During the period, extending from the formation of the Elkhorn and Salem Associations in late 1785 to the close of the century, over one hundred Baptist Churches were planted in Kentucky. Many of these were small, weak organizations which soon ceased to exist. Many other churches were active until the Alexander Campbell period, when they were swept into that movement. Still others remained as lighthouses of the gospel, until the rise of Anti-missionism, when their lights went out. Only the churches constituted during the period of 1785 to 1802, which remain to the present (1949) will be considered in this chapter.
BOONE'S CREEK BAPTIST CHURCH
The Boone's Creek Church was constituted with fourteen members on Sunday, November 13, 1785. The church was located in the eastern part of Fayette County on the waters of Boone's Creek, which was named in honor of Daniel Boone. At the mouth of this Creek, Boone had four hundred acres of land, on which was a cave, where he took refuge from the Indians. Here was erected Boone's Station, where Daniel Boone must have remained for several years after leaving Boonesborough Station, December 29, 1779.
The Boone's Creek Church was gathered by John Taylor and John Tanner, and received into the Elkhorn Association in August of the next year. John Tanner was the first pastor. He had become a very strong hyper-Calvinist, and when a revival reached the church in 1787 he opposed it, claiming it was the work of the Devil, refusing to baptize the converts. The church sent for Elder William Hickman, who came and carried forward the meeting. David Thompson, who came from Virginia to Kentucky at an early day, was the second pastor of the Boone's Creek Church.
In May, 1823, the church went into the organization of the Boone's Creek Association. George G. Boone was ordained to the ministry in 1816 by this church, and was the first Moderator of the Boone's Creek Association. Elder Jeremiah Vardeman was called to the pastorate and began his labors in February, 1811. Elder G. G. Boone was pastor from 1827 to 1830, and during the time Samuel Boone was chosen a deacon. Dr. R. T. Dillard and Elder C. E. W. Dobbs were pastors during the Civil War period. Rev. J. Pike Powers was pastor from May, 1888 to 1889, and held a great meeting in which seventy members were added bringing the total membership to one hundred and sixty-four. Dr. C. L. Graham closed a four-year pastorate in July, 1909.
On June 25, 1920, Brother John T. Stallings was ordained to the ministry having been previously called as pastor. His father, Dr. William M. Stallings preached the ordination sermon. Rev. P. C. Lutrell became pastor in May 1921.1
In 1932 Elder J. A. Bass was pastor and served until February 1933, when Elder H. O. Niceley was called and continued until December of the following year. During these years, the Boone's Creek Church passed through one of her greatest trials. The church was divided during the pastorate of Elder J. A. Bass and went into the courts to settle the differences. When Elder H. O. Niceley succeeded Brother Bass as pastor, he endeavored to win back the opposing faction, by adhering to Baptist principles, but the litigation continued. The Boone's Creek Association met with the Boone's Creek Church, September 13, 1933, and adopted by unanimous vote the following statement: "We the Boone's Creek Baptist Association, representing twenty Baptist Churches in Clark, Fayette, Estill, Madison and Lee Counties, Kentucky, recognize the Boones Creek Baptist Church of which Brother H. O. Niceley is pastor as the historic and regular church in fellowship with the Association; whereas, an opposing faction in the church has in connection with this Association shown itself irregular and in violation of the principles of this Association.
"We commend this organization of which Brother H. O. Niceley is pastor for its stand for Baptist principles, and its adherence to ethical standards.
"We believe that any one who will investigate the relationship between this church and the Association and the record of the action on the part of the church will be fully convinced that the Boones Creek Church of which Brother Niceley is pastor of the regular body. P. S. This was not solicited by any member of the Boones Creek Baptist Church, nor the pastor.
"C. G. Sproul,
These resolutions were adopted by unanimous vote."2
Elder Walter Walker was the next pastor following Elder Niceley. In 1946, this old church, in her 169th year of history, reported to the Association 542 members and Brother Lloyd Mahanes pastor for full time.3
BRYANT'S STATION BAPTIST CHURCH
The Bryant's Station Church, located five miles northeast of Lexington was constituted of eight members by Lewis Craig and other "helps" on the third Saturday in April, 1786, and united with the Elkhorn Association the following August. The church derived its name from the nearby Station, which was first occupied by three brothers by the name of Bryant, who came from North Carolina to Kentucky in 1779, and settled there. Ambrose Dudley, who arrived from Virginia about the time the church was constituted became the first pastor, and served until his death, January 27, 1825, a period of thirty-nine years. The church prospered under Elder Dudley's pastorate for a number of years.
During the great revival of 1800-1803, 421 converts were added to the church by baptism and the membership was over six hundred. On August 26, 1801, two hundred and sixty-seven members were dismissed to
constitute the David's Fork Church. The church continued to prosper until about the year 1809, when a difficulty arose with the Town Fork Church on a point of discipline, which resulted in a division in the Bryant's congregation. Both parties claimed the name and prerogatives of the church. Ambrose Dudley, the pastor, with a large majority, entered into the constitution of the Licking Association of Particular Baptists in 1810. Elder Dudley was succeeded by his son, Thomas P. Dudley, who continued as pastor for nearly half a century.
The minority of the Bryant's Station Church was recognized by Elkhorn Association, and was received into that body as the regular Bryant's Station Church. It was never possible to reconcile the two parties, though both congregations worshipped in the same house for nearly a century. The Particular Baptist Church at Bryant's Station had only two pastors through the ninety-nine years of its history - Ambrose Dudley and son, Thomas P. Dudley, the latter being an extreme Calvinist.4
The Sesqui-centennial of the regular Bryant's Station Church was held on April 15, 1936, in the sixth year of the pastorate of Rev. Howard M. Patton, who was ordained by the church as its pastor on June 14, 1931, at the age of nineteen years. The young pastor led the church to full time preaching, with a Sunday school, and other organizations essential to the work. On the Sesqui-centennial day, Pastor Patton was married to Miss Margarette Turner. In 1948 the church reported to Elkhorn Association 133 members, with J. R. Masterson, Lexington, pastor.
TATE'S CREEK BAPTIST CHURCH
The Tate's Creek Church of Separate Baptists was constituted in 1786. by Andrew Tribble, who was immediately chosen pastor and continued to serve in that capacity until near the time of his death, December 1822. He was born in Virginia in 1741, and came to Kentucky in 1783 as one of the pioneer preachers.
The Tate's Creek Church is located in Madison County and united with the South Kentucky Association of Separate Baptists in 1787, but withdrew from that body with four other churches and formed the Tate's Creek Association of United Baptists and has been a member of that fraternity over one hundred and fifty years. This church prospered from the beginning while the Tate's Creek Church of Regular Baptists, located in the same community, ceased to exist after a few years. There were two hundred and ten members in 1790.5 In 1946 the church reported three hundred and seventy-one members to the Association and J. Edward Humphrey, pastor.
FORKS OF THE ELKHORN BAPTIST CHURCH
The Forks of the Elkhorn Church located in Woodford County, was constituted on the second Saturday in June, 1788, under the leadership of the famous pioneer preacher, William Hickman, who was the first pastor. He remained pastor until his death on January 23, 1834, with the exception of about two years, from September 1807 to November 1809. Eight years after the constitution of the church there were one hundred and twenty-three members. During the great revival two hundred and
sixteen converts were baptized by Pastor Hickman in the one year of 1801. The church united with Elkhorn Association in 1788, but became a member of the Franklin Association in 1821.6
During a period of more than fifty years, a century later, the Forks of Elkhorn Church enjoyed the pastoral services of several members of the faculty of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky. In the Fall of 1874, Dr. Franklin H. Kerfoot, later to become a professor in the Seminary, was chosen pastor, and served until 1877, when he was succeeded by Dr. John A. Broadus, who was pastor three years. Dr. George Riggan was called to succeed Dr. Broadus in 1880 and continued until his death in April, 1885. In May following, the church extended a call to Dr. John R. Sampey, who was ordained by a Presbytery invited by the church, on his twenty-second birthday, Sunday, September 27, 1885. Dr. W. M. Pratt conducted the examination of the candidate and Dr. J. P. Boyce preached the sermon.
Dr. Sampey remained pastor of this fine country church until 1891, six years. After an interval of thirteen years, he was called the second time in 1904, and continued until 1915, eleven years. He was chosen the third time in March, 1920, and served until 1926, five years, making a total of twenty-three and a half years of pastoral service. Great revivals were held during these years, and a great building program was put on by Dr. Sampey.7
The Forks of the Elkhorn Church is still carrying on. In 1946 there were three hundred and fifty-nine members, and J. Carroll Trotter, pastor.
SHAWNEE RUN BAPTIST CHURCH
The Shawnee Run Church in the northern part of Mercer County, was constituted November 21, 1788, under the name of "the Separate Baptist Church of Jesus Christ on Shawnee Run." John Rice led in gathering the church and was the first pastor. He was from North Carolina, but was ordained in the Gilbert's Creek Separate Baptist Church in 1785, and was probably the first preacher ordained in Kentucky.
The church first united with the South Kentucky Association of Separate Baptists in 1790, but became a member of the South District at its formation in 1801, and has remained a member of that body. In 1947, there were three hundred and fifty-five members with Gilbert Sheley pastor for full time.
SALT RIVER BAPTIST CHURCH
The Salt River Church was constituted in 1789 "on an Island formed by the water of Salt River, beneath a sugar tree about six miles South of Harrodsburg, in Boyle County, where the church met and worshipped in pleasant weather." In the winter the little congregation met for worship in the house of Henry French, whose family was faithful to the church. They were Separate Baptists and remained so until the union of the Regular and Separates in 1801. John Bailey was the first pastor and served about ten years, and was followed by John Rice, who continued about twenty-five years. S. Cook was the third pastor and continued six years.
The Salt River Church experienced many trials in retaining a permanent place of worship. The first house was built of logs on the farm of J. Harlon. Not having received any deed, the church lost the lot at his death. During the year 1818 the logs of the first building were used in erecting a second house on a parcel of ground donated by James Dillard. The church failed to have the deed put on record, and at Mr. Dillard's sudden death, lost the property. In 1840, James Wiggins donated the present lot, but deeded it to the trustees of the church, and to their successors.
The church sent messengers to the South District Association in 1812 and reported seventy members. In 1843 there were eighty members, but in 1879 only fifty.8 In 1946, the report to the South District Association showed ia membership of two hundred and three, and Earl Bell of Georgetown. Kentucky, pastor, who was succeeded by J. R. Estes in 1947.
ROLLING FORK BAPTIST CHURCH
The Rolling Fork Baptist Church was constituted in the Autumn of 1788 "in a grove of ancient oaks near the Rolling Fork River" in Nelson County, and was received into the fellowship of Salem Association, October 4, 1788. The church was probably gathered by Elder Joshua Carman, who was the first pastor. He was a strong Emancipationist, and leader of the forces against slavery. At the meeting of the Salem Association at Cox's Creek, October, 1789, the Rolling Fork Church courageously presented the following question: "Is it lawful in the sight of God for a member of Christ's church to keep his fellow creatures in perpetual slavery?" The question was evaded, as appears in the following answer: "The Association judge it improper to enter into so important and critical matter at present." Through Joshua Carman's leadership and influence, Rolling Fork Church, except three members, withdrew from Salem Association in 1796, but returned in 1802.
About this time William Downs, a school teacher, united with the church, and after he was ordained to the ministry, became the second pastor. Some time later, Elder Downs was charged of being intoxicated, and to escape facing the charges, united with the Separate Baptists. The Rolling Fork Church, however, publicly excluded him in 1805, and requested the Salem Association to advertise him, as a warning to the churches. In 1809, the Salem Association met with the Rolling Fork Church. During the period of 1811 to 1823 the membership gradually declined, until there were only thirty-three members in 1823, and the following year the Salem Association announced the Rolling Fork Church "dissolved."
During the next five years the church made no report to the Salem Association. Many churches during this period became "the scenes of bitter controversy," and denominational differences, which condition may have prevailed in the Rolling Fork Church. As a result of a three years revival among the churdhes, extending into 1830, the little band of loyal members gathered at the home of Samuel Miller and reorganized the Rolling Fork Baptist Church, which returned to the Salem Association the following fall. Elder Samuel Carpenter was called to the pastorate
by the little church at the June meeting in 1830, and continued until 1833, when he was succeeded by Elder Jacob Rogers, who served thirteen years.
Great haste was made by the newly reorganized church to secure a site and start building a log meeting house. At the July and August meeting, 1830, the walls were up and the roof on, and the building was occupied for these services. At the preaching day in September arrangements were made "for underpinning and chinking," and also for "painting with lime and sand." In October the floors were laid, doors made and hung, windows made, and the pulpit set up. In 1830, there were fourteen members, and in 1840, 69 were reported. On December 22, 1839, the log meeting house burned down. A lot was secured by a gift near the site of the log house on which a brick building 50 feet by 30 feet was erected. The first service in the finished building was on March 27, 1841. In 1854, there were thirty-one colored members, or about one-fourth of the membership. In 1849, the Rolling Fork Church went into the organization of the Nelson Association. The services of the church were discontinued for three years during the Civil War.
Twenty-nine ministers have filled the pastoral office during the one-hundred and sixty years of the church's history. Rev. R. B. Cundiff, the present pastor (1949) is now in his twenty-fourth year of continuous pastoral service. The church has been maintaining full time preaching since 1944. The old historic brick meeting house, built 108 years ago, has been "authentically restored and modernized for comfort, durability, and function."9
MAYS LICK BAPTIST CHURCH
The Mays Lick Church, in Mason County, was constituted of four members, November 28, 1789, by William Wood and James Garrard. The church united with the Elkhorn Association in 1791, but joined other churches in forming Bracken Association in 1799. There was no permanent pastor until 1797, when Donald Holmes was called and served until 1801.
The Centennial of the Mays Lick Church was held November 28, 1889, during the pastorate of Z. T. Cody, who was then a student in the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky.
The Sesqui-Centennial was held on Tuesday, November 28, 1939, under the pastorate of G. G. Lanter. During the one hundred and fifty years, twenty-nine pastors have served this old historic church, and among them may be found some of the Lord's most faithful servants. The names of these pastors with their terms of office are as follows: Donald Holmes, 1797-1801; Jacob Gregg, 1803-1805; Baldwin Clifton, 1808-09; William Grinstead, 1811-1813; Walter Warder, 1813-1836; Gilbert Mason, 1836-1843; S. L. Helm, 1843-1850; J. M. Frost, 1851-1852; W. W. Gardner, 1852-57; J. W. Bullock, 1858-62; Cleon Keyes, 1862-71; J. E. Carter, 1872-73; M. M. Riley, 1874-83; A. M. Vardeman, 1884-87; Zachery T. Cody, 1887-90; J. D. Simmons, 1891-92; H. H. Hibbs, 1892-97; Jacob Holly, 1898-1902; W. W. Homer, 1903-05; J. T. Campbell, 1905-06; B. P. Weaver, 1907; C. V. Waugh, 1909-10; L. M. Thompson, 1910-18; T. E. Smith, 1918-19; T. U. Fann,
1920-23; G. H. Moore, 1924-27; M. Jackson White, 1928-31; A. D. Odom, 1931-37; and G. G. Lanter, 1937-39. J. F. Woodson was pastor 1941-42, and Roy C. Magill, 1943-45.10
In 1946 the Mays Lick Church reported to the Bracken Association two hundred and forty-six members and J. W. Kruschwitz, pastor, who resigned in early 1949 to become pastor of Sand Springs Church near Lawrenceburg.
INDIAN CREEK BAPTIST CHURCH
The Indian Creek Church, located in Harrison County, was constituted in 1790 of eight members. Augustine Eastin, a very uncertain man, who came from Virginia in 1784, was the first pastor. He served until 1803, when he began to preach Unitarianism, and led off a number of members, whom he formed into a Unitarian Church, but after his death, the entire organization went off with Alexander Campbell.
Under the leadership of good pastors, the church increased to one hundred and eleven members by 1833, but the following year there was a division over "Hardshellism," which resulted in the loss of fifty members, and from which the church did not recover. In 1856 there were only thirteen members, but by 1880 the number had increased to forty-two.
The church entered the fellowship of the Elkhorn Association in August, 1790, but withdrew in 1813 to join with other churches in the formation of the Union Association. In 1946 this same Indian Creek Church reported only fifteen members, and Samuel S. Hill, Jr., Georgetown, Kentucky, pastor, who was succeeded by John F. Mullins in 1947.
BLOOMFIELD BAPTIST CHURCH
The Bloomfield Church was constituted on March 12, 1791, "under the name of the Regular Baptist Church of Jesus Christ, at Simpson's Creek Meeting-house. The brethren, who then constituted this church were, at their own request, dismissed from the Cox's Creek Church, and on the above named day, after fasting and prayer, met and were constituted into a body by Brother William Taylor and Joshua Carman, and declared a Gospel Church of Jesus Christ."
"Immediately after being constituted, the church proceeded to call Brother William Taylor to go in and our before them and Brother Carman to serve them as often as possible." "At the first meeting in 1793, Brother Taylor was directed to draw ten pounds out of the funds and Brother Carman five pounds for services rendered." The church was received into the Salem Association, October, 1791, under the name Bloomfield, but in 1849 it entered into the formation of the Nelson Association.
William Vaughan, one of the most eminent preachers of his time, was pastor of the Bloomfield Church from 1836 to 1868, a period of thirty-two years. During a revival in 1841, he baptized a boy of eleven years, by the name of Isaac T. Tichenor, who was to become a great leader in the Southern Baptist Convention.
Another young man, Joseph M. Weaver, who in early manhood professed
conversion and united with the Methodists by immersion, but in less than a year after that became dissatisfied, united with the Bloomfield Church "on his Methodist Baptism." "At a meeting on June 12, 1852, Brother J. M. Weaver was licensed to preach the Gospel" and the next year he entered Georgetown College. After leaving College, he was ordained and became pastor of several churches. On January 1, 1865, he accepted a call to become pastor of the Chestnut Street Church, Louisville, Kentucky. On July 5, 1879, Dr. Weaver received regular baptism at the hands of Dr. J. P. Boyce, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.11
In 1869 Elder Thomas Hall succeeded pastor William Vaughan, who died March 30, 1876, and Pastor Hall conducted the funeral service in the Bloomfield Church, April 2. In 1847 the church reported to the Nelson Association two hundred and eighty-one members, with Rev. George Childress pastor for full time.
CRAB ORCHARD BAPTIST CHURCH
The Crab Orchard Church, formerly known as Cedar Creek, was con-stituted by William Marshall in 1791 of forty members, dismissed from the Gilbert's Creek Church. William Bledsoe was chosen pastor, and was succeeded in 1802 by Jeremiah Vardeman who served until 1810. During the year 1808, a new house of worship was erected at Crab Orchard, in Lincoln County, and the name was changed from Cedar Creek to Crab Orchard Baptist Church. Moses Foley succeeded Jeremiah Vardeman, as pastor in 1810, and continued until 1858. During Brother Foley's pastorate, the church greatly prospered, attaining at one time to over four hundred members.12
The Crab Orchard Church united with the Elkhorn Association in 1791, but went into the Lincoln County Association in 1924. In 1946 the church reported two hundred and ninety-two members, with J. C. Chapman, pastor, and in 1947, N. C. Ferguson was pastor.
CAMPBELLSVILLE BAPTIST CHURCH
The Campbellsville Church was known for more than half a century first as Robinson Creek and Pitman Church, and then as the Pitmans Creek Church. Honorable H. S. Robinson, Campbellsville, Kentucky, furnished the author some valuable records concerning these early churches.
The Robinson Creek Church was constituted in 1791 at the residence of John Harding, who with his two brothers, Abraham and Thomas, had come from Virginia and settled two miles west from where Campbellsville now stands. The little band built a meeting house on the East bank of the Weant Creek, known as the Robinson Creek meeting house. Here was started a grave yard, where many of -the early pioneers were buried.
The church united with the South Kentucky Association of Separate Baptists soon after its constitution. When the Green River Association was formed in 1800 the church became a member of that body, according to the following records: "The Pitman and Robinson Creek Church" sent messengers to the Green River Association and reported twenty-one members.
In 1801 the "Pitman and Robinson Creek Church" sent messengers to the same Association and reported eighty-three members. But the records of the Green River Association of 1802 state that the Robinson Creek Church sent messengers and reported forty-two members. Likewise the same year the Pitman Creek Church sent messengers and had seventy-five members This shows there had been a division in the church. Fortunately Mr. Robinson furnished the records of the two churches, which reported to the Green River Association in 1802. He says: "In April, 1802, it was desired to build a church house on Pitman Creek, and certain members were dismissed for that purpose. A Pitman Creek Wing was organized and they built a church house in August, 1802 on a branch of Pitman Creek about two miles west of Campbellsville."
"In December of the same year both the Robinson Creek and the Pitman Creek Churches were united under the name of Pitman Creek Church, and after that, used the church house that was built by the Pitman Wing." Mr. Robinson thus describes this meeting house: "This house on the Pitman branch was built of hewed logs, thirty by thirty feet square, covered with clap-board, held down with heavy poles. They worshiped in that house until 1806 without any floor, no doors, nor windows; no chincks between the logs. Then in the same year, 1806, they took up the celebrated subscription to finish the meeting house."
The Pitsman Creek Church went into the organization of the Russell's Creek Association, when that body was constituted out of Green River in 1804. The church had sixty-six members at that time and the pioneer Baldwin Clifton was pastor. Isaac Hodgen, the second pastor of the church was "one of the most famous preachers of his generation." John Harding succeeded Isaac Hodgens at his death in 1826, and continued as pastor about twenty years.
After Taylor County was formed in 1848, the Pitmans Creek Church moved in 1852 into Campbellsville, the new county seat, and was styled the Campbellsville Baptist Church, which for more than ninety years has been a lighthouse in all that secton. Ths great church reported 945 members to the Russell's Creek Assocation in 1946, and Harvey F. Morrison as the dis-tinguished pastor.
The year 1792 was one of spiritual barrenness for the Baptists of Kentucky. Only two small churches were gathered during the year, and the number of baptisms reported was at the minimum. This low state of religion was due largely to the political excitement over whether Kentucky should be admitted into the Union, as a slave or free State. A Convention was appointed to be held in Danville in April, 1792, to adopt a Constitution preparatory to entering the Union. The Anti-Slavery party was busily engaged in an effort to make provision to abolish African slavery in the new Constitution. On the other hand the Pro-Slavery party was putting forth every effort to protect its slave property.
Many of the leading preachers, not only of the Baptists, but of other denominations, were absorbed in their effort to destroy slavery root and branch in the coming Convention. The trouble existing among the Baptists of the State over this disputed question was illustrated in the actions
of the Elkhorn Association during 1791. At the regular session of that body in August, a strong committee was appointed, consisting of James Garrard, Ambrose Dudley and Augustine Eastin to prepare a memorial on "the subject of Religious Liberty and Perpetual Slavery" to be presented to the Constitutional Convention to be held in April, 1792.
The Association was called to meet in a special session with the Great Crossings Church, September 8, to hear the report of this committee, which was presented, and adopted. The adoption of this memorial aroused to action the slaveholding members of the churches. As a result a special, session of the Elkhorn Association was called to meet at Bryant's Station on December 26, when it was resolved, "That this Association disapproves of the Memorial, which the last Association agreed to send to the Convention on the subject of Religious Liberty and the Abolition of Slavery."13
The Constitutional Convention met on April 3, 1792, and was composed of five delegates from each of the nine counties, then existing. David Rice, the leading Presbyterian minister in the State, who had been writing with ability against slavery, was a member of the Convention. There was also a number of Baptists, both ministers and laymen, who were prominent members of the body. The ministers were James Garrard, later Governor of the State, John Bailey and George Stokes Smith, who were strongly Anti-Slavery. The laymen were Colonel Robert Johnson, Thomas Lewis, Robert Fryes, William King, Jacob Froman and Richard Young.
After a long heated discussion, the Pro-Slavery party carried the convention, and Kentucky was admitted into the Union on June 1, 1792, as a slave state. This did not end the agitation of the Slave question in the Baptist churches and associations. The confusion and contention continued for thirty years, when at last it became evident that nothing could be done by the pastors and churches to destroy the Slave system.
A new day dawned, when Kentucky became an independent commonwealth and had a place in the Union of States. The Indians, who still were such a terror, could now be driven out and would not be permitted to visit the Kentucky Country as warriors any longer. The tide of immigration began to pour into the new State with an ever increasing stream, composed of a higher type of citizenship. There was great excitement in Lexington, the first Capitol, on the morning of June 4, 1792, when Isaac Shelby of Lincoln County was inaugurated the first Governor of Kentucky, and the first State Legislature met two days after the inauguration.
The Baptists were more active during the year 1793. The political storm of the previous year was over, and the attention of the people was directed to the future. Eight new Baptist churches were organized during the year, two of which deserve special mention.
BRACKEN BAPTIST CHURCH
The Bracken Church, located in Mason County, was constituted in June, 1793, with ten members dismissed from the Washington Church. The famous pioneer preacher Lewis Craig, who had come into this section the year before from Central Kentucky, led in the organization of the
church, and probably was the first pastor. In 1795, the new church, with forty-five members, united with Elkhorn Association, but in 1799 with one hundred and fifty-six members, it went into the formation of the Bracken Association, in the Bracken meeting house, then located about five 'hundred yards northwest of the present village of Minerva. At this time there were four ordained preachers in the membership of the church, including Lewis Craig, Philip Duke, William Holton and John King. One or the other of these served as pastor during the early history of the church.
About 1805 there was a division over the question of slavery, with a pastor for each division, but the two congregations held their services in the same house of worship. When the Anti-slavery Society dissolved, the division in the church was healed, and Jesse Holton became pastor of the united church in 1815, and continued until 1829. The sad report was given that Holton went over to Campbellism and took with him all the church of two hundred fifty-one members, except thirty-seven. The Campbellites claimed the house of worship, but permitted the Baptist minority to hold services once a month in it.
Elder A. D. Sears, who was well known among Kentucky Baptists, became pastor of the church in 1840. He said, "the building was dilapidated and situated a few hundred yards west of the village" of Minerva. This faithful preacher held a meeting in the Methodist church house, when a deep snow was on the ground. During his two years' pastorate, Brother Sears had the Articles of Faith readopted, and by process of law restored the church building to the Baptists. A. W. LaRue, a young preacher, succeeded Elder Sears in 1842 and the church prospered during his pastorate. The old meeting house, built by Lewis Craig, and rescued from the Reformers was so dilapidated that it was unfit for worship. The amount of $3000.00 was raised for the erection of a new building in the village of Minerva. Since 1850 the church has continued to decline in membership.14
About 1900 the meeting house ceased to be occupied as a place of worship by the Baptist church. The house was used as a community center until 1930, when the property was sold by the only four remaining members to a private citizen for $280. This money was turned over to the Bracken Association to be used for enclosing the grave of Lewis Craig. An iron fence set in concrete was built around the graves of him and his wife, and a bronze tablet was hung on the fence recording a brief biography of his life. In October, 1930, the unveiling ceremonies were held with Dr. John R. Sampey as the principal speaker.
The old Bracken meeting house is still standing and is being used for a tobacco barn. On June 6, 1947, the author visited this old historic building and viewed its desolation. Lewis Craig was a member of the Bracken Church in 1812 as he was a messenger to the Bracken Association that year. He, no doubt, remained a member until his death in the summer of 1825.
MILL CREEK BAPTIST CHURCH
Mill Creek Church in Nelson County was constituted on Saturday before the fourth Sunday in December, 1793, of nine members. The church was
probably gathered by William Taylor, who supplied them with preaching until 1799, when John Penny visited them and became pastor in 1800. Joshua Morris, who came to Kentucky in 1788, began preaching once a month, while William Taylor was still pastor, but became full pastor in 1809. In 1816, Jeremiah Vardeman and George Waller assisted the pastor, Joshua Morris, in a revival meeting, as a result of which sixty-eight were baptized. In 1878 there were one hundred and nine members.15
The Mill Creek Church united with the Salem Association in 1794, and joined in forming the Nelson Association in September, 1849. In 1946 the church reported one hundred forty-six members to the Nelson Association and Glenn Yarbrough, pastor.
ELK CREEK BAPTIST CHURCH
The Elk Creek Church, located in Spencer County, was constituted with ten members, April 27, 1794, and united with the Salem Association the following fall. Joshua Carman was probably the first pastor. In 1803, this church under the name of Buck and Elk joined with twenty-three other churches in forming the Long Run Association. At that time there were ons hundred forty-nine members, and by 1837 this number had increased to one hundred eighty-eight. But prosperity was not to continue. The church known permanently as Elk Creek, declared non-fellowship with "Conventions, Theological Seminaries, and Societies, that give membership for money," and in 1839 withdrew from Long Run Association. A minority of twenty-one members protested against this action, and were promptly excluded. This excluded minority organized and declared themselves the Elk Creek Church, and was received into the Long Run Association. The noted George Waller was called to the pastorate and served nine years and under his ministry the church increased to eighty-eight members. The Anti-missionary forces soon split up and went out of existence.16
In 1946 the Elk Creek Church reported three hundred ninety-eight members to the Long Run Association and Glenn A. Irons was pastor, who was succeeded by Ralph E. Lattimore in 1947.
EMINENCE BAPTIST CHURCH
The Eminence Church, for nearly a century known as Fox Run, located on the northern border of Shelby County was constituted, January 26, 1794, with fifteen members. The church was gathered by John Whitaker and Joshua Morris and organized in the house of James Hogland. William Marshall, who wrought so well in Virginia as a soul winner, soon became a member and preached among them. He had embraced the teaching, that all the elect were "eternally justified" hence there was no need of preaching the gospel to sinners which Marshall refused to do. The church rejected his doctrine, which caused much disturbance, and excluded him from fellowship. Marshall remained out of church relation the rest of his life.
The church united with the Salem Association in the fall of 1794, but withdrew in 1803 to aid in forming the Long Run Association, and in 1839 it became a member of the Sulphur Fork fraternity.17
The Fox Run Church was moved to the town of Eminence in 1867, and in 1901 it took the name of that place. When the Henry County Association was constituted in 1915, the Eminence church became a member of that body. In 1946 there were three hundred eighty-one members and Raymond Scroggins was pastor, who was succeeded by J. T. Burdine in 1948.
LICKING BAPTIST CHURCH
The Licking Church was constituted of eight members, October, 1794, in the home of William Decourcey, in what is now Kenton County. The church was first named Mouth of the Licking, but was changed to Licking in 1820, and retained that name until 1942, when it was changed to Cold Springs, after the town in which the church is now located. The church under the name of Licking, united with the Elkorn Association in 1795, but withdrew in 1803 to aid in forming the North Bend fraternity; and in 1827, under the name of Licking went into the Campbell County Association, to which a membership of seventy-three was reported.
John Smith, who lived in Columbia, Ohio, was the first pastor and probably served only a few years, and was soon succeeded by Bethuel Riggs, who preached much in the adjacent communities. John Beal was the next pastor and according to tradition handed down by older members, he served about ten years from 1807 to 1817, which embraced the time of the war of 1812. During this ten years there were twenty-one members received for baptism. After a period of twenty-three years, the church only numbered twenty-eight members. From 1817 to 1827 there were received ninety-four members by baptism, and the total membership was seventy-three. During this period some of the pastors were Christopher Wilson, John Stevens and Robert Ware.
From 1827 to 1840 fifty converts were received by baptism, and the total membership was seventy-two. About 1832 Elder James Vickers settled in the community and became one of "the most distinguished" pastors, and served the church a number of years. Brother Vickers attended the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky in Louisville in 1857 and A. W. LaRue thus described his action in that body: "Old Brother Vickers, from North Bend Association, closed up, on one occasion, with one of his peculiar exhortations. Such a flood of tears, and such an old fashioned shakehands, many people present never witnessed before. All were impressed with the true greatness of the man. Some frozen hearted Christians, who had not shed a tear in twenty years, wept like children. In short it was a feast to hear his simple, melting eloquence."
During the two decades of 1840 to 1861 one hundred and ninety-eight persons were baptized into the fellowship of the church.18 In 1876 there were eighty-seven members of the Licking Church. In 1946, the church under the name of Cold Springs reported two hundred and fifteen members to the Campbell County Association and Rans Hill, pastor.
BULLITTSBURG BAPTIST CHURCH
The Bullittsburg Church, located on the Ohio River, below Cincinnati, in the open country, was constituted in June, 1794, with seven members,
gathered by Joseph Redding and John Taylor. The church first grew only by immigration. John Taylor says that under his pastorate there was only one person baptized in five years and that he was excluded two months later. But during two years of the great revival of 1800, one hundred and fifty-two members were received by baptism. Since that time this country church has enjoyed almost uninterrupted prosperity. In 1811, there was added one hundred and seventy by baptism, bringing the total membership to three hundred and nineteen, and it was increased to three hundred and ninety-five in the revival of 1817. In another revival in 1824, there were one hundred and eighteen additions. Robert Kirtley and James A. Kirtley, father and son, were pastors of this old church seventy-six years in succession, beginning about 1826.
J. H. Spencer says that during the first seventy-eight years of the church's existence, nine hundred and seventy-four members were received by baptism, eight church colonies were sent out, twenty-seven members had been licensed to preach the gospel, fourteen ministers ordained, and forty pastors had served the church19
In. 1796 the Bullittsburg Church united with the Elkhorn Association, and reported one hundred ninety-seven members to the session of 1802; and it was one of the nine churches that formed the North Bend Association in 1803. In 1946 the church reported one hundred and ninety-two members, and W. P. Gardner was pastor.
STAMPING GROUND BAPTIST CHURCH
The Stamping Ground Church, formerly known as McConnells Run, located in Scott County, was gathered by William Hickman, who preached in barns and homes of the people, resulting in a number of baptisms. Out of these baptized converts and some members dismissed from the Great Crossings Church, the McConnelPs Run Church was constituted of thirty-five members on the fourth Sunday in September in 1795. William Hickman, Ambrose Dudley and William Cave led in the organization. Elijah Craig was the first pastor but served only a few months because of the infirmity of age. William Hickman was the second pastor and continued ten years. During the year 1801, one hundred and fifty-six members were added by baptism, and in the following year twenty-four others were baptized. Jacob Creath succeeded Mr. Hickman in 1805 and served four years. During his pastorate only two were baptized, and the membership decreased from one hundred and seventy-seven to one hundred and fifty members.
In 1819, the McConnells Run Church was moved to Stamping Ground, where a new meeting house was erected, and it took the name of the Stamping Ground Church. In 1838 James D. Black began his pastorate and served thirty years, during which time, he baptized over a thousand converts. This beloved brother was born in Virginia in 1794, and came to Kentucky in 1807, and is said to be "the most successful pastor" the church has ever had. When Mr. Black resigned at the close of 1857, the Stamping Ground Church had two hundred and fifty white members, which made it the largest in Elkhorn Association next to the First Church, Lexington.20
This old church is still a member of the Elkhorn Association and reported
three hundred and fifty-two members to the session of 1946, and E. L. Brannon, pastor, for full time, who was succeeded by W. S. Webster in 1948.
FALMOUTH BAPTIST CHURCH
The Falmouth Church, for seventy-five years called Forks of Licking was constituted, June, 1795, and was gathered by Alexander Monroe, who came from Virginia to Kentucky in 1789. He was the first pastor and served about thirty years. The new church united with the Elkhorn Association the following August, and remained a member, but in 1803, it went into the constitution of the North Bend, and in 1817 it became a member of the Union Association. In 1872 the name of the church was changed from the Forks of Licking to Falmouth, and in 1S80 it numbered one hundred and sixty-three members. The church has had a large number of short pastortes.21 Falmouth is the county seat of Pendleton County.
The Falmouth Church reported to the Union Association four hundred and ten members in 1947 and M. P. Dulaney, Jr., pastor for full time, who was succeeded by Carl Sears in 1948.
DEEP CREEK BAPTIST CHURCH
The Deep Creek Church, located in Mercer County, was constituted in 1796, and the same year it applied for admission into the South Kentucky Association of Separate Baptists, but for some reason it was rejected. However it was admitted the following year. When the South Kentucky Association was divided in 1801, the Deep Creek Church went into the South District division.
James Keel, a native of Virginia, came to Kentucky after 1790, and was the first pastor and continued until 1813. He was succeeded by Joel Gardner, who served twenty-five years. B. F. Keeling was the third pastor, and was followed by David Bruner, who continued in the pastoral office for twenty-two years. In 1810 the church reported forty members, but two years later that number had increased to seventy-five, while in 1879 there were two hundred and twenty-three members.22 In 1948 the church reported 346 members to the South District Association and Rev. Marshall Black, pastor.
GOOD HOPE BAPTIST CHURCH
The Good Hope Church, according to all available records, was constituted in 1790 on Muldraugh's Mill Creek in what was to be Taylor County with about twelve members, designated a United Baptist Church, and remained such. In 1798, "as a new church, represented by Elder Edward Tanner" it was received into the Tate's Creek Association. In 1803 the church united with the Green River Association, and the year following joined in the formation of the Russell's Creek fraternity, reporting twelve members. Elder Edward Tanner, the first pastor, was succeeded by Elder David Elkins, who continued until 1811. Elder John Chandler was pastor from 1811 to 1826, when he resigned at the age of seventy-one years, to be succeeded by his son, Horatio Chandler, who served until 1840, fourteen years. In 1834 he wrote thus of the Good Hope Church: "She has been struggling for
existence for a number of years." About the same date the church "approved of the Baptist State Convention, with a desire that the constitution be amended."
The first house of worship was erected some time after the church was organized. This house was a log cabin about twenty feet square with one door, but no shutter, no windows, cracks not closed, no chimney, no stove, round logs for seats, and "mother earth for the floor." In the winter the church worshipped in the houses of its members. This cabin house was used for a few years, when a second building was erected about half a mile away. This new building was covered with board shingles, fastened on with pegs, had two doors, and one window, but no shutters were provided for six years. There was no stove or fire place put in until 1834.
The Good Hope Church entered into the constitution of the Lynn Association in 1856, and reported 250 members to that body in 1879, which was then the largest church in the Association. In 1893 the church became a member of the East Lynn Association at its organization, and is still a member of that body.
Many pastors have served the Church during its one hundred and fifty-two years of existence, in addition to those already mentioned. Elder David Miller enjoyed the long pastorate of twenty-one years, from 1840 to 1861. Elder W. T. Underwood was pastor from 1872 to 1881, nine years. Elder W. T. Short was pastor at three different times, closing his last pastorate in 1917. He was followed by William Kirtley, who continued to 1922, to be followed by T. S. Curry, who served until 1931, nine years. D. L. Druin was pastor from 1931 to 1945, fourteen years. In 1946, the church reported to East Lynn Association two hundred forty-six members, and W. R. Simmone, pastor, while in 1947, two hundred fifty-two members and Carl Loy, pastor.23
HARRODS CREEK BAPTIST CHURCH
The Harrods Creek Church is located in Oldham County half way between La Grange and the Ohio River. The first settlement in the county was made near where the church was constituted in 1797. William Keller, a native of Virginia, was the first pastor, and remained in that position until his death, November 6, 1817. At that time there were two hundred and seventy-nine members. Benjamin Allen was the second pastor, who continued to 1831, when there were two hundred and nine members. Mr. Allen went off with Alexander Campbell and carried almost the entire membership with him. The small minority left called the distinguished George Waller, who increased this minority to forty members in two years. The record of the church, January 15, 1837, showed that he was still pastor.
Many well known ministers served this old historic church, during its one hundred and fifty years of history, yet the great majority of them served short periods. When the Centennial Anniversary was observed August 28, 1898, W. S. Splawn was pastor. He later experienced a great ministry in Texas. O. L. Powers, who also became a leader among Texas Baptists, was ordained by the Harrods Creek Church as pastor in June, 1901. Among those who took part in the ordination service were Dr. B. H.
Carroll of Texas, and Drs. A. T. Robertson and George B. Eager. Dr. Robertson preached the ordination sermon.
Rev. E. L. Veach, who became pastor in 1921, had the distinction of having served the longest period of any pastor in the history of the church. He closed his work as pastor in 1945, after twenty-four years of service. The Harrods Creek Church united with the -Salem Assocaition in the fall of 1797, the same year it was constituted; but withdrew in 1803 to enter into the constitution of the Long Run Association. In 1855 with sixty members the church joined the Sulphur Fork Association, and in 1879 reported ninety members to that body. In 1947, a membership of one hundred and sixty was reported. The one hundred and fiftieth Anniversary of the church was observed October 19,1947, Rev. John S. Farrar, pastor.24 Rev. Dewey Hobbs was pastor in 1948.
HAZEL CREEK BAPTIST CHURCH
The Hazel Creek Church, now located in Muhlenburg County, near Greenville, is the oldest existing church west of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad except Severns Valley, in Elizabethtown. A young preacher, Benjamin Talbot, who came into the community with the early settlers, gathered four Baptists, besides himself, two men and two women, and constituted them into the Hazel Creek Baptist Church, on December 3, 1797. The nearest church was at a distance of fifty miles.
Benjamin Talbot was the first pastor, and he continued in that position until his death in November, 1834. He had the gift of prayer and exhortation, which was very effective. He was born in North Carolina, but his entire ministerial life was spent in Kentucky. He preached the introductory sermon at the Gasper River Association six times and was Moderator from 1824 to 1830 inclusive.
Elder J. B. Dunn, born in North Carolina in 1805, was the second pastor. He was converted and baptized into the Muddy River Church, near Russellville, Kentucky, in 1833. He was ordained to the ministry the same year, and became pastor of the Hazel Creek Church in 1835 and served until 1840. Elder J. U. Spurlin, born in Christian County in 1824, was pastor from 1847 to 1853, and again in 1860. He was baptized by A. W. Meacham and' ordained in July, 1845. Many faithful men of God served this old country church during the first century of its existence. The Centennial was held in August, 1897, and the Sesqui-Centennial in August, 1947.
The first mention of a house of worship was in 1800, when a log building was erected. The second house was a log structure erected in 1807 on the ground donated by William Bell, Sr. The third house was dedicated in 1859. The present house is a modern frame building, with extra rooms.
The Hazel Creek Church has been a member of a number of Associations. In 1799, messengers were sent to the Mero Association, constituted in 1796, and located on the northern border of Tennessee. When the Mero body dissolved in 1803, and the Cumberland Association took its place, the church became a member of that fraternity until 1806, when she went into the organization of the Union Association. In 1810 the church united with
the Red River Association, organized in 1807, and remained until 1811, and became a member of the Green River Association, but withdrew the following year to aid in forming Gasper River. In 1907, the Muhlenberg Association was constituted, and the Hazel Creek Church became a member of that fraternity.
The membership has been increased generally with the many great revivals in the church's early history. Thirteen colonies located in five counties have gone out from this mother church. There were one hundred and twenty-three members in 1838, one hundred and thirty-three in 1876, and two hundred and fifty members were reported to the Muhlenburg Association in 1947 and Elder Fred Fox, pastor.25
VINEY FORK BAPTIST CHURCH
The Viney Fork Church, located in Madison County, was constituted in 1797 of about twenty members. The church was gathered by the pioneer preacher, Christopher Harris, who was the first pastor and continued about sixteen years. He came from Virginia in 1795 and settled in Madison County. The membership of the church was small until the great revival of 1800, when two hundred and fifty-one members were reported in 1801. This large membership was reduced from time to time by dismissions to form new churches, so there were only seventy members left in 1825. As a result of a revival in 1828, the church reported one hundred and sixty-seven members, but two years later all except forty-six members went off with the Campbellites. In 1880 about one hundred members were reported.26
The same Viney Fork Church reported to the Tate's Creek Association in 1946, one hundred and nineteen members and W. R. Royal, pastor. He was succeeded by Rev. Bill Beeny in 1947.
LONG RUN BAPTIST CHURCH
The Long Run Baptist Church was constituted in 1797, and united with the Salem Association. This is one of the oldest Baptist churches near Louisville with a continued existence. The church went into the Long Run Association, which was constituted in the Long Run meeting house, September 16, 1803. It is not definitely known who gathered the Long Run Church, but evidently John Penny was the first pastor.
The first meeting house was built of logs, but was later replaced with one built of stone. In 1844, this stone house was too small for the congregation, and was torn down and another building was erected in 1845. The church meetings seem to have been held in the homes of the members from December, 1844 to April, 1845, but the church meeting on Saturday before the first Lord's Day in May, 1845 was held in the new meeting house. This new house of worship was built of brick and a large foundation was provided from the stones of the foundation and walls of the old stone building, which probably was not more than 24 by 42 feet, while the present building is 40 by 60 feet.
Recent historical evidence has revealed that "The extension of the building in 1845 covered five or six graves at the rear end of the building, and tradition has it that one of these graves is that of Abraham Lincoln,
I, the grandfather of our late President. Two of these graves are known to be those of the grandparents of Thomas Crask, who often stated that they were buried beneath the church, and there 'are keeping company with Abraham Lincoln.'"
During the long history of Long Run Church, many members have been dismissed to form new churches. In 1802 members were dismissed to form the South Long Run Church. The Flat Rock Church, later called Pleasant Grove, was constituted, March, 1805 of members of the Long Run Church, who went out in a peculiar way. Many of the members of the Long Run Church were gathered at a log rolling, where the question was raised whether one would ever be justifiable in telling a falsehood under any circumstances. The following illustration was proposed: "Suppose a man has five children. The Indians came and killed four of them, and the fifth one being hidden away near by, the savages then ask the father if he has another child. Would he be justifiable in telling them that he had not?" The dispute grew warm, and the members of the church engaged in it. The matter got into the Long Run Church, and split it. A party of seven, who held that lying was justifiable under some conditions, withdrew, and constituted the Flat Rock Church, three or four miles to the west.
In 1812, a third colony was dismissed to form the Dover Church, which left the parent body only sixty-two members. This number was reduced to forty-five in 1821, but in 1827, through seasons of revivals, the church attained to 272 members. During the same year, 1872, the Long Run Church sent out members to form the Floyd's Fork Church, which was later known as Fisherville. In 1872 the church numbered 230 members, which was reduced by sending a colony to constitute the Pewee Valley Church. In 1880, the old church numbered 183 members. In 1920, the church reported sixty-three members; in 1942, sixty-one members, but in 1948, one hundred seventy-five members, full time preaching and Rev. J. C. Stone, pastor.
The pastors of the Long Run Baptist Church, as has been worked out for the past, are as follows: John Penny, 1797; Joseph Collins, 1805; Joel Hulsey, 1817; John Dale, 1825; John Hume Sturgeon, 1833; John Dulaney, 1844; and Samuel H. Ford, 1861. Walter Ellis Powers became pastor of the Long Run Church in 1862 and served until 1892, a period of thirty years. Elder Powers was Moderator of the Long Run Association thirty-four years out of thirty-seven. He was elected to that position in 1880, and continued until 1916. A research committee now at work on the history of this old church, will no doubt report some interesting historical facts in the near future (1949).27
MT. STERLING BAPTIST CHURCH
The Mount Sterling Church, located in the county seat of Montgomery County, was constituted in 1798 and united with the Elkhorn Association the same year, reporting thirty-nine members. David Barrow, a noted preacher, who came from Virginia to Kentucky in 1798, at once became pastor of the new church. A comfortable house of worship was erected.
In 1804, the church left the Elkhorn Association and joined the North District. During the next year the pastor and church withdrew from that fraternity, and organized an Emancipation Association, later changed into an Emancipation Society. Pastor Barrow had preached against slavery and the slave holding members had the strength to exclude him, but he was restored at the end of two years. After the death of Elder Barrow, November 14, 1819, the Emancipation Society dissolved, and in 1823 the Mt. Sterling Church returned to the North District Association. John Smith, familiarly known as "Raccoon Smith", was called to the pastorate, but he soon became a most ardent disciple of Alexander Campbell and took the entire church into the Campbell camp.
There was no Mt. Sterling Church from that time until 1870, a period of forty years, when a new organization was gathered by J. Pike Powers. This distinguished preacher was sent to Mt. Sterling as a missionary to establish the Baptist cause. One of the leading men of the few Baptists left, said to Powers, "My young brother, there is no place for the Baptists here just now; and I believe it impossible for you to do any good, besides I do not know of any place which can be secured where you can preach." The preacher replied, "I am here in obedience to the command of my Master, and if no house can be secured, I will preach from the street corners." A place was provided at once in an old Masonic Hall, where Powers preached his first sermon.28
The new Mt. Sterling Church reported eighty-seven members in 1878, and in 1945 reported to the Bracken Association two hundred and seventy-eight members and Harry G. Jacobs, pastor. At that time the church took a letter of dismission to return to the Elkhorn Association, and it became a member of that body in 1946.
BEAVER DAM BAPTIST CHURCH
The Beaver Dam Church, located in what is now Ohio County, was constituted on March 5, 1798, with four members by Elder James Keel, who was the first pastor and served five years. He was succeeded by Benjamin Talbot, in 1803, who continued as pastor until 1833. In 1804, a great revival prevailed in the church, resulting in fifty-two converts being received by baptism in one regular service. In 1811 and 1812, the church enjoyed another gracious revival, in which one hundred and thirty persons were added to the membership by baptism.
The Beaver Dam Church in 1798 united with the Mero Association, located in North Central Tennessee, bordering on Kentucky. The church remained in that body until 1803, and then became a member of the Cumberland Association, which took the place of the dissolved Mero fraternity. In 1806, Beaver Dam and other churches went into the organization of the Union Association, located in the Southwestern part of the State, which soon dissolved. During the same year the Cumberland Association divided and the northern part of the territory was called Red River, and the Beaver Dam Church joined this body in 1810, but a year later united with the Green River Association, which was constituted in 1800. In the year 1812, the church went into the formation of a new Association called Gasper River, remained in that fraternity until 1866, and then united with the
Daviess County Association, constituted in 1844. In 1901, this old church at last found a permanent home in the Ohio County Association, which she helped to organize.
Many consecrated pastors have served the Beaver Dam Church during the one hundred and fifty years of thrilling history. Two of the most noted men among the early pastors were Alfred Taylor and J. S. Coleman. Alfred Taylor was born in Warren County, Kentucky, July 19, 1808, and was ordained to the ministry, May, 1834. He introduced the custom of holding protracted meetings, which were bitterly opposed by many of the older ministers. He was greatly blessed in this work. In one twelve-month period of his early protracted meeting experience over five hundred converts were baptized. Elder Taylor was pastor of the Beaver Dam Church at three different times. His first pastorate extended from 1836 to 1846.29
J. S. Coleman was born near Beaver Dam, in Ohio County, February 23, 1827. He was converted under the ministry of Alfred Taylor, who baptized him into the fellowship of the Beaver Dam Church on March 10, 1838. He was ordained to the ministry by this same church October, 1854, and at once became pastor and served until 1870. Elder Coleman was pastor of the Beaver Dam Church at three different periods, making in all nineteen years.
The place of worship of the Beaver Dam Church is an interesting story. There was no special place until 1807, when the first log meeting house was built, having only a dirt floor, and no provisions for warming in the winter. The second house was a large well finished log building, erected in 1839. This log house was replaced by a commodious frame building in 1868, which burned down soon after being completed. The fourth church building was erected in 1869, and was in use until 1920, when the present house was erected. This splendid building was dedicated in 1924, and remains a monument of the untiring work of C. C. Daves, who was pastor from 1921 to 1932.30
The report of the Beaver Dam Church to the Ohio County Association in 1946 shows over seven hundred members. Dr. Chester Badgett was pastor.
SOMERSET BAPTIST CHURCH
The Somerset Church, for many years known as Sinking Creek, located in the county seat of Pulaski County, was constituted with twenty-one members on June 8, 1798, by four preachers, Isaac Newland, Peter Woods, Henry Brooks and John Turner. The new church united with Tate's Creek Association the following October, reporting twenty-eight members. This number was increased to over one hundred members during the revival of 1801, and to one hundred ninety by 1812. The church went into the constitution of the Cumberland River Association in 1809, later united with the South Kentucky Association of United Baptists, and in 1904 entered into the formation of the Pulaski Association.
Thomas Handford was the first pastor and the new church prospered under his ministry. One of the early pastors was Daniel Buckner, who began in 1839, and served fifteen years. His son, R. C. Buckner, became a preacher, went to Texas, and was the founder of Buckner Orphans Home located near Dallas in that State, In 1850, the church divided on missionary societies, and the Pitmans Creek Church was formed in the same county,
composed of the opposing faction. The trouble was carried to the Cumberland River Association, which resulted in dividing that body, and the Cumberland River Association, Number 2, of Anti-missionary Baptists came into existence in 1861.31
Elder Green Clay Smith was pastor of the Somerset Church in 1882. W. E. Hunter became pastor in 1912, and continued active twenty-eight years. During this time the commodious brick house of worship was erected. Rev. D. L. Hill was the next pastor and continued until 1944. The church reported 1406 members to the Pulaski Association in 1947, and Rev. Preston L. Ramsey, pastor.
MILL CREEK BAPTIST CHURCH
The Mill Creek Church, located in Monroe County, near Tompkinsville, was constituted in 1798, and was gathered by John Mulkey. He probably came with the first immigrants to Southeastern Kentucky from North Carolina by the way of East Tennessee. Mulkey extended his ministry through that section including Green and Adair Counties. The earliest records show that on September 11, 1798, John Mulkey and John Wood were chosen messengers to the Mero District Association on the Cumberland River. In 1799, John Mulkey was granted license to perform marriage ceremonies.
The Mill Creek Church united with the Green River Association in 1802, reporting forty-two baptisms, and a total of 120 members. In 1805, the church entered into the constitution of the Stocktons Valley Assciation, where it remained until 1830, when the Barren River Association was formed. This old church, according to its reports was large and prosperous, until John Mulkey, the pastor, led off a faction of the members into the Christian Church, headed by Barton W. Stone. Later another party went off with Alexander Campbell, and the remnant was left divided on the subject of missions. In 1885, the old historic church, "was feeble, and ready to die, scowling at missions, theological schools, benevolent societies, and money hunting preachers." In 1946 the church reported 198 members to the Barren River Association, and Joe Richey pastor.32
MUDDY RIVER BAPTIST CHURCH
The Muddy River Church, located near Russellville, in Logan County was constituted in 1798 under the ministry of Elder Lewis Moore, who came to Kentucky from North Carolina in early 1798 and settled on Mud River, Logan County, when the county was sparsely settled. He became pastor of the newly organized Muddy River Church, and continued until 1812. The church at that time reported sixty-four members.
Elder Leonard Page was the second pastor, who served from 1812 to about 1821. Elder Page was born in Virginia, September 29, 1762, moved to Kentucky, and settled on Whippoorwill Creek, Logan County, seven miles west of Russellville. Elder Page and family united with the Muddy River Church, about ten miles from his home on Whippoorwill. This pioneer preacher, then about 56 years of age, was full of the missionary spirit and began at once to evangelize the thinly settled county. Within two years Elder Page led in forming the Union Church near his home on Whippoorwill;
two years later, he organized the Mt. Gilead Church in Todd County; and in 1818 he constituted the church at Russellville and became its first pastor.
Elder Page was succeeded by Elder Philip Warden at Muddy River Church. He was born in Ireland in 1765, and came to America with his parents, and settled in Fayette County. He was converted about 1800, and was baptized into the Forks of the Elkhorn Church, by the famous pioneer preacher, William Hickman. In 1813, Elder Warden settled in North Logan County, and was ordained to the ministry, September, 1815. About 1821 he was called to the Bethany and Muddy River Churches in Logan County, and to Hazel Creek Church near Greenville, in what became Muhlenberg County. He continued pastor of the Muddy River Church until 1823. Elder 0. H. Morrow was the fourth pastor of the Muddy River Church. He had been licensed by the Sulphur Springs Church in Simpson County, Kentucky, and was ordained September 13, 1833 at the request of the Muddy River Church, which had called him as pastor. Elder Morrow baptized several converts, but his work was cut short by strife and division in the church.
In 1830, there were forty-three members, and forty in 1831. There are no records of the Muddy River Church from 1833 to 1868. When the Bethel Association was formed in 1825, the Muddy River Church refused to gain [join] the organization, but remained with the Red River Association, which was an anti-mission body, repudiating evangelism, Sunday schools, and all missions.
In 1868, the Muddy River Church came into the Bethel Association. Whether the missionary members in the church prevailed, or a new church was constituted cannot be known for lack of records. Elder G. W. Trennary was the first pastor after the church became a member of the Bethel Association. This church has had an unbroken history since 1868. The report to the Bethel Association in 1878, showed 94 in Sunday school, $160 for pastor's salary, and $23 contributed to missions.
Dr. W. S. Ryland of Bethel College became pastor in 1882 and served five years. B. F. Page, a grandson of Leonard Page, the pioneer preacher, was called to the church in 1891 and served ten years. Dr. R. H. Tandy. President of Bethel College, was pastor during the years, 1917 and 1918. In 1923, Elder W. E. Florer became pastor and continued twelve years. In 1942, Brother Florer was called back to the church and remained pastor until 1946. In 1948, Rev. Hoyt Robertson was pastor, and the church reported 182 members, and 72 pupils enrolled in Sunday school.33
CHRISTIANSBURG BAPTIST CHURCH
The Christiansburg Church, in the Northeast part of Shelby County was gathered in 1799, and received into the Salem Association the following year. This church was first called Six Mile Creek, then Six Mile until 1836, when it took the name of the village in which it was located. In 1803, the church with one hundred and eight members entered into the forming of Long Run Association.
Little can be known about the pastors of the church and the length of time they served, except Abraham Cook, Joshua Rucker, W. W. Ford, and Thomas M. Daniel are known to be among the pastors.34
The Christiansburg Church no doubt entered into the constitution of the Shelby County Association in 1872. The report to that body in 1946 hows a membership of two hundred and fifty-six, and Jack Gray, pastor. Rev. Allan Watson became pastor in 1948.
NEW CASTLE BAPTIST CHURCH
The New Castle Church, in Henry County, was constituted of eighteen embers on April 6, 1799, by William Hickman and others. This church was first known as Drennon's Creek, and it united with the Elkhorn Association in August, 1799 under that name, but in 1804 joined the Long Run Association, raporting twenty-six members.
In a great revival during the years 1811-1812 the membership increased to eighty-six. Silas M. Noel and Jeremiah Vardeman conducted a revival in 1827, which resulted in one hundred and sixty-five baptisms and the embership increased to three hundred and ten. In 1835, under the preaching of John S. Wilson, one hundred and thirty-six converts were baptized the membership numbered three hundred and seventy-five. In 1847, the New Castle Church united with the Sulphur Fork Association reporting four hundred and twenty-seven members, but in 1915 it became a member of Henry County Association, and the report to that body in 1946 showed two hundred and twenty-five members, and E. P. Russell, pastor.35
GHENT BAPTIST CHURCH
The Ghent Church, located in Carroll County on the bank of the Ohio, eight miles above the mouth of the Kentucky River, is known as the migratory church, having changed its location four times. This church had its origin in a "Union Meeting" held by the Baptists and Methodists at Port William, now called Carrollton, during the winter and spring of 1800. A Baptist Church was constituted in this place, on April 5, 1800, by William Hickman, and Joshua L. Morris, "on the doctrine and discipline of the Holy Scriptures." Not adopting any Baptist Confession of Faith, when the Port William Church applied for membership in the Salem Association the following fall, its petition was rejected. But after adopting the Philadelphia Confession of Faith, application was made to the Elkhorn Association 1801, which was accepted, and the church with a membership of about le hundred was received into that body. In 1804, the church united with the Long Run Association, and in 1814 the name was changed from Port William to McCool's Bottom, and it joined the Concord Association. The last move made by this church was to the village of Ghent from which it derived its present name.
Joshua L. Morris was the first pastor and served about three years. John Scott, who was born in Virginia, came to Kentucky in 1786 and accepted a called to the church in 1803. A record of the Ghent Church says, "Brother Scott served the church more or less through life, without compensation, and gave to it the lot of ground, on which the house stands in the town of Ghent." Lewis D. Alexander became pastor in 1837, and served twelve years.36 The Ghent Church probably went into the organization of the White Run Association in 1900, to which it reported in 1947, three hundred and ten members, and J. T. Williams, pastor.
CORN CREEK BAPTIST CHURCH
The Corn Creek Church, located in Trimble County, eight miles north of Bedford, was constituted by the old pioneer preacher John Taylor in the fall of 1800 of about twenty members. The church united with Salem Association the following year, but went into the organization of Long Run in 1803, and then into the formation of the Sulphur Fork Association in 1826.
The church, following John Taylor's peculiar teaching about the pastoral relation, did not have a regular pastor for twenty-seven years. He contended that the church should be administered to by the preacher, or preachers, who happened to be members of the church. For this reason the church did not begin to prosper until 1826. In 1864, there were three hundred and thirty-three members, but in 1879, only ninety-eight members were reported, the decrease probably being due to the loss of the large number of slaves following the Civil War.37
The Corn Creek Church reported to the Sulphur Fork Association in 1946, one hundred and twenty-nine members, and M. M. Turner, pastor, who was succeeded by James Barry in 1947.
There were other churches organized during this period, still in existence, but the author has not been able to obtain necessary records.
1. Conkwright, S. J., History of the Churches of Boone's Creek Baptist Association, p. 39-53.
2. Minutes of Boone's Creek Baptist Association, 1933, p. 20, 21
3. Ibid., 1946, Church membership table.
4. Spencer, John H., A History of Kentucky Baptists, Vol. 1, p. 112, 113.
5. Ibid., Vol. 1, p. 128.
6. Ibid, Vol. 1, p. 149, 152.
7. Memoirs of John R. Sampey, p. 35, 36, 61, 112, 165-170, 192; Darnell, Ermina Jett, Forks of Elkhorn Church, p. 56.
8. Minutes of South District Association, 1880, p. 14.
9. Adams, Evelyn Crady, Rolling Fork Baptist Church, 1788-1948.
10. Jewell, George Raleigh, "Mayslick observes Sesqui-Centennial", The Western Recorder, Dec. 14, 1939, p. 14.
13. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 11. Minutes of Nelson Association, 1875, p. 14; Cathcart, Wm., The Baptist Encyclopaedia, Vol. 2, p. 1224; Spencer, John H., op. cit., Vol. 1, ; 215, 230.
12. Spencer, John H., op. cit.. Vol. 1, p. 230, 231; Vol. 2, p. 13.
13. Minutes of Elkhorn Baptist Association, August and December, 1791.
14. Barbee, J. N., "History of the Bracken Church", Minutes of Brackcs Association, 1875, p. 15-17; Yancey, Hugh, "A Brief History of Bracken Association," The Western Recorder, Oct. 23, 1947, p. 13.
15. Spencer, John H., op. cit., Vol. 1, p. 270, 271.
16. Ibid., Vol. 1, p. 283, 284; Dills, Robert Henry, A Historical Sketch of the Elk Creek Baptist Church, Elk Creek, Ky., 1794-1944 (Type-written).
17. Spencer, John H., op. cit., Vol. 1, p. 285; Rutledge, Aaron L., History of Fox Run (Eminence) Baptist Church, 1944 (Type-written).
18. Spencer, John H., op. cit., Vol. 1, p. 281-283.
19. Ibid., Vol. 1, p. 292-293; Taylor, John, A History of Ten Baptist Churches, Second Edition, p. 131.
20. Spencer, John H., op. cit., Vol. 1, p. 309.
21. Ibid., Vol. 1, p. 320.
22. Ibid., Vol. 1, p. 338.
23. McFarland, J. E., "History of Good Hope Church", Minutes of Lynn Association, 1876, p. 13-15; Taylor County Star, April 18, 1935.
24. Farrar, John S., Historical Sketch of the Harrods Creek Baptist Church, 1947 (Mimeographed).
25. Johnson, Wm. J., History of Hazel Creek Baptist Church, 1898; Spencer, John H., op. cit., Vol. 1, p. 361, 363.
26. Spencer, John H., op. cit., Vol. 1, p. 364, 365.
27. Spencer, John H., op. cit., Vol. 1, p. 355-361; Fisher, Thomas C., "The Long Run Baptist Church," The Filson Club History Quarterly, 1931, p. 207.
28. Hedden, J. W., "Mt. Sterling Baptist Church," Minutes of Bracken Association of Baptists, 1887, p. 14, 15; Spencer, John H., op. cit., V 1, p. 368.
29. Taylor, Wm. Carey, Biography of Elder Alfred Taylor, p. 9, 20, 42-45, 72; Spencer, John H., op. cit., Vol. 1, p. 405-407.
30. Rone, Wendell H., A History of the Daviess-McLean Baptist Association in Kentucky, p. 231, 300, 301.
31. Spencer, John H., op. cit., Vol. 1, p. 418, 419.
32. Ibid., Vol. 1, p. 377-384.
33. Ibid., Vol. 1, p. 394-403.
34. Ibid., Vol. 1, p. 430-436.
35. Ibid., Vol. 1, p. 436-450.
36. Ibid., Vol. 1, p. 455-461.
37. Ibid., Vol. 1, p. 461-467.
[From A History of Baptists in Kentucky, 1953, pp. 72-96. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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