. Late in the night (we had our guns under our heads) I awoke, rose up and saw a man hold of Mr. Morton's horse, leading him off. I raised my rifle to my face, the man stopped between me and a very large tree. I thought as he moved off from the spot that I would give him the contents of the gun, but a kind Providence so ordained that as he moved by a glimpse through the boughs of the trees, I saw his white hat; I spoke, Mr. Morton, is that you? I told him I had my gun up to kill him; you have acted very imprudent, said I; he acknowledged it, but did not think of it; he said he would not sleep, and thought he would lead his horse to pick cane. This circumstance I named to the other three men that laid at the root or another tree; they were old hunters, one said if he had seen what I did he would have fired in a moment; but blessed be God we were all spared. In the morning about 10 o'clock we crossed Cumberland [M]ountain. Previous to our crossing, the Indians had killed a man near the top of the mountain, his remains were discovered -- what the wolves had left. From the foot of the mountain was a station called Owen's Station; we thought when we got there we should hear who was killed, but when we arrived there was no person there, they had fled. We could get no intelligence. We went to Martin's Station, thinking they had all got together; but when we got there the sun was about an hour high, and we had allotted all day to stay there that night; when we arrived they had also fled. We knew of but one more station in the valley, which was fifty miles long. We still went on as long, as we could, our horses and ourselves much fatigued. We lay, as the night before, hard lodging and poor fire. In the morning we aimed for the last station, which was called Pittman's and whon we arrived, no human creature was there. I suppose we staid there two or three hours, found plenty of vegetables, and corn in the loft; chickens plenty; rested ourselves and horses; took several pecks of corn, expecting to find the owners and settler with them. The next night was the most gloomy of all; we started on at time could hear the fire of guns; we were confident it was Indians, for there was no white people in the valley. As we went on, we could find a bed emptied in one place, shoes in another, pails and piggins in another. This put me in mind or the Syrians, when they fled and left their tents, etc. We came to the foot of the first mountain, called William's Ridge in those days. The three men spoken of above, directed us not to start till they could get to the top on foot, and left their horses and baggage in our charge; but I did not obey their order; as soon as they were out or sight, I started on, the others followed; we thought they could hear the horses over the rocks. We got safe over, but did not see the spies. We had to go through a long valley near four miles and got to the foot called Powell's Mountain. We consulted whether we should go up or over it that night. We still heard guns firing at a distance, and were afraid our spies were killed; we could see nothing of them, but having their horses and baggage, we concluded to go over the mountain that night, not knowing but our men were on ahead. We got over, I suppose, an hour in the night; it was so dark that we lost the trace and the loose horses. As we had some corn, as named above we dropped down where we were, and passed the most gloomy and uncomfortable night I ever witnessed; our men lost their horses and baggage in a great can[e] break; my old two companions
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slept none; they said a little before day I fell asleep. The sun was shining when I awoke, and my two companions gone, and I left alone. About an hour by sun, our spies and all got together, the horses round, but the baggage and corn lost; we all felt thankful. Our three men companions parted with us that morning; they took another route. I now began to think of seeing home once more. We went up Church River (Clinch) to the first settlement, and arrived at Capt. Blackemor's public house where all the Powell's Valley run-aways were sporting, dancing and drinking whiskey. We lodge there all night. The next day we went twenty miles up the river, and providentially got to hear brother Micajah Harris preach. The next day we went on to another meeting and then took a start for home.

Back Home Again -- At Work for the Lord
I think about the 24th of June I got home safe, and found my family all well, through the great goodness of God all my neighbors and friends glad to see each other. When I returned home from my long journey, I continued to speak with my brethren and sisters. And in my poor preaching way from that time to this. The fall of the same year, I removed upon Appomatox River quite in a new settlement, where I kept up constant meeting near home, as well as in Amelia County -- none told me to stop, but rather bid me to go on. After a few months, I was invited to an arbour about three miles off in the bounds of Parson McRobert[']s church. Though he had just moved away, and Methodist[s] had a stout society among them, no doubt a number of Christians, I continued preaching at the arbour mentioned above for sometime; the people came out well, and behaved well, but as there were no new conversions, I felt disposed to quit them; but my wife urged me to continue saying the people came out well, and we could not tell what the Lord would do in that place. There was a fast published by Congress during the war, to be observed throughout America; I think it was the 23rd of April, 1777. I appointed a meeting on that day at a neighbor'[s] house, and there came out a large number of people; I think my text was in Joshua; "Neither will I be with those any more, unless you put away the accused thing from among you." It was in an orchard; the house could not hold half of the people; I did not think I had spoke with more liberty than common. At the close of the discourse there came up a heavy rain; I led the people to the house, singing "Lord, what a wretched land this is" etc: the hym[n] being long, all that could crowd in the house did so. Some went in the out houses. I finished the song in the house and spent some time in exhorting from it, and then the meeting broke. There was a middled aged man of the name of John Goode in the yard who applied to Col. Hankins to write his will. The Col. said to him, What is the Matter? John, your' [sic] not sick? The reply was, "I shall die." Col. Hankins laughed him out of it. He went home, slain by the Sword of the Spirit, his conviction was sharp and severe. He told us afterwards he neither eat [sic], drank nor slept for three days and nights, till the Lord spoke peace to his wounded spirit. At the same meeting, an old man of the name of Thomas Boles stated that his awakening started at the orchard; this was the beginning of a blessed harvest of souls in the Christian field; almost every door was opened for preaching; I scarcely had time to get my natural rest, and the preachers from a distance hearing of the blessed work of God, came down. I was not ordained. Brother George Smith and
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Brother John Dupuy came often, and I hope their labors were blessed of God, and baptized a number of young converts. A remarkable circumstance took place with John Goode, above alluded to; as I went out with my little boys to drop corn, on the roadside, there came a man riding up; he called to me, and when I went up to him the first word he said to me was, to tell how a person felt when he was converted; but instead of my telling him he immediately told me; he got so warm he scarcely would sit on his saddle. I invited him to the house, he said he came on purpose -- his soul was alive. He told me I need not mention baptism to him, he said blessed be God, he was baptized with the Holy Ghost and fire, he needed no more. I told him to search the [S]cripture, and that would teach him his duty. This was on Saturday morning, the Sunday week I had an appointment at Muse school house, a few miles beyond his house. I asked him if he would go with me if I would come by and take breakfast with him, he said he would with pleasure. When I went, he was sitting on his porch with a Bible in his hand; he commenced by telling me I need not say anything about baptism, his Holy Ghost and fire baptism would do for him. I spoke to him as above, for his cup appeared to be running over; I appointed meeting that evening at his house. After meeting closed in the day at the school house (it was the first time I had been at that place and there being a large congregation) I missed Mr. Goode till the people were nearly all gone; at last he came out of the woods. I asked where he had been all the time. He told me Mr. Branch, one of his rich neighbors, a church warder [warden], had taken him out to give him some good advice, and it was to take care of the Baptists, for they preach damnable doctrines, and that they will not rest till they dip you. Mr. Goode replied that Mr. Hickman had not persuaded him, only advised to read the [S]criptures. Ah! he said, that is their cunning. The above he told me as we were riding along. I went to his house to dinner and about one by the sun I began worship; a large collection came out, as it was a beautiful afternoon. I took 13 of the first verses of the 3rd chapter of John; you may expect nothing very methodical; the Lord opened the hearts of the heavens, and, I hope, was with me. I suppose meeting lasted about three hours, and you may expect a great deal of repitition [sic] and some wild zeal. Numbers crying out what should they do to be saved. From that blessed night, six stated their awakening and never rested till they found it in the Lord Jesus -- some mocking, some crying for mercy, the devil mad, trying to keep his palace; but poor devil got defeated, and lost some of his faithful servants, both male and female, old and young, the greater number youths -- most of whom, I hope are not [now] in heaven. In those times I was called upon to preach a funeral sermon on the death of an old lady of the name of Reed. I was applied to by her son-in-law, and gave the appointment and attended. The old lady was buried on the Church acre, and when I went I was not permitted to preach on the holy ground; I had to go out of the lot, but ventured near the Church wall to make a finish of the grave. I then stepped to the spring to get a drink, and when about to start home, the gentleman that invited me met me and told me he was obliged to me. I told him he was welcome. He handed me a six dollar bill. I told him I never charged in my life. He said he knew that but wished me to accept it as a gift. I took it and he handed out another; it was the first penny I ever received in my life that way, and I was particular to let him know if I took it at all it was a gift, and not a charge, though it did not count so much. I
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went home with many thoughts -- What! a money preacher! I looked and felt so little like it. Soon after, a poor young man spoke to me to preach his father's funeral; I told him I would and set the time, previous to which I had a night meeting, in the same neighborhood, where I saw the same young man; he took me out; and told me he heard I charged five pounds for preaching funeral sermons, and he was not able to give it. I asked him for his author, but he did not give it to me. I told him I had never charged a penny in my life, and then mentioned the above circumstances; well, he said if I did not charge, I might preach it; which I did, but was compelled to go off the Church lot. This was the case of other buryings at the same place. The Baptists, in those days, were much despised, which caused Christ'[s] sheep to huddle closer together, and love each other better than when there was no opposition; for the children of the bond woman will persecute the childlren of the free woman. That was much the case in that country. A little before this date, about eight or nine ministers were imprisoned at different times; but to stop the work of the Lord was not in the power of the devil -- the [W]ord was preached through the iron gates, and God blessed his word to the conversion of hundreds, so the wicked got their designs defeated. But to return to my own neighborhood. It was not in my power to attend half the calls I had, there being no preachers nearer than ten or fifteen miles, yet when they heard of the work, brother George Smith and his brother, G. S. Smith and brother John Dupuy, came and preached the word with power; the Lord attended [H]is word. By this time it was necessary to form a church, chiefly of young converts the number at this time my recollection don't serve, but it was considerable. After this it was thought expedient to ordain me, as unworthy as I was; they appointed brother G. Smith and Brother James Jupuy [Dupuy] to porform the work. The same afternoon I baptized, I think it was in the date 1778, there was a young lady in the midst of the work sorely wrought upon, and at length she found peace; her father one of the greatest opposers in all the parts. Yet nothing would do but she must follow the footstops of her dear master, and after she was baptized never dared to put her foot in her father's house. He cursed and swore and wished her in hell; but she had friends enough, and homes enough. One day her poor old mother came to my house, and asked me what I would do if she told me an experience that satisfied me and demanded baptism, I told her I should have to baptize her; she said I expect to put you to it in a short time, but my husband must not know it, if he does I know he will kill me; I told her I did not think so; she replied, "I know him better than you." In a short time after this, the old man went from home and the old lady came to my house with her bundle under her arm; the expelled daughter was at my house at the time; the old lady related her travels [travails], it was satisfactory, and my wife, the old lady and myself went alone to the water, which was near her daughter would not go, for fear she should be interrogated on the subject. She came out of the water praising and glorifying God. I informed the church of this transaction, and they were pleased with it; her husband did not find it out. I directed the deacons in time of the supper to convey the aliments [elements] to her. She being in some by-corner covered with a large handkerchief; the old man never found it out for some four years after wards, when the worst of his rage was over. He had a single son that lived with him; a man grown, he had a wish to join the church, but
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was afraid of his father; one nighlt at meeting the members got very lively under religious exercise. Abram, for that was his name, came forward and related his experience; and I took him the same hour of the night and baptized him, Paul like. I saw the old lady, his mother next morning, it was monthly meeting time. She says to me, "brothor Hickman" did you baptize Abram last night?" I told her I had, and she appeared much rejoiced, some one told his father on Monday morning, the old man draw his cane on him and ordered him off, but did not strike him; he got out of his way and whon the old man's fury got a little abated he returned, and they lived together till he married. So ends that tale. Baptists in those days could be told in any company -- they loved one another. The Church was called Skinquarter, and increased, from its origin. Many other circumstances too tedious to mention and a great many valuable things have slipt my memory. This Church raised three ministers, James and Josiah Rucks and John Goode, the same mentioned previously, who was baptized with the Holy Ghost and fire. He stood out a long time at last, having received a lashing of conscience, nothing would do but he must be baptized in water, and afterwards he was very zealous for that mode of immersion. Now there were four of us in the Church that labored in the vineyard, the neighbors joined and we had a comfortable meeting house built. About 1779 or 1780, there was a Church called Tomahawk, not very numerous, but some very worthy members, male and female; this church never had any stated minister to live among them, but was attended by ministers at some distance, occasionaly [sic] by John and James Dupuy, George Smith and Eleanor Clay. After the ordination of Brother James Rucks they applied to him to attend them, which he did till he was so debilitated by the rheumatic pains that he was unable to attend any longer; they then applied to me, I consented and labored and tried to serve them for about three years. I lived about three miles from them and often had meetings between our church and that. In the three years I attended; I think there was no great increase or decrease, but a comfortable, happy people. One gloomy circumstance happened in the time I attended; a man of good family and connection, who was taught by his friends and myself to be a Christian having a great deal of talk with him, got under sore timptation [sic] to curse God; he had often to jump out of bed and fall upon his knees to pray to God, to keep him from cursing him; we lived some distance from each other, and when he could get an opportunity to be with me, I could scarcely get away from him; he never was in society. The last talk we had together was in the meeting house on a Saturday. He told me, laying his hand upon the top of the head, that it appeared to him there was a burning fire there, and he was sorely tempted to drown himself; I told him that God was above the devll, and I hoped he would not, but on Wednesday following he blowed [sic] out his brains with a gun. I was called upon to preach his funeral, which I did, to a crowded audience from these words "What I say unto you I say unto all, watch." His family and friends were much distressed. While attending this church, there lived near a neighbor that was thought to be a Christian, but had not joined society; I said to him one evening, going from meeting, "Mr. Flournoy, when I come again, I intend to have meeting at your house, on Saturday night, hear your experience, and baptize you the next day." He asked if I was in earnest, I told him I was. The same week there was a meeting at the meeting house for a strange minister.
[p. 11]
I went to meeting, the same afternoon the preacher, his father and mother-in-law and myself went to his house to dinner, after dinner he told me he could not stay until next meeting before he was baptized. I told him he had stayed seven years and could he not stay one month. I told him I should do as I told him that next morning he came to my meeting house, ten miles off, brought his clothing, his wife and children, mother and brother to be baptized. I told him I should do what I first told him, his cup appeared to be running over with the love of God. They went back after worship, and the next monthly meeting, as I told him I would, I baptized him in his own neighborhood. When I left there to come to Kentucky, I left him the minister of the Church at Tomahawk. According to my recollections in six years there were but three excluded, and one of them returned and gave satisfaction; we endeavored to keep up strict discipline, but we had one male member who was a good deal of trouble to us, though often dealt with, he was one of the best men to repent and promise I ever saw, but as bad to perform those members are a pest to society, and are too numerous in all churches. A short account of the leading families in that blessed revival, which was the first fruits of the work -- The Goodes, the Browns, the Baileys, the Ruckers, the Rudds, etc., etc. They, with their offspring, were early members. Old Father Brown and his lady were very old when they came in; and I believe all their children but one became members -- two at a distance the rest with us. Among them was a daughter named Obedience; she was baptized quite young and married my oldest son, William she is yet alive and has been an ornament to religion ever since. Brother Bailey and his wife, a sister to my daughter-in-law, are the only three of our old members in Kentucky, they are quite old; it will not be long, before the Lord will take them home to that house not made with hands. To return to Chesterfield again, Satan took the advantage of the three preachers alluded to above, and sowed seeds of discord among two of them; we were fearful it would be attended with serious consequences, but providence prevented; like the disciples of old, each wanted to be greatest. One of them named Josiah, the most meek and pious at first, wished to deal with, and was willing to exclude all that were superflously dressed, once dealt with a young lady, the daughter of Col. Haskins, for wearing stays, they being in fashion in those days. He arraigned her before the Church -- she was truly a meek and pious young lamb. I plead her cause and saved her. She afterwards became the wife of Mr. Edward Trabue, and died in Kentucky. But the said Josiah, after [a] while became more popular than the rest, took to traveling, became dressy, rode to different counties, and was pretty much of a fop, as I was told when I moved to Kentucky, though I never heard anything improper in his conduct otherwise. He moved to North Carolina and married rich, and was thought to be a good preacher. I received one letter from him after he became rich; he wrote like a good man. Brother James, his elder brother, was esteemed in the Church but was a long time confined with the rheumatic pains, so that he had to sit down and preach. They chose brother Goode for their minister. I preached and served them about six years, the best part of my life. The church was composed of children of one family no rents nor party spirits; we tried to look to the Lord for direction and protection. After the death of Brother Goode, the church selected brother Charles Forsee as their preacher; he is still tending them, and is very old.
[p. 12]
I have known him upwards for fifty years.

On To Kentucky
About this time I began to think of moving to the new country, Kentucky, which I had seen, and I was walking one evening among my little corn, on a poor spot, having nine childron, I made up my mind to move to that country, as I had an idea of it for years. I know it would be a killing stroke to my wife when she heard of my determination, for she was so attached to the church and neighbors that she could not give them up. This was in June. However, when I returned to the house I met her between the two houses, after sunset; I told her what I had concluded on, when she burst in tears, and begged me to decline but it was in vain. I than fixed on the day to start, which was the 16th of August, twelve months. I wound up all my affairs, and started on the 16th of August, 1784. I sold my little place -- it was small and poor, but there was a good framed house and orchard on it. The purchaser paid me the money down for it; or I should not have been able to move. I attempted to preach my last sermon, but in vain, I was entirely unmanned; there were a number of preachers there, and weeping time it was, indeed. When we began our journey, Brother George Smith, was with us, and assisted us in our packages. Several of our friends followed us a day or two, but brother Smith went with us to help us along, for at least one hundred miles; my oldest son about seventeen years old, very strong and active, was the best hand we had; I was good for but little; the other boys did their part as well as they could. The next oldest, Thomas got kicked by a horse the second morning, which laid him up several days; after he recovered he went on tolerably well. After our friend Smith left us we felt more lonesome, and missed his advice and aid. We took plenty of provisions with us, and drove two (milch) cows that gave milk for the children and my wife's coffee. The fatiques of the journey were too tedious to mention. We proceeded to the wilderness; it rained almost every day, which made it dreadful traveling; the waters were deep and no ferry boats, the children and myself wet both day and night. There were also vast crowds in the wilderness, largo droves of cattle, and the trace small; provisions, with a number, run [sic] out, but we, as poor as we were, had plenty. I had written to brother G.S. Smith to meet us, but he failed to get the letter as soon as I expected. The night before we got in we concluded to stop and rest; there were 500 in company. My friend Smith rode up, inquiring for Hickman's camp. He came loaded with bread and meat. The next morning we started and got to his cabin about and [sic] hour by sun, which was the 9th of November, 1784; wet and dirty, poor, spectacles we were but thank God, all in common health; the Lord was with us through the whole journey. The next day, which was Sunday, there was a meeting at Brother Smith's, and, unprepared as I was, I had to try to preach, though there were three other preachers there, I spoke from the fourth Psalm, "The Lord hath set apart him that is Godly for [H]imself." I was followed by a Methodist preacher, Mr. Swope, old brother W. Marshall was there, and invited me to where he lived, a place called the Knobs. Some time afterwards I went to see him and we then got acquainted; he appeared to set some store by me, but thought I was tinctured with Armenianism. I thought he was strenous on eternal justification, but never disagreed so as to have hard thoughts. There
[p. 13]
was a church at Gilberts Creek, but I had no inclination to join so soon after I moved there. We lived in brother Smith's family. Brother John Taylor came from the north side and preached at a Brother Robertson's. William Bledsoe was there; brother Taylor took his text which was, "Christ is all in all." I fed on the food, it was like the good old Virginia doctrine. We built a cabin near Brother Smith's where our families lived very agreeable together. On the 11th day of January 1785 by [my] daughter Mary was born. Brother Edmond Woolridge had purchased a large ("a large" is repeated) tract of excellent land of Col. Campbell, near Lexington, where we concluded to move. I agreed to take one hundred acres of him, and sent my two oldest sons to build a cabin as it was customary in those days to help one another, with help, the boys finished one room; we moved over the 5th day of April, without accident. My wife never appeared satisfied until now. The Spring came on and everthing [sic] appeared so beautiful and rich that it seemed we once more had got home. The fourth Saturday in that month was monthly meeting at brother Lewis Craig's, within two miles, where we went to meeting. We found a people whom we thought we could live happy with; we gave in our letters and was cordially received in the church. My wife was soon reconciled to the Country and Church and would not have gone back on any condition. We lived here near three years, in love and friendship. I shall here give some account of what transpired in that time. The next year we had a severe affliction with what is called the scarlet fever, or [F]rench measles, eight of the family were down at once, and myself among the rest, we lost a young daughter, the first of the family that died, the Lord raised the rest, but myself and several of the children were afflicted with rheumatic pains, and it was long before we recovered -- the Lord's ways are the best, but we are too apt to murmur at it. After joining the Church as above, Brother L. Craig's [sic] and myself were yoke fellows in the ministry. After some time, brother S. Smith moved over and joined the Church with us, where we labored together in friendship and in the fall of the same year the Elkhorn Association was formed at brother John Craig's on Clear Creek. The gospel began to spread in different parts, a church was established at Clear Creek, brother Taylor was the successful minister; a blessed work of God was produced by his labors. Some time after a church was established, now called Mount Pleasant, brother Smith served there until the Lord took him home. I was invited another course to Boone's Creek, by two old brethren, to come and preach the word; I went down; and I hope not in vain, a church was established previous to my going by that name; there was a part of the Church attached from the body that lived on what was called Marble Creek. I was once called to Boon[e]'s Creek to preach and baptize. I went, there was no meeting house and we met in the woods. When I got to the place there was a large collection for those days; brother John Tanner was preaching; I went on the stand, and when he concluded, I closed the meeting. Knowing the Church was to set [sic] and hear experiences, I insisted on brother Tanner to take the seat, as he was the oldest man, but he utterly refused; I was compelled to take it myself. The first man that came up was a raw Irishman of the name of Watson, he came trembling, and if I am any judge, he related a good work; I asked him all the questions necessary, and when we were about to receive him brother Tanner rose up and said he
[p. 14]
did not believe he was a Christian; I desired him to ask him questions; there was another old man who backed Tanner; however he asked him some deep questions on eternal decrees; I replied I did not (think) they were proper questions to be put to a child; then he said he would talk with him when Church broke; he was set aside; others came up until he had received seven or eight; it became dark, and we had to adjourn to the cabin; after getting a little refreshment the Church formed again; in the interval, Tanner had conversed with Watson and became satisfied; when forming again I still insisted that brother Tanner should act, but he still refused. We received after night to the amount of eleven in all. The next day was Sunday, when they were to be baptized; we tarried together that night in conversation, some expressions from Tanner hurt my feelings; we had just heard of the work of God in Virginia and North Carolina, he spoke light of it, and said he feared it was the work of the devil; young converts by, who, hearing his remarks, appeared very much discouraged. We repaied [sic] to the water, near the mouth of Boon[e]'s Creek, where we intended to preach and baptize; I urged him to administer the ordinance, but he still refused; I went forward, it was the first time I had baptized in the country -- we both preached and concluded; at last, that detached part of the Church appointed preaching among themselves, and I attended them, until at lenght they became a church to themselves. The most of the young converts fell in with the young church called Marble Creek, a growing young church, living in peace and harmony; I baptized the greatest part of them, in consequence of which, an attachment subsisted between us -- they wished me to live among them, but Providence said no. I shall here call my reader's attention to South Elkhorn Church, where our memberships were in 1787; the Lord began a blessed work among us, and a number of precious souls were born again among the rest four of our children. We now concluded to build a meeting house, which was the first that was built on the north side of the Kentucky river. I was called by the Marble Creek church to live with them; my inclination let me do it, and they proposed to give me 100 acres of land -- the price was subscribed for, but no money paid.

The Rise [of] Forks of Elkhorn (1788)
About that time the Forks of Elkhorn began to settle, Mr. Nathaniel Sanders, old brother John Major, brother Daniel James, old William Hayden, old Mr. Lindsey, and a few other families had moved down, and as there was a prospect of a large settlement Mr. Sanders named to his neighbor, Major, it would be right to get some minister to come down and live among them, which pleased Major, he being an old Baptist. They consulted who they should get, and having a small acquaintance with me, Mr. Sanders named me; this was strange, as Mr. Sanders was a very thoughtless persin [sic] about his soul; however they agreed among themselves to make me a present of 100 acres of land; this was unbeknown to me till afterwards. On a very cold night brother Major came to my cabin, about 20 miles from [his] residence. When he came in, upon being asked to sit down, he said no, "Like Abram's servant I will not sit down till I have told my errand." He then told what had brought him to see me, and give [sic] me till the next morning to return
[p. 15]
him an answer. We passed a night of prayer, it was a night of deep thought with me, for I wished to do right. I was halting between two opinions, and when I reflected that the Forks of Elkhorn was exposed to the savages, and as there was no settlement from there to the Indian town, I thought it would frighten my wife and children; however, I consulted them about what I should do, and they being willing to go, in the morning I answered brother Major this way: "I have an appointmont in Marble Creek. I will name the thing to them, and if they will give me up and let me off, I will write to you, or come down and see you and we will conclude upon it." I went to the meeting and stated to the brethren the circumstances; they were for awhile unwilling to let me off, but at length they said if it was my wish, and for my advantage, they would submit. I then felt free and went down instead of writing. I first went to brother Major's and from there to Mr. Sanders. I was astonished; his wife was an old professor of religion, and he walked with me to the very spring I now live at, on his own land, and showed me where I was to settle; I said to him, Sir, you don't care about religion; I want to know why you want me to come. His reply was, if it never is any advantage to me, it may be to my family. It started tears to my eyes, not knowing [what] the Providence had in view. I however concluded to move as soon as possible, and my son William being married, he came down and built a cabin, between Christmas and New Years, 1787. Between this and my moving, I visited my old church, and Marble Creek,and other churches, and I do hope my poor labors were not in vain. On the night of the 17th we arrived at my son William's cabin. I had sent down an appointment to preach on Sunday at brother Major's where almost the whole inhabitants came. I suppose about thirty whites and a few blacks. I hope I was looking to the Lord, I took this subject, "let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be as his." It was a blessed day, I think four or five experiences came from that day's labor, and, among the rest, Mr. Sanders. The sword of the spirit pierced him to the heart; for weeks ho could find no rest; at lenght he found it in the Lord. I was by when he met with his deliverance; we held meetings day and night. About this time there was a great fall of snow, and the balance of February and all March was very cold, but not to hinder the meetings; and in the course of ten months there were twenty or thirty obtained hope in the Lord; old sister Cook's family, brother Major's children and several of their blacks; no weather scarcely stopped us, and we thought but little of the Indians. When April came it brought a fine Spring and we began to talk of becoming an organized Church. Several brethren moved down from Clear Creek to preach to us, and help us on, and as well as my recollection serves me, there was a number baptized before the constitution of the Church, for brother Lewis Craig was with us at times. We went for help from Clear Creek, South Elkhorn, and I think Marble Creek; we got together, and, after due examination we were constituted a church of Christ. This took place the second Sunday in June 1787, and they were pleased to call me to go in and out before them. The dear man I so much dreaded I baptized, and the church chose him as one of her deacons; he was a member four or five years when he wandered out of the way, and we had to exclude him; he is now gone to his long home. I think in the course of a year, I must have baptized forty or fifty; I baptized nine of
[p. 16]
old sister Cook's children, and among the rest that will [well] known Abraham, now the minister of Indian Fork church, in Shelby county. The same year I baptized Philemon Thomas and his brother Richard, the latter a minister of the Gospel, the former a statesman. My meeting was at Philemon's house; Richard had a great appearance of a fop, finely attired, but God sent the word home to his heart and he never found rest till the Lord gave it to him. I have often wished I had taken notes in those days, as my memory does not serve me; I know I have neglected giving an account of several things that might have been satisfactory to the reader, but must omit them for want of notes.

Brashear's Creek (1785) Revised
About this time in the midst of the work, two young gentlemen were often with us. Sons of Mr. Bracket Owen living in Jefferson County, now Shelby, and solicited me to come down to their father's and preach as their mother was an old professor; I first thought it a kind of compliment, being decent young men, and as they were old neighbors with brother Major's family, and often came on friendly visits, I concluded to go. I gave them an appointment, but before the day came that I was to start, there was a cold season, so much so that everything froze up, and I thought it impossible to get there; William Major, Benjamin Hayden, and a lady were to go, to visit two or her brothers who lived there; when the morning came that we was [sic] to start I had declined going, as there was no way to cross the river but in a little totering [sic] canoe; Mr. Major was very intent to make the attempt. Although I had declined early in the morning, as they were so anxious I concluded to go. We started about the middle of the day to go by for Mr. Hayden, who was to be our pilot; when I got to his father's he was not at home, having gone over the river to hunt his horses, then I thought the journey was at an end, but I desired his mother to give me his clothes and I would take them to Frankfort, where the woman lived that was to go with us; at that time it was a perfect forest, there being only two little cabins in it. When I went to Mr. Pulliam's whose wife was to go, she had a fine turkey before the fire. I told her to have it done, and in the meantime be ready to start, and I would go to the bank of the river and call Mr. Hayden; after some time he answered, a long ways off; when he came he had no horse; now I thought it was all over, as he was our guide; but Providence had a hand in it, and a relation of Pulliam's was there, who told Benjamin rather than the journey should be stopped, he would lend him his mare; we dined on the turkey, and crossed the river one at the time, and swam our horses by the side of the canoe; when we all got over and put our saddles on, the moon shone. We then had twenty miles to go, in the night, sometimes it was snowing and then the moon shining; we crossed Benson nineteen times, at some fords the ice would bear us over, at other fords some steps would bear us, the next step break in; we continued this disagreeable road until we fell on the waters of what was then called Tick [C]reek; we passed a number of evacuatad cabins -- the owners had either been killed or driven off by the Indians; it was a very cold night. We had no watch along, but we judged it must have been two o'clock in the morning when we called at the fort gate for admittance -- the old gentleman was not at home,
[p. 17]
and the old lady had all bared up -- it was some time before we could convince her who we were as she was afraid of a decoy, but at last she let us in, the weather being so cold, she had given me out, but she soon had a good fire raised and got us a warm supper, or, rather breakfast, put all to bed and covered us warm, early in the morning she sent out rumors (runners?) to the different forts, and about noon collected one of the rooms nearly full of people. About two years before, a small church was constituted by two old ministers, brother William Taylor, of Nelson, and John Whittaker, of Jefferson. I believe eight in number, the Indians were so very bad among them that they scattered and kept up no government; they could not meet together, and nobody preached to them till I went as above named. I preached on Saturday night and Sunday to nearly the same people, and knew none of them, but what went with me. On Sunday night I went about a mile to another fort and I hope the Lord did not send me there in vain; on Monday morning I was to start home, this short visit attached our hearts to each other; they insisted very hard for me to leave them another appointment before I left them; at last I consented to come in again; I set a time in March, but it was with difficulty I could leave my people at home, but I went to the time on Friday, and continued with them till Wednesday, day and night, at three or four different stations; they still urged harder for a continuation of my attendance; they promised if I would they would send me several loads of grain, and would every time send a guard to the river to meet me and guard me back. I thought I would consult my wife and family and the church whether it would meet their approbation, and I would send them word. I did so, they had no objection. I sent word, and in May went down and stayed longer; in that tour they came together and agreed to stand as a church on the old constitution, and I baptized one member; the next month I baptized another; brother James McQuade stood by me from the first, was my singing clerk; a little after brother Gano baptized him and two or three others. I repeated my visits to them and baptized a number -- the church grew. While going from meeting to meeting, sometimes twenty or thirty in a gang, we were guarded by the men, it looked more like going to war than to meeting to worship God. They urged me hard to move among them. I told them that request could not be granted; I had not long been moved to Elkhorn. I was attached to my people there. I could not leave there, besides all, they had given me a little home; I felt bound to them as long as I lived; buying and selling never was my object; then they told me if I could get some good minister to come and live with them it would be what they wished; I told them I would do my best for them, brother Joshua Morris had just moved to the country and I thought he could suit them; I saw brother Morris, told him the situation of that people, and their wish, he consulted himself and family. I told him if he would take a tour there I would go with him; we both went, himself and people were pleased with each other. Soon after he moved and his labors were much blessed, the church grew and flourished, but many a tour I took with him, long circuits around, till at last I concluded they were well supplied. I gave out going so often; but now knew of no country in the state so well supplied as Shelby flourishing churches and good ministers. Great changes have turned up in thirty odd years; I went in front there, through cold and heat, in the midst of danger, but my God protected me till now, blessed be his
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name. We continued sometime after the first heavenly visits, though rather a declension seemed to take place.

A Return to Virginia
Having made up my mind to visit my old native land, in June, 1791, I started to Virginia; while there I visited the church I left, we met with joy and comfort, though we found a great change, a number of dear old brethren had gone to their long eternal home; but as there was a number of new members added to the church, the face of things changed. I preached a great deal with them and traveled to different counties, and in the church where I was first born and lived three years, where I first began my labors; I also traveled through Henrico, Hanover, King and Queen, and King William, and was treated as a friend everywhere, for I had not a penny to settle with any person. I visited a number of churches, and traveled a great deal; the friends manifested their love by throwing presents in my way, for which I was thankful to God and them. I was a good deal with my old yoke fellow, brother George Smith, whom I dearly loved; he accompanied me back to Kentucky where we arrived the first of November, and found my family and brethren well.

Back Home in Kentucky Again
About this time, brother John Scott, from Scott county, came to one of our meetings and invited me to come to his neighborhood and preach, which I did. I preached in a barn of Mr. Ficklin's and I hope not in vain. After this I attended many times, and at his own house, some old Baptists living near, together with the new converts, they formed a very respectable and able church (McConnell's Run (1794) -- now Stamping Ground) for business, under the care of brother Elijah Craig; as he lived in Georgetown, and was a good deal of his time under bodily complaints, he advised the church to get some preacher to attend them stutedly, and he would come as often as he could; they called upon me to attend them one year. I consented, they being a people I was attached to; after my poor manner. I labored with them one year, and at the end of the year, nothing being said, I continued until the end of the second year; all being satisfied, I continued for ten years; in those years I baptized a number of precious members, and I never repented going there. At length I thought it would be best for the church to get a minister, to live among them, and advised them to do so, as I lived about nine or ten miles from them; they at last called brother Creath, who lived fully as far as myself; he served them about four years, and quit them; they then called brother Suggett, he served them two or three years and he quit; in the time they called brother Trott, he moved among them for a short time, everything did not go right and he quit; they then called me the second time; I attended them about four years more and brother Suggett having moved near them, they moved their meeting house from their former ground, and built them a fine brick meeting house at the Stamping Ground, and changed the name of McConnell's Run to Stamping Ground, but continued the same church. Brother Suggett attended them, being high in the esteem of each other, till he moved to a foreign land; then they called Brother Theo. Boulware, he attended one year
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and gave up; then they called Brother S. M. Noel; they now have two preachers in the church, brother James Black and brother Mareen Duvall. My attachments are great to them; I hope my labors with them have not been in vain; I hope the time will come when we shall meet to part no more.

Serving Forks of Elkhorn
I shall now return to my own church, which I have lived with from 1788, and which I have given some account of. About the year 1800, for previous to that date the church was under a decline, Zion had got into her slumbers; I well recollect, at a meeting at my house on Sunday afternoon, several preachers were there, there came a young married lady to meeting who I had never seen before, she had just moved into the neighborhood; I observed in the time of preaching the tears flowing from her eyes, which gave me an uncommon feeling; I thought she was pierced with the Sword of the Spirit. I think it gave me a travailing soul for the cause of God. She became an humble penitent and is now I hope in glory. Very shortly after this I heard of three females under trouble and inquiring the way to Heaven; I started out to hunt the lost sheep, and the first I went to see was a married lady; I conversed with her and she satisfied me that she was born again; I then went to two more the same day, the first was not at home, she had gone to where the other lived. I called and found them both; we walked in the garden, neither of them professed to be satisfied, but appeared humble beggars at the throne of grace; our monthly meeting near at hand, the first visited came forward and told us what the Lord had done for her; she was cordially received; my dear brother Gano though in a debilitated state, like old Jacob caning (leaning?) on the top of his staff, spoke at the water, and I baptized her in the name of the holy Trinity. The next morning the other two alluded to above also came forward and I baptized them. Blessed be God the glorious work of the Lord went on and prospered in abundance; every meeting was crowded and many converted to God. By this time the work spread throughout the state; for two or three years, great additions to the churches not only in Kentucky, but in Virginia and other states; such times I never expect to see again, but God is able, I suppose I baptized more than five hundred in the course of two years, though at different places; our Church increased to three or four hundred in numbers. About this time the charges began to branch off; we dismissed members to constitute Glen's Creek church, South Benson Church, North Fork Church, and [M]outh of Elkhorn Church. I attended to all these young churches at that time, they being destitute of ministers and baptized a number of members in each till they were supplied. In those days I went down and visited my friends at Gaye Creek, and baptized a number there. Soon after that a large and respectable church arose there, and brother John Scott moved among them, and has long been their pastor; but they, with us, have had their ebbing and flowing; the work of God prospered for several years; a number of young ministers came out as burning and shining lights, to fill tho places of the old worn out servants when they are gone to rest. We have now to lament the barrenness of the times; for a number of years we have had but small in gatherings, though we still wish to wait on the Lord, hoping to see better days. The old Mother
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Church at the Forks of Elkhorn is getting naked and bare, the Lord has taken a number of tho leading members home to glory; within a few years back three other churches in our parts took places -- viz; at the Big Spring, we dismissed a number of respectable members to form that church. About this time brother [John] Taylor moved among us; being an enterprising good servant of Christ, and famous for planning [planting] new churches, a church was planned [planted] at Frankfort, we dismissed about a dozen to form that. After some time they contemplated a church at Buck Run, we dismissed some very valuable members to form that; from all those circumstances we are left poor and few in number, as we have had but few small increases for several years, though we are not yet out of heart, "Joseph lives and Jesus reigns." We hope the Lord will visit us yet. For several years we have set apart every Sunday and Wednesday night for prayer meeting, and have attended so far, and hope to keep on; brother Graham and brother Gibbs, though members of Frankfort and sometimes other brethren from different churches, meet with us, unite with us, and go forward in our petitions to Almighty God, in prayer for revival among us. Dear Brethren, don't neglect us, as poor as we are, who knows but the Lord will still remember in mercy, and we may yet enjoy better days; we fear this poor little world has got too much possession in our heart -- the Lord have mercy on us. But, thanks be to God, the Lord has put it in the hearts of the people to build a good brick meeting house for the worship of God, and friends not in the society have been the greatest subscribers. We hope the hand of the Lord is in it.

Going Toward the Sunset of His Earthly Pilgrimage
I am now in my eighty first year (1828) and have a greater charge on me than ever I had; I am called upon to attend three other churches, besides our own, which takes up all my time; but I want to spend my latter moments to God's glory. I enjoy common health, through the goodness of God. I have nearly come to the close of my poor pilgrimage, I do believe in the true evangelical doctrines of the cross of Christ, and that I am a poor sinner of Adam's fallen family -- believing the great God knew me from eternity, and included me as one of this purchase; in time he called me by his [S]pirit and made me willing in the day of his power, for it is by grace I am saved through faith, and not of myself; therefore, he deserves all the glory. The doctrine of election, so much trodden under foot by numbers or the human family is the life of the Church of God for we never should have chosen [H]im if he had not chosen us, and called us and made us willing in the day of his power. When I think back, I find I have left out hundreds of things that might have been profitable and somewhat entertaining but from a wish to reduce it as much as possible and not to make it too large, I have left out many things, I have after my poor manner, to serve Mount Pleasant church, the North Fork, and Zion, once called the [M]outh of Elkhorn; our monthly meeting has statedly been at Forks of Elkhorn on the second Saturday and Sunday of each month, for near forty years -- that I hope to serve until I am laid in the dust, for they have ever manifested their love and esteem to me, they lay near my heart, I wish to live and die with them, and hope to spend a blessed eternity with them, when parting is no more. Having closed my short and imperfect narative [sic], I shall touch on my family affairs. My first wife was the daughter of John Shackleford of King and Queen,
[p. 21]
as has been previously stated; by her we had thirteen children, seven daughters and six sons; there are but three of the daughters and two of the sons now living of the first children, and I hope they are doing well. My first wife died the 9th of June 1813; sorely distressed in mind about the massacre of her son, Pascal, at the river, Raisin, she pined away and died. On the 25th of December 1814 I entered into the second marriage with Elizabeth Abbott, in Scott County; she had three children, a son and two daughters. She was the daughter of Benjamin Dicken, we lived together about twelve years and had five sons; the second we called John Gano, he died while young. My wife died the 25th of September, 1826 her oldest daughter is married to Thomas K. Horn, and are living with me. My four young sons are promising children; I can't expect to see them raised, but hope my surviving friends will not let them suffer but will give them good advice and endeavor to keep them from dissipation and bad company, for we know that youth is apt to go astray. I have already named my dear and only sister, Elizabeth Broaddus; she is now living in the lower part of this state. She has been twice married, first to Mr. Mitchell, who I never saw, by him she had about four children though they are not all living -- but those that are doing well, I hope[.] After his death she married Mr. Edward Broaddus in Carolina; by him she had two daughters; they are both married, and I hope are doing well. She has been a widow for twenty odd years, she is now seventy eight years of age and is "an old soldier of the Cross;" we have been but little acquainted, since we were children, living at such a distance, but we hope to live together in the world of immortal glory. I shall now close the few remarks I have so hastily and carelessly thrown together. If, hereafter, they should be worthy to go to press; that my connections and friends may see the difficulties and troubles I have passed through, and that, with some corrections and additions; they may be thought interesting, they are at their services. They will discover that I am a plain man, and not in the habit of writing, it is the plain and old fashioned style of its author.

William Hickman


[Originally published in 1828. From a typed copy, August 23, 1967 by Fran Thompson, Kentucky Historical Society. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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