A History of Baptists in Kentucky
By Frank M. Masters
A Period of Baptist Achievements
1910 - 1918
The many achievements of the Baptists of Kentucky and of the South during these momentous years must be considered in the light of world peace, and of the first world war.
According to appointment the General Association met with the church at Cynthiana on November 16. The church was constituted in 1867. C. W. Elsey was pastor and host to the Association. Two hundred and thirty- six messengers were enrolled, representing one hundred and twenty churches and thirty Associations. J. A. Booth, pastor at Taylorsville was elected Moderator, and two laymen, A. Gatliff, Williamsburg, and F. D. Perkins, President of Bethel College, Russellville, Assistant Moderators; and John L. Hill, professor in Georgetown College, Recording and Statistical Secretary. M. E. Dodd, pastor First Church at Paducah, preached the annual sermon.
A number of pastors, who had come into the State since the last session were presented to the body as follows: M. D. Early, pastor at Monticello; G. W. Argabrite, Franklin Street, Louisville; G. S. Kennard, Ashland; J. D. Adcock, Nicholasville; T. J. Porter, Winchester; F. W. Eberhardt, Frank- fort; J. M. Haymore, Prestonsburg, and C. H. Cosby, Eminence. W. W. Landrum was in his first year as pastor at Broadway, Louisville, succeeding Dr. Carter Helm Jones. A. Paul Bagby had come to the pastorate at Glasgow; J. S. Dill to the First Church, Bowling Green; and W. H. Moody, to River View Church at Cox's Creek, Nelson County.
Eighteen months had passed since the last session, held June 1909, due to the change of time of meeting from June to November. Accordingly a period of one and one half years was included in all the reports. W. D. Powell, the Corresponding Secretary, emphasized the importance of pro- viding an ever increasing Church Building Fund as a means of inducing houseless churches to build the needed houses of worship. Seventy-four houses had been completed during the past twelve months; and yet there remained over two hundred and fifty churches that had no buildings. Dr. Powell recommended that the building of at least one hundred houses of worship be undertaken during the coming year.
Mr. Theodore Harris, a well known Baptist banker in Louisville, Kentucky, became intensely interested in the appalling destitution of church buildings throughout the State. At his death August 7, 1909, it was found that he had willed the residue of his estate to the General Association to aid by loan in building Baptist church houses at needy points. Dr. Powell announced in the report "that the denomination will receive ultimately some $200,000 as a loan fund from the Harris estate." Another gift for the church building fund was received from "Dr. W. C. Jones, Walnut Street Baptist
Church, Louisville" who gave $5,000 stock in the Louisville Railway Company to be used as a permanent church building fund, of which the dividends were to be paid quarterly for that purpose. Mr. G. W. Davidson, Auburn, Logan County, gave $500.00 as a permanent building fund.
In 1905 the Executive Board adopted a plan of apportioning suggested minimum amounts to the district associations for the various mission causes, which amounts were to be apportioned to the churches by a special committee appointed by said district associations for that purpose. This plan became a fixed policy of the General Association. The Committee on Apportionment recommended that the churches of Kentucky contribute during 1911, the amount of $44,000, to Foreign Missions, $32,000 to Home Missions and $50,000 to State Missions and Church Buildings, making at total of $126,000.00.
Three well known pioneer rural preachers, who deserve special mention, were removed by death during the past year.
Rev. Hiram Johnson, Laurel County, died on February 16, 1910, at the age of eighty-three years. He became pastor of the Salem Church, in Laurel River Association, at its organization in 1847, and continued pastor until his death, a period of sixty-three years. He was usually chosen Moderator of Laurel River Association after 1870.
Brother J. U. Spurlin, one of the most noted rural pastors in West Kentucky, was born in Christian County in 1824, and died October 30, 1909, at the age of eighty-five years. He was in the active ministry nearly sixty-five years, and attended sixty sessions of Bethel Association. A special page in the Minute of that Association was set apart in his honor. Brother Spurlin was pastor of country churches in Bethel, Little River, and other nearby Associations. He recorded that he had preached over seven thousand sermons, and baptized more than five thousand converts.
Elder R. W. Morehead was born in Logan County, Kentucky, April 13, 1832, and died in Princeton, Caldwell County, November 14, 1910, two days before the meeting of the General Association. After the Civil War, Brother Morehead settled in Little River Association and for nearly forty years was pastor of a number of churches, including the Harmony Church in Caldwell County, and the New Bethel in Lyon County, the latter of which he served twenty-five years. He was also pastor at Cadiz, Eddyville, Kuttawa, and Princeton. He was Moderator of the Little River Association three times, Clerk thirteen years, preached the introductory sermon six times, and served on its Executive Board forty-five years.
Four auxiliary meetings were held annually in connection with the sessions of the General Association, which were as follows: The Kentucky Baptist Ministers' Meeting, M. B. Adams, President, and J. P. Scruggs, Secretary; The Baptist Education Society of Kentucky, E. Y. Mullins, President, and W. E. Mitchell, Recording Secretary; the Kentucky Baptist Historical Society, W. J. McGlothlin, President and Thomas A. Johnson, Secretary-Treasurer; and The Womans Missionary Union, Mrs. Loraine Bramble, President, and Miss Elizabeth Garrott, Secretary.1
At the General Association in Paducah, two hundred and thirty-six messengers were enrolled. C. M. Thompson, pastor at Hopkinsville, was
elected Moderator, and F. D. Perkins, Russellville, and M. E. Dodd, pastor of the Twenty-Second and Walnut Street Church, Louisville, Assistant Moderators. S. E. Tull, pastor of the entertaining church, spoke some "gracious words of welcome," which were responded to by T. C. Ecton, pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church, Lexington. Among the visitors recognized were the following: I. J. Van Ness, Sunday School Board, Nashville, Tennessee; J. W. Shepard, Brazil; W. Eugene Sallee, China; I. N. Yohannon, Persia, and R. J. Willingham, Foreign Mission Board, Richmond, Virginia.
Professor George B. Eager, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary delivered a special address in commemoration of the Three Hundredth Anniversary of the King James' Version of the Bible.
The State Board of Missions experienced considerable difficulty from year to year in securing a permanent Secretary for the State Sunday School Department. At the beginning of 1906 Rev. J. T. Watts was employed, who was "enthusiastic, full of energy and thoroughly qualified, and has shown eminent fitness for the responsible position." The Board heartily endorsed "the man, his methods and his work." The new Secretary devoted much of his time to holding Sunday school institutes and rallies to the delight of pastors and churches, where these meetings were held. But to the regret of all, who knew his work, Brother Watts resigned at the close of the first year and returned to the pastorate on January 1, 1907.
Not until the beginning of 1908, was another Sunday School Secretary elected. At that time the Executive Board, with the aid of the Sunday School Board, Nashville, Tennessee, employed Rev. W. J. Mahoney, pastor at Greenville, Kentucky, who rendered "intelligent and efficient service." Secretary Mahoney emphasized the importance of organizing Sunday School Unions in the district associations. The purpose of these Unions was to advance the Sunday School interest in the Associations as units, by promoting institutes and rallies.
Newly gathered statistics showed that in 1908, "of the 1800 odd churches over 700 report no Sunday School," and only eighty-five teacher training classes. The sentiment prevailed to organize the Kentucky Baptist Sunday School Union, based on similar unions already formed in the district associations. The first session of this State organization was held in Princeton, which was so poorly attended that it was discontinued by the action of the General Association in 1910. After the resignation of W. J. Mahoney to return to the pastorate, Rev. J. Dean Adcock, pastor at Nicholasville, was chosen as his successor, but served only a short time when he, too, accepted work as a pastor.
Months went by and the Sunday School work became "thoroughly disorganized, and sadly run down." It was readily seen that the work would have to begin "at the bottom." The State Board seriously took up the matter of finding a suitable man for Sunday School Secretary. Finally, the place was offered to Mr. Louis Entzminger of Lakeland, Florida, who was at the head of the Sunday school work in that State. Mr. Entzminger accepted the call and in January, 1911, moved to Louisville, and soon entered upon his work. He had completed ten months of service at the meeting of the General Association at Paducah. The report on Sunday Schools showed that the work of the new Superintendent had
largely been devoted "in grading the schools and training the teachers." Nearly one half of the associations in the State had been reached at some point. The report states that Brother Entzminger has had to call to his aid Rev. F. C. Markert, in the general work; Mrs. Frank Wahl for West Kentucky in the primary work; and Miss Lillian Forbes as helper in East Kentucky. Furthermore: "We feel that the Sunday school work under the wise leadership of Brother Entzminger is perhaps occupying the highest ground yet attained by Kentucky Baptists."
During the closing hours of the session the opinion was expressed by many who have been regular attendants upon the annual meetings that "this was the best session we have had in fifteen years. May that of 1912 surpass it.2
Madisonville was the place of the meeting of the seventy-fifth annual session, which was called to order by Moderator C. M. Thompson on November 12. The complete enrollment showed 209 messengers, representing twenty-five associations and one-hundred and sixteen churches.
The hour and day of meeting were changed at the last session from 10 A.M. on Wednesday to 7:30 P.M. Tuesday, that the annual sermon might be preached at the opening session. After the organization of the Body for business the congregation joined in singing "Blest Be the Tie That Binds," and W. W. Landrum, pastor of Broadway Baptist Church, Louisville, preached the annual sermon from Joshua 13:1, "There remaineth very much land yet to be possessed." J. M. Frost, Sunday School Board, Nashville; O. P. Maddox, Brazil; Victor I. Masters, Home Mission Board, Atlanta, Ga.; and C. D. Graves, Foreign Mission Board, Richmond, Virginia, were welcomed to seats as visitors.
A report was presented concerning the Judson Centennial, which was launched at the Southern Baptist Convention the previous May in Oklahoma City with great enthusiasm. The Judson Centennial was an effort to be made by Southern Baptists to raise $1,250,000 for education and general equipment in the foreign mission fields. This great undertaking was in memory of the great Adoniram Judson, whose "memory is forever sacred to every Baptist." The Centennial Fund was to be distinct, and in addition to the regular income of the Foreign Mission Board, and the subscriptions were to be taken within three years. No public collections were to be taken in the campaign, but "all giving shall be done in a voluntary way." In this campaign Kentucky Baptists were requested to raise $114,000, which was adopted in 1913 by the General Association. The movement was discussed by Deacon Thomas D. Osborne, and W. W. Landrum of Louisville, followed by F. W. Eberhardt, pastor at Frankfort, who spoke to the subject using the theme, "The Challenge of the Unfinished Task."
The financial exhibit for the year closing November 1, 1912, showed $28,087.83 for State Missions; $18,975.40 for Church Building: $29,476.37 for Home Missions; and $48,269.86 for Foreign Missions. An offering for the Student Fund of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary was taken by Dr. A. T. Robertson, after an address on "The Progress of the Preacher," amounting to $3,000, "the largest offering for this purpose ever given by any State Association in the South."3
At 7:45 P.M. November 11, the retiring Moderator, C. M. Thompson, called the General Association to order in the First Baptist Church, Lexington, J. W. Porter, pastor. Two hundred and eighty-eight messengers were enrolled and two hundred and twenty-seven visitors registered, making a total of five hundred and fifteen in attendance. The Secretary announced that this was the largest number of messengers and visitors ever enrolled in the history of the Association. J. W. Porter was elected Moderator, while S. E. Tull, pastor at Paducah and Wm. M. Stallings, pastor at Smith's Grove, were elected Assistant Moderators. Following singing of hymns and prayers, H. B. Taylor, pastor at Murray, preached the annual sermon. His theme was "Kingdom Building" based on Matthew 6:33; John 2:25-3:8. The Association by an unanimous vote, requested the sermon to be published in full.
The following morning P. E. Burroughs, Nashville, Tennessee; A. C. Cree, Atlanta, Georgia; and W. H. Smith, Foreign Mission Board, Richmond, Virginia, were recognized as visitors. At the request of the Moderator, Brother W. H. Smith led in prayer for the recovery of Secretary R. J. Willingham of the Foreign Mission Board from his present illness. A number of changes were made in the field of education during the past year. M. B. Adams, Corresponding Secretary of the Baptist Education Society of Kentucky, resigned to become President of Georgetown College, while F. D. Perkins resigned the presidency of Bethel College, Russellville, to succeed Dr. Adams as secretary of the Education Society. H. G. Brownell, became President of Bethel, succeeding F. D. Perkins. John L. Hill, who had been Professor of History and Political Science in Georgetown College since 1909 was made Dean of the faculty in that institution. George Ragland, Professor of Greek in Baylor University, Texas, had become the head of Ancient Languages in Georgetown College.
The committee on Sunday schools reported that great progress had been made under the leadership of Mr. Louis Entzminger, the efficient secretary. On September 1, he felt constrained to resign to become superintendent of the Sunday school in the First Baptist Church, Ft. Worth, Texas, and also to take a course in the Southwestern Theological Seminary. The report says, "No man in the South, within the last three years, has excelled Brother Entzminger in the amount, or far reaching scope, of work done. When he came to Kentucky three years since, the Sunday school work, as a whole, was at a very low ebb; he found at that time only 193 Normal diplomas, with a correspondingly low number of Red and Blue seals . . . When he left the State, there were 3,292 normal diplomas, 491 red seals, and 302 blue seals . . . The State has been divided into three divisions, with a field worker in each." Brother N. T. Barnes was put in charge of the Eastern District; Mr. J. J. Gentry of the Central District; and Mr. Leonard O. Leavell of the Western. In May, 1913, Mr. Leonard O. Leavell, resigned to become Sunday school secretary in Maryland, and was succeeded by a young business layman, William P. Phillips of Texas, who had given up his business to come to the Seminary to prepare for Sun- day school work. On September 1, two months before the meeting of
the General Association, J. J. Gentry was elected to succeed Mr. Louis Entzminger, and immediately entered upon his duties.
Since the last session of the Association two faithful leaders, who had been long in the Lord's work in Kentucky, were called away by death - Dr. J. N. Prestridge, and Dr. J. M. Weaver.
Dr. Prestridge died October 29, 1913, at the age of sixty years. After graduating from Howard College, Alabama, and from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, he held pastorates at New Castle, Winchester, Hopkinsville, in Kentucky, and at San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Prestridge was pastor at Williamsburg and President of Williamsburg Baptist Institute. In 1897, he became editor of the Baptist Argus, and later of the Baptist World and remained editor until his death. This distinguished Brother was one of the leaders in organizing the Baptist World Alliance, and was the American Secretary of that body.
Dr. J. M. Weaver died March 23, 1913 in the seventy-ninth year of his age. His first pastorate was at Taylorsville and his second and last pastorate was with the Chestnut Street Church in Louisville. Here he remained an active pastor forty-four years, and then pastor emeritus until his death. Dr. Weaver was known for more than fifty years, as a strong preacher, a forceful writer, and with unusual evangelistic gifts.
The maturing plans for a Baptist Hospital about to be put into operation in Louisville, were "almost paralyzed" in the sudden death of Dr. J. B. Marvin, who was a great Baptist physician and layman in Louisville. Dr. Marvin was killed in a railroad wreck, September 13, 1913.4
The Moderator, J. W. Porter, called to order the seventy-seventh session of the General Association in the First Baptist Church at Somerset at 7:30 P. M. November 10. W. W. Horner, pastor of the Twenty-second and Walnut Street Baptist Church, Louisville, led in the devotional service. The enrollment committee reported 189 messengers from twenty-eight as- sociations and ninety-seven churches. The tellers reported that C. W. Elsey at Cynthiana, and E. O. Cottrell, pastor at Cloverport, were elected Assistant Moderators. After singing "Come Thou Fount," W. M. Wood, pastor at Mayfield, preached the annual sermon from Acts 26:19, "The Heavenly Vision."
Secretary W. D. Powell in his report designated the past year as having been one of "glorious achievement." He says: "This has been the greatest year in our history. Our collections for all missions have largely increased. We lead all the States in the South in gifts to Foreign Missions for the past six months. We stand second in gifts to Home Missions. We have raised $5000 more for State Missions than ever before. During October our receipts exceeded those of the same month last year by $4,113.00. Our total receipts for the year have been $178,605.26. Seven years ago we received $84,703.93. Last year we received $144,907.56." The 111 missionaries reported 3697 additions to the mission churches. It is well to observe in this connection that the state Woman's Missionary Union re- ported that for the first time they had exceeded their apportionments to the different Boards.
The women contributed to all missions, including $902.39 for the Judson
Centennial, $32,791.13, in cash, which did not include the boxes sent to the missionaries, to the needy and distressed.
A memorial from Ohio County Association, calling for the founding of a Kentucky Baptist Children's Home was presented by A. B. Gardner, pastor at Beaver Dam, which provoked widespread discussion in the session, and also in the session the following Thursday afternoon. S. E. Tull, pastor, First Baptist Church in Paducah, offered the following resolution, which was unanimously adopted: "Resolved, That it is the sense of this body that a Children's Home be established; that a committee of nine be appointed with full power to act in the establishment of such a home; and that said committee shall constitute a Board of Trustees for said home." Accordingly the Moderator named a committee of nine as follows, which should also constitute a Board of Trustees: To serve for three years - S. E. Tull, T. H. Athey and W. L. Brock; for two years - W. M. Stallings, W. W. Horner, and Thomas D. Osborne; and for one year - J. E. Martin, E. C. Farmer, and S. M. McCarter.
At the call of the chairman, S. E. Tull, this committee met, on January 25, 1915, at the Twenty Second and Walnut Street Church, Louisville at 8 P.M. A Charter and By-Laws were presented by S. E. Tull, which were unanimously approved by the committee. The first section of the Charter appears as follows: "We, S. E. Tull, Paducah, Kentucky; T. H. Athey, Shelbyville; W. L. Brock, Lexington; W. M. Stallings, Smith's Grove; W. W. Horner, Louisville; Thomas D. Osborne, Louisville; E. C. Farmer, Louisville; J. E Martin, Jellico, Tenn.; S. M. McCarter, Lawrenceburg; and our successors in office, are hereby incorporated, and made a body politic, bearing the name of the Trustees of the Kentucky Baptist Children's Home, and shall have perpetual succession for the sole purpose of founding and maintaining, under the support and patronage of the Missionary Baptist churches of Kentucky and their sympathizers, an institution of benevolence, having no capital stock, to be known as the Kentucky Baptist Children's Home. . . . The purpose for establishing the Home herein named shall be only for the support, education, industrial training and domestic culture of orphan and destitute children of white parentage, who may be received into the care of the Home." The Lynnland College property, near Glendale was purchased June 23, 1915, through W. M. Stallings, representing the Trustees, at the nominal sum of $3500.00, including grounds, buildings, and contents to be utilized for the Home. Lynnland College had its origin in 1865, when five members of the Gilead Church contributed $5000 each and secured an additional $7000 from others, with which to establish a school. The five brethren in the church, who gave the $25,000 to establish the institution, were William Sprigg, Henry Sprigg, Samuel Sprigg, Samuel Hansbrough, and J. J. Jeffres. Two other members, F. W. Summons, and J. R. Gaither also had a part in promoting this noble enterprise. A building was erected on about one hundred acres of land, and in the fall of 1867, Lynnland College opened its doors on property formerly occupied by a military institute. The school was so prosperous that at the beginning of 1869, other buildings were erected. In 1870, the trustees, who owned the college, sold their interest to private individuals. The school was
privately owned and operated until 1905, when the property was purchased by the Severn's Valley Baptist Association, organized as an Educational Board. In the fall of the same year the school opened under the new management with high standards and grew rapidly. After the close of session in the spring of 1914, the Severn's Valley Baptist Education Society sold the property to a group of Baptists in Glendale for the purchase price, and they in turn sold the same to the Trustees of the proposed Orphans' Home.5
On March 1, 1915, A. B. Gardner, pastor at Beaver Dam, was chosen Superintendent, and the following June 23, the very day of the purchase of the property, the Home was dedicated with proper ceremonies, and opened for patronage. Mrs. C. H. Gregston, Gracey, Kentucky, was the first matron. On the following July 26, Dr. J. G. Bow was employed as Field Secretary. During late summer and early fall, he visited twenty-five Associations in the interest of the Home, and collected about $5000. S. E. Tull who was chairman of the Board of Trustees, and who had led in establishing the Institution, left his pastorate at Paducah to accept a pastorate at Temple, Texas. At the 1913 session of the Association on motion the Moderator was requested to appoint a Committee of Five to consider "the question of unifying our work so as to make unnecessary the large representation of various denominational interests at our district associatons." The committee, composed of H. Boyce Taylor, J. A. Booth, W. W. Landrum, A. F. Gordon, and O. O. Green, submitted their prepared report by the chairman, H. B. Taylor. A general discussion followed participated in by eight brethern. W. J. McGlothlin offered a substitute for the report. On motion further discussion was deferred until the afternoon. At that time the discussion was renewed and continued until a motion prevailed to refer the whole matter to a Committee of Nine to be appointed by the Moderator "to consider the whole question, give publicity to their deliberation during the year, and report at the 1915 session of this body." The Moderator appointed the following well known brethern on this committee: H. Boyce Taylor, W. W. Landrum, F. D. Perkins, H. L. Winburn, M. B. Adams, W. D. Powell, C. M. Thompson, W. E. Hunter, and W. M. Wood. On motion the Recording Secretary was instructed to print both the re- port and substitute in the minutes, which was done. The committee had no designated name, but the Secretary, John L. Hill "named us the Committee on Unification." Secretary J. J. Gentry of the Sunday School Department emphasized in his general report that his chief aims had been: "A Sunday school in every Baptist church in the State, every school graded, every teacher trained and every Association organized into a Sunday School Convention." There were still 615 churches without a Sunday school. Resolutions on the death of Dr. B. H. Carroll, of Texas, were adopted expressing the sore loss to the Baptist denomination of one of the greatest preachers, and to the world, one of the most able expounders of the Scriptures. Dr. Carroll led in the founding of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, located in Ft. Worth, Texas, in 1908, and was President until his death.'
The Recording Secretary stated in regard to this session of the General Association at Somerset: "that this session was characterized by an unusual interest manifested by lively and frequent discussion from the floor and that by reason of this discussion, practically every motion was passed unanimously." 6
The Seventy-eighth annual session composed of one hundred and ninety- four messengers, met November 16, in the Baptist Church, at Jellico, Tennessee, located on the line of Whitley County, Kentucky. The retiring Moderator, J. W. Porter, in expressive words, presented the newly elected Moderator, Brother A. Gatliff, Williamsburg. P. D. Perkins, Corresponding Secretary of the Baptist Education Society of Kentucky, and W. M. Wood, Mayfield, were unanimously chosen Assistant Moderators. The annual sermon was preached by C. C. Carroll, pastor at Winchester, who was a son of the late B. H. Carroll of Texas.
The committee of Nine, appointed at the last session of the Association held at Somerset to consider the whole question of unification, reported through its chairman, H. Boyce Taylor. After some discussion, the report was made a special order for the afternoon, when the subject was again taken up and discussed at great length, and then adopted by a rising vote, with the following recommendations: "That we adopt the Budget Plan for the collection of funds for the support of all objects under the control and direction of the General Association, including Foreign Missions, Home Missions, State Missions, and other denominational interests fostered by Kentucky Baptists." Also "that the Baptist Education Society of Kentucky, the Baptist Ministers' Aid Society of Kentucky, the Louisville Baptist Orphans' Home, and the Kentucky Baptist Children's Home, be requested to join in, and co-operate with the financial, educational and field plans set forth in this report; it being expressly understood that those organizations surrender nothing of their vested rights by such affiliation and co- operation."
The Executive Board of the General Association was charged with the responsibility of putting the Budget System into operation. Each interest represented in the budget was to receive one-twelfth of the amount to be raised for that interest during the year, paid monthly. The plan was not to exclude special offerings "for the endowment of schools and colleges and similar objects."
The Executive Board of the General Association was authorized "to employ such help as may be necessary to put into effect the plan outlined in this report." This budget plan was to be put into operation at the earliest practicable date not later than January 1, 1916. The Judson Centennial Movement inaugurated at the Southern Baptist Convention, May 1912, was coming to a close. The purpose of this movement, as has already been stated, was to raise in three years one and a quarter million dollars for Foreign Missions. Encouraging progress had been made, as over one-million dollars had been secured. A "One Week Campaign" was planned in all the States to raise the balance. By resolution the churches, Sunday schools, Woman's Missionary Societies and individual Baptists were urged "to co-operate in this seven day effort to the utmost limit of their ability." Dr. J. M. Carroll of Texas, representing the
Judson Centennial, "made an enlightening and powerful address" on the subject, emphasizing Baptist History, which created a new interest in the movement in Kentucky.
There was great sorrow among the Baptists of the South and beyond over the death of Dr. R. J. Willingham, who rejoiced in the inauguration of the Judson Centennial, but was taken away before it was completed. This devoted servant of the Lord Jesus fell asleep on Sunday, December 20, 1914, after a service of over twenty-one years as Corresponding Secretary of the Foreign Mission Board. Dr. Willingham was the very embodiment of the missionary impulse. He was succeeded by Dr. J. F. Love.
During the memorable year 1915, in addition to the Baptist achievements already mentioned, a general advance was made in all departments of work fostered by the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky. The State Mission Board reported "that the past year had been one of glorious achievement." The collections for all purposes exceeded those of any previous year, reaching a grand total of $162,190. The missionaries reported 3,803 baptisms and 1,793 members received by letter. The Baptist Young People's Union was developing with rapid strides and shaping into splendid organizations both State and local, under the leadership of the efficient State Secretary, Mr. Newton T. Barnes. The report showed 1096 Sunday schools in the State, but still about 600 churches were without Sunday schools. Secretary J. J. Gentry who served so well, closed his work one year be- fore, and his successor had not yet been found.
The Summer Assemblies were rapidly assuming large proportions. The West Kentucky Baptist Assembly was moved from Dawson Springs to the campus of Bethel College at Russellville, and the session of the Summer of 1915 was held in the new location with double the attendance of former years. The managers were planning to entertain a thousand visitors on the Bethel College campus the following year, June 29 to July 6. The assembly established at Georgetown College for Central and Eastern Kentucky was a powerful agency for inspiration and training in that section. The eighth session of this assembly held the past summer was regarded as the best of all.
The Laymen's Movement in Kentucky received an added impetus during the year "by inspiring and forceful addresses" by J. T. Henderson, the General Secretary of the Movement, and by the large distribution of tracts received from the Headquarters at Chattanooga, Tennessee. Dr. Henderson was a great layman in the educational field before he became full time Secretary of the Baptist Brotherhood of the South.
The Woman's Missionary Union of Kentucky also reached their highest mark of achievement during the same year. A grand total was raised for all causes amounting to $36,809.38 of which $24,722.71 was for State, Home and Foreign Missions. Corresponding Secretary W. D. Powell recommended that the State meeting of W.M.U. provide $6,500 to be used under his direction as follows: One thousand dollars to the church building at Jenkins, a mining town in the mountains; one thousand dollars to the work among the negro women; five hundred dollars to aid in the erection of small church houses in the mountains; five hundred dollars to be used in organizing and developing Woman's Missionary Societies;
two hundred and fifty dollars from the Y.W.A. on the salary of Miss Emma Leachman and Miss Mattie Wilson, city missionaries in Louisville; three hundred dollars from the Sunbeam Bands to support a mountain missionary to be known as a Sunbeam Missionary; and one hundred dollars from the Royal Ambassadors to aid in building a church house in some mining camp.
The Committee on Sunday schools reported that Brother J. J. Gentry had resigned, and that "for more than a year we have had no regular State Sunday School Secretary." Later Rev. W. L. Brock, pastor of the Fifth Street Baptist Church, Lexington, was elected to that position and began work in January, 1916.
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, under the leadership of President E. Y. Mullins, was near the completion of a necessary additional endowment of $600,000 to be added to the already invested funds of over a million dollars. The present plant in the center of the city was valued at about $400,000. The report announced that a plat of 44 acres near the city had been purchased, and, with a designated fund, "an enlarged and new seminary could be constructed in the near future." The following were the living active members of the Seminary faculty: E. Y. Mullins, Wm. Joseph McGlothlin, George B. Eager, John R. Sampey, Archibald T. Robertson, W. Owen Carver, Charles S. Gardner, and H. C. Wayman.
Two significant resolutions were offered by Deacon Thomas D. Osborne of Louisville, and were unanimously adopted: One was in reference to the death of the noted colored Baptist educator, Booker T. Washington, which occurred on November 14, 1915. This devoted colored brother had spent a long life in service to "his church and country with singular success in leading his race into educational, industrial and Christian careers." The second resolution was in regard to royal entertainment of the General Association by the Jellico Church, which says: "Never in the history of this body has its entertainment been surpassed, and seldom equalled. We com- mend as worthy of imitation the novel and rapid way in which Pastor J. E. Martin and his devoted people placed the messengers in the homes assigned."7
The Walnut Street Baptist Church, Louisville, entertained the General Association again after a period of twenty-five years. Hardy L. Winburn was in his third year as pastor of this historic church, having come from an eleven year pastorate in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, to succeed Dr. Henry Alford Porter, who resigned in 1913, to become pastor of the Gaston Avenue Church, Dallas, Texas. The Association was called to order by Moderator A. Gatliff at 4 P. M. Tuesday, November 14. C. M. Thompson read Psalm 103, and led in prayer. Mr. Gatliff was reelected Moderator.
For years only a small number of churches, and still a smaller number of district associations had been represented in the annual meetings. An effort was made at the close of the last session to increase the attendance the coming year. Accordingly, M. B. Adams, President of Georgetown College, recommended in a resolution, "That we earnestly endeavor to secure . . . . at least two thousand messengers and visitors, and that pastors,
churches, secretaries, and editors be asked to co-operate heartily to secure this desirable end." That large number was not attained, but the committee on enrollment reported 424 messengers, representing 228 churches and 60 associations; also that 800 persons were assigned homes and that more than a thousand badges went out to messengers and visitors. W. A. Frost, member of the State Senate, and W. E. Hunter, pastor at Somerset, were chosen Assistant Moderators. At the evening hour after the singing "I Love To Tell The Story," W. M. Stallings preached the annual sermon from 1 Corinthians 5:20, "Ambassadors for Christ."
At the morning session the next day, W. W. Landrum introduced the following new pastors and workers: D. H. Howerton, New Liberty; J. W. T. Givens, Greenville; W. D. Wakefield, Baptist Tabernacle, Louisville: H. M. Crain, Hickman; Jesse Neal, Uniontown; J. W. Meeks, Salyers- ville; R. L. Motley, Winchester; T. J. Barksdale, Calvary, Louisville; J. W. Black, Morehead; W. J. Banks, Brandenburg; O. L. Smith, Ninth and O, Louisville; Finley F. Gibson, Bowling Green; Z. M. Leverett, Belmont; O. E. Bryan, I. W. Martin, and A. C. Abney. Rev. Walter L. Brock was introduced as the Secretary of the State Sunday school work. He had been on the field ten months. He reported 1486 Sunday schools, and 386 churches without Sunday schools.
The following resolution was enthusiasticaly adopted: "Resolved, That it is the sense of this body that Dr. W. D. Powell, who has been so successful in directing our work, should by all means be retained as Corresponding Secretary." Dr. Powell then presented a number of the State missionaries, who gave a brief account of their work: John Cunningham, Berea, L. F. Caudill, G. C. Sandusky, O. E. Bryan, D. Arthur Dailey, W. A. M. Wood, T. F. Grider, A. S. Petrey, C. D. Stevens, S. B. Rickey, W. T. Hamlin and William Dingus. To these and the other workers of the State Board, Dr. Powell presented each a package of books from the library of the late W. H. Felix, who was twice pastor of the First Church, Lexington, and died January 12, 1912. These books were the gifts of Mrs. Felix. The sad announcement was made of the death of Dr. James Marion Frost, the Corresponding Secretary of the Sunday School Board, Nashville, Tennessee. Dr. Frost was a son of Kentucky, a graduate of Georgetown College, and rendered efficient service in his native State, before he became the first Secretary of the new Sunday School Board in 1891.
The session closing was declared "perhaps the most wonderful meeting in their history, certainly so in attendance, a meeting of great spiritual power, and of great plans for the work of Kentucky Baptists."8
When two hundred and twenty-eight messengers composing the General Association, met in Paducah, November 13, the United States was in a state of War. The conflict started in Europe in the summer of 1914, but at first the seat of war was too far away from American shores to cause any alarm. But as months passed nation after nation was being drawn into the war, which was rapidly becoming a conflagration that threatened the peace of the world. The enemies' submarines began to appear off our shores and our ships of commerce were sunk on the high seas.
On April 6, 1917, the United States Congress declared war on Germany and President Woodrow Wilson called for the mobilization of the entire nation. The Selective Service Act was passed by the Congress on May 5, following, and June 5 was fixed for the day or registration. A total of 9,585,508 men was enrolled between the ages of twenty-one and thirty-one, out of which an army of 625,000 men was selected. Training camps were rapidly established to prepare an army for transportation to the field of battle in Europe.9
The General Association was organized for business by the election of H. Boyce Taylor, pastor at Murray, Moderator; W. S. Farmer and M. D. Early, Assistant Moderators; and John L. Hill, Secretary for the ninth time. R. G. Bowers was the efficient pastor at Paducah, who with the church had made every provision for the entertainment of the body. M. E. Staley, pastor at Madisonville, preached the annual sermon. A telegram of greeting was received from M. E. Dodd, who had left Kentucky and was pastor of the First Baptist Church, Shreveport, Louisiana.
At the meeting of the Executive Board, July 24, W. D. Powell resigned as Corresponding Secretary to take effect October 31, following, and O. E. Bryan was chosen as his successor. Grateful appreciation was expressed "of the magnificent leadership of our retiring Secretary W. D. Powell." It was resolved that, "his administration forms a great epoch in all the long years of our history. His place in our hearts is secure and we want him to know it. The State Board urged the entire brotherhood "to sustain by their prayerful and consecrated cooperation his successor, Dr. O. E. Bryan, in the critical transitional period through which we are now passing." Dr. Powell accepted the position of Field Secretary of the Foreign Mission Board, Richmond, Virginia, to which great work he devoted the remainder of life.
The resolution, which follows reveals the attitude of the war, which then involved the nations of the world. A. S. Pettie, pastor of Whitesville offered the resolution: "Whereas our country is engaged in war against the Imperial German Government, one of the most ambitious, brutal and ruthless despotisms the world has known, a government guilty of the most atrocious crimes against civilization and humanity, therefore be it,
"Resolved, That we as representatives of more than 250,000 Baptists in this great commonwealth, pledge to the President and Government of these United States, our sympathies and prayers, our loyal support, our fortunes, our lives, our sacred honor, our all for the vigorous and successful prosecution of this war in behalf of democracy and humanity; that we will cheerfully, and liberally contribute to the physical comfort, and to the Spiritual well-being of our brave boys in khaki." This was unanimously and enthusiastically adopted.
The following was then offered by Professor W. O. Carver of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, which was also unanimously adopted: "Resolved, That the General Association of Kentucky Baptists does hereby say to its Executive Board, that we approve to any expenditure, which, in their judgment, can be wisely used for ministering to the religious needs of soldiers in Camp Zachary Taylor in co-operation with our Baptist forces."
During the year two ministers, who were distinguished for their long service in Kentucky, were removed by death. Elder W. E. Powers, a pioneer preacher in Long Run Association, who was born within its limits in Shelby County, June 24, 1824; died November 26, 1916, at the age of ninety-three years. Brother Powers was con- verted and baptized October 17, 1839, and was ordained to the ministry in 1859 at the Long Run Church, where the Long Run Association was constituted in 1803. For more than fifty-seven years he was one of the most faithful preachers in that Association, and served as its Moderator thirty-two years.
Dr. Joseph A. Booth was born in New York State July 5, 1848, and died in Lexington, Kentucky October 25, 1917. He entered Georgetown College in 1871, and graduated with an A. B. degree in 1875. Brother Booth was pastor of churches in Kentucky for forty-one years. For sixteen years he was a Trustee of Georgetown College, fifteen years Moderator of Nelson Association, and twice Moderator of the General Association. Dr. Booth was spoken of as "an able defender of truth and mighty in the Scriptures."10
1918The General Association adjourned at Paducah to meet one year hence on November 12 at Campbellsville, but on account of the epidemic of the Spanish Influenza the meeting was postponed by the Executive Board to meet at the appointed place, on December 3. On November 11, the day previous to the appointed time for the General Association to meet, the war closed. The German Army surrendered, the Armistice took effect at 11 A.M. and the American flag was raised at the front. When the news that firing had ceased reached America, great excitement prevailed in every section of the country with all kinds of celebrations of the victory.
Moderator H. Boyce Taylor called the Association to order in the Baptist church at Campbellsville, and proceeded with the organization. When the time came for the nomination of the presiding officer for the present session, Dr. Taylor stated in a few well chosen words that he thought it would promote harmony in the denomination, if his name should not be put in nomination for Moderator of the body, and he stated quietly and firmly that he would not allow his name to be presented. W. M. Stallings, pastor at Greenville, was chosen Moderator with Senator W. A. Frost and G. W. Argabrite as Assistants. L. C. Kelly, pastor at Campbellsville spoke some appropriate words of welcome, which were responded to by W. M. Wood, Mayfield. After singing the hymn, "Amazing Grace," C. W. Elsey, Cynthiana, preached the annual sermon from Isaiah 9:7 "Facing the Future." The Secretary wrote of it as being "a thoughtful, forceful, inspiring sermon."
The following new pastors were presented by W. W. Landrum "in his characteristic way": J. H. Durham, Baptist Tabernacle, Louisville; John D. Freeman, Springfield; W. C. Boone, First Church, Owensboro; J. J. Cates, Fleming; R. S. New, Carlisle Avenue, Louisville; P. A. Duncan, Glasgow; C. L. Greaves, Bowling Green; and E. B. Hatcher, Louisville.
O. E. Bryan, who succeeded Dr. W. D. Powell, made his first report as Corresponding Secretary, showing that the work had gone forward
in a general way, but many had been the hindrances. Some of the handicaps experienced were the threatened denominational debt, the numerous appeals for war work, and the epidemic of influenza. During the month of October the doors of the churches were closed, because of the spreading of this strange epidemic.
Through most of the year the Sunday School Department had been without a Sunday School leader. Secretary W. L. Brock had resigned and "the work has greatly suffered." The committee on Sunday Schools reported that Rev. J. R. Black had been secured as Secretary, and Mrs. Black as Elementary worker. These efficient workers, in spite of the difficulties, set out to organize the State for a great Sunday School Campaign.
The Association instructed the Executive Board, and requested the Board of Directors of the Baptist Education Society of Kentucky, to put on, at the earliest possible date, a campaign to raise $1,400,000, fifty percent of this sum to go to Georgetown College; and the rest to be divided among the other schools as their need may appear. The Executive Board in connection with the Baptist Education Society of Kentucky was authorized "to employ a suitable man, who, in connection with the Corresponding Secretary of the Executive Board, shall raise the above amount." The report on Education stated: "We have reached the point where Baptist schools either must be taken care of financially or many of them must close their doors to all concerned." The Education Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention put on a five year program to raise fifteen million dollars, and set the goal in Kentucky at "one million four hundred thousand dollars. This is a stupendous task, but Kentucky Baptists can do it."
Plans had at last matured to build a Kentucky Baptist Hospital in Louisville. A five acre plat had been secured. Plans for the building were being drawn and a campaign was on to raise sufficient funds for a plant to cost around three hundred thousand dollars. Mr. George E. Hays was President of the Hospital Board of Trustees, and Dr. M. P. Hunt, who had dreamed of a great Baptist Hospital for years, was appointed to take the field to obtain sufficient funds to begin work on the building not later than the following Spring.
The Kentucky Baptist Children's Home, located at Glendale, sustained a great loss in the death of the first Superintendent, Dr. A. B. Gardner, who passed away October 9, 1918. He was the prime mover in the establishment of the home. Rev. J. W. Vallandingham, pastor of the Gilead Church, was at once chosen Superintendent. An encouraging report was made showing how this institution had grown in efficiency and in the affections of the people. During the brief period of the Home's existence, one hundred and eighty children had been received, coming from all parts of the State. The Financial Secretary, J. G. Bow, had collected several thousand dollars for the erection of a new building.
Rev. George William Hill, the father of the General Association's efficient secretary, Professor John L. Hill, Georgetown College, passed away in Glencoe, Kentucky, February 3, 1918. Brother Hill was born in Owen County, Kentucky, April 8, 1948. He was ordained to the ministry in the same county September 16, 1882, and labored as a preacher in the counties
of Owen, Franklin, Grant, Boone, Kenton, Scott, and Gallatin. He served one term as Superintendent of Public Schools in Grant County. It was said of him that "He was a true Baptist, ever loyal to the doctrine and interests of the denomination, a winner of souls." On account of the continued epidemic of influenza the reports from the associations were so meager, that no sufficient data could be obtained to make the accustomed apportionments to prepare the statistical tables.11 The session of the General Association of the epochal year 1918 adjourned to meet in Georgetown, November 11, 1919.
Notes1 Minutes of the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, 1910, p. 7, 11, 13, 17, 53, 61-63, 66, 67.
2 Ibid., 1911, p. 7, 9-11, 36, 62.
3 Ibid., 1912, p. 7, 11, 31, 38, 44, 62; 1913, p. 59, 60.
4 Ibid. 1913, p. 7, 11, 12, 48-53, 65-69, 99, 100.
5 Elizabethtown News, Sept. 10, 1940; College Heights Herald, Bowling Green, Oct. 21, 1932; Nowlin, Wm. D., Kentucky Baptist History, 1770- 1922, p. 184-186.
6 Minutes of the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, 1913, p. 62; 1914, p. 7, 10-12, 29, 35, 46-52, 54-60, 69, 92, 105; 1915, p. 54, 55, 1868, p. 34.
7 Ibid., 1915, p. 7, 10, 11, 13, 37-41, 53, 61-65, 68-71, 102, 103, 117.
8 Ibid. 1915, p. 17; 1916, p. 7, 13, 36, 38, 40, 75, 79, 80.
9 March, Francis A., History of the World War, 1918, p. 464-470.
10 Minutes of the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, 1917, p. 7, 10, 11, 54, 60-63, 73.
11 Ibid, 1918, p. 7, 10-12, 25-27, 29-32, 36, 49, 50, 60, 107.
[From A History of Baptists in Kentucky, 1953, pp. 459-474. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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