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Isaac Hodgen
Early Green County (KY) Baptist Minister
A History of Kentucky, 1872
By William B. Allen
     Isaac Hodgen was a leading minister of the Baptist denomination, and became pastor of tbe Mr. Gilead Church about 1801-2. He was born in Frederick County, Virginia, the 8th of August, 1779. In the fall of 1784 his father came to Kentucky, and lived for a short time at Philip's Fort, near Nolin Creek. The next year he settled on a farm where Hodgenville, the county-seat of Larue County, now stands. About the year 1800 or 1801, Isaac, being of age, left his father's residence, and commenced business for himself as a deputy sheriff of Hardin County. It was about that time he made a profession of religion and attached himself to the Baptist Church. He received baptism by immersion at the hands of Joshua Morris, in Nolin Creek. He soon began to exercise himself publicly in prayer and exhortation, and in a short time was licensed to preach, and went to the neighborhood of Mt. Gilead Church, Green County, to live. The 27th of December, 1804, he was married to Miss Phebe Trabue, daughter of William Trabue, deceased, who resided on an eminence near Skinhouse Branch, and within a few hundred yards of where Mt. Gilead Church now stands. After Isaac's marriage he resided with his mother-in-law until her death, and afterward becoming himself the owner of the place, he continued to reside there until his death, which occurred on the 22d of March, 1826, when in the forty-seventh year of his age. The pastor of Mt. Gilead Church at the time Mr. Hodgen was married was a Baptist preacher by the name of Elijah Summers; his predecessor a minister by the name of John Mulky, who many years afterward joined in the reformation begun and carried on by B. W. Stone, Alexander Campbell, and others.
[p. 379]
     The Rev. Isaac Hodgen was a man of exemplary piety, and a man of God, as was admitted by all who knew him; in consequence of which, revivals always followed his preaching wherever he went. He generally had the care of four churches at the same time, and traveled a great deal besides. At the time of his death he was pastor of the churches at Greensburg, Friendship, Union, and I believe of Mt. Gilead also, but of the latter I am not certain. He was so constantly engaged in preaching that he was at home but little, but traveled in almost every direction in the mission to which God had ordered him. He was popular with all denominations of orthodox Christians; his sermons were never sectarian or partisan; he persecuted none, and labored with all. The chief theme of his discourses was "Christ, and him crucified;" "Repent, or you will all likewise perish;" "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand;" "God has commanded all men everywhere to repent." These, and such like texts, were always favorites with him. Whilst his congregation were being assembled, he was to be seen in the pulpit, with his head bowed, and resting upon his hands, as if engaged in silent prayer; and when he arose to begin the service, he was often seen wiping the tear from his eyes. His delivery was clear, distinct, and forcible; his manner persuasive and inviting. His greatest fort was in exhortation. In the close of his discourses, he became animated, and exhorted with irresistible power and effect. He was fervent in prayer, and sung with the spirit and understanding. But few preachers could wield a greater influence with a congregation. When about to lead in prayer he would say, "Let us all now bow before the great, the eternal God, for unto him every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess," and the whole congregation would at once fall upon their kuees, sinners as well as saints, and, when they arose, saints were found rejoicing and sinners weeping. In the year 1818, he, in company with another good man (William Warder), was sent by the association to Philadelphia on some missionary errand, passing through Virginia on their return home. At a point not now recollected, they held a meeting, protracted for a few days, at which more than one hundred persons were
[p. 380]
hopefully converted and added to the church. A short time previous to his death there was a revival in his immediate neighborhood, at which his two eldest children made a profession of religion, to-wit: Robert and Elizabeth, to both of whom he administered the ordinance of baptism. Robert afterward became a member of what is denominated the Christian Church, and Elizabeth became a member of that church also, having intermarried with Mr. Robert Caldwell, who was a minister of the Christian Church. Mr. Caldwell having died, Elizabeth became the wife of Mr. John Scott, of Greensburg, who still survives, now in the eighty-eighth year of his age, retaining his intellect in an extraordinary degree for one of his age, an eminent Christian patron of piety, and a member of the Baptist Church for seventy-one years past. Two more worthy and exemplary old people live not in any community.

     The Rev. Isaac Hodgen was in person good looking, about five feet, eight or nine inches in hight, square shouldered, weighing near two hundred pounds, with a form indicative of great strength; his countenance bland, hair sandy, and eyes blue. In conversation he was always interesting, especially when animated. No minister was ever more universally beloved by all who knew him, of whatever persuasion or denomination. He lies entombed on the farm where he died, and these simple words mark the headstone of his grave, "Prepare to meet thy God."


[From William B. Allen, A History of Kentucky, Embracing Gleanings, Reminiscences. . ., 1872, pp. 378-380. Document from Google Books. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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