Baptist History Homepage
A History of Baptists in Kentucky
By Frank M. Masters
Chapter 31
A Steady Growth and Expansion
1900 – 1909

      During these first years of the new Century, the Baptists of Kentucky made marked progress along all lines, and expanded the work in every department. Contributions to all causes were enlarged. The receipts for State Missions, including Colportage and Sunday School work, increased from $7,673.27, May 1, 1900 to $36,280.83, May 1, 1909.

      The gifts for this same period, for Foreign Missions, increased from $15,573.53 to $26,255.81; and for Home Missions, from $11,752.41 to $23,637.81. The Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention reported receipts of $140,102.30, May 1, 1900; and $460,797.62, May 1, 1909; while the gifts to the Home Mission Board increased from $107,378.88 to $302,864.00 for the same period. By 1908 the Baptists of Kentucky had grown in numbers to 223,840 members. It is our purpose to consider this steady growth and expansion of Baptist Churches in Kentucky more in detail.


      On June 16, the General Association, composed of two hundred and twenty-four messengers met with the Third Baptist Church, Owensboro, where Dr. Fred D. Hale, was pastor. This church was constituted on Sun- day, August 9, 1895, with 491 members, who had been dismissed by letter from the First Baptist Church, of that city. W. H. Felix, D.D., was chosen Moderator, and Brethren J. S. Coleman and C. H. Nash, Assistant Modera- tors. Dr. J. M. Frost, Sunday School Board, Nashville, Tennessee; Dr. F. H. Kerfoot, Home Mission Board, Atlanta, Georgia, and Dr. E. E. Bomar, Assistant Secretary of the Foreign Board, Richmond, Virginia, were recognized as visitors.

      Sunday was set apart for the Century Celebration and the Century Committee was requested to prepare a suitable program. Three sessions were held, and many addresses appropriate to the occasion were delivered. E. Y. Mullins spoke on "The Ministry For the Twentieth Century"; Henry McDonald on "The Conservative Power of Baptist Principles"; . . . W. H. Felix, on "A Century of Foreign Mission Work," T. T. Eaton on "Bible Motives for Missions," J. N. Prestridge on "The Kingdom in the Twentieth Century," and other addresses were delivered.

      J. W. Warder, the retiring Corresponding Secretary, submitted his last annual report, which showed the remarkable progress made by Kentucky Baptists during his twenty years of leadership, which embraced nearly one- third of the history of the General Association. The messengers by unani- mous vote expressed by resolution their love and appreciation of these many years of sacrificial service by Dr. Warder, and then presented him with a suitable gift. Dr. J. G. Bow, pastor at Pembroke, Christian County, was unanimously elected Corresponding Secretary. He at once entered upon

his duties. He was born in Burkesville, Kentucky, March 4, 1848 and was in his fifty-third year.

      It might be of interest to mention the names of some of the pastors and other ministers, who had a part in making Kentucky Baptist history at the beginning of the century. Z. T. Cody was pastor at Georgetown; C. H. Nash at Hopkinsville; H. Boyce Taylor, Murray; E. Pendleton Jones, First Church, Owensboro; Henry McDonald, Shelbyville; W. H. Brengle, Eliza- bethtown; William Lunsford, Bowling Green; W. M. Wood, Elkton; O. M. Huey, Carrollton; R. W. Morehead, Princeton; Preston Blake, Lexington; M. B. Adams, Frankfort; W. D. Nowlin, Upper Street, Lexington; W. A. Whittle, Franklin; John S. Cheek, Russellville; W. K. Penrod, Paducah; H. C. Roberts, Mayfield; John W. T. Givens, Walnut Street, Owensboro; and others.

      Some of the pastors in Louisville at that time were as follows: T. T. Eaton, Walnut Street, in his nineteenth year; J. M. Weaver, Chestnut Street, in his thirty-fifth year; Carter Helm Jones, Broadway; J. T. Christian, East Church; W. W. Hamilton, McFerran Memorial; B. H. DeMent, Twenty-second and Walnut Sts.; W. E. Foster, at Clifton; B. A. Dawes, Highland; J. H. Boyet, Third Avenue; C. M. Thompson, Twenty- sixth and Market Streets; H. E. Tralle, Portland Avenue; and others. E. Y. Mullins was closing his first year as President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; George B. Eager had recently been added to the faculty then consisting of John R. Sampey, A. T. Robertson, E. C. Dargan, W. J. McGlothlin and W. O. Carver. B. D. Gray had been elected President of Georgetown College. J. N. Prestridge was in his fourth year as editor of the Baptist Argus, and T. T. Eaton was in his thirteenth year as editor of the Western Recorder; while W. P. Harvey was filling his place as Business Manager of the Baptist Book Concern.1


      At the session of the General Association, which met with the Baptist Church at Murray, on June 13, only one hundred messengers were enrolled. T. T. Eaton, Louisville, was chosen Moderator, H. Boyce Taylor, pas- tor of the Murray Church delivered a welcome address. A. J. Holt, Corresponding Secretary of State Missions in Tennessee, was presented and delivered an inspiring address.

      J. G. Bow made his first report as Corresponding Secretary, which showed that sixty-five State missionaries and sixteen colporters had been employed. These workers reported 965 members added to the mission churches, the amount of $7,166.20 raised for church buildings on their fields, and $6,259.18 collected for State Missions. They also reported thirty-eight Sunday Schools organized, $1433.93 worth of Bibles and books sold; and Bibles and books valued at $116.17 given away.

      At the meeting of the Association the previous year, a Department of State Institute Work was inaugurated, and former Corresponding Secretary J. W. Warder was appointed Superintendent. Sixteen Institutes had been conducted, seven of which were held among the colored brethren. The aim of these Institutes was to "deepen the doctrinal, spiritual, church, missionary and educational life of the Baptist denomination, and promote unity, efficiency and cooperation."

The Education Committee reported that four new schools were established during the previous year. The first was Lorimer College, named in honor of Dr. George C. Lorimer, and located at Burning Springs in Clay County. The Mamre College was also established in Clay County at the town of Oneida, with Professor J. A. Burns as President. These two schools located in the same county, twelve miles apart, continued as rival institutions until 1905, when a committee from the General Association succeeded in uniting the two schools at Oneida, under the name of Oneida Baptist Institute with Professor J. A. Burns as President.

      The Laurel Baptist Seminary, the third school, started during the year 1900-1901, was established in the town of London under the leadership of Rev. W. B. McGarity, pastor of the London Church. The visiting committee to this school, February 1901, reported 143 pupils enrolled, and that a fine beginning had been made.

      Also a school was started in Pineville, the county seat of Bell County, called the Theodore Harris Institute, in honor of Mr. Theodore Harris, a member of the Chestnut Street Baptist Church, Louisville, Kentucky, whose generosity made the beginning of the school possible. The new Pineville Hotel, a four story brick building, well adapted to school purposes, was purchased by the citizens of the community, and turned over to the Baptist State Board, on the condition that the General Association would support the academy. The school opened with a good faculty and the enrollment reached 333 pupils the first session. The school continued well until 1903 when it ceased to exist, for the reason that the citizens of Pineville failed to meet the payment on the property, and the General Association with- drew from the field.

      Deacon Mason W. Sherrill, who was the last surviving member of the General Association at its organization in 1837, died at his home in Louisville January 5, 1901. For thirteen years Deacon Sherrill had been a guest of the body, occupying a seat on the platform. There were seven survivors of 1837 present at the Jubilee Meeting in 1887, each of whom had a seat of honor on the platform at every session of the Association. Now, Brother Sherrill, the last of the surviving seven, was gone. He was described as "a good and faithful servant of Jesus Christ."

      Dr. A. C. Caperton, who was proprietor and Editor of the Western Recorder from 1871 to 1887 died in his home on a farm near Leitchfield, January 18, 1901. He was born in Jackson County, Alabama, January 4, 1831, was a graduate of Mississippi College and the Rochester Theological Seminary. He was pastor in Memphis, Tennessee, Mayfield, Kentucky, and in Evansville, Indiana, prior to his connection with the Western Recorder. He was said to have been in need in his old age. During the session, special prayers were offered on two different occasions for Dr. F. H. Kerfoot, Corresponding Secretary of the Home Mission Board, who was dangerously ill in his Atlanta home. He died a few days later at the age of fifty-four years.2


      The General Association composed of two hundred and forty-nine messengers met on June 11 in the Opera House of London, the County seat

of Laurel County. T. T. Eaton was chosen Moderator, and Brethren C. H. Nash, Hopkinsville, and Henry McDonald, Shelbyville, were elected Assistant Moderators. Pastor W. B. McGarity of the London Church delivered the welcome message, and Dr. William Shelton, pastor at Stanton, made the response. The annual sermon was preached by H. Boyce Taylor, pastor at Murray, and at the same hour, Dr. J. N. Hall, pastor at Fulton, Kentucky, preached to the overflow of people at the Baptist Church. Arrangements were made to have the proceedings of the sessions to appear in the daily papers of Louisville, Lexington, and Cincinnati, and also to furnish the county weekly papers with like reports. Dr. F. C. McConnell, Corresponding Secretary of the Home Mission Board, the successor of the lamented Dr. F. H. Kerfoot, was recognized as an honored visitor.

      Many expressions of praise were heard among the Brethren concerning the institutes conducted by Dr. J. W. Warder, Superintendent of this department of work. These institutes were recognized as a great educational factor for both the white and colored Baptists. The Superintendent has "shown great tact in the selection of men and themes, time, and places." During the year ending May 1, twenty-seven institutes were held, of which twelve were conducted among the Colored churches.

      There was a considerable stir over the attitude of Berea College, Berea, Kentucky, regarding the religious liberty of the students. The facts were stated in the following resolution, which was unanimously adopted by a rising vote: "The authorities of Berea College have laid down the rule that all students of all denominations, and of no denomination, shall not be allowed to attend churches of their choice on Sunday nights, and the Sun- day school of their choice on Sunday mornings; but shall be required to attend the worship, which the authorities choose to provide, and these authorities distinctly avow, and defend their rights to control the worship of the students."

      It was then declared by the Association, "That such a rule is a violation of the religious liberty of the students, many of whom are Baptists, and in the behalf of said students, and in behalf of the great principle of religious freedom for which Baptists have ever stood, we protest against such a rule." It was also resolved "That a copy of these resolutions, officially signed, be sent to the authorities of Berea College, and they be furnished to all the papers of the State, whose columns are open to us." 3


      Three hundred and seventeen messengers were enrolled in the General Association, held in the Baptist Church at Winchester, June 17-19. Dr. B. B. Bailey, pastor of the Church, delivered the address of welcome, which was responded to by Dt. B. D. Gray, President of Georgetown College. Dr. W. H. Felix, pastor of the David's Fork Church, Elkhorn Association, was again chosen Moderator, and Dr. Preston Blake, pastor of the First Baptist Church, Lexington, preached the annual sermon.

      The Standing Committee on Schools and Colleges presented an extended report. The Hazard Baptist Institute, a new school, opened its first session in the fall of 1902, under the presidency of A. S. Petrey. Four teachers were employed, and during the session one hundred and sixty five pupils were enrolled. Plans were completed, and almost sufficient funds were in hand to

erect a building. The school was located in what was regarded a needy section, hence worthy of support, and was controlled by a self-perpetuating Board of Trustees, of which three-fourths must be Baptists.

      The report of the committee also stated that the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary had closed a prosperous year. President E. Y. Mullins was busily engaged in raising the needed $200,000 to be added to the endowment. He was being assisted by Dr. John H. Eager, former missionary to Italy. The Alumni Society was endeavoring to raise $60,000 to endow a special chair, of which amount $18,000 had been secured. The Committee on Baptist History in Kentucky recommended the formation of a Kentucky Baptist Historical Society, which was adopted. The object of the Society shall be "the collection and preservation of Kentucky Baptist History." Any person, who is a member of any Kentucky Baptist Church, will be eligible to life membership upon the payment of $25.00, and to annual membership upon the payment of one dollar. The meetings of the Society "shall be held annually, at some time during the annual session of the General Association of Kentucky Baptists, at which time the officers shall be elected, the historical address shall be delivered, and any other business transacted."

      Seventy-four delegates from the Woman's Missionary Societies in the Baptist churches of Kentucky met in Winchester June 16, prior to the meeting of the General Association and organized "The Woman's Missionary Association of Kentucky, auxiliary to the General Association of Baptists of Kentucky." Mrs. B. F. Procter of Bowling Green, a daughter of the late J. M. Pendleton, was chosen President, and Miss Annie Lucille Davis, Nealton, Kentucky, Secretary. A program of work was outlined, and it was resolved "to make greater efforts to enlist more givers" to the great work of missions. A committee was appointed to draft a constitution and by- laws, and report next year.

      Rev. A. W. Meacham, a useful and faithful preacher in West Kentucky, died December 11, 1902 at the age of eight-five years. He spent sixty years in the ministry. Brother Meacham was the first pastor of the First Baptist Church in Paducah, organized in 1840. He was chosen Moderator of Little River Association twenty-six times. He served many leading country and village churches as pastor. He was also successful in revival work, having baptized over 4000 converts. His funeral was held in the West Union Church, in Christian County, by his pastor, Rev. I. N. Strother.4


      The Church at Campbellsville entertained the General Association for the first time, convening on Wednesday morning, June 15. Rev. J. S. Gatton, the pastor of the Campbellsville Church, welcomed the messengers and visitors; and Dr. J. S. Cheek, pastor at Russellville, responded. The annual sermon was preached by Dr. T. T. Eaton. Dr. J. N. Prestridge, the editor of the Baptist Argus, made the pleasant announcement that Hon. B. F. Procter and Mrs. Procter, Bowling Green, had agreed to support Rev. H. L. McMurray, a missionary under the State Board, in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky. The Committee on Schools and Colleges reported that Dr. B. D. Gray, had resigned as president of Georgetown College to succeed Dr. F. C.

McConnell as Corresponding Secretary of the Home Mission Board; and that Dr. J. J. Taylor had been chosen his successor as president of the college. The committee reported the difficulties they had met in endeavoring to bring the schools under denominational control. "Your Committee finds quite a variety of opinions on the subject of the federation or affiliation of the schools. Some brethren favor having the trustees chosen by the General Association. This method is followed, with some variations, in Virginia, in Georgia, in Alabama, in Mississippi, in Louisiana, in Arkansas, in Texas, and in Canada.

      Others think that the autonomy of our schools should be held inviolate, that the Boards of Trustees should be self-perpetuating, securing, so far as possible, the schools to the denomination by charter provisions . . .

      Others are opposed to any sort of affiliation, lest some schools should suffer in the interest of others."

      Further difficulties of control were mentioned as follows: "In Kentucky some schools are controlled by self-perpetuating Boards of Trustees, while some are controlled by District Associations, one by a single church, and one, Georgetown, by an Education Society, composed of contributors." Also "the subject is a most important one, and should receive, on its merits purely, the earnest consideration of our people. The ease with which charters can be changed, particularly in Kentucky, adds special emphasis to the urgency of the problem."

      Three well known ministers of the gospel, who had long been affiliated with the Baptist cause in Kentucky were called away by death during the past Associational year. Dr. J. A. Kirtley died February 15, 1904 at the age of 81 years, after having been in the ministry sixty years. He was pastor of the Bullittsburg and Big Bone Churches nearly forty years.

      Dr. J. S. Coleman, died March 29, 1904, at his home in Beaver Dam in his seventy-seventh year. Brother Coleman was ordained to the ministry, October 1854, elected moderator of the General Association in 1859 and was chosen to that position sixteen times. According to his records, Dr. Coleman baptized more than 5,000 converts during his long ministry.

      Dr. Henry McDonald resigned his pastorate at Shelbyville, and re- turned to Atlanta, and died there a few weeks later on March 22, 1904 at the age of seventy-two years. This distinguished minister of the Gospel was born in Ireland in 1832, and was brought up in the Catholic faith. He came to Kentucky in 1848 and settled at Greensburg, and entered the profession of Law. He was converted and baptized into the Greensburg Baptist Church in 1852, and in 1854 ordained to the ministry and served the church as pastor for ten years, after which he became pastor at Danville, and remained six years. Dr. McDonald was pastor at Georgetown, and Professor of Theology in the College for a number of years. He left Kentucky to become pastor in Richmond, Virginia, and later was pastor in Atlanta, Georgia. He returned to Kentucky in 1900 to accept the pastorate at Shelbyville. He attended the General Association at Winchester in 1903, which was his last. For nearly fifty years, he was a faithful Minister of Jesus Christ. In keeping with his many requests, his body was brought from Atlanta, and buried in Kentucky soil.5


      After a lapse of thirty-nine years the General Association met again in Russellville. A resolution was adopted as follows, "we will remember with everlasting thanks the open doors of (Logan Female College, and those of Bethel College, the open homes, and hearts of all the churches and all the people." Dr. T. T. Eaton was made Moderator by the Secretary casting one ballot. President J. J. Taylor of Georgetown College preached the annual sermon. Dr. and Mrs. S. H. Ford of St. Louis were recognized as honored visitors. After Dr. Ford had left Kentucky for work in another State, he still remained a life member of the General Association under a former Constitution and always kept in touch with Baptist affairs of Kentucky. This was his last visit. He passed away one month later on July 5, in his eighty-first year. Brother Ford was ordained to the ministry in 1843, and for over sixty years was active as preacher, editor, and author. Ford's Christian Repository, which he edited from 1852 to the close of his life, was probably his greatest contribution.

      The Executive Board, generally designated as the State Board of Missions, held its annual meeting in July, following the adjournment of the General Association in June, 1904. The Board was organized for work by re-electing J. M. Weaver, pastor Chestnut Street Church, Louisville, President, B. A. Dawes, pastor, Highland Church, Louisville, Secretary, and W. P. Harvey, of Baptist Book Concern, Treasurer. City Mission work in Louisville was undertaken by the Board for the first time by employing Miss Emma Leachman to work among the fallen in the slums of the City in connection with the Hope Rescue Mission. The Board was induced to begin this work by the Young Ladies' Missionary Society of McFerran Memorial Baptist Church, under the leadership of their pastor, W. W. Hamilton, who became responsible for one-half of Miss Leachman's salary.6


      Richmond, the county seat of Madison County, was the place of meeting of the General Association, which convened on the morning of June 21. The sessions were held in the Presbyterian Church, and the pastor of that congregation, Rev. J. Addison Smith, delivered the address of welcome. Two hundred messengers were enrolled, representing churches in fifty-one District Associations. T. T. Eaton was chosen Moderator, and J. S. Dill pastor at Bowling Green, and W. D. Nowlin, pastor of Third Baptist Church, Owensboro, Assistant Moderators. Rev. G. W. Shepherd was pastor of the Richmond Church.

      A general enlargement of the State Mission Work was shown in the report of J. G. Bow, the Corresponding Secretary. The State mission receipts exceeded any former year by over six thousand dollars. A church was constituted in each of three county seats - in Pikeville, Pike County, in Hyden, Leslie County, and in Inez, Martin County. Ten County seats, out of 119 counties, still remained without a Baptist church; and churches in some of the county seats "barely exist," as at Irvine, McKee, Whitesburg, Eddyville, etc. The report emphasized the importance of occupying at once many strategic points. "At Dawson Springs we have no house,

only once a month preaching, and no resident minister. Yet there are 60,000 visitors there during the watering season." A city missionary should be placed in Paducah, which "is rapidly increasing in population and in importance as a manufacturing and commercial center." Twelve Colporters were employed the past year to labor in different sections of the State, among whom were E. L. Howerton, T. F. Grider, W. A. M. Wood, B. J. Skaggs, E. L. Craig, and J. H. Towe.

      Almost universal satisfaction was expressed that Rev. J. T. Watts had been employed as State Sunday School Secretary. He began work January 1, 1906 and in a short time showed "his eminent fitness for the responsible position." The importance of the new Chair of Sunday School Pedagogy, which had been added to the curriculum of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, filled by Dr. B. H. DeMent, was emphasized in the report on Sunday Schools.

      Dr. E. Y. Mullins in a letter sent to the Bethel Association the following year concerning this Chair of Sunday School Pedagogy in the Seminary says: "Such experts in Sunday School matters as Marion Lawrence, Secretary of the International Sunday School Association, have said that the establishment of this chair in our Seminary was the greatest step forward in Sunday School work, which has taken place in the last one hundred years . . . From all over the United States have come words of similar import, that the establishment of this chair introduces a new era in Sunday School efficiency . . . The class last year (1906-1907) numbered about one hundred and was full of interest from beginning to end."7

      Renewed interest was manifested in evangelism in Kentucky as a result of the action of the Southern Baptist Convention in Chattanooga, Tennessee, May 1906, instructing the Home Mission Board to create a Department of Evangelism. This action called for the employment of a general evangelist, and as many associate evangelists as practicable. Dr. W. W. Hamilton, pastor of the McFerran Memorial Baptist Church, Louisville, was chosen to head the evangelistic force.

      Every effort to induce the Baptist schools of the State to accept any terms of denominational control had failed through the years. A new plan was adopted to co-ordinate the schools and colleges, and bring them into closer relation to the churches which supported them. The Baptist Education Society of Kentucky was organized and finally all the schools accepted the charter.

      The new Society was launched with "fine prospects." Dr. E. Y. Mullins was chosen President, Rev. W. E. Mitchell, Recording Secretary, and soon Dr. P. T. Hale was appointed Corresponding Secretary. It was proposed to raise $500,000 for all the affiliated schools in the State. Dr. Ancil Gatliff, M.D., Williamsburg, encouraged the movement by contributing four thousand acres of coal land, valued at $100,000 on condition that the Baptist Education Society would raise $400,000. Two years later (1908) Dr. P. T. Hale reported that $336,000 had been secured, leaving $64,000 yet to be raised, necessary to make available the four thousand acres of land offered by Dr. Gatliff.

      For a number of years, lengthy reports on Temperance had been presented to the General Association, and much time was consumed in

discussion; and yet the liquor interests continued in power and in control of the affairs of the State. But at last a victory was won in the Legislature, when the County Local Option Unit Bill was passed, and became a law of the State on June 11, 1906. In one year after this date thirty- two counties had voted prohibition. Resolutions were adopted by unanimous vote, honoring Dr. M. B. Adams, President of the Anti-Saloon League, for the valuable service which he rendered in winning the long fought battle for this valuable Legislation, outlawing the liquor traffic in Kentucky.

      Dr. W. S. Ryland, a man of rare force and grace of character, died at his home in Russellville, January 9, 1906 at the age of seventy years. He came to Bethel College, Russellville, in 1880, as Professor of Science, and was chosen President of the College in 1888. He continued in that position until June 1898, when, on account of failing health, he resigned. Dr. Ryland being a native of Virginia, graduated from Richmond College in 1855; and also from Rochester Theological Seminary in 1858. After leaving Bethel College, this devoted brother preached to nearby country churches as long as health permitted. Through all the years with Bethel College he was a leader in Bethel Association as Moderator, and in other capacities.


      After a period of twenty-two years, the General Association met with the Baptist church at Mayfield the second time. The session opened at ten o'clock, Wednesday morning June 26 in the Methodist meeting house with two hundred and one messengers present. Rev. A. S. Pettie, pastor of the Mayfield Church, delivered the address of welcome and Rev. Millard A. Jenkins, pastor at Hopkinsville, made the response. Dr. W. D. Nowlin, Owensboro, was chosen Moderator. The Executive Board reported that "the past year has been the most successful in our history." The increase over the previous year was more than 31 percent to State Missions, a 33 percent increase to Foreign Missions, and a 22 percent to Home Missions. Churches were constituted in two more county seat towns at Booneville, Owsley County, and at Prestonsburg, Floyd County.

      The report on Foreign Missions showed that the Foreign Mission Board under the leadership of Dr. R. J. Willingham made the greatest advance during the year. At the recent meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Richmond, Virginia, in May, a gift of $50,000 was made by Brother W. W. Brooks, a layman from Georgia, to foreign missions. This was the largest single gift made to the cause of Missions in the history of the Southern Baptist Convention. Brother Brooks made an appeal for three hundred laymen to join him "in liberal things for the Kingdom." The Convention, inspired by this magnificent gift, urged the churches to raise $750,000 for foreign missions the ensuing year, of which Kentucky's share would be at least $65,000.

      The first report of the Laymen's Movement presented to the General Association was made by Deacon Thomas D. Osborne of Louisville. As a result of the hearty approval of this report, a committee of twenty laymen, representing every section of the State, was appointed to form themselves into a voluntary committee to be called "The Executive Committee of the Laymen's Missionary Movement of Kentucky Baptists."

The Committee on Young People's Work made an encouraging report: "The work of the B.Y.P.U. in Kentucky was never in a more flourishing condition than at the present time . . . The churches are realizing in this organization a powerful agency for the development of Young People along lines which the Sunday School, as at present conducted, cannot be expected to accomplish . . . The B. Y.P. U. of Kentucky is now organized" as follows: B. A. Dawes, Louisville, President; Joseph T. Watts, pastor of Ashland, Kentucky, Corresponding Secretary and Treasurer; Thomas J. Watts, pastor of New Liberty, Kentucky, Assistant Corresponding Secretary. The Executive Committee was appointed as follows: B. A. Dawes, J. H. Parrish, McHenry Rhodes, M. B. Adams, T. T. Eaton, J. N. Prestridge, C. W. Wells, Carter Helm Jones, J. H. Chandler, W. R. Johnson, J. Clyde Turner, and Joseph T. Watts. It was recommended that the Young People's Societies use the B.Y.P.U. Quarterly, of the Sunday School Board, and also "Service", an organ of the B.Y.P.U. of America.

      During the session Dr. T. T. Eaton made a very important motion, which prevailed, and became the adopted policy of the General Association. The motion was "That the State Board have an all day meeting on the 9th of July at the Walnut Street Baptist Church in Louisville, and that the Board pay the expenses of the brethren, who do not live in the City." This was the last motion made in the General Association by this distinguished pastor and editor. On June 29, the day following the adjournment of the General Association at Mayfield, Dr. Eaton died at the age of sixty- two years, on the way to Mississippi. He came to the Walnut Street Church in Louisville in 1881, where he served as pastor twenty-six years. In 1887 he became editor of the Western Recorder and filled that position for nearly twenty years. He was a trustee of Georgetown College for a number of years and also served as Trustee of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

      Dr. Eaton at the time of his death "was doubtless the most potent and influential personality among the Baptists of the South." For a number of years he was chairman of the Standing Education Committee and generally read the report. At Mayfield the report was called for, but he had misplaced it, and requested that he be permitted to hand it to the Secretary in time to print in the Minutes. After his death, the report could not be found.9


      Not since 1887 had a session of the General Association been held in Louisville. After an interval of twenty-one years, the Association met with the Twenty-second and Walnut Street Church on June 10. Rev. M. P. Hunt, the pastor delivered "a strong and interesting address of welcome." Rev. W. E. Mitchell, pastor at Pembroke, in Christian County, "made appropriate reply." Four hundred and forty-three messengers were enrolled from Associations and churches including one hundred women. Rev. W. D. Nowlin was elected Moderator, and Dr. M. B. Adams, pastor of the church at Frankfort, preached the annual sermon, which was "earnest, scholarly, and practical."

      A number of young pastors began to take part in the affairs of the

Association. Some of them had recently come to the State. Among these were: W. E. Hunter, pastor at Princeton; M. E. Dodd, First Baptist Church, Paducah; T. C. Ecton, Covington; L. W. Doolan, Highland Church, Louisville; Benjamin Connaway, Leitchfield; J. M. Roddy, Harrodsburg; J. P. Scruggs, Midway; Sam P. Martin, Shepherdsville; E. S. Alderman, Fourth Avenue Church, Louisville; Charles Anderson, Russellville; and Dr. Henry Alford Porter, Walnut Street Church, Louisville, successor of the lamented T. T. Eaton.

      This session was characterized by a number of things of special inter- est. About two weeks before the meeting of the General Association, the first issue of the Baptist World appeared as sucessor [sic] to the Baptist Argus, established in Louisville, Kentucky, October, 1897. What was known as the Baptist World Publishing Company was established in Louisville with a capital stock of $50,000 which took over the Baptist Argus, for the purpose of launching a new publication, to be known as the Baptist World, of which the first copy was dated May 7, 1908. W. P. Harvey, who was, for many years, the Manager of the Baptist Book Concern, which owned the Western Recorder, was made President of the new company. Dr. J. N. Prestridge, the editor of the Baptist Argus, was made vice-president, and Secretary of the Company and editor of the new publication. The Baptist World will stand for "the constructive and aggressive Missionary and Educational work of the denomination, and loyalty to Baptist principles." The paper will also cultivate friendly relations to other existing Baptist papers.10

      The death of T. T. Eaton, June 1907, left the Western Recorder without an Editor. Immediately, J. M. Weaver, pastor of the Chestnut Street Church, was appointed acting editor and served until the following November, when C. M. Thompson, was elected editor and served until July 1909, when he resigned to accept the pastorate of the First Baptist Church, Hopkinsville. On July 1, 1909, J. W. Porter, pastor of the First Baptist Church, Lexington, was appointed editor and continued until January 1921. The following brethren served as associate editors part of the time with Dr. Porter: E. C. Stevens, W. D. Nowlin, and E. B. Hatcher.11

      The Baptist Education Society of Kentucky, formed at the annual session of the General Association in 1906 held its first regular meeting in Louisville, June 9-10 in connection with the General Association. The summary of the proceedings was published in the minutes of 1908, instead of the report of the Education Committee as formerly. The Society reported that a new school, the Russell Creek Baptist Academy, was established the previous year in Campbellsville, with the attendance of 180 pupils with five instructors and one teacher of music. Professor W. G. Welborn, a well known educator, was president of the new school. The property was valued at $20,000, and income from tuition, amounting to $2500 was received. Application was made by the new school for admission in the Baptist Education Society of Kentucky.

      Dr. J. G. Bow, after seven and a half years "of most efficient and faithful service" resigned his position as Corresponding Secretary, on November 1, 1907. Dr. W. D. Powell was immediately chosen as his successor, and made his first report to the General Association the following

June. Dr. Powell was in the fifty-fourth year of his age, and had been in the ministry thirty-four years. He had spent seventeen years as missionary in Mexico, under the Foreign Mission Board. After leaving the mission field in Mexico, he served as pastor and engaged in evangelistic work previous to the time of coming to Kentucky to accept the work of Corresponding Secretary.12


      On June 23, one hundred and sixty messengers from the churches and District Associations composed the seventy-second annual session of the General Association, which was held in the First Baptist Church of Ash- land. J. A. Booth pastor at Taylorsville was elected Moderator to succeed W. D. Nowlin. M. B. Adams, pastor at Frankfort, and C. M. Thompson, pastor at Hopkinsville, were chosen assistant Moderators. For fourteen years, Rev. J. K. Nunnelley, of Georgetown, had served as Recording and Statistical Secretary, but on account of ill health declined to serve longer. Mr. John L. Hill, the Assistant Secretary, was on motion, elected Recording and Statistical Secretary by one ballot, cast by the Moderator. The annual sermon was preached by C. M. Thompson. V. L. Stonnell, the pastor of the Ashland Church, delivered "a most cordial address of welcome," and H. Boyce Taylor, pastor at Murray, delivered "an appreciative response."

      The following visitors were recognized and invited to seats in the body: B. D. Gray, Home Mission Board, Atlanta, Georgia; J. M. Frost, Sunday School Board, Nashville, Tennessee; A. E. Brown, Head of Mountain Schools, Asheville, North Carolina; E. L. Howerton, Ironton, Ohio; and S. J. Porter, Field Secretary, Foreign Mission Board, Richmond, Virginia.

      A committee, composed of W. D. Nowlin, W. O. Carver, B. J. Davis, W. M. Stallings, E. G. Vick, M. P. Hunt, and J. W. Porter, was appointed "to interpret the Constitution of this body upon the subject of its member- ship," and report at this session. Later the committee brought in a majority and a minority report. After much discussion both reports were tabled. J. W. Porter then presented in writing a notice to amend Article III of the Constitution on membership at the next session of the Association to read as follows: "The membership of this Body shall consist of one male messenger from each Baptist church of Kentucky, and one additional for each two hundred members in excess of one hundred members." This amendment evidently was never adopted as no change was made in this Article of the Constitution.

      Another resolution was introduced which was adopted in part "after lengthy discussion": "Whereas, there is a disposition among some Baptists of our State to countenance and sanction the practice commonly known as Alien Immersion, now therefore be it Resolved, That this Association places itself on record as opposed to the practice and acceptance of Alien Immersion in lieu of Scriptural Baptism." On motion, the rulings of Moderator J. A. Booth, "during the rather stormy session" were endorsed.

      The time of the meeting of the General Association was changed from June to November. The change was made under the leadership of Dr. W. D. Powell, the Corresponding Secretary. He showed that it had been apparent all through the history of the General Association

that closing the offering for State Missions at the same time with Home and Foreign Missions, had caused much loss to each of these great mission interests. The earnest call in the Spring for the ever expanding work of Home and Foreign Missions often became so intense and consuming, that the call for State Missions was overshadowed, and as a consequence this cause never received attention by the churches. The change in date would permit Home and Foreign Missions to close their records on April 30, and then State Missions would have an open field in the fall, and close the campaign on October 31. The argument was also presented that this change would give an opportunity for the churches to support these great mission causes without conflict of effort. The Association, therefore adjourned "to meet at Cynthiana, Wednesday morning, after the second Sunday in November 1910, at ten o'clock."13


1 Minutes of the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, 1900, p. 11- 13, 16, 17, 34, 35, 43; American Baptist Year-Book, 1909, p. 79.
2 Minutes of the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, 1901, p. 7-10, 17, 24-26, 45, 52.
3 Ibid., 1902, p. 7, 11, 20, 24, 30, 40.
4 Ibid., 1903, p. 14, 34, 38, 39, 47, 49-51, 60, 61.
5 Ibid., 1904, p. 7, 10, 11, 24, 26-29 56, 57.
6 Ibid., 1905, p. 7, 10-13, 27, 36.
7 Minutes of the Bethel Baptist Association, 1907, p. 21.
8 Minutes of the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, 1906, p. 7, 10-16, 26, 27, 32, 37, 39, 45, 50, 65.
9 Ibid., 1907, p. 7, 9-11, 24, 27, 28, 38, 44, 45, 48, 49.
10 "Announcement, 'The Baptist World'," Baptist Argus, April 23, 1908, p. 1, 32.
11 Jewell, George R., "Tabular History of the Western Recorder," The Western Recorder, December 19, 1935, p. 8, 9.
12 Minutes of the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, 1908, p. 7, 11, 13, 17, 53, 61-63, 66, 67.
13 Ibid., 1909, p. 7, 10-12, 30, 31; 1910, p. 13.


[From A History of Baptists in Kentucky, 1953, pp. 446-458. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

More Kentucky Baptist Histories
Baptist History Homepage