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      Note: This history is from the Northbend Baptist Association Minutes and includes up to the year 1840. The Baptist churches sent reports of their activities for the previous year to the Association; these "Associational Letters" were usually written by the church clerk and read before the church and approved before sending them to the association. There are no known direct records of the Bethel Baptist Church. Whatever information could be gleaned from the NBBA records is included. This church, like all of the others in Boone County that identified with the Predestinarian (Primitive or Hard-Shell) movement in 1840, died out before the end of the nineteenth century. The Salem Predestinarian Association was established in 1840. Some records are preserved after the church aligned with them.

      When the records indicate a member was received "by letter," it means that the person joining Bethel Baptist Church had previously professed faith in Christ and had been baptized (immersed) by another Baptist church of like faith, and the church from which the member came, sent a letter indicating that. Those dismissed by the Bethel church were given a letter indicating the same. - Jim Duvall



Old Bethel Baptist Church
[Union Area]
Boone County, Kentucky
By Jim Duvall

      The Bethel Baptist Church, near Union, was organized in July 1812 with 22 members. Presley Peak, Daniel Baldwin and Jeremy Griffing were leaders and the church's messengers to the Northbend Baptist Association that year. The church met on the first Saturday of the month for business and the following day for worship. As was the custom then, because of traveling difficulties, the churches met only once each month, except for special revival meetings. Their building was located on Frogtown Road behind the new Union Post Office.

      Presley Peek, Cornelius M'Laughlin and Jeremy Griffing attended the association in 1813; the church received one member by baptism and four members by letter - total members 27. Cornelius M'Laughlin's name, in the associational Minutes, is listed in capitals, which indicated he was ordained; so we assume he was the pastor at that time.

      In 1814, Presley Peak, Cornelius M'Laughlin, Asa Peak and Jeremy Griffing are listed as attending the association; the church received five members by letter, dismissed two and excluded one - total members 28.

      In 1815, Cornelius M'Laughlin, Jeremy Griffing, Elijah Anderson and Presley Peak attended the association meeting. The church received two by transfer of letters from other Baptist churches, one was restored [an excluded former member came before the church, repented and asked to be restored] to membership and two were dismissed. Their total membership was 29.

      In 1816, Presley Peak, Asa Peak and C. M'Laughlin were associational messengers. Two were excluded leaving a membership of 27. That year in the county's five Baptist churches there were two baptisms and five excluded.

      In 1817, C. M'Laughlin, Presley Peak and Daniel Baldwin were at the association meeting in September. There was one baptism and three were dismissed by letter. 25 total.

      In 1818, the church had five added by baptism, and one restored to membership, but five were dismissed to join other Baptist churches so there was only a gain of one, with 26 membres. Asa Peak, Presley Peak and Daniel Baldwin were associational messengers.

     In 1819, Daniel Baldwin is listed as a licensed preacher. Presley Peak and William Harrod are the two other messengers to the association. The church had three baptisms and two added by letters from other Baptist churches. Their membership was 30, the highest it had ever been. D. Baldwin and P. Peak (along with two brothers from other churches in the associaiton) were to bear the Corresponding Letter from the Northbend Association to the Elkhorn Baptist Association meeting at the Great Crossing Baptist Church in Scott County. Presley Peak was also to attend the Franklin Association meeting at Six Mile Baptist Church in Shelby County. P. Peak, along with seven others, was to attend the Laughery Association, at Bryant's Creek, Switzerland County, Indiana.

     In 1820, two members died, leaving 28 members. Presley Peak, D. Baldwin and Wm. Harrod attended the Northbend Association. The members became more active in visiting other associations; Presley Peak was to visit Elkhorn at Bryan's Station Baptist Church in Lexington and also the Laughery Association at Indian Creek Baptist Church, Indiana in 1821. Daniel Baldwin was to visit Long Run Association (Louisville area) at the 18-Mile meeting house. Wm. Harrod was assigned to visit the Union Baptist Association at Indian Creek, Kentucky in August, 1821.

     In 1821, Wm. Harrod, Mathew [sic] Adams and Daniel Baldwin were associational messengers. No change in the membership.

     Presley Peak and Baley Harrod were associational messengers in 1822. In the church, one was received by letter, one excluded. 28 members.

     The 1823, attendees at the association were Presley Peak and Daniel Baldwin. In the church there was one baptism, one restored to membership and one dismissed to unite with another Baptist church. 29 members. There were seven Predestenarian Baptist churches in Boone County that year with a total membership of 628.

From the Bullittsburg Baptist Churchbook, February 1824:
     "Bro. Harrand from the church at Bethel made request for helps to afsist in the ordination of bro. Mathew Addams to the office of Deacon. To attend them the first Saturday & Sunday next month. The matter taken up & brethren Whitfield Early, Rob't Terrill & Edw'd Graves are appointed to attend them and report acordingly" -

Bullittsburg Baptist Churchbook, April 1824:
     "Bro. Hayden one of the helps apointed to attend the church at Bethel for the purpose of ordaining bro. M. Addams to the office of a Deacon. Reported that he attend[ed] & Bro. Addams was ordained acordingly"

     In 1824, Hugh Steers and Matthew Adams attended the Association. The church dismissed two members by letter and one member died. They listed the membership at 25.

     A County Court Order indicates residents of the area were attempting to get a road near the church meetinghouse:

"The report of the viewers of the way for a road from the Big Bone road near Tho's Lindsays by Bethel Meetinghouse to the road near W'm Butts was produced in Court, exam'd., & or'd. for spo's. [is, subpoenas to issue] to those proprietors of the land through which sd. way passes, &c." [CO/ B-357; 7 Jun 1824] (Provided by my son, James.)
     In 1825, Mathew Adams and Thos. Adams were associational messengers from the church. One member died - total members 24.

     In 1826, Daniel Baldwin (an * indicates he was appointed, but unable to attend), Matthew Adams and John B. Thompson (the Minutes list him as a member of Craig's Creek Baptist Church the previous year) were messengers. There were two baptisms, four received by letter, and two dismissed by letter, with 28 members.

      In 1827, Dan'l Baldwin, Matthew Adams and Thomas Adams were associational messengers. The church received five by transfer of letters from other Baptist churches, for a total of 31 members. Thos. Adams, along with three other brethren, was to take the letter of correspondence to the Laughery Association at Bear Creek meetinghouse, Dearborn County, Indiana on the 2nd Saturday in September.

      Dan'l Baldwin* (denotes appointed by the church, but absent), Jas. Waters, Mat. Adams and J. Thompson were messengers to the association in 1828. No change in the membership.

      In 1829, Daniel Baldwin, Mathew Adams and John Thompson were messengers. There were four baptisms, two received by letter and three dismissed by letter - total members 34. Daniel Baldwin, along with James Finnell (a licensed Minister from Salem Baptist Church, Verona), was to bear the Corresponding Letter to the Franklin Association meeting at Forks of Elkhorn Baptist Church, Franklin County, Kentucky.

      In 1830, M. Adams, W. Steers and J. Ryon were attendees at the association. In the church there was one baptism, one restored, five dismissed, one excluded and one member deceased. - 30 members.

      Matthew Adams, John Ryon and Buford Rice were messengers in 1831. Two were dismissed and one excluded, for a membership of 27.

      In 1832, Danl Baldwin, M. Adams and Ruford [sic] Rice were attendees at the association. There was one baptism, one received by letter and one dismissed. Membership is listed as 28. Buford Rice, with another man, was assigned to attend and to bear the Corresponding Letter to the Franklin Association meeting at Six Mile Baptist Church in Shelby County.

      1833 - Daniel Baldwin, Mathew Adams, Buford Rice and John Ryon attended the association. One member deceased - membership of 27. The Corresponding Letter to the Campbell County Association at Four Mile Baptist Church was to borne by B. Rice and two other men.

      In 1834, Matthew Adams, Buford Rice and Robert Adams were messengers at the association. Three were dismissed by letter, one excluded and two deceased. - 20 members. B. Rice and two others took the Corresponding Letter to the Campbell County Association at Brush Creek Baptist Church in September, 1834.

      Thos. Adams, W. Bundurant, R. Adams and B. Rice were messengers at the association in 1835. The church had two received by letter and two dismissed by letter; two were deceased. 18 members.

      In 1836, B. Rice, R. Adams and W. Bundurant (the italics indicates a licensed Minister) were messengers. One received by letter and two dismissed by letter. - membership listed as 17. Buford Rice was to bear the Corresponding Letter to the Franklin Association at Pigeon Fork meeting house, Anderson County in September, 1836. W. Bundurant, R. Adams and five other men were to bear the Corresponding Letter to the Ten Mile Baptist Association at Lick Creek Church, Gallatin County, in September.

      In 1837, Thomas Adams, Robert Adams and Buford Rice were attendees at the association. One dismissed by letter. 16 members.

      In 1838, the Bethel Baptist Church dismissed two members by letter of transfer and restored members - total members 16. Robert Adams, Buford Rice and Thomas Adams were messengers to the association.

      In 1839, the Salem Baptist Association held its annual meeting with Bethel, on August 16th. Robert Adams and Buford Rice were the church's messengers to the association. The church that year had one member received by baptism and a total of seventeen members.

      In 1840, Thomas Adams and Buford Rice attended the Association. The church had one baptism, excuded two from its membership and reported one death, with a membership of fifteen.

      Bethel aligned with the Northbend Baptist Association from 1812 until 1840 when it associated with the Salem Predestinarian Baptist Association; the church died out near the end of the nineteenth century. Bethel Baptist Church did not report to the Northbend Association in 1841 as the Salem Association of Predestinarian Baptists was formed following the previous meeting of the Regular Baptists (Northbend) and Bethel aligned with the new association, along with four other Boone County Baptist churches. We have few extant records of the Bethel Church following 1840, as there are only a few of the annual reports left by the Salem Association of Predestinarian Baptists.

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