Chapter XVI - History of the Harmony Church [Owen County]
The Baptist Church of Christ, called Harmony, is situated in the southern part of Owen county, Ky., on the Elm Lick Fork of Cedar Creek, about seven miles north of Stamping Ground, and was constituted in the spring of 1839, by Elders J. D. Black and J. E. Duvall, with twelve members, six male and six female. Samuel Boone, one of the members in the original constitution, and first deacon of this church, was a nephew of the celebrated Daniel Boone, who figured so largely in the early settlement of Kentucky. He subsequently removed to Clark county, where, a few years past, he sunk to the grave, an old man full of years and full of faith, having served his generation both in the bloody field of strife, where every battle of the warrior is with confused noise and with garments stained in blood, and in the more peaceful but not less arduous duties of a servant of Christ and his church. This church numbers among her converts some who perhaps could measure in iniquity with the tallest sons of Adam's fallen race, who now take praise of God's glorious grace, walk meekly and humbly in the path of the just. At the first annual meeting of the Franklin Association after the constitution of this church, she became a member and continues her connection with that body to the present. This church was constituted in the house of Samuel Boone, and having no house of worship, active measures were set on foot to build one suited to the wants of the community. The neighborhood being sparsely settled, it was thought that a house 22 by 28 feet was sufficiently large for that purpose; but it was soon discovered, from the rapid influx of population, that the house which they built of the above dimensions was wholly insufficient to accommodate the large congregations who were in the habit of attending divine service. The church, by a very praiseworthy effort, during the last year, erected a very neat and comfortable frame, 40 by 50 feet, which can be finished with a very trifling expense, and the church left entirely out of debt.
There were five members added to the church on the day of her constitution by baptism. Elder James E. Duvall was called to the pastorate of the church, during whose services considerable accessions were made to her members - such as the Lord would have to be saved. In the year 1842, about fifty precious souls made credible profession of faith in Christ, and were immersed into the fellowship of the church as the fruit of his labors. Elder Duvall is about fifty years of age, a man of ardent temperament, and some eccentricities of character, somewhat lacking in circumspection and prudence in his common intercourse with the world, especially in conversation, of sufficient determination of will and purpose to enable him to exert a controlling influence in the church and congregation to whom he ministers. His voice is full of melody and of considerable compass. His exhortations are frequently weighty and powerful, causing a sinner to tremble and inquire, what shall I do to be saved? He has been preaching about twenty-five years, maintaining his family chiefly by the practice of medicine, in which he is quite successful, receiving but little aid from the churches. Elder Duvall served the Harmony Church, in all, about five years, but not consecutively. Elder Elisha Cobb served this church one year, and so far as the writer can learn, gave general satisfaction.
Elder Cobb did not enter the ministry until about the meridian of life, but love to God and for the salvation of dying men kindled warmly upon the altar of his heart, fired his zeal, and, nerving his arm for the conflict, he went forth as a whole hearted minister of the Lord Jesus. Many souls have been given him for his hire, and many souls have been added to his ministry. Although Elder Cobb is not a critic, nor yet a logician, and although he cannot boast of having stored his mind with the learned lumber of any modern Gamaliel, at whose feet a gaping dunce might sit until, not the Gadarian, but the Gamaliel image were enstamped, reflecting all of its shades and proportions upon his own understanding; but he certainly has a pretty extensive knowledge of that book which presents Christ as the author of eternal salvation to the guilty, yet penitent and believing sinner. He has not trifled with his Lord's goods, nor has he stepped as an unfaithful sentinel upon the walls of Zion, but has put the master's money to the exchanges, and no man of my acquaintance has occupied his talent with greater success.
Elder Joseph Barbee served the Harmony Church as pastor in 1848, during which year about twenty were immersed into the fellowship of the church. Elder Barbee is now in the prime of life - a man of zeal and energy in the church. He was originally a Methodist of good standing as a member, and as a young minister; and although he entertained a high regard for his Methodist brethren, yet, after much consideration and prayer, he felt it to be his duty to dissolve his connection with that people, which he did by uniting with the Baptist Church at Stamping Ground, by experience and baptism, about five years since. He has served, as well as Harmony, Caney Fork, Mount Pleasant, and Silas churches, and is now laboring as a missionary under appointment of the General Association of Kentucky, at Cynthiana, Harrison county, Ky., with flattering prospects. He has been very successful in winning souls to Christ.
Elder Henry Ballard was in the service of this church in 1849, during which time several precious souls were converted and received into fellowship. Elder Ballard is in the prime of life, but of feeble constitution and imperfect health, with a countenance denoting thoughtfulness, which is no false index to the working of his mind. His sermons are full of thought -- his faithful mind discovers and brings forth excellent things out of God's law. His manner is rather taciturn, exhibiting slight shades of dejection and melancholy; but while these are characteristics of his more private intercourse, when preaching, his heart and voice kindle into animation, while the claims of Christ to the heart's best homage is presented in thoughts that breathe and words that burn. He is poor in the world's goods, as many of the ministers of Christ are, and as their blessed Master was before them, but although poor while they are making many rich, let them therein rejoice.
Elder Benjamin F. Quinn has just closed his pastoral labors with this church, running through the two last years, 1850 and 1851. His labors have been abundantly successful at this point in building up the church in their most holy faith, and being instrumental in the confidence of a number of precious souls. He enjoys the confidence of the whole church and community, who deeply feel their loss in parting with this efficient and useful minister of Christ.
The notice given of these ministers is designedly very brief, because it belongs more particularly to the history of the churches to which they belong, and which will soon be furnished for publication. The Harmony Church now numbers seventy members - is faithful in the maintenance of discipline, nobly contending for the supremacy of the scriptures in all things pertaining to faith and practice. She has, however, adopted the practice of choosing her deacons annually, which is of doubtful propriety and without scriptural authority, which she will be ready to abandon whenever convinced of her error.
This church has set her seal of disapprobation on the modern practice of dancing as being inconsistent with a profession of Christianity, and when she has failed, after faithful admonition and entreaty, to induce such of her members as have engaged in this amusement, to abandon it, she has felt it to be her painful duty to cut them off from their connection with the church,
This brief history of Harmony Church may be relied upon as substantially true, being obtained from documentary, as well as oral testimony, of the most undoubted character.
[From Samuel H. Ford, editor, The Christian Repository, July 1858, pp. 496-499. Transcribed and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
Ford's Kentucky Baptist History
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