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A History of Baptists in Kentucky
By Frank M. Masters

1887 - 1895

      During this period the Baptists of Kentucky became more firmly established, and greatly enlarged their missionary program. The Semi-Centennial session of the General Association held in October 1887 marked the beginning of a new era of progress. At this Jubilee Meeting fifty years of Baptist History in Kentucky were "wisely interpreted, and its lessons skillfully and powerfully enforced." Also mucn of the Baptist progress was due to the leadership of Rev. J. W. Warder, the Corresponding Secretary of the General Association, who served through this period. He was in his seventh year of service, and was prepared by experience and Board of the Southern Baptist Convention was launched on its career of usefulness in May 1891 and contributed wonderfully in promoting the Sunday school interests, not only in Kentucky, but in all the States in the territory of the Southern Baptist Convention.


      The General Association of Baptists in Kentucky met in two sessions during the memorable Semi-Centennial year. The regular annual session was held with the Baptist Church at Danville, in Boyle County, June 24-27; and the great Jubilee Meeting convened in the Walnut Street Baptist Church, Louisville, October 20-22.

      The session at Danville was called to order by the Moderator, Rev. Green Clay Smith. After singing "All Hail the Power of Jesus Name", Rev. Robert Ryland of Lexington, read the 84th Psalm, and Rev. R. E. Kirtley led in prayer. There were enrolled 160 messengers, and the following visiting brethren were seated: Rev. Henry McDonald D.D., pastor of Second Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia; Rev. S. H. Ford, D.D., St. Louis, Missouri; Rev. I. T. Tichenor, D.D., Corresponding Secretary, Home Mission Board, Atlanta, Georgia; Rev. T. P. Bell, Assistant Corresponding Secretary of the Foreign Mission Board, Richmond, Virginia, and Rev. W. N. Wyeth, editor, Journal and Messenger, Cincinnati, Ohio. The Annual Sermon was preached by Rev. T. T. Eaton, pastor of the Walnut Street Baptist Church, Louisville. Rev. Green Clay Smith was elected Moderator for the ninth time.

      One of the main objectives of this session was to make necessary preparations for the Semi-Centennial Celebration to begin October 20th next. All the survivors, who attended the first meeting of the General Association in 1837, were earnestly and cordially invited by special resolution to be present at the Jubilee Meeting, as the guests of the body. A Committee was appointed to consider the propriety of publishing a Memorial Volume of the Semi-Centennial Meeting.

      The reports of the various missionary agencies showed marked growth during the year closing. Many Missionary and Sunday School Conventions were reported held, which have proved an excellent means of stimulating Missionary zeal. Good cheer prevailed over "the rapid growth of a large part of our ministry in missionary zeal and information." The number of contributing churches and church members had also increased. Plans were King made for "taking annual subscriptions for missions to be paid in weekly installments, and also suitable envelops and treasurer's books." Thirty-five state missionaries and seven special workers were employed at the beginning of the year, who accomplished results for which we "thank God and take courage." The wisdom of the policy of concentrating mission forces on important centers in order "to build up strong self-sustaining churches, was strikingly shown in the remarkable meeting with our mission church at Henderson." Two brethren with evangelistic gifts, employed by the State Board of Missions, continued the meeting four weeks, which resulted in 150 additions to the church.

      Thirteen colporters and Sunday school missionaries were also employed daring the year. They performed good service, "selling or donating Bibles, religious books and tracts, organizing Sunday schools, and resusitating those ready to die and preaching the gospel from house to house, as well as publicly." Plans were adopted to raise a permanent book fund of ond thousand dollars, "to be augmented to three thousand dollars as rapidly as the needs of the work suggest." Forty new Sunday schools were organized making the number of schools in the State 560, with 23,279 pupils enrolled. The report of the treasurer showed $4,084.47 raised for Sunday school and colportage work, including $1,080.04 received from the sale of books.

      The persistent effort of the Corresponding Secretary and the Executive Board was to attain full co-operation of all the Baptists in the State. To accomplish this end, Secretary J. W. Warder introduced the following, which was adopted: "That it is the sense of this Association that there should be thorough cooperation of the Southern Baptist Convention, the General Association, and the District Associations through their Boards, so that the influence of the whole denomination may be brought to bear upon our churches to induce frequent and systematic giving to all of our missions, and that their influence should be so directed that weekly mission offerings shall become as rapidly as possible, the universal habit of church life."

      A resolution was introduced looking to the union of Georgetown and Bethel Colleges even if it be necessary to sacrifice $100,000 in order to accomplish the union, and to this end that "a committee of three be appointed to confer with those institutions with reference to this matter". There was a prolonged discussion, during which sixteen of the brethren spoke on the resolution. A committee was appointed com-posed of G. F. Bagby, W. P. Harvey and M. M. Riley to report on the subject of the union of the two colleges. The question of making provision "for taking care of aged and indigent ministers" was again presented to the Association. A committee was appointed "to consider the best method for the performance of our duty in this regard and report at our next meeting".

      A communication was read from J. H. Spencer, the employed agent of the Association to collect and preserve historic data of Kentucky Baptist History, tendering his resignation, which was accepted, and a committee was appointed on Kentucky Baptist History, consisting of W. H. Whitsitt, B.W.D. Seeley, and J. E. Farnam, to report one year hence. The following resolution of sympathy to Dr. Spencer was adopted: "Resolved that we express to Dr. J. H. Spencer our sympathy with him in his affliction, and our thanks for his services in gathering material and writing a History of the Baptists in Kentucky".

      A resolution was adopted that a committee be appointed "to draw or have drawn a proper bill and present the same to the next Legislature (of Kentucky) amending the Local Option Law so that the Temperance people may, if they desire, in any county, have the privilege of voting in the whole county, as well as precincts, or districts, as now required." The committee prepared the bill which was duly presented to the Legislature, but it was defeated by the liquor members of the Legislature withdrawing so no quorum could be present to consider the bill.1


      The meeting at Danville adjourned on June 27, and the messengers gathered in the Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration on Thursday morning October 20, in the Walnut Street Baptist Church located on the corner of 4th and Walnut Sts., in the City of Louisville. When the place for holding the Semi-Centennial Celebration was being selected by the General Association the following statement was made in the discussion: "You could not celebrate your Semi-Centennial in the humble 'Baptist Meeting House were gathered William Vaughan, W. C. Buck, J. L. Waller, J. M. Pendleton, Alfred Bennett, Rockwood Giddings, S. L. Helm, T. G. Keen, J. L. Burrows, R. B. C. Howell; but its lineal successor stands at the crossing of two busy thoroughfares, Fourth and Walnut, and its one thousand members will be glad to place at your service their goodly meeting house." The humble meeting house, where the founding fathers met in 1837, was then the First Baptist Church of Louisville, located at the corner of Fifth and Green (now Liberty) Street.2

      The Jubilee Session was composed of 170 messengers and many visitors. Rev. Green Clay Smith, the moderator, called the Association to order and led in a short devotional service. On motion, all those present who had part in the organization of the General Association in 1837 were appointed vice-presidents of the meeting. Tne following brethren responded and were assigned seats on the stand by the side of the Moderator: J. L. Burrows, J. M. Pendleton, E. G. Berry, George Robertson, and deacons M. W. Sherrill, and John Hansbrough. Later the name of Brother J. M. Delph was added as being present in 1837.

      The committee on program, composed of Brethren T. T. Eaton, B. Manly, and A. C. Caperton, reported that their task had been duly performed. The welcome address was delivered by Rev. John A. Broadus, who said in part: "It is always pleasant to say words of welcome . . . We welcome you as Kentucky Baptists and especially we welcome these few venerable brethren, who were at the first meeting of the Association. . . . We welcome you to the Baptist institutions of our city. Here is the Mission Board, where busy men and a faithful and zealous Secretary give their time and thought to the work of evangelizing the State. Here is our Orphan's Home, doing a wonderfully good work under the control of its excellent and fair matron Here is our Seminary, that has grown, after years of struggle, to be the largest Baptist Seminary in the land; it bids fair to outstrip all those of other denominations. Brethren are asked to pray for the Seminary. Here also is the Western Recorder, that has done so much, and with increased facilities is destined to do more. We welcome you to our homes, our churches, our institutions, and our hearts."

      Rev. Thomas G. Keen, who had been placed on the program to respond to the address of welcome, was called away by death on August 23, 1887; and Rev. Henry McDonald, well known in Kentucky and then pastor in Atlanta, Georgia, was appointed to his duty. Dr. Keen died in Evansville, Indiana, at the home of his daughter at the age of 73 years. His body was brought to Hopkinsville, Kentucky, for burial, where he had twice been pastor. The funeral service was conducted by his pastor, Rev. J. N. Prestridge, assisted by Brethren J. M. Pendleton and Samuel Baker, former pastors of the Hopkinsville Church.

      Following the address of welcome and the response, the regular program, as submitted by the Committee, was taken up in order. A lengthy, but valuable paper, was read by Dr. J. M. Pendleton, Bowling Green, Kentucky, on "The Condition of the Baptists in 1837". In the afternoon Dr. J. H. Spencer read a paper on "Fifty Years of Baptist Progress in Kentucky". At the evening session Dr. George C. Lorimer, formerly pastor of the Walnut Street Church, delivered an address on "The Baptists of the Twentieth Century".

      A very interesting procedure took place following the address of the evening. Rev. J. A. Kirtley, of the North [Bend] District Association, was called to The front and received recognition of having been pastor of the church at Bullittsburg thirty-one years, and of the Big Bone Church for thirty-five years. Dr. T. T. Eaton said that "it was remarkable for a man to serve one church for thirty-one years and another for thirty-five years, and yet the churches did not kill the pastor, nor the pastor the churches". Dr. Eaton then brought forward two handsome pulpit Bibles for each of the churches. By request, Professor W. H. Whitsitt of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, with appropriate words presented the Bibles to Pastor Kirtley, who responded, expressing his appreciation. Brother J. A. Kirtley was the son of a pioneer preacher, Robert Kirtley, and was in the sixty-fifth year of his life and in the fifty-third year of his ministry.

      The Semi-Centennial program was resumed on Friday morning, October 21, at 10 o'clock. Rev. William M. Pratt, Lexington, Kentucky, made an address on "The Earliest Baptist Churches in Kentucky". He was followed by Rev. A. D. Sears, pastor at Clarksville, Tennessee, who spoke on "Benevolence of Kentucky Baptists." Rev. D. Dowden read a paper on "The Baptists of Kentucky and Missions."

      At the evening session Rev. J. L. Burrows, pastor at Norfork, Virginia, delivered an interesting address on "Recollections of the First General Association in Kentucky". Brother Burrows came to Kentucky in 1836, and began his pastorate at Owensboro, in 1839, and became pastor of the Broadway Church in Louisville in 1874, and left the state about 1882. On Saturday, October 22, Hon. Thomas C. Bell, Harrodsburg, Kentucky, read a paper on "Lessons from the Figures" giving some valuable statistics. President R. M. Dudley of Georgetown College gave an address on "Education Among the Baptists of Kentucky".

      The closing address of the Jubilee was given by Rev. W. H. Felix at 8 P. M. on "The Present Needs of the Baptists of Kentucky." One of the denominational needs, emphasized by the speaker, was the union of Georgetown and Bethel Colleges. The address was discussed by J. A. Broadus, J. W. Warder, J. L. Burrows, A. B. Cabaniss, and Arthur Peter. Arrangements were made for the publication of a memorial volume, which came from the press in 1888, containing all the addresses and the proceedings of the Association in its Jubilee Session.3


      The Fox Run Church, in the town of Eminence, Henry County, entertained the fifty-first annual session of the Association, which met on June 20. One hundred and seventy-one messengers were enrolled, and a number of distinguished visitors seated. The pastor of the entertaining church, Rev. J. S. Gatton, gave the address of welcome. Rev. G. F. Bagby, pastor at Frankfort, Kentucky, was chosen moderator. For eight years Brother Bagby was moderator of Bethel Association, and was professor in Bethel College, Russellville from 1874 to 1881. He was also superintendent of the boarding house, N. Long Hall, where his son, A. Paul Bagby was born in 1880. The latter in the years ahead became one of the distinguished ministers of the Southern Baptist Convention.

      The report of the Committee on Ministerial Relief, appointed one year ago, was read and extensively discussed. The report was then referred back to the committee with instructions to perfect the organization, draft a Constitution and By-Laws, and report to the Association during the present session. The committee reported later, recommending "the immediate organization of a Society to be known as the 'Baptist Ministers Aid Society of Kentucky'. Lengthy Constitution and By-Laws were submitted and unanimously adopted. The headquarters of the Society was located in Owensboro, Kentucky, and a Board of twelve Trustees was appointed, with George H. Cox, Corresponding Secretary. The Society was instructed to report annually to the General Association.

      The Committee on Schools and Colleges reported that plans were being made to establish a new school in Southeastern Kentucky to be located at Williamsburg in Whitley County. It was stated that $6000 had been raised in that section for the new institution, and that preparations were being made to open the school January 1, 1889. The committee also reported that the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary "continued to grow in power and prosperity". The New York Hall on Fifth Street, with capacity to accommodate 200 students had been completed, and was expected to Ibe filled at the next session. The enrollment of the session just closed was one hundred and fifty-eight.

      Rev. A. C. Caperton, who had owned and edited the Western Recorder for sixteen years and three months, sold the paper "with all its belongings (on October 1, 1887) to Harvey, McFarran and Company. Dr. Caperton said: "We have given all the energies of our mind, soul, and body to the paper .... Rev. A. B. Cabaniss has put in all his time for the last nine years preaching, lecturing and visiting from house to house" for the paper. Dr. T. T. Eaton, pastor of the Walnut Street Baptist Church, was chosen Editor, Rev. W. P. Harvey, Business Manager, and Rev. T. B. Craighead, was retained from the former management, as assistant editor. The first issue of the Western Recorder published under the direction of the new management was dated October 6, 1887.4


      When the General Association met in Maysville, Mason County on June 19, forty-two years had passed since the meeting of the body there in 1847. One hundred and forty five messengers were enrolled and seven visitors seated. Rev. G. F. Bagby was continued moderator, while Dr. F. H. Kerfoot and Rev. W. H. Felix were chosen assistant moderators. The annual sermon was preached by Rev. W. B. Steward, pastor at Winchester, Kentucky.

      The receipts for the financial year ending June 1, showed an advance over the previous year. The contributions from the churches in Kentucky to Foreign Missions were $9,882.67; to Home Missions $6,457.25; to State Missions, $5,792.54 and to Sunday schools and colportage work, $2,374.17. During' the year thirty-eight state missionaries were employed and twenty-six Sunday school and colportage workers.

      Williamsburg Institute, opened according to plan on January 7, 1889, and closed the session in June. Over $12,000 had been expended on buildings and grounds, and about 200 students matriculated. In Bethel College at Russellville twenty-five of the young men were preparing for the ministry, while Georgetown College had experienced "the most important year . . . since the war". Dr. R. M. Dudley was in his tenth years as President of Georgetown College, and Dr. W. S. Ryland was in his first year as President of Bethel.

      The death of Dr. J. P. Boyce, the first President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary occurred in Pau, France, December 28, 1888 and was lamented not only by the Seminary, but by the brotherhood throughout the whole country. The report of his death made to the General Association says: "To him more than to any one man the denomination is indebted for the foundation and preservation, under the most adverse circumstances, of their Theological Seminary". The funeral services were held in the Broadway Baptist Church, in the city of Louisville on Sunday afternoon, January 20, 1889. Dr. John A. Broadus delivered the principal address. A long procession of faculty, students and friends followed the body to Cave Hill Cemetery. At the meeting of the Board of Trustees in Memphis, Tennessee, the following May, in connection with the session of the Southern Baptist Convention, "Dr. Broadus was elected President (of the Seminary) and Dr. F. H. Kerfoot was chosen to succeed Dr. Boyce as treasurer and financial agent and as Professor of Theology".5

      At the meeting of the General Association in 1888, a committee was appointed consisting of R. M. Dudley, W. S. Ryland, G. P. Bagby, F. H. Kerfoot, T. T. Eaton, and the Secretary, B. W. D. Seeley, to send greetings to Pastor Charles H. Spurgeon, London, England. This committee was to assure him "of their thorough appreciation and approval of the faithful stand he has made in defence of important Scriptural truth in the recent 'Down-Grade Controversy' (among the English Baptists), and their deep sympathy with him in his personal affliction and in the attacks which his fidelity has invited."

      On July 25, 1888, Pastor Spurgeon addressed a letter to the committee, which was read before the Ministers' Meeting, and ordered printed in the minutes. Only one or two sentences are quoted from the letter. "In contending for the old faith, I can at least claim that I have had no second motive ... It is solely and only that I cannot have communion with grievous error, and therefore I quitted a Society in which there are many whom I love. They are able to consort with errorists, and I am not, and therefore regretfully I quitted them, to enable me to escape from unhallowed confederation with others .... I am none the less a Baptist because I leave the Baptist Union; but I think I am all the more a Baptist of the old type. I am at least one with you all".

      The report of the committee on Kentucky Baptist History was read by Professor W. H. Whitsitt, the chairman. The purpose of this perpetual committee was to endeavor to maintain continued interest in the History of Kentucky Baptists in gathering historical material to be placed in the new Seminary Library building, "where all materials under the charge of the Committee may be securely preserved." The committee also ventured "to request that Dr. J. H. Spencer would be kind enough to prepare an annotated copy of his history for the use of the Committee, and for the future instruction of Baptist Scholars of Kentucky. This suggestion is based upon the fact that it is impossible to achieve absolute accuracy in a work of such proportions as that which he has produced". It was also stated that the author would, more than anyone else, be aware "of blunders and inaccuracies, into which it was almost inevitable that he should fall". Whether Dr. Spencer ever responded to the request of the committee is not known.6


      The fifty-third annual session of the General Association was held in Owensboro, commencing on June 21. This was the third time the Association had met in this splendid town. The Walnut Street Baptist Church, constituted in 1876, joined with the First Baptist in entertaining the body. One hundred and forty-eight messengers were enrolled, and Rev. J. S. Coleman, pastor at Hartford, in Ohio County, was chosen moderator. Eighteen years had passed since Dr. Coleman last served in that honored position. The retiring moderator, Rev. G. F. Bagby, appointed Dr. W. W. Gardner, and Hon. T. C. Bell to escort Dr. Coleman to the chair. This was done in a very impressive manner and with appropriate remarks. The annual sermon was preached by Rev. A. C. Davidson, pastor of the First Baptist Church, Covington, Ky. The following pastors appeared as messengers for the first time: Rev. Fred D. Hale, 22nd and Walnut Street Church, Louisville; Rev. Charles H. Nash, Hopkinsville; Rev. John D. Jordon, Paducah; Rev. J. A. French, Shelbyville; Rev. J. G. Bow, Russellville; and Rev. J. O. Rust, McFerran Memorial Church, Louisville.

      There were some marks of progress made during the year in the various departments of work. Twenty new churches were constituted and twenty-five houses of worship dedicated, as at Campbellsville, Greenville, Henderson, and East and McFerran Churches in Louisville. Fifty-seven churches in towns and cities reported worship and preaching every Sunday, and eleven churches in the country enjoyed the same privilege. Thirty-two churches reported homes for their pastors and five churches were publish¬ing local church papers. During the year twenty-five ministers were ordained, among whom were W. J. Puckett, on September 14, 1889, and W. M. Stallings on June 9 of the same year, both of whom, though now deceased, are still living in the ministry of their sons, Rev. Roy L. Puckett, Rev. Garnett Eaton Puckett, and Rev. John T. Stallings.

      At the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary there was an enrollment of one hundred and sixty-five, fifteen full graduates and seven English graduates. The Library building was rapidly nearing completion. Bethel College enrolled 181 students and Georgetown College 143. The young and prosperous Williamsburg Institute reported 355 students matriculated, and a gift of $10,000 promised on condition that $10,000 more be raised with which to enlarge the present building. The Liberty Female College at Glasgow had enrolled one hundred students and was in an earnest campaign to pay off the indebtedness of $35,000 on the property.

      The Bethel Female College at Hopkinsville reported a small attendance, due to the long illness and death of the lamented President J. W. Rust. This great educator died on Sunday, June 8, 1890, just as the children of the Baptist Sunday school in Hopkinsville, of which he was so many years the beloved superintendent, were singing the morning hymn "Welcome Sweet Day of Rest".7

      The Sunday School and Colportage Department reported a perma¬nent book fund of $1,184.66, which, it was hoped, could be increased to $3,000. The work being done by the Missionary Society of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary was reported very encouraging, and "if continued will go far to make Louisville what is destined to be, in the near future, a Baptist City." There was great enthusiasm in the Colportage Department over the establishment of the Baptist Book Concern in Louisville, which "may cheapen the cost of colportage supplies." Resolutions were adopted in the Association condemning "all affiliation with these union movements," •which tend "to weaken the deep and commendable interest, which all Baptists should ever feel in their own Sunday School Conventions and work, through which alone success is to be secured."8


      The fifty-fourth annual session of the General Association, which met with the Williamsburg Baptist Church of October 31, was the first meeting of that body in South-east Kentucky. The Williamsburg Church, was constituted in August 1882 with three male and four female members by Rev. Green Clay Smith, who was then moderator of the General Associa-tion and missionary in that section. With continued missionary aid for nine years this church had attained a membership of nearly three hundred, and was maintaining a large Sunday school and a well attended prayer meeting. The Williamsburg Institute founded there years before through the leadership of this church, showed promise of great future usefulness.

      Only one hundred and eleven messengers were enrolled. The small attendance was no doubt due to the distance from the main Baptist constituency of the state to the place of mteeting. The pastor, Rev. W. J. Johnson, welcomed the messengers and visitors to the homes and hearts of the church and citizens. Dr. F. H. Kerfoot, professor in the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, was chosen Moderator, and he also preached the annual sermon.

      The Sunday School Board, established in Nashville, Tennessee, by the Southern Baptist Convention at Birmingham, Alabama, May, 1891, was enthusiastically approved and Rev. J. M. Frost, D.D., the Corresponding-Secretary, and he was welcomed to a seat as an honored visitor. To this Board at Nashville was entrusted the publication of the Convention series of Sunday School Periodicals, which "will be adapted to the wants of our churches, and will create a fund for Sunday School Mission work."

      Preparations were being made by different groups of Baptists to celebrate the Centennial of the Beginning of Modern Missions. The Southern Baptist Convention at Ft. Worth, Texas, May, 1890, declared, "that the Baptists of the world should have in 1892 a suitable commemoration of the missionary movement, which was organized by the Baptists at Kettering," England, October 2, 1792, which resulted in the sailing of William Carey to India, June 13, 1893. The same Convention resolved to put one hundred new missionaries in the Foreign Fields and set a goal to raise $250,000 for Home and Foreign Missions.9

      At the meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Birmingham, Alabama, in May of the following year, State Centennial Committees were appointed, "charged with the duty of arranging and holding at suitable places in the State, Missionary meetings for the purpose of imparting information, arousing zeal and encouraging systematic giving by the churches, Sunday Schools and Missionary Societies." The committee appointed at Birmingham for the Centennial Movement for Kentucky was composed of Brethren W. H. Felix, W. W. Gardner, Vice-president of the Foreign Mission Board, and M. M. Riley, vice-president of the Home Mission Board.10

      Sunday, November 1, of the present session of the Association, was designated Centennial Sunday, and two all-day programs were carried out simultaneously at two different places, when every phase of missions was presented. Rev. W. H. Felix presided over one of these meetings and Dr. F. H. Kerfoot over the other. Some of the speakers were: T. T. Eaton, W. W. Gardner, A. C. Davidson, J. A. Broadus, J. R. Sampey, I. T. Tichenor, T. P. Bell, H. A. Tupper, Jr., R. M. Dudley, J. M. Frost, W. C. Taylor, C. H. Nash, J. N. Prestridge, M. D. Jeffries, L. O. Dawson, J. G. Bow and others. Some of the subjects discussed were: "Bible Authority for Missions," "William Carey and Foreign Missions," "The Holy Spirit Essential to the Success of Missions," "The Heathen Lost without the Gospel," "Mexican Missions and W. D. Powell," "Home Missions and the Colored People," "Home Missions and our Foreign Population" and many other vital missionary themes.

      The Association adjourned with the objective of making 1892 the year for dispensing missionary information in similar programs throughout the state, and to secure the largest offerings for missions ever before realized.

      Dr. J. M. Pendleton died in Bowling Green, Kentucky, on March 4, in the 80th year of his age. For more than a quarter of a century Dr. Pendleton was one of the outstanding leaders of Baptist affairs in Kentucky. The funeral services were held in the First Baptist Church of Bowling Green and Dr. T. T. Eaton delivered the funeral sermon. His body was laid to rest in the Fair View Cemetery, Bowling Green.

      A few sentences quoted from the Western Recorder pays a beautiful tribute to his memory: "J. M. Pendleton left a broad and bright mark upon his times. As a writer he stood in the front rank. He was alike good in greatness and great in goodness. He had convictions and the courage of them. He cared little for popularity, but everything for truth. His was a completed life, going out in a glorious sunset. His work was done and well done; and gratitude for such a life and character swallows up the sorrow we feel for his death." Dr. Pendleton finished his Reminiscences of a Long Life two months before his death.11


      On November 12, the General Association convened in the 55th annual session with the First Baptist Church in Covington, Rev. A. C. Davidson, pastor. Dr. F. H. Kerfoot was elected Moderator, and Rev. G. W. Ferryman, pastor at Newport, preached the annual sermon. W. D. Powell, missionary to Mexico, delivered the address on the report of the Centennial Missions. An appeal was made for $10,000 for a permanent mission fund, and pledges for $12,785.00 were received. Thirty-three sermons were preached on Sunday in Covington, Newport, Cincinnati, and in other nearly towns.

      The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary reported that the session opened with 237 in attendance, a larger number than ever before. Professor E. C. Dargan had been added to the faculty, and was already in fhe admiration and affections of the brethren." Norton Hall was in the process of construction, and would be ready for occupancy next session, which would relieve the pressure for room in New York Hall. Eleven schools and colleges were represented in this session.

      The financial exhibit of the General Association showed a total of $37,949.84 for all missions, of which $7,826.69 was for State Missions: $10,450.70 for Foreign Missions; $9,550.93 for Home Missions; and various amounts for other objects. The Baptist numerical growth, the past decade was 32 percent, while "the increase in mission contributions was 68 prcent greater than the numerical growth." The mission spirit had also developed rapidly. There was considerable interest in the Centennial of beginning of Foreign Missions. The subject was fully presented in the Kentucky Baptist Ministers' Meeting, and the report showed Centennial meetings were held in many of the district associations.

      There was great sadness throughout the Baptist circles upon the death of Dr. Basil Manly, who quietly fell asleep in Christ at his home in Louisville, Kentucky, on Sunday, January 31, 1892, about the time that Charles Haddon Spurgeon, London, England, passed from this earth. Basil Manly was born December 19, 1825, in Edgefield District, South Carolina. His father was the celebrated Dr. Basil Manly, Sr., one of the foremost preachers of the South. Young Manly the son, studied in the preparatory schools of Charleston, in his native State, at the Alabama University, in Newton Theological Seminary, and at Princeton, where he graduated in 1847. In 1850 he became pastor of the First Baptist Church at Richmond, Va. He was a member of the original faculty of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary at Greenville, South Carolina and continued to fill the chair of Old Testament until his death, with the exception of the years 1871-78, when he was President of Georgetown College. Dr. Manly was the author of a standard work on "The Bible Doctrine of Inspiration". One of his biographers says: "He was versatile, energetic, charitable, humble, scholarly and faithful in all his relations. He was the John of the Seminary in his tenderness and sympathy." He died at the age of sixty-seven years.12


      The fifty-fourth annual session was held with Lebanon Baptist Church, Marion County, commencing October 21. One hundred and twenty-two messengers were enrolled, among whom were the following pastors, who had recently come to the Louisville Churches: W. L. Pickard, Broadway Baptist Church; J. T. Christian, East Church; Carter Helm Jones, McFerran Memorial Church; H. C. Roberts, Franklin Street Church, and M. P. Hunt, 22nd and Walnut Street Church. Words of welcome were spoken by Rev. A. C. Graves, pastor of the Lebanon Church. Rev. C. H. Nash, pastor at Hopkinsville, responded in behalf of the Association. With this meeting of the General Association, the Centennial year of Missions closed.

      The year had Ibeen characterized by "exhaustive research and study of all that pertains to missionary work." Literature had been widely circulated, and missionary sermons and addresses had possibly reached more people than during any period of the modern missionary movement. In Kentucky many churches were aroused to action in mission endeavor, which resulted in the deepening of the spiritual life in the membership. Gifts' to Foreign Missions in Kentucky amounted to $16,653.34, which was $6,992.16 more than the previous year.

      Dr. H. Allen Tupper, who had served twenty years as corresponding Secretary of the Foreign Mission Board, resigned early in the year. Dr. R. J. Willingham, pastor of the First Baptist Church, Memphis, Tennessee, was his successor. The newly elected Secretary entered upon his duties September 1, 1893, and made Foreign Missions "the consuming passion of his life".

      The report on Home Missions showed that decided progress had been made during the Centennial year in this department. There had been a marked increase in contributions to Home Missions in the churches of Kentucky, which amouted to $18,259.31 including the part for the Centennial fund. Rev. F. C. McConnell had been elected during that year, Assistant Secretary of the Home Mission Board to Dr. I. T. Tichenor, "the beloved and honored Secretary". It was recommended that the churches support the Sunday School Board at Nashville, whereby "the children of our schools are brought into constant contact with the whole mission, work of the Southern Baptist Convention, and their minds and hearts filled with the facts and spirit of missions".

      Some changes were made in Georgetown College. The distinguished R. M. Dudley was called away by death in January, 1893. He was elected President of the College in 1880, while pastor of the church at Georgetown. Richard M. Dudley was a great grandson of the famous old pioneer preacher, Ambrose Dudley, who came to Kentucky from Virginia in 1786. His biographer says, "In the death of R. M. Dudley, Kentucky lost one of the most useful men ever produced among the Baptists in the State. He was a man of affairs, an orator, and lived in advance of his time." Rev. A. C. Davidson, D.D., LL.D., succeeded the lamented Dudley, and in a short time had the confidence of faculty and students. The new college building, in course of erection, was to be completed by June, 1894. During the previous year J. M. Atherton gave $30,000 to endow a chair of Natural Science in honor of Dr. J. E. Farnam, so long a professor in the college, and of Mrs. Atherton. Mr. Atherton also agreed to give $10,000 to the R. M. Dudley Memorial, if $30.000 was raised in addition. At the meeting of the Trustees on February 24, 1893 Georgetown College and Georgetown Female Seminary were consolidated to be known in the future as Georgetown College, with male and female preparatory departments, both men and women, taking the same courses, to receive the same honors and degrees.

      At Bethel College, Russellville, Kentucky, a splendid library building had been donated by the Long and Norton heirs, and $5,000 was being raised to supply the library with needed books. In November, 1893, one hundred and eighty students had been enrolled, thirty of whom were preparing for the Baptist ministry. During the year the building and grounds of Bethel College had been lighted by electricity and a system of water works supplied. Rev. J. N. Prestridge had resigned his pastorate at Hopkinsville to become President of Williamsburg Institute, where 453 students were matriculated. The Trustees claimed, if sufficient dormitory room was provided, that a thousand could be enrolled.

      In the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, November 1, 1893 marked a happy day in the Seminary family. Norton Hall had been completed and was formally opened on that day and thus another building was added to the campus on Fifth and Broadway. This strikingly beautiful building was erected by the generosity of the families of the late George W. Norton, I, and the late William F. Norton to be used for lecture rooms, and offices. Dr. John A. Broadus, the President of the Seminary, was the Master of ceremonies. The faculty at that time was composed of Drs. J. A. Broadus, W. H. Whitsitt, F. H. Kerfoot, E. C. Dargan, J. R. Sampey, and A. T. Robertson. The attendance last session was 264, and it was expected that the presnt session would reach an enrollment of 290.13

      The Association accepted the invitation of the Baptist Church at Carlisle, Nicholas County, as the place to hold the next session. The time of the meeting was changed to Saturday before the first Sunday in June.


      When the General Association met, according to appointment, with the Baptist church at Carlisle on June 2, only seven months had intervened since the last meeting in October 1893, and thus all reports of work performed would be limited to that period of time. Rev. B. A. Dawes, pastor of the Carlisle Church, delivered the message of welcome, which was responded to by J. N. Prestridge, President of Williamsburg Institute. Rev. W. H. Felix, in his seventh year as pastor of the First Baptist Church, Lexington, was chosen Moderator, and Brother B. W. D. Seeley, Secretary for the twelfth time.

      The annual sermon was preached by Dr. W. W. Gardner. This was the last time he appeared before the General Association which he loved and had attended since the beginning of his pastorate at Shelbyville in 1844. This beloved brother died at his residence at Elk Creek, Kentucky, December 1, 1894 at the age of 76 years. He was a native of Kentucky, and was born in Barren County, October 1, 1818. Dr. Gardner was pastor in Russellville, Kentucky, from 1857 to 1869, and during this time and years after, was professor of Theology in Bethel College, where he showed his friendship for young preachers. While in Russellville he performed the principal work of his life. He was "a true, faithful and useful servant of the Lord".

      Dr. W. H. Whitsitt introduced a resolution calling for the appointment of a committee, consisting of John A. Broadus, T. T. Eaton, F. D. Hale, W. H. Felix, A. C. Davidson, W. S. Ryland, John H. Weller and John N. Prestridge "on the good of the denomination, and they be charged to advise the Executive Board with regard to the various matters that may come before them and make report at the next annual session". This resolution caused a lively discussion that continued for hours, and at last the resolution was tabled, where it remained.14

      The Trustees of the Ministers Aid Society of Kentucky, formed in 1888, presented their sixth annual report, which showed $17,278.63 invested and bearing interest. No large contributions had been received during the past year. The small income from the invested funds and receipts from the churches were not sufficient to provide for the necessities of the beneficiaries. Fourteen preachers and their dependent families, besides eight widows and their dependents were then beneficiaries of this fund. The report of the Trustees stated that many of these old men of God, who were wholly dependent upon our Society, were only receiving $5.00, $6.00, $7.00, or $8.00 per month as they had the means. Mr. George H. Cox was the Corresponding Secretary of the Society.

      The Silver Anniversary of the Louisville Orphans Home was celebrated October 2, 1894. This Home for helpless orphan children was opened at 828 West Walnut Street, Louisville, Kentucky, on June 30, 1869. The Home was made possible by the women of the Walnut Street Baptist Church under the leadership of their pastor, Rev. George C. Lorimer. A permanent building was started at First and St. Catherine Streets in March 1870. In 1891 Captain W. F. Norton and his mother gave $5000, and to this challenge the Baptists of Kentucky responded and on October 2, 1892 the middle wing of the first building was dedicated. During the twenty-five years of the Home's existence, 611 children were received from outside of Louisville, and 235 were received from within the city. The Home began with three children, and at the time of the anniversary there were 114.

      Great concern was expressed in [t]his session about the organized work of the young people in the churches. The committee on "Young People" reported that twenty-one of the larger churches in the state had formed their young people into Societies, under the control of the churches with "no outside affiliations", and that they had found these Societies very helpful in advancing the Master's Kingdom. These Societies were doing a systematic work in special series of studies such as "Baptist doctrine and history, the life of Christ and the history of missions." "The committee recommended that these Societies be organized by the authority and under tfae control of the churches, wherever it was thought expedient; and that vnder the direction of the Executive Board general meetings should be held for the purpose of stimulating our young people to greater diligence and efficiency in church work under the control of the respective churches o which they belong." During the coming year these proposed meetings were held at Bowling Green, Louisville, Newport, Owensboro, Georgetown, Russellville, Williamsburg and Shelbyville with splendid results.

      The Southern Baptist Convention at the recent session in Dallas, Texas, recommended that the churches organize Young People Societies strictly under the control of the churches; that pastor and churches hold these Societies in close sympathy with the work of the Convention; and that the Sunday School Board be requested to supply them with suitable literature. This was the beginning of the present Young People's movement.

      Dr. Whitsitt, the chairman of the committee on Kentucky Baptist History, requested that the brethren over the State, "who are in possession of collections of minutes, whether of associations or churches; or volumes of newspapers that they are willing to entrust to the keeping of the Library of the (Southern Baptist) Theological Seminary will kindly forward them to Wm. H. Whitsitt, Louisville, Kentucky." The appeal seems to have received but little response.

      The report of Rev. J. W. Warder for the Executive Board for seven months showed encouraging results, notwithstanding "the financial panic". For all the workers, including Associational Missions, 1164 baptisms were reported and some 2000 additions. A deficit of $392.57 was reported on the salaries of the missionaries. Receipts for Home Missions were $4,050.17, with $874.81 going to the Centennial Fund; for Foreign Missions $8,338.02, with §1062.95 for the Centennial Fund, and $2400 as a special offering on the Foreign Mission debt.15


      After a period of twenty-two years, the General Association met the second time in Paducah, on June 15. There were ninety-one messengers enrolled and J. S. Coleman was moderator for the fifteenth time. Brother B. W. D. Seeley, who had served nineteen years as Secretary and Assistant Secretary, died on March 9, 1895 at the age of seventy-one years. He had served part of the time as Statistical Secretary and in that capacity he was greatly missed.

      Professor A. F. Williams of Bethel College and Rev. W. L. Pickard, pastor of Broadway Baptist Church, Louisville, were elected Assistant Moderators. Rev. J. K. Nunnelley, who had been pastor for twenty years at Sharpsburg and at that time Financial Agent for Georgetown College, was elected Secretary, and Thomas D. Osborne, Louisville, Kentucky, a deacon in the Broadway Baptist Church was chosen Assistant Secretary. The following visitors were seated: D. B. Ray, Editor of the American Baptist Flag, St. Louis, Missouri; Rev. W. A. Whittle, Alabama State Baptist Convention, Birmingham; Dr. E. E. Folk, Editor Baptist and Reflector, Nashville, Tennessee; S. H. Ford, Editor Ford's Christian Repository, St. Louis, Missouri; Rev. Ben M. Bogard, formerly of Kentucky, Charleston, Missouri; Dr. I. T. Tichenor, Corresponding Secretary, Home Mission Board, Atlanta, Georgia, and P. H. Kennedy, missionary of the General Association of Colored Baptists.

      At the last session of the Association a committee was appointed consisting of T. T. Eaton, A. C. Davidson, J. M. Weaver, W. S. Ryland and J. C. Freeman, who were "to inquire into the relations between this Gen¬eral Association and the denominational schools in the state and report next year, what action, if any is desirable, to bring to pass the best results in this regard."

      T. T. Eaton presented the report, which was discussed and adopted: "Resolved that the Baptist Institutions of learning in the State be asked to come into the same relation to this General Association, that the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary bears to the Southern Baptist Convention, and that whenever vacancies occur on the Boards of Trustees of these Institutions, the Association have the right to make nominations to fill those vacancies, which shall not be filled by the Boards, until after this body has had an opportunity to make such nominations. As in the case of the Seminary and the Convention, this Association is to have the opportunity of nominating three brethren for each vacancy, one of whom shall be chosen by the Board." Resolved, also "that a committee be appointed to confer with the Baptist Institutions of the State, in order to carry this recommendation into effect." Brethren T. T. Eaton, J. M. Weaver and J. T. Christian were appointed on the required committee. This was the beginning of the controversy over the denominational Baptist Colleges in Kentucky, which continued for half a century before any satisfactory agreement was reached.

      The Woman's Missionary Union of Kentucky met in connection with the General Association at Paducah in the Sunday school rooms of the First Baptist Church at 3 P.M. June 15. In the absence of Miss Eliza S. Broadus, State Vice President, Mrs. Thomas D. Osborne, presided. The recommendation of the Women's Missionary Union, auxiliary to the Southern Baptist Convention, organized in 1888, was read and adopted for Kentucky. Miss Laura Barton, returned missionary from China, gave an address on "Needs of Mission Work." Mrs. J. N. Prestridge of Williamsburg, read "an admirable paper" on "How to work up District Associations." The fourteenth report of the Woman's Missionary Union in Kentucky showed a total of $4,148.00 raised, of which $2,007.54 was given to Home Missions, $1,860.85 to Foreign Missions, $180.94 to State Missions and S98.68 expense fund. These funds came from 107 societies and 28 bands.16

      The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary suffered an irreparable loss of President John A. Broadus, who was removed by death on Saturday morning March 16, at 3:45. He met his class in New Testament English on Thursday morning for the last time. That memorable hour could never be forgotten by the members of the class present that day. It is fresh in the Author's memory as he writes these lines. The great teacher was lecturing on Apollos. One of the members of the class wrote a description of the occasion, which was published in the Seminary Magazine April 1895, as follows: "Young Gentlemen, if this were the last time I should be permitted to address you, I would feel amply repaid for consuming the whole hour in endeavoring to impress upon you these two things, 'true piety', and like Apollos to be men 'mighty in the Scriptures'. Then pausing, he stood for a moment with his piercing eye fixed upon us and repeated over and over again in that slow, but wonderfully impressive style peculiar to himself, 'mighty in the Scriptures', 'mighty in the Scrip¬tures,' until the whole class seemed to be lifted through him into a sacred nearness to the Master. . . . That picture of him as he stood there at that moment can never be obliterated from my mind."

      Dr. A. T. Robertson says, "This was on Thursday. Next day he was attacked with pleurisy that gradually grew worse. For some days there was still hope, but on Thursday, the 14th, it became clear that the end was near. No sadder hour has come to my life than the duty of telling the student body in New York Hall on Thursday evening that Dr. Broadus was dying." The student body was in the dining room for the evening meal, when young Professor Robertson appeared and with a choked voice and tearful eyes told us the sad news. Only four months before on November 27, we witnessed the marriage of A. T. Robertson to Miss Ella Thomas Broadus, the youngest daughter of Dr. and Mrs. John A. Broadus.

      The funeral services were held in the Walnut Street Baptist Church on Sunday afternoon March 17. The attendance overflowed the church auditorium. The streets were lined with sympathizing friends on the way to the cemetery. His body was laid to rest in the Seminary lot in Cave Hill beside Drs. J. P. Boyce and Basil Manly. Some one said, "They were lovely and pleasant in their lives and in their death they were not divided."17

      Professor W. H. Whitsitt, who had been with the Seminary twenty-six years was elected President and Financial Agent. Dr. E. C. Dargan was advanced to full Professor of Homiletics, and Dr. A. T. Robertson to full Professor of the Interpretation of the New Testament. Dr. H. H. Harris, of Richmond College, Virginia, was elected Professor of Biblical Introduction and Polemical Theology. Dr. John R. Sampey was professor of Old Testament Interpretation and Rev. W. J. McGlothlin was made Associate Professor in that Department with Dr. Sampey in May, 1894. Dr. F. H. Kerfoot was Professor of Theology and Pastoral Duties. By appointment of the faculty, W. O. Carver was made tutor in New Testament, and W. R. Cullom, tutor in Systematic Theology. President W. H. Whitsitt was re¬tained in the chair of Ecclesiastical History. This was the faculty at the beginning of the session, October 1, 1895.18


1. Minutes of the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, 1887, p. 5, 8-11, 15, 19, 21, 24, 27; 1888, p. 10, 31.
2. Ibid., 1886, p. 10-11.
3. General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, Jubilee Meeting, 1887, p. 1-8; Memorial Volume containing the Papers and Addresses that were delivered at the Jubilee of the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, 1887, p. i-xiii.
4. Minutes of the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, 1888, p. 5, 9, 17, 20, 21, 27-29; The Western Recorder, Oct. 6, 1887; p. 4.
5. Sampey, John R., Memoirs of John R. Sampey, p. 53, 54.
6. Minutes of the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, 1889, p. 5, 8, 15, 16, 22, 23, 25, 46.
7. Minutes of Bethel Baptist Association, 1890, p. 18.
8. Minutes of the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, 1890, p. 10, 34, 35, 42, 43, 58, 60, 61.
9. Proceedings of Southern Baptist Convention, 1890, p. 27, XLII, XLIII.
10. Ibid., p. 16.
11. Minutes of the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, 1891, p. 6, 9-12, 19, 29, 30, 37, 38, 49, 50; Pendleton, J. M., Reminiscences of a Long Life, p. 185, 188, 194.
12. Minutes of the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, 1892, p. 10, 16, 26, 34, 54.
13. Ibid. 1893, p. 10, 15-17, 20, 29, 30, 35.
14. "General Association," The Western Recorder, June 7, 1894, p. 1.
15. Minutes of the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, 1894, p. 10, 13, 20, 23, 36, 39-41, 1895, p. 13, 45, 46; Proceedings of the Southern Baptist Convention, 1894, p. 36.
16. Minutes of the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, 1895, p. 2, 9, 10, 24, 28, 29; 1894, p. 24.
17. Robertson, A. T., Life and Letters of John A. Broadus, p. 430-432; Seminary Magazine, April, 1895, p. 426, 427.
18. Sampey, John R., op. cit., p. 73, 74.


[From A History of Baptists in Kentucky, 1953, pp. 353-371. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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