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Woolper Creek Baptist Church
Boone County, Kentucky
A Church with a Short Life
By Jim Duvall

      Editor's Note: The following are records from the Bullitsburg Baptist Churchbook that tell us about all we know of Woolper Creek Baptist Church. The church was orgainized in February, 1801 and later in June of that year merged back into the Bullitsburg Church. The members of Woolper Creek Church insisted that all of the records of the church be recorded in the Bullitsburg Churchbook to show it was a genuine church, at least for a short time. The issue of division seems to have been about erecting a new meeting-house. Items added in [ ] are by this editor. Jim Duvall

Saturday 7th February 1801
Agreeable to a pition [petition] of the members of the south end of this Church for a seperate Constitution [organized church] which was agreed to provided helps may be call'd [and they] shall Judge it necessary.

Saturday 7th day of March 1801 Bro. Cave Moderator.
Agreeable to application of the members living at the lower end of the bounds of this Church for helps in a Constitution, appointed Brethren Lewis Deweese William Cave - John Hall - John Conner & Cave Johnson to attend for that purpose on Saturday next.

Saturday 4th day of April 1801 Bro. Deweese Moderator.
William Ramey and Elizabeth his wife dismissed to Join the Woolper Creek [Baptist] Church.
The members of this Church who was appointed at last meeting as helps in Constituting a (Baptist) Church on Woolpers Creek, reported that they proceeded to Constitute of the following members of this Church (to wit) John Taylor - Elizabeth Taylor - Philemon Vawter - Anna Vawter - Jane Cloud - James McIntosh sr. - Sarah McIntosh - Elizabeth Mosby - John Watts - Frances Watts - Absalom Graves - Felicia Graves - Francis Lehew - Sarah Rogers - Martha Dicken - Jameson Hawkins - James Cloud - Nancy Horsley - Sarah Cloud - Willoughby Sladyen - William Rogers - Kezia Ashby - Elizabeth Ryle - John Ryle - William Brady - Martha Brady - Thos. A1len - Leannah Lehew - Patsey Allen - John Murfey - Sarah Ryle Uriah Edwards - Milley Martin - Lucy Hogan - Polley Lehew - James Ryle - Elijah Hogan - Ruth Hawkins - Milley Sladyen - Elliot Vawter - Daniel Mosby - James Allen - Benjamin Taylor - William Sebree - Milley Sebree [45]. --- And of the following black members (to wit) Asa - Ben - Dublin - Letice [also called 'Lettie'] - Jacob - Judith - & belonging to Jno Taylor, & Curry ([belonging] to Jeremiah Kirtley), Harry ([belonging] to James Ryle), Anthony ([belonging] to Jameson Hawkins), Luck ([belonging] to John Ryle), Mary ([belonging to] Rich'd Parker), & Pharaoh ([belonging] to Dan'l Mosby] [12]. {I have added [ - ] between names as there are few commas in the list. jrd}
And it is agreed that they be thereby dismissed from our watch care.
Bro. Taylor is invited to officiate in this Church as Minister, as he heretofore has done.
A letter of Dismission granted to Bro. William Cave Sen'r and wife to Join the Woolper Creek Church.
Same [was granted] to Bro. John Conner Senfr & wife for same Purpose.
Same [was granted] to Lewis Conner & Frankey Conner for same purpose.
Joseph Graves is appointed Clerk of this Church in the room [place] of Absalom Graves, who is constituted a member of Woolper Creek Church.
Augustin Smith & Mary his wife dismissed to Join Woolper Creek Church. Brethren Hall and Webb, appointed to act as moderators in turn with Bro. Deweese, in future. [A total of 75 members left to go to WCBC at this meeting].

Saturday 2d day of May 1801 Bro. Forest Webb Moderator.
A letter of Dismissal granted to Bro. Jeremiah Kirtley & Mary his wife to Join the Woolper Creek Church.
Same [was granted] to Bro. Rob't Garnett [for the] same purpose.
Same [was granted] to Sist'r Polley Green for same purpose.

Saturday 6th of June 1801 Bro. John Hall Moderator.
A motion brought in by Bro. [Chichester] Matthews to know whether the Church was willing to unite & join with the Woolper Creek Church and be in one body as formerly & that the meeting house be built where the road leading from Tanners Station to Newport crosses Ashbys fork or as near there as conveniency of water will admit [permit]. The matter taken up investigated and answered in the afirmative with a unanimous voice and appointed Brethren Deweese & Matthews to attend the Woolpers Creek Church at their next meeting, and inform them of this churches request & make [a] report thereof on the fourth Saturday of this month at the s'd [said] Crossing of Ashbys fork which day & place we have appointed to meet for business.

At a meeting held by the Bullittsburg & Woolpers Creek Churches agreeable to their respective appointments at the Crossing of Ashbys Fork on Saturday the 27th day of June 1801.
Bro. William Cave Moderator.
The matter concerning the reuniting of the said Church and form one entire body was taken up and after a full investiagation thereof, it is agreed to, and the Woopers Creek Church Constitution is by consent, hereby declared to be disolved, and the members of the said Church of Bullittsburg from when they derived, with such additional members as have been received since the commencement of her Constitution. And such officers as have been appointed by the s'd [said] Woolpers Creek Church to still Continue as Such in the afores'd [aforesaid] Church of Bullittsburg.
Ordered that a copy of the Record of the Woolpers Creek Church be recorded in the record book of this Church.
Agreed that at the place where the road from Tanners Station crosses Ahsbys fork [shall] be the place for building a meeting house to be of the dimensions &[?] by the Woolper Church to superintended by the same trustees & built by the Same undertaker [builder], at [the] same price with only the addition of finishing the Gallerys [balcony], and ten dollars added to the Cash part of payment. And appointed brethren Rob't Garnett Christopher Willson & Wm. Montague to value the worth of work to be added to the meeting house & report next meeting.

The following is an account of the constitution and the proceedings of Woolpers Creek Church.

The Baptist Church of Christ at Wolpert Creek, was Constituted on Saturday the 14th day of March 1801 by brethren Lewis Deweese - Wm. Cave - John Hall & John Conner on the prinicpals [sic] contained in the Philadelphia confession of faith as adopted by the Elk horn Association of the following members (to wit) John Taylor - Elizabeth Taylor - Philemon Vawter - Anna Vawter, James McIntosh - Sarah McIntosh, John Watts, Fanney Watts, Absalom Graves, Felicia Graves, Francis Lehew, Leannah Lehew, Jameson Hawkins, Ruth Hawkins, James Cloud, Sarah Cloud, Willoughby Sladyen, Milley Sladyen - William Rogers, Sarah Rogers Daniel Mosby - Elizabeth Mosby, John Ryle - Sarah Ryle - James Ryle, Elizabeth Ryle, William Brady, Hatha Brady - Thomas Allen - Patsey Allen - Elijah Hogan - Lucy Hogan - John Murfey - William Sebree, Uriah Edwards, Elliot Vawter, James Allen - Benjamin Taylor - Martha Dicken - Jane Cloud - Ann Horsely - Kezia Ahsby & Miley Sebree. {I have added [ - ] between names as there were few commas in this list. jrd}
Absalom Graves is appointed Clerk to act till the next monthly meeting at which time one is to be appointed. Agreed to appoint Deacons the matter taken up and continued. Agreed to build a meeting house convenient to a spring near Richard Tanner[']s. Agreed that our church meetings be held on the third Saturday in each month.

Sunday 15th of March 1801
Received Richard Tanner - Elizabeth Tanner - Polley Miles - Peter Lehew - Archibald Merrit & Nancy Yager for baptism.

At a church meeting held for the Church at Woolperts Creek on Saturday the 25th of April 1801
Bro. John Taylor Moderator.
A Complaint brought in against Jacob (a black member, belonging to brother Taylor) for some immodest attempts towards two black women, and other unseemly conduct, together with deviating from the truth when interrogated. The matter was taken up, he failing to give Satisfaction, was suspended.
Brother Willoughby Sladyen informed against himself for having drank to an excess and made a Satisfactory acknowledgement [he] was acquited.
Brother William Cave & Suzanna his wife received by letter from Bullittsburg Church.
Brother William Ramey & Elizabeth his wife received by [the] Same--from [the] same.
Brother John Conner Sen'r & Lewis Conner received by [the] same--from [the] same.
Sister Isabella Barnett received by same [letter] from Bryans [Station Baptist Church, Lexington].
Agreed to build a framed Meeting house (at the place fixed on at last meeting) to be 24 X 36 feet, and appointed brethren Taylor, Kirtley - Cave - Mosby - Conner & Vawter to fix on a certain spot of ground to erect the house on, together with a plan to build the house, and to fix prices on certain species of property that may be convenient to defray the expense of the building and report thereof at next meeting.
Absalom Graves is appointed Clerk to this Church.
The appointment of Deacons [is] continued.
Query, whether is there any such office as Elder distinct from Ordained Ministers. The matter being taken up & fully investigated [it was] answered in the affirmative.
Agreed to appoint Elders at next meeting.
Received Nancy McIntosh - Nancy Horsley, John McIntosh & Beverly Vawter for Baptism.
Next Church meeting to be held at Bro. Kirtleys on the 2d Saturday in May next.

Sunday 26th of April 1801
John Horsley & (James Ryle's) Rachel received for Baptism.
Woolpert Creek on Saturday the 6th of May 1801 Bro. Cave Moderator.
The following members, Jeremiah Kirtley - Mary Kirtley - Augustin Smith & Mary Smith was received by letter from Bullittsburg Church.
A report of the brethren appointed for fixing on a spot [location] for the meeting house. It was made and [was] Satisfactory.
And appointed brethren William Cave, Jeremiah Kirtley, Philemon Vawter - Absalom Graves & John Conner as a Committee to let [contract out the building] the meeting house to the lowest bidder, & superintend the building and to levy the price of the meeting house on the members of this Church, one half to be paid when the house may be raised & the other when finished, thirty dollars of the first payment to be cash & the whole of the balance in property.
The reference concerning Jacob (a black member) was taken up & he [was] restored to fellowship.
Brother Robert Garnett received by letter from Bullittsburg.
The reference concerning the appointment of Elders was taken up & [we] choose brother William Cave & Jeremiah Kirtley, who having heretofore been ordained in other Churches, were set apart to that office in this Church by the right hand of fellowship.
The reference concerning Deacons was taken up and Chose brethren Philemon Vawter and Absalom Graves. The said Vawter having been legally ordained in another church, came to office in this [church], by the free sufferage [vote] of the Church & right hand of fellowship.
The matter was taken up as to the said Graves & he [was] ordain'd to that Office by the impossition [placing] of the hands of a presbytery composed of brethren John Taylor - William Cave & Jeremiah Kirtley.
Appointed brethren Taylor - Cave and Kirtley to act as moderators alternately.
Absalom Graves Cle[rk]

Sunday 10th of May 1801
Sister Polley Green - Lucy Conner & Frankey Conner was [sic] received by letter from Bullittsburg.

Sunday 31st May 1801
Timothy Davis, receiv'd for baptism.

At a Church meeting held at Woolpers Creek Saturday 20th of June 1801 - Bro. Kirtley Moderator.
A proposal from the Church at Bullittsburg was offered by their messengers Brethren Deweese & Matthews to this Church for a dissolution of her [our] Constitution, and the members to return to their membership to the said Church of Bullittsburg, to whom they formerly belonged; and form one entire body, & build one meetinghouse for the accom[m]odation of the whole, at the place where the road leading from Tanners Station crosses Ashby's fork, or as convenient thereto as Eligibility & water will admit [permit]. Also [we are] to meet them at s'd [said] place on Saturday next. The matter taken up & investigated & the proposal consented to, provided we can agree on [the] spot [location] for building a Meeting house & also agree to meet them at said place & time to confer thereon.
Absalom Graves Cle[rk]

This is the Bullitsburg Churchbook after the merger was accomplished.

At a Church meeting held for the Church at Bullittsburg on Saturday the 4th of July 1801
Bro. Deweese Moderator.
Appointed Brethren Matthews & Webb in conjunction with the members that has been heretofore appointed by the Woolper Creek Church, as a Committee to superintend the building of the meeting house, & also to assist in the proportionment [of money to be paid], & make [a] report next meeting.
A bill handed in by the brethren that was appointed last meeting to value the worth of the addition to be added to the meeting house, has [sic] made their report. [It is] Satisfactory.
Brother Absalom Graves [was] Dismissed from the Clerkship, which he executed [performed] to Woolpers Creek Church.
Agreed that a meeting be held at Brother Harden[']s on 12th of this month & that a door be opened for the reception of members.
Agreed to have four stated meetings in each month, on the first Sunday at the meeting house - second at Bullittsburgh bottom & [the third at] Bro. Brady's & the fourth at Woolpers bottom.


     John Taylor was the stated preacher [he never consented to be pastor] at Bullittsburg Baptist at that time and made the following comments in his book A History of Ten Baptist Churches, published in 1823.

[p. 95]
     ". . . Bullittsburg church had now grown up to about two hundred members, and they were very compactly settled with their meeting house in a central place, only some members about Middle Creek and Woolpers Bottom were a little scattered off. Those members began to contemplate a new constitution; and on a paper for this purpose about twenty names were set down, and petitioned Bullittsburg to constitute them; Robert Garnett a young preacher, was among them.

     Bullittsburg now had six or seven preachers, but only Duease [Deweese] and myself were ordained; I now lived at the upper end of Woolper's bottom and about middle ground between the new and old church, who immediately appointed helps to examine into and, if need be, constitute this new church; they appointed several others with all their preachers, but myself, to constitute this new church - after this arrangement I soon began to feel as if I was in a sweat house, for I was not on their paper as a petitioner for a new church, and why not named in their council, said my

[p. 96]
proud heart, to constitute this new church - the answer in myself was, the old church designs some way to hook you into the new church and thereby get clear of you, and the new church has no desire to have you, or they would have invited your hand to their paper all this made my sweat house the more hot; the time for the constitution, was on our monthly meeting day, in a house at the lower end of Woolper's bottom, the Sunday's preaching was to be at my house - I went to the meeting, that business being taken up, all went on smoothly, myself was perfectly silent, for I was partly in the dumps; there was then an agreement that all who chose to be in the new church, might say so the next day after preaching, and save the trouble of after applications for letters of dismission; this said I to myself is to be the mode of hooking - my sweat was about its highest pitch when I left the meeting, being at the utmost loss to know what to be at, for to me there was plenty of evidence that neither church wished me to be among them; but after I got home and my sweat began to evaporate, being naturally fond of new establishments, after consulting my family, who then consisted of eleven members of the church, we unitedly agreed to fall in with the new establishment, though it was only the skirts and mere little shanks of the old church, both in members and local situation - accordingly, after preaching next day I made known the choice of myself and family, on which about forty of the members of the old church rose up, and made the same declaration, and some of them beyond the meeting house, and among the most respectable members of the church - perhaps the new church acquired fifty members on that day, and in a few meetings after, by dismissions, the new church became about on an equality as to number, and perhaps equal in strength, either in council or property - the new church had three or four licensed preachers and one ordained, the old church had one licensed preacher
[p. 97]
and one ordained. Absolom Graves was also in the new church, a man of fine counsel in a church, and afterwards became a famous preacher the new church after selecting their officers, proceeded in haste to build them a meeting house, raised about five hundred dollars, and began to build a framed meeting house of size sufficient to hold all the worshipers in the settlement, and about two miles below the old meeting house, the old church intended building a new house higher up, and a greater distance from the new church; but after a solemn pause, appointed a committee to wait on the new church, and propose a re-union of the two churches, which was cheerfully agreed to by the new church, and the materials prepared for their meeting house taken to the old cite [sic], which remains the place of worship for Bullittsburg to this day, and is often called Old Jerusalem. I never did enquire very closely why myself was not named in the counsel to constitute this new church, for it must have been a concerted thing among the brethren, thinking perhaps that I should not approve of what they considered a good work."

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