History of the Churches of Boone's CreekInasmuch as what is now known as Providence Church, in Clark County, Kentucky, is the oldest constituted church on Kentucky soil, and was known as one of the "Travelling Churches" which came from Virginia, a few words in regard to the early churches of Virginia and early immigration to Kentucky may be of interest.
Baptist Association of Kentucky
By S. J. Conkwright, 1923
History of the Churches
Old Stone Meeting House. Erected before 1793.
PROVIDENCE CHURCH - 1780.
The first Baptist churches in Virginia were constituted before the Revolutionary War, when their preachers and public speakers were exposed to fines, imprisonment and various methods of torture, and were disqualified for any public office. A number of the preachers who had been thus punished, afterwards became pastors of the older churches in this section which later became affiliated with Boone's Creek Association, and among these were David Barrow,
Joseph Craig, John Tanner and Thomas Ammon. However, notwithstanding such conditions, the Baptists grew and multiplied until the independence of the United States was finally achieved, when all restraint of government was removed and the Baptists were accorded equal rights with all other citizens, both as to religious liberty and political and civil rights.
While these things were transpiring in Virginia, the settlement of Kentucky had commenced, and the Bush Colony, one of the very earliest permanent settlements in Kentucky, was formed and part of this colony were the constituent members of the "Travelling Church," now known as Providence Church.
Tradition says that when the ship Neptune touched the shores of America in 1618, one John Bush was among those who came over in her at his own charge, and he settled in Virginia. Another John Bush, the testator of a will probated in Orange County, Virgina, in February, 1746 (Will book No. 2, p. 94), is believed to have been the grandson of "Neptune" John. In this will of 1746, the testator, John Bush, mentions among his children a son Phillip, who became the father of Phillip, John, William (Captain Billy), Ambrose, Francis and their sister Mary Richards, and these came to Kentucky along with many others under the leadership of Captain Billy Bush and were the founders of the Bush Colony. (Phillip Bush, Sr., had other children besides these six. See his will in Orange County, Virginia, Will Book No. 2, page 153, dated 1771.) Tradition also says that when Daniel Boone was passing through Virginia, from his old home in Pennsylvania to his new home in North Carolina, he met William Bush, then a young man, and the two became friends. The following inscription is to be found on the tombstone of Captain William Bush, in the old Bush burying ground about one mile north of Boonesborough: "He was the friend and companion of Daniel Boone and others in the settlement of Kentucky." We know that Captain Billy Bush was one of the men that assisted Boone in blazing the trail to Boonesborough in 1775, and was one of the party that went in pursuit of the two Callaway sisters and Boone's daughter when they had been captured by the Indians in 1776. Captain Bush was so well pleased with the new country that he returned to his old home in Virginia for the purpose of organizing a colony, and from the glowing description which he gave a colony was soon organized, consisting of about forty families from among his kinsmen, neighbors and friends in Orapge and Culpeper counties, most of them being Baptists. So in the early part of 1780 preparations were begun for the exodus in the fall of that year to the land of "Kaintuckee." No doubt Captain Billy Bush, after portraying the beauty of the country; the fertility of its land, with its numerous water courses filled with fish; its huge forests alive with wild game, and the opportunities for a prosperous future, honest man that he was, also told them of the trials and hardships that they would have to endure, as well as many misfortunes, in this adventure. Yet with faith in their God and trust in Captain Billy Bush, within a few months everything was in readiness for the exodus which had been prepared with willing hands, cheerful hearts and smiling faces, but oh! what a change in the countenances as the day approached for their departure and the word forward was given and loving good-byes and tender farewells were given to home, loved ones and friends in the Old Dominion.
Some months before the colony started, Captain Billy Bush had returned to Boonesborough to select and locate farms for the different families, whom he wished to be near him, and in the selection of these he used good judgment, locating them on the north side of the Kentucky river, in what is now Clark county. When Captain Bush returned to Boonesborough he found that the trouble with the Indians was much more dangerous than when he had left for Virginia, they having allied themselves with the British, the Revolutionary War not yet having been concluded. In fact, the outlook for the American Colonies had never been darker than in 1780, the year prior to the surrender of Cornwallis. As Captain Bush did not think it wise for the colony to enter Kentucky at this time, he sent a runner with a message advising them not to proceed any further. The colony had reached the Holston, in December, 1780, when they received this advice from their leader. Here they remained for three years, during which time they raised three crops of corn. They also organized a Baptist church and held regular services.
Elder John Taylor, who arrived at Bear Creek, near Louisville, Kentucky, in 1782, in his History of the Ten Churches, says "It was a gloomy thing at that time to move to Kentucky." It was during the halt at Holston that the glorious news came of the British surrender at Yorktown, on October 19, 1781, and this patriotic colony made the Wolf Hills (Holston) ring with the firing of rifles, loud rejoicing and praises to God. This victory together with the passing at Holston of other immigrants on their way to "Kaintuckee", especially Lewis Craig and his colony of Baptists from Upper Spottsylvania Church, who halted for a few weeks at Holston, no doubt increased the desire of the Bush colony to continue their journey. But if there was ever a complaint against their leader, Captain Billy Bush, we have never read of it in history nor heard of it through tradition.
One evening in the latter part of August, 1783, as the shades of night were falling, a cloud of dust was seen in the west and soon the sound of a horse's hoofs was heard, and as he neared the fort the rider increased his speed, striking terror to the hearts of the colonists, as they thought it must be a runner bearing a warning of approaching danger, but the watchman at Black's Fort cried out, behold! me thinketh the runner rideth like a bearer of good tidings, and on came the steed and rider into the settlement, waving his hat and shouting aloud, "On, on to Boonesborough, are the orders of Captain Billy Bush." Upon receiving this news, Wolf Hills was made to rebound with the sounds of rejoicing, such as had not been heard since the surrender of Cornwallis, nearly two years before. So the day arrived for which these hardy tillers of the soil had so anxiously waited, until the conditions should be favorable for them to set out upon the dangerous road to Kentucky. Being of the school of hope, and having a burning love for their homes and a place to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience, such love and hope yielded courage, and hasty preparations were made to take up their march again after a halt of nearly three years at Holston. It must be remembered that within one month after their arrival at Holston, a part of the colony organized themselves into a church and held regular services, with Elder Robert Elkin as their pastor. The name of this church at that time, if it had one,
has not survived, but after the departure from Holston, it has been rightly named a Travelling Church, for led by her pastor she held regular church services and transacted church business.
On the first day of September, 1783, the colony bade farewell forever to Holston and started westward. In this caravan were not only the church members, but also their children, negro slaves, and other immigrants, who for better protection had attached themselves to this organized expedition. Such a colony as this meant much, not only to the Baptists of the future Kentucky, but to the State itself, for in this church and with it were some of the best families of Virginia. There were five married daughters and three sons of Thomas Burrus, a rich planter of Virginia, the sons and the husbands of four of the daughters all being brothers-in-law of Captain Billy Bush, he having married Frances Tandy Burrus.
"There were men of hoary hair
Amidst that pilgrim band -
Why had they come to wither there,
Away from childhood's land?
There was woman's fearless eye,
Lit by her deep love's truth;
There was manhood's brow serenely high,
And the fiery heart of youth.
What sought they thus afar?
Bright jewels of the mine?
The wealth of seas, the spoils of war?
They sought a faith's pure shrine!
Ay, call it holy ground,
The soil where first they trod;
They left unstained what there they found -
Freedom to worship God."
When the Bush colony arrived at Craig's Station, sometime in the spring of 1784, after a long, wearisome and hazardous trip, to their great joy they found empty cabins awaiting them, for Elder Lewis Craig and his colony of Baptists, who had preceded them to Kentucky some three years and erected Craig's Station, had moved to South Elkhorn, near Lexington, so that the Bush colony took possession of the empty cabins and remained here a short time before proceeding to Boonesborough.
On April 3, 1784, we find the first preserved record of the Travelling Church holding services in the cabin of their pastor Elder Elkin, when Phillip Bush was elected clerk and Joseph and Mildred Embree were received into the church by letter. The record book of the church was lost on the way from the Holston, but on the first page of the earliest book that has been preserved there in an abridgement of the work on the Holston.
After a brief stay at Craig's Station, the colony passed to the north side of the river at Boonesborough and entered upon the farms selected for them by their kinsman and friend, Captain Billy Bush, which he either gave them or sold them very cheaply, in order to have his relatives and. friends around him. [O]n the 27th of November, 1784, according to the church record (not 1785, as some historians have it), the first meeting was held at the cabin of Captain Billy Bush. The map of the farms previous to 1800, in this work, shows how the Bush colony settled around their church as a nucleus. First a log meeting house was erected soon after the colony arrived in the new country, on the Lower Howard's Creek, and sometime before 1793, on the same lot, the Old Stone Meeting House was erected, and this building is still in a good state of preservation at the present time. In 1870, a new frame house was erected and is the present house of worship. The settlement around the church was known as the Bush Settlement. Besides his four brothers, Captain Billy Bush had nine brothers-in-law, namely, Robert Richard, who had married his sister, Mary; Elder James Quisenberry; Elder Andrew Tribble; Joseph Embree; ______ Embree; ______ Brockman; Will T. Burrus; Roger Burma and Thomas Burros, Jr. Thus it will be seen that Thomas Burrus, Sr., had five daughters and three sons in this settlement. (For notes on Elder James Quisenberry, see history of Unity Church).
Soon after the Bush colony arrived at Boonesborough, other immigrants from Virginia also began to arrive, among whom were Nathaniel Haggard and his four married sons, who were all Baptists. Nathaniel Haggard, Sr., located between the church and Winchester and erected a one room house of cherry logs, which room is still in a good state of preservation at the present time, but has been added to. His son, John, settled about eight miles east of the Bush Settlement, which community was known as the Haggard Settlement. (See history of Mt. Olive and Unity Churches). The five Bush brothers and their sister, Mary Richards, were not what is termed "squatters," but were home builders, community builders and church builders. They settled on adjoining farms, where they lived and died, and are all buried on their respective farms.
The place where the Bush colony halted for three years is eight miles north of the Tennessee state line, in Washington county, Virginia, and was known by the names of Wolf Hills, Black's Fort, Holston, and at the present day as Abingdon. It is a narrow strip of country surrounded on all sides by mountains. Tradition says that the name of Wolf Hills was given it by Daniel Boone, on account of the large numbers of wolves in the hills. On one occasion Boonesborough was relieved during an attack by the Indians by forty riflemen from Holston. When civilization started westward, the colony of Virginia erected in the hills a fort, called Black's Fort, and it was to this fort that the backwoodsmen of the contiguous regions, as well as the immigrants, while stopping at Holston, looked for aid in time of danger.
The question as to whether or not Providence Church was constituted before moving to Holston in 1780, has been thoroughly discussed, both pro and con. A. C. Quisenberry (History of the Quisenberry and Bush Families) says that it was, but this statement is based purely upon tradition. Ambrose G. Bush, (a grandson of Ambrose Bush, Sr., one of the five Bush brothers), who was a
clerk of the church for fifty years, wrote a brief history of the church in 1876, in which he says "the early history of the church is lost in antiquity." But ten years later, in 1886, Mr. Bush was a member of a committee of three, appointed by the church to draft resolutions in regard to the failure of Dr. Spencer, in his History of Kentucky Baptists, to do justice to Providence Church. This committee made its report in the form of a protest, in March, 1887, claiming that Dr. Spencer gave no credit for the first thirteen years of her existence as a church, and further claiming that the history of Upper Spottsylvania Church, in Virginia, organized in 1767, was the early history of Providence Church.
After a very careful investigation, there appear to be many reasons for believing that the church organized on Holston never came out of Upper Spottsylvania Church, as an organized travelling church, and it is even doubtful if any of her members were ever connected with Upper Spottsylvania Church. We shall mention only the two facts, which seem to prove beyond the peradventure of a doubt, that Providence Church did not come out of Upper Spottsylvania Church. First, after arriving in Kentucky with the Upper Spottsylvania congregation, Elder Lewis Craig is credited with having said that he passed a Baptist colony on the Holston, from his section of Virginia. Now, if the Baptist colony had been from the Upper Spottsylvania Church, of which he had been a pastor for ten years, he would in all probability have made a very different statement in regard to this colony of Baptists. Second, in the Public Library of Lexington, Kentucky, is a list of nearly one hundred names of the first members of South Elkhorn Church, of Fayette County, with a note following which states that practically every name on this list was that of a former member of Gilbert's Creek Church, the "Travelling Church of Elder Lewis Craig." This being true, they were therefore former members of Upper Spottsylvania Churcih, in Virginia. Among the names on this list we failed to find any of the families of Bush, Quisenberry, Haggard, etc., who were so largely identified with the early history of Providence Church. This would seem to strongly indicate that the members of Providence Ohurch came from a different section of Virginia.
The author has been deeply interested in the history of this old church, not only because it is the oldest church in the State of Kentucky, but also from the fact that his ancestors were largely instrumental in its constitution. Therefore, he has sought diligently for every bit of data that might assist him in connecting the church organized on the Holston with some older church in Virginia. He has corresponded with all the older churches in Orange and Culpepper counties, and in this work he has been greatly assisted by Brother Garnett Ryland and the office force of the Baptist Historical Society of Richmond, Virginia, and also by the Baptist Historical Society of the Colgate University, of New York. As a result of these investigations we are of the opinion that the constituent members of the Church on the Holston were former members of different churches in Orange and Culpepper counties, Blue Run Church probably being one of these, and that they did not start from these counties as an organized church, but the colony was composed mostly of Baptist families, and, as their records state, in January, 1781, they with other Baptists formed themselves into an organization
in order to carry on church discipline. From this time they have a continuous record, though the record for the three years on the Holston is only an abridgement."December, 1780. Moved to the Holston, Brother Robert Elkin minister and John Vivion elder, and in January, 1781, they with other Baptists formed themselves into a body in order to carry on church discipline, and on September 28, 1781, was constituted by Lewis Craig and John Vivion with the members to wit: - William Bush, Sr., Franky Bush, William Bush, Jr., Ambrose Bush, Lucy Bush, Phillip Bush, Franky Bush, John Bush, Sarah Bush, Mary Richards, Vinah Jones, Rhillip Johnson, Ama Johnson, Benjamin Johnson, Mary Johnson, Franky Johnson, Ruth Wall, Thomas Harris, John Harris, Mary Harris, Sarah Johns, Charles Sinclair (St. Clair), Sarah Sinclair (St. Clair), Susannah Turner, Milly Crosswaite, Mary Clark, Mary Cole, Marthy Thomas, Susannah Humphries, Hannah Dungins (Duncan), Hannah Dawson, Leonard Dozier, Rebecca Dozier, Sarah Dozier, Susannah Dozier, William Fletcher, Daniel Ramey, Elizabeth Baker, John Vivion, Jr., Sebbis Maue (Maux), Hannah Maue (Maux), Thomas Sutherlin, and continued there a constitution till the first day of September, 1783, then a principal part of the members with their minister being about to move to Kentucky, it was agreed they should carry the constitution with them. This is an abridgement of the business on the Holston."The above is a true copy from the old church book, which continues as follows:"Now having arrived in Kentucky and settled on the south side of the Kentucky River near Craggs Station; but through the badness of the weather and scattered situation nothing of importance was done till April the 3rd, 1784. Then having met at Bro. Elkins, appointed Bro. Phillip Bush Clerk, also received by letter Joseph and Milly Embry, and appointed church meetings on the fourth Saturday in each month."The records show that they met every month for service at or near Cragg's Station, until November 27, 1784, when we find this record:"Through a turn of God's providence the church chiefly moving to the north -side of Kentucky and for the health and prosperity of Zion, we have appointed a church meeting at Bro. William Bush's, November 27, 1784, the former clerk not yet having moved to the north side, the church appointed Daniel Ramey Clerk, also received John Johnson by letter."It might be mentioned here, that Captain William Bush lived and died at the place where he first settled, which was about one mile south of the present Providence Church meeting house, on the turnpike, and he is buried about one-half mile from where his home stood and where the first meeting of the church was held after they crossed to the north side of the river.
April 16, 1785. Received by letter Elder James Quisenberry, Thomas and Elizabeth Burrus and Martin Haggard by recommendation. November, 1785, received James Ragland by letter. January 14, 1786, received by letter Elder Andrew Tribble. March 26, 1786. It is recommended to the church to look out for officers, Elders and Deacons. May 6, 1786, received by letter James and Elizabeth Haggard. June, 1786, Squire Boone received by experience, and in the next month Samuel and Mary Boone received by experience. August, 1786,
Francis Bush received by experience. Francis Bush was the youngest of the five Bush brothers that came in the colony from Virginia, and he and his wile, Rachel, and his sister, Mary Richards, gave the land upon which to build the old church. July, 1786, John and Rachel Martin received by letter. In March, 1788, we find the first query, viz: "Whether all members of the church, male,
MRS. RACHIEL MARTIN BUSH,
Born in Virginia, 1767; died in Kentucky, 1860.
Wife of Francis Bush.
and female, have a privilege to speak to any subject that comes before the church, petition for relief of any grievance, &c." Answer, "they have." August, 1788, Ambrose Bush ordained as Elder. June 14, 1788, Nathaniel and Elizabeth Haggard received by letter. July, 1790, Sarah Hampton received by letter.
August 13, 1790, church agrees that the members divide with the ministers, and that Elkin keep the old constitution, and the next day the church set to hear experiences, and several were received. It appears that some who
were not present on August 13, were dissatisfied with the division, for on August 19, 1790, we find this record:"Some members not being present at the time of the division came forward and assumed the constitution, received Andrew Tribble and the part with him, and threatened Elkin and the part with him with excommunication, which was the cause of application being made for referees being called, who were as follows, to wit: Joseph Bledsoe, William Bledsoe, John Embry, Zachariah Shackleford and John Bailey, who attended the call September 1, 1790. Considering the nature of the division, they constituted Elkin and the part with him as a church by the name of Providence Church, and also constituted Andrew Tribble and the part with him as a church by the name of Unity Church, with free recourse to each other in matters of dealing, as other churches in fellowship with the society, and that the steps taken in the division of Howard's Creek church shall not be a matter of dealing on either side here-to-fore. Providence Church acted under the new Constitution, valued and received the services of our brother referees, and met at the old meeting house on Howard's Creek, September 9, 1790, and on said date received six by experience. Unity Church, soon after the division, built a log meeting house about two miles above Providence Church, on the same creek." (See history of Unity Church).At the time the division occurred, the membership of the old congregation was about one hundred and seventy, and not quite half of them went with the Unity Church.
January, 1791, James Haggard elected Elder, and Phillip Bush and Edward Kindred as Deacons. James Haggard and Edward Kindred both became Baptist preachers and had pastorates in Clark County. Elder Kindred died in Clark County, but Elder Haggard removed to another part of the state later in life. June, 1792, the first member excluded, being a sister, for immoral conduct. September, 1793, Query: "What power do we delegate in our members to an association?" Answered, "but as an advisory of Council." In March, 1796, a brother was excluded for "vainly Swairing, Singing vain Songs and his non attendance to Meeting for a long time and Still appears Indiffrante." At the next meeting another brother was excluded for "stealing and agreeing to be whipt." July, 1796, question: "Is it right for members to purchase lottery tickets." Answer, "no." In April, 1798, it was ordered that the trustees of the church on Howard's Creek secure a deed for the meeting house lot. This deed is dated May 2, 1798, and conveys one and one-half acres of land, which was given by Francis Bush and his wife, Kachiel, and Robert Richards and his wife, Mary. (See Deed Book No. 3, page 193, Clark County Clerk's Office, Kentucky).
The great revival that was sweeping over the state, reached this community in 1801, and one hundred and twenty were added to Providence Church by experience and baptism. It was during this year, on August 22, 1801, that the committees of the Separate and Regular Baptists met and agreed upon terms of union, which were later ratified by a convention of all the churches at the Old Stone Meeting House and from that time they were known as United Baptists.
In May, 1802, the question was raised as to whether black members shall preach without the approbation of the church. In July, 1802, the following answer was given: "We are of the opinion that the church has no right to approbate a
slave as a preacher without the consent of their owner." In October, 1802, the church appointed Brother Nathaniel Haggard, Jr., to set the tunes in singing. In July, 1803, a sister was excluded for scolding her husband. Afterwards this sister was restored on repentance. In March, 1806, Gholson Bush was elected clerk. In July, 1806, the church settled with the deacons and was found to be one-sixth of a shilling in debt. In November, 1807, Rofbert Didlake was appointed clerk.
In August, 1808, the records name messengers to the Association. This is the first time an association is mentioned in the church records, but we know that the church had united with South Kentucky Association in 1787 and North District Association in 1802. In October, 1811, sixteen members were by request granted the privilege to meet and do business as an Arm of the Church, and on February 11, 1812, on petition of the Arm of the Church, twenty-one members were granted letters of dismissal to form a new constitution (church). This is believed to have been Dewett's (Jouett's) Creek Church.
In May, 1813, the church agreed to send a petition to the association to alter the constitution. The church records do not state the alteration desired, but in the minutes of the North District Association for that year, we find the following petition from Providence Church: "We wish the Association to form and add to the constitution some uniform rule for constituting churches and ordaining ministers." The Association, in answer, said: "We advise that in the ordination of ministers, the united consent of the church, be gained, and we think it not improper for her to advise with sister churches most convenient, and that two or three experienced men in the ministry be called to assist in the work."
In 1816, Providence Church being a member of North District Association, the said Association agreed to open a correspondence with the Foreign Mission Board, but Providence Church seems to have been opposed to Foreign Missions, for at her regular business meeting in April, 1817, she voted that she was not willing to correspond with the Foreign Mission Board, and that this be inserted in her letter to the next Association. The North District Association, at its annual session in 1817, voted that all correspondence with the Foreign Mission Board cease.
The constitution adopted by the church, while sojourning on the Holston from 1780 to 1783, was lost on their way to Kentucky, so that the church was without a written constitution for about forty years, for beginning in September, 1820, several attempts were made to draft and adopt a new constitution, and finally, on September 17, 1823, they agreed to adopt as their constitution the first eight articles of the terms of the General Union of 1801.
In March, 1821, the church received a colored man into their membership by experience, against the judgment of their venerable pastor, Elder Robert Elkin. The question was again brought before the church in August, 1821, and Elder Elkin gave his reasons for not voting with the church on receiving this colored man, Warrick, but the church did not think his reasons sufficient. This is the last time Elder Robert Elkin is mentioned in the records. He lived but a few months after this, and we wonder whether this action of the church, which he had
shepherded for forty-two years, could have hastened the death of this dear old brother. The church made no note of his death in the records until December, 1889, but we presume this was an oversight. He was with them while on the Holston, was their shepherd as they travelled through the wilderness, fraught with so many dangers, to the land of plenty, where they could worship their God according to the dictates of their own consciences, as well as escape from the persecutions of the State Church of the Old Dominion. After leaving the Holston, when the colony moved forward he moved with them; when they halted, there he pitched his camp and held religious services, and when they stopped for a time in the spring of 1784, near Craig's Station, it was in the cabin of Brother Elkin that the church held her first recorded business meeting on Kentucky soil. Later, when they moved to the north side of the river and settled and built their meeting house on Howard's Creek, Brother Elkin built his little home in sight of the church building, from which he went and came on his faithful old "nag." Being a fine disciplinarian, he endeavored to keep his flock in the paths of righteousness, as the church records show. He loved the pastoral work, and preferred to be among the sheep, and thus did not acauire the reputation of being a "travelling preacher." He was one of the committee who wrote the terms of union for the Regular and Separate Baptists in 1801. He was the first moderator of North District Association, in 1802, and served several times in this capacity.
From the minutes of North District Association for 1822, we copy the following:"Our venerable, beloved and extensively useful brother in the Lord, Brother Robert Elkin, in the 77th year of his age, and the 51st of his ministry, rested from his labors in March last."On the little farm where he lived and died, are the remains of Brother Elkin and his loving companion, in a poorly kept and unmarked grave, save for a small rough creek stone.
After the death of Brother Elkin, the next pastor was Elder Richard Morton, who accepted the pastorate in May, 1822, but on account of poor health was compelled to resign after a few months, and Elder William Morton accepted the call in September, 1822, serving as pastor for one year, when Elder Richard Morton again became pastor, in October, 1823. He served the church until March, 1827. Richard Morton was moderator the first two years after the constitution of Boone's Creek Association. Two former clerks of the church, A. G. Bush and W. P. Heiatt, in their history of the church failed to mention the pastorate of Elder William Morton for one year, but gave Elder Richard Morton credit for serving until March, 1828, when it should have been March, 1827.
In March, 1823, the church agreed to continue the practice of washing the saints feet, as an ordinance heretofore practiced by her. In November, 1824, Thomas Vivion resigned as clerk, and T. V. Bush accepted the clerkship, which he resigned in September, 1827, when Pleasant Bush was chosen clerk. In December, 1827, one of her members, Brother John Alexander, was ordained as a minister of the gospel. In this year, the church had a great revival and received sixty additions by experience. In March, 1828, the church extended a call to Elder George G. Boone, and the records state that they neglected recording the services of Brother Boone for last year, which we acknowledge as faithful.
He served the church three years, (not five years, as stated by Brethren Bush and Heiatt, in their history). Brother G. G. Boone was moderator of Boone's Creek Association, for four years. Following Brother Boone's pastorate, the church had no regular pastor for three years.
At this period, the doctrine preached by Elder Alexander Campbell and his followers was gaining many adherents from the Baptist churches in Kentucky, and through the influence of Elder John Smith, in 1828, the Association passed a resolution that at the next annual session she would take a vote to abolish her constitution as an association. Providence Church, at her business meeting in February, 1829, took up the request of the Association relative to the abolishment of her constitution, and voted to insert in her letter that she wishes the Association to keep her present constitution.
When the division came, in 1829, Providence was one of the seven churches that voted to retain the constitution of the Association.
In February, 1830, Pleasant Bush resigned as Clerk and D. B. Hays accepted the clerkship. On August 7, 1830, the records name sixty-five members (fifty-one white and fourteen colored), who, having become displeased with the rules and regulations of the church, have withdrawn themselves and are no more of this body. This left Providence with a membership of two hundred and twenty-two. Those who withdrew formed themselves into a body known then as reformers, and through the kindness of the Baptists they were permitted to use the Providence Church building (Old Stone Meeting House), one Sunday in each month for forty years. On October 2, 1830, a motion was made to know whether Providence Church will or will not commune with members, of the Baptist churches that call themselves Reformers. The church voted she will not.
After Elder G. G. Boone resigned, in 1830, Elders Thomas Boone, T. Ballou and T. Jerman preached there occasionally, until Elder Robert Elrod accepted the call in January, 1833. He remained one year, and was succeeded by Elder D. Landrum, in October, 1834, who was their under-shepherd for nearly four years. In December, 1837, the church received forty-nine additions by baptism. In February, 1838, Elder Thomas Jerman became their pastor and remained with them for four years. In July, 1839, the church requested that there be preaching on Saturdays of our church meeting. We infer from this that there had never been preaching on Saturdays before this time, but it was a day for the transaction of the business of the church.
On May 1, 1841, the church agreed to the request of the President of the United States that all religious societies should meet on the 14th of May to fast and pray for the welfare of the people and the prosperity of the country. In July 1841, the church agreed that on communion days, after this ordinance had been celebrated, they would attend to the washing of feet. In July, 1842, Elder B. E. Alien accepted the pastorate and served them as regular pastor until November, 1846, when, on account of his health, he resigned, but continued to preach occasionally for them as a supply preacher for several months. In July and August, 1842, the pastor, assisted by Elder E. H. Darnaby, held a series of
meetings, which resulted in sixty-seven additions by baptism, making a total membership of two hundred and fifty-six. In November, 1845, Brother William A. Taliaferro was ordained a minister of the Gospel.
AMBROSE G. BUSH
Born January 18th, 1823; died July 22nd, 1903.
In February, 1846, A. G. Bush was elected clerk, and he was their faithful and efficient clerk for over half a century. When he had rounded out his fifty years of service as clerk, in June, 1896, he requested the church to release him from the clerkship, but instead of accepting his resignation, the church appointed W. P. Hiett as assistant Clerk. The last time Brother Bush's name appears in the records as clerk is in August, 1898. In April, 1846, the church voted that hereafter their church minutes shall be 'headed as follows: "The United Baptist Church of Christ at Providence." This is the first time in the history of the church that the name of either the moderator or the clerk is signed to the minutes.
A series of meetings was held in October, 1846, and there were twenty-five additions by experience and baptism. In August, 1847, Elder Edward H. Darnaby accepted the pastorate, retaining same until October, 1848. The church was then without a regular pastor for one year. In September, 1848, the subject of foot-washing was taken up and the church voted that she does not consider foot-washing a bar to fellowship, and after debating the proposition the reference was withdrawn. In September, 1849, Elder B. E. Allen again accepted the call of the church for no definite period of time, and only remained about one year. In August, 1850, the church ordered that the moderator and clerk shall sign all church proceedings. This had been done only a few times previous to this date. In March, 1851, the church rescinded its action in regard to foot-washing after communion service.
The church having been without a pastor for some time, Elder B. E. Allen again accepted the pastorate, in August, 1851, serving them for one year. In October, 1851, one of her members, Brother P. T. Gentry, was ordained to the preaching of the Gospel, and Jeremiah Bush was ordained as deacon, after a committee had been sent to Sister Bush to ask her co-operation in the ordination of Brother Bush. In June, 1852, Elder P. T. Gentry accepted a call as pastor and labored with them for three years. In January, 1853, by unanimous vote the church decided that it is not right to encourage dancing schools, nor to permit dancing in the homes of members of this church, nor for members to frequent racing fields. In June, 1853, the subject of washing of feet as an ordinance was again taken up and by vote the church agreed to attend to it as an ordinance.
For the fourth time, Elder B. E. Allen became their under-shepherd, in November, 1855, and was their pastor this last time until his death, which occurred on December 9, 1861. Brother Allen labored faithfully and effectually as pastor of this church at different periods for thirteen years. In February, 1862, there were entered upon the minutes of the church resolutions to the memory of this servant of God, which were in part as follows: "We desire to bless God for His great and signal gift to our lamented brother, for the elevation and purity, the disinterestedness, and self-sacrifice, the earnestness and devotion of his character. And further resolved, that a debt of undying gratitude is due from us to the memory of the man who has done so much more than anyone else to build up the cause of Christ at this place, under whose strong influence and able ministration we have grown to be the largest church in the Boone's Greek Association, &c." (See Boone's Creek Church).
Brother Allen was for eight years clerk, and for ten years moderator of Boone's Creek Association, and at their annual session in 1862, resolutions expressing the high esteem in which he was held by the Association were made part of their records, and are in part as follows: "He was a good and honest man, an able and beloved minister, a constant and devoted Christian, and in the sixtieth year of his life he closed his eventful career, covered with honors."
In June, 1859, ten members were granted letters of dismissal to go into the organization of a Baptist church in Winchester (First Winchester Church). In September, 1860, the church agreed to request the Association to send Brother
Macey, Agent of the General Association, into the Boone's Creek Association to collect money for the maintainance of a missionary in said Association, the surplus to go to the benefit of the general Association. If we have read the records of this church correctly, this is the first mention of any missionary activities of the church. In January, 1862, Dr. Ryland T. Dillard began his labors as pastor, and remained as such for three years. In May, 1865, the pastorate was accepted by Elder H. McDonald, but he relinquished the same in the following November. In July, 1866, Elder C. E. W. Dobbs became their pastor, serving until October, 1867, and he was succeeded by Elder W. B. Arvin, in February, 1868, who made them a loving and faithful pastor for six years. In July, 1868, at the request of many of the colored brethren and sisters, nineteen of them were granted letters of dismissal.
In October, 1868, the subject of building a new house of worship up on the pike was discussed, and a committee appointed. At the next meeting the committee reported that they thought it impracticable to undertake to build at that time. In June, 1869, a committee was appointed to raise funds to purchase a lihrary for the Sunday School. This is the first mention in the church records of a Sunday School. In November, 1869, the subject of building a new house on the pike was again discussed, and a committee was appointed, which soon raised the funds and Brother R. G. Bush gave a two acre lot, situated on the Winchester and Boonesborough Turnpike, about one mile south of the Stone Meeting House, and three miles north of Boonesborough. Brother R. G. Bush was a great nephew of Francis Bush, who gave the lot on which the Stone Meeting House was erected, sometime before 1793. A fine large frame house was soon erected on the lot given by Brother Bush and dedicated on the fourth Sunday in August, 1870, Elder Cad Lewis preaching the dedicatory sermon. So the old location at the Stone Meeting House, which had been the place of worship for the Bush colony and their descendent for nearly a century, passed by deed from the white Baptists to the colored Baptists, in 1870, and the latter still hold regular services in the Old Stone Meeting House at the present time (1923) and it is in a good state of preservation.
As to the date of erection of the Old Stone Meeting House, historians in the past have given many different dates, none of which were earlier than 1800. We desire to submit proof that this building was constructed before October 22, 1793. In the first place, the minutes of the South Kentucky Association, which convened with Jessamine Church on the second Friday in October, 1796, show the following entry: "The Association adjourned until the second Friday in October, 1797, then to meet at the Stone Meeting House on Howard's Creek." The records for the following year show that they met at the Stone Meeting House on Howard's Lower Creek, in 1797. Thus it is shown that the construction of the Old Stone Meeting House antedated the year 1796.
In the second place, we find that at a County Court held in Clark County, Kentucky, on October 22, 1793, (Order Book No. 1, page 57), the following entry was made: Philip Bush having been previously appointed to lay off a road between certain points made his report on day above mentioned and in his report
mentioned the Stone Meeting House on Howard's Lower Creek. It will thus be seen that the date of erection of the building antedates October 22, 1793, which is seven years earlier than any previous writer has given.
New Meeting House Erected in 1870.
On this same lot, in the year 1787, these pioneer Baptists erected their first meeting house, which was of logs and had port holes for use in defending the worshippers from attacks by the Indians, and tradition says that while one portion of the congregation watched the port holes from the gallery, the other part worshipped. Before they built the log meeting house they met from house to house for worship for about three years.
In a series of meetings held in December, 1871, twenty-one members were received by experience and baptism. In April, 1874, Elder G. T. Strassberry accepted the pastorate, but only served them until the following October. While Brother Strassberry was pastor, a call meetng was held at the house of Sister Mariah Tate, on July 13, 1874, the pastor with several members being present, and Zachariah Tate, an invalid son of Sister Tate made a confession of faith in the Lord and was baptized in a large trough and received by the brethren
into the fellowship of the church. After Brother Strassberry resigned, Elder George Yeizer preached as a supply until March, 1875. He was succeeded by Elder A. F. Baker, who began his labors in June, 1875; he was a strong preacher, a splendid pastor and he served this church with fidelity and energy until May, 1880.
On August 4, 1875, under the auspices of the church, a centennial meeting was held in a beautiful woodland near the church building. This meeting having
A. S. HAMPTON
Born November llth, 1834; died March 22nd, 1908.
A faithful member and Deacon of Providence Church.
been well advertised, a large number of people were present, including many noted ministers, who took part in the exercises. The church records state that the speeches were all full of thrilling interest, but still "we confess to some disappointment when the exercises ended without any references being made to the history of our church, it being the oldest on Kentucky soil, and we deeply
regret that certain facts associated with the history of our church were not brought out on this occasion." Just what was the object of this centennial meeting, or what event it celebrated, the records fail to state. It could not have been the centennial of their church organization, as, at that time, it lacked five years of being one hundred years since her constitution. Neither could it have been the centennial celebration of Kentucky Baptists, as it will be seen that in December, 1875, the church appointed a committee to solicit money for the centennial fund, meaning for the centennial celebration to be held by Kentucky Baptists in 1876, to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the first Baptist sermon preached on Kentucky soil, by William Hickman, in the spring of 1776.
In June, 1876, the church appointed the clerk, A. G. Bush, to transcribe as much of the old church records as were in danger of being lost, as a result of being badly scorched from a fire in the Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, where they were kept temporarily by Brother Burrows, who had borrowed them to get information for use in the centennial work. In October, 1878, the church agreed to systematize all the missionary interests of the church. In July, 1880, Elder J. Pike Powers accepted a call and served as pastor until April, 1881. In November, 1880, the church agreed to hold a centennial meeting to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of their first meeting on the Holston, in December, 1780. This meeting was to be held on the first Saturday in December, 1880, but on account of heavy rains the meeting was postponed until some future time. In January, 1881, the minutes of the first meeting for business, just one hundred years ago, were read.
Rev. J. D. Simmons became their under-shepherd in June, 1881, and for a little more than six years led them in paths of usefulness, and upon his resignation, in October, 1887, we find resolutions in part as follows: "1. That we as a church endorse his cause as our pastor for the past six years, and that we part with him with regret. 2. That we tender to him and his our confidence and thanks for his past services with and among us. And do recommend them to the sympathy and brotherly love to all with whom they may be caflled in any field of labor, &c."
March, 1882. Question: Whether this church will or will not permit a member of this church to retail or manufacture intoxicating liquor, except for medical purposes. Without a dissenting vote, the church said she would not. In July, 1882, the church records death of Sister Nancy Elkin, who was in her ninety-fifth year, being the oldest at the time of her death in the church, having joined in April, 1812. Her quiet Christian graces were worthy of imitation by every one of this body. She was always present at meeting when her health would permit.
In December, 1882, the church purchased an organ, this being the first one used in the church. In February, 1884, at the request of the pastor, J. D. Simmons, the church made him a present of the old church book. The book was afterwards returned, for it is now in the hands of the clerk. In April, 1886, the church appointed a committee composed of their pastor, J. D. Simmons, the clerk, A. G. Bush and Brother R. D. Hunter, to draft resolutions upon the failure of the
History of Kentucky Baptists, by Dr. J. H. Spencer, to do justice to Providence Church. The above committee made their report in March, 1887, in the form of a strong protest against (what the committee calls) inaccuracies of Dr. Spencer's History, as pertains to Providence Church, which report was unanimously adopted by the church, and is in part as follows: "1st. The History (Spencer's) gives us no credit for the first thirteen years of our existence. We claim the history of Upper Spottsylvania Church in Virginia, organized Nov. 20th, 1767 in the early history of our church. See the History of the Rise and Progress of the Baptists in Virginia, by Robert B. Semple; also the History of Ten Baptist Churches, by John Taylor, and our own Book of Record. 2nd. The historian (Spencer) ignores words, phrases and facts as to our Record and quotes it incorrectly, inserting such words and phrases as seem to suit him and then interprets the whole to, if possible, establish a theory that there are other churches in the State older than ours. The Historian (Spencer) says, Vol. I, page 45, see it, also see what our Book of Records does say, it will appear to even a casual observer that our records have been garbled and misinterpreted. 3rd. The History declares repeatedly that we disbanded while on the south side of the Kentucky River. See Vol. I, pages 30, 31, 40; also Vol. II, page 10. Compare John Taylor's History of Ten Baptist Churches, pages 9, 11, 41, 42; also see our records. And see this whole matter as our pastor J. D. Simmons discusses it in the Western Recorder of April 7, 1885. (This date should be February 1, 1883). 4th. We think the Historian (Spencer) studiously avoided giving us proper historical connection with church organization that grew out of ours and with events and men of importance with which we have had to do during our early history. One noticable example is that of Bogg's Fork Church. See Vol. I. pages 478-479 as to their omission; see our record date of October 12, 1811, November 9 to February, 1812. We desire nothing but the truth should some day be manifest."*
It seems that the committee did not examine very closely the references given and were perhaps led too much by tradition rather than authentic records in making such a protest. In the claim in the first item, that they came from Upper Spottsylvania, reference is made to the histories of Robert E. Semple and John Taylor, but neither of these make any reference to this congregation (Providence) as coming out of Upper Spottsylvania, and I am fully convinced that they were never a part of Upper Spottsylvania for the reasons heretofore mentioned. In the third item, it is claimed that Dr. Spencer states that this congregation (Providence) disbanded while on the south side of the river, and reference is made to Vol. I, pages 30, 31, 40, and Vol. II, page 10, but Spencer is speaking of another congregation, namely, Old Gilbert's Creek Church, that came out of Upper Spottsylvania, and on their march to Kentucky passed the congregation, later known as Providence Church, while stopping on the Holston River. Elder
* Note - The author of these sketches has studied carefully this protest against Dr. Spencer, as well as the references given by the committee to substantiate their claims, and he feels that the committee and the church did an injustice to Dr. Spencer's valuable work.
Lewis Craig, the pastor of the Upper Spottsylvania congregation (a travelling church), assisted in or wrote the Constitution for the Baptists stopping on the Holston, who later became known as Providence Church. In the references made to Taylor's History, pages 9, 11, 41, 42, there is nothing relating to the congregation known as Providence Church, for Taylor was speaking of Upper Spottsylvania Church, in Virginia.
In regard to the fourth item, in speaking of Boggs' Fork Church, neither the committee nor Dr. Spencer are correct. The committee cites the records of Providence Church from October, 1811, to February, 1812, claiming that Boggs' Fork Church was constituted from members out of Providence Church in 1812. It will be seen from the sketch of Boggs' Fork Church that she was constituted on July 28, 1800, twelve years before the Providence records say she was constituted. The writer called the attention of Providence Church to these errors and showed them the authentic records, and on August 6, 1922, the church, on motion, made corrections in regard to this protest, particularly in reference to the fourth item and the same were recorded in the church minutes. The church constituted out of Providence in 1812 was Dewett's (Jouett's) Creek Church, hence the part of the fourth item censuring Dr. Spencer was a sad mistake on the part of the committee and church.
In January, 1888, Elder J. Pike Powers again became the leader of this flock, serving for two years. On the first Saturday in May, 1889, the church meeting was broken up by an alarm of fire, the pastor's house, which was within sight of the church building, being on fire and was totally destroyed. In December, 1889, the church discovered that she had failed to make any notation in the church records of the death of their first pastor, Robert Elkin, though sixty-seven years had elaped since his death, so they recorded the following, from the minutes of North District Association: "Record of the death of our venerable, well-beloved and extensively useful brother in the Lord, Brother Robert Elkin. In the seventy-seventh year of his age and fifty-first year of his ministry. Rested from his labors in March, 1822. Extract from the minutes of North District Association held in July, 1822. A true copy by A. H. Rupard, clerk in said Association."
Rev. A. H. Anthony accepted the care of the church in April, 1890, serving them till July, 1891. He was succeeded by Rev. H. A. Hunt in the following November; he was a faithful leader and a successful pastor, and retained the pastorate until July, 1894, at which time Rev. I. T. Creek accepted the pastorate, remaining for two years. In October, 1894, Brother A. L. Hackett, a member of the church, was ordained to the ministry.
In June, 1896, W. P. Heiatt was elected assistant clerk of the church, and in September, 1898, Brother A. G. Bush, having become too feeble to attend to the clerkship, after fifty years of faithful service as clerk of the congregation, Brother Heiatt became the acting clerk and served in that capacity with credit to himself and satisfaction to the congregation until his death on February 11, 1919. In the following April these resolutions appear on the church record: "Whereas, Divine Providence has called to his reward Brother W. P. Heiatt, Therefore, be it Resolved, That the church has lost a faithful member, he was assistant clerk for
awhile, and made acting clerk in 1898, in which capacity he served until his death. He was always at his post of duty when possible, and took a leading part in all matters pertaining to the welfare of the church, &c."
In July, 1896, the church appointed a committee to purchase a book for recording the names of all members who had attached themselves to this church from and after December, 1780, this being the first record of the church membership. Presumably this record was never made, as it could not be found. Rev. H. F. Searcy accepted the pastorate in January, 1897, and served them until May, 1898. He was succeeded in the following November by Rev. J. S. Wilson, who gave them five years of faithful leadership, resigning in January, 1903. In May, 1903, Brother Oscar Brown, a member of the church was ordained to the preaching of the Gospel.
The church records the death of Brother Ambrose G. Bush in 1903. He was the grandson of Ambrose Bush, Sr., one of the five Bush brothers, pioneer settlers of Kentucky and constituent members of the church. He was a faithful member of this church for sixty-one years and, as above stated, was their efficient church clerk for half a century. The church was without a regular pastor during the year 1903, but in August of that year Rev. T. C. Ecton held a series of meetings for the church, which resulted in fourteen additions by experience and baptism. In Septemher following, the statistics of the church show a membership of two hundred. Rev. T. C. Ecton accepted the pastorate in January, 1904, serving them for two years. In October, 1904, the church resolved that she believed that dancing is contrary to the teaching of the Scriptures, and by a unanimous vote forbids her members to engage in this practice.
Rev. A. R. Willett accepted the care of the church in January, 1906, remaining with them for two years, when Rev. B. J. Davis accepted the pastorate, in January, 1908, and he remained with them for four years. In October, 1908, the church passed resolutions that she would not grant letters of dismissal to members who had not paid their subscriptions to the pastor's salary. Following the close of the pastorate of Brother Davis, in January, 1912, the church was without a regular pastor until April, 1913, when Rev. W. S. Taylor accepted the care of the church, serving them until December, 1916. In June, 1917, Rev. R. B. Jones became their leader and led them in the paths of usefulness for three years. He was succeeded in the pastorate by Rev. S. A. Taylor, who began his labors on May 1, 1921, serving until May, 1923.
It is believed by the best authorities that Providence Church was one of the eleven churches that went into the organization of South Kentucky Association in 1787. However, we find the name of Providence Church in the list of twenty-one churches on the first leaf of the record book of that Association, which we believe to have been the churches composing that Association in 1795. The annual session of South Kentucky Association for the year 1797 was held with Howard's Lower Creek (Providence) Church, and according to their records was held in the Stone Meeting House. Providence Church remained in that Association until it became so large that it divided into South District and North District Associations. Providence Church was one of the constituent churches of North District Association in 1802, and her pastor, Robert Elkin was
chosen moderator of the Association for that year, with which position he was honored several times. Providence Church entertained three annual sessions of North District Association, in the years 1804, 1807 and 1812. She remained a member of this Association until she united with Boone's Creek Association in 1823, and she has entertained eleven annual sessions of that body, in the following years: 1826, 1834, 1839, 1850, 1859, 1868, 1876, 1885, 1905, 1917, and expects to entertain the annual session this year (1923), for which a special program is being prepared. This will be the centennial session of Boone's Creek Association
TOMB OF MARY BUSH RICHARDS,
Sister of the Five Bush Brothers.
Francis Bush, her brother is also buried here.
and the one hundred and forty-third year of the constitution of Providence Church, the oldest church constitution in the State.
The quota of Providence Church in the Seventy-five Million Campaign was $7,600.
Pastors - During her one hundred and forty-three years of existence as a church, Providence has been served by twenty-nine pastors as follows: (Year indicates beginning of service). Robert Elkin, 1780; Richard Morton, 1822 (two
pastorates); William Morton, 1822; George G. Boone, 1827; Robert Elrod, 1833; D. Landrum, 1834; Thomas Jerman, 1838; Benjamin E. Allen, 1842 (four pastorates); Edward H. Darnaby, 1847; P. T. Gentry, 1852; Ryland T. Dillard, 1862; H. M. McDonald, 1865; C. E. W. Dobbs, 1866; W. B. Arvin, 1868; G. T. Stansberry, 1874; A. F. Baker, 1875; J. Pike Powers, 1880, again 1888; J. Dallas Simmons, 1881, A. H. Anthony, 1890; H. A. Hunt, 1891; I. T. Creek, 1894; H. F. Searcy, 1897; J. S. Willson, 1898; Thomas C. Ecton, 1904; A. R. Willett, 1906; B. J. Davis, 1908; W. S. Taylor, 1913; R. B. Jones, 1917; S. A. Taylor, 1921.
Deacons. - Names of deacons are not given in records until 1788. (Year indicates ordination). Joseph Embree (Embry), 1788; Nathaniel George, 1788; James Ragland, 1788; Phillip Bush, 1791; Edward Kindred, 1791; Thomas Berry, Jr., 1797; Enoch Elkin, 1822; Lewallen Elkin, 1836; Robert Elkin, 1843; Pleasant Gentry, 1843; Achilles Eubank, 1846; Ambrose Bush, Sr., 1850; Stephen Quisenberry, 1851; Jeremiah Bush, 1851; E. J. M. Elkin, 1855; Roger Quisenberry, 1855; C. W. Boone, 1862; Peter Evans, 1866; Loyd Quisenberry, chosen 1866 (previously ordained by another church); A. S. Hampton, 1876; Jackson Epperson, 1876; Bartlett S. Haggard, 1893; Thomas Tucker, 1893; Clayton Strode, 1902; S. J. Conkwright, 1902; Wallace V. McCormanck, 1908; W. P. Heiatt, 1908; Jesse N. Hodgkin, 1914; Joseph W. Thomas, 1918.
Clerks. - The records show that eleven clerks have served, as follows: (Years indicate beginning of service) Phillip Bush, 1784; Daniel Ramey, 1784; Gholson Bush, 1806; Robert Didlake, 1807; Thomas Vivion, resigned, 1824; T. V. Bush, 1824; Pleasant Bush, 1827; D. B. Hays, 1830; A. G. Bush, 1846; (fifty-two years clerk); W. P. Heiatt, assistant, 1896, acting, 1898, R. B. Hunter, the present clerk, elected 1919.
Ministers ordained from this church. - James Haggard and Edward Kindred are believed to have been ordained from this church, but there is no record of them; John Alexander, 1827; William A. Taliaferro, 1845; P. T. Gentry, 1851; A. L. Hackett, 1894; Oscar Brown, 1903.
BOONE'S CREEK BAPTIST CHURCH - 1785.
Boone's Creek Church is located at Athens, Fayette County Kentucky, on the waters of Boone's Creek, this creek being named in honor of Daniel Boone, who had a four hundred acre tract of land at the mouth of the creek, and on this was a small cave in which he frequently took refuge from the Indians. The present church is situated a half mile west of the original site of Boone's Station, which was erected by Boone in the spring of 1780, after having left the fort at Boonesborough on December 29, 1779. Boone must have remained there for several years, except when absent on his periodical hunting expeditions, for, according to Captain William Ellis, the founder of David's Fork Settlement, he went there during the summer of 1784, at the request of Boone, to confer with him in regard to a threatened Indian invasion. Captain Ellis said that the Station was stockaded mainly for the protection of Boone's family, and that of his nephew, Samuel Boone, and that the inside of the palisades was ornamented
with the skins of various wild animals. At or near this Station was Cross Plains (now Athens), so called from the fact of its being the crossing place of hunters and troops passing from Harrodsburg to Lexington and from Bryan's Station to Boonesborough, and afterwards was used in the old militia times as a muster ground.
The first conference of the churches looking to the constitution of what is now Boone's Creek Association was held at Cross Plains on May 1, 1822, and William Boone was clerk of the convention. The second conference was held at Boone's Station. The picture of the original site of Boone's Station in this sketch is, we believe, the first and only one in existence and was taken for the author on June 1, 1923. Up to a few years ago the lines of the stockade and
BOONE'S CREEK CHURCH
cabins were easily traceable or to be seen, but the cultivation of the land in recent times has leveled the ground, so that at present nothing remains to mark the site of the Station and this wilderness home of the great frontiersman, Daniel Boone, except the tomb stones over several graves, seen around the locust trees in the picture. These graves are supposed to be those of some of the dwellers of the Station, and the stones are of the native rock of the neighborhood and without an inscription of any kind to identify them. The stockade, cabins and the spring were between the graves and the creek, alongside of which now runs a turnpike road. R. R. Barker, the present owner of the land, is a descendant of Daniel Boone's brother, Samuel, and his residence is a few yards northeast of the graveyard. This land includes the original station site and has been owned by the Barker family for about seventy-five years.
It is said that it was at this station that Boone related the story of his life to Filson, the historian, and it is also said to have been here that the Shawnee Indians, from whom he had escaped several years before, undertook to recapture Boone, as they still longed for his companionship, so they sent four of their tribe, who lay in ambush around the Station for several days and finally succeeded in capturing him in his small barn, in the upper portion of which he had hung up a small crop of tobacco for curing. Boone requested his captors to allow him to go up into the barn loft to get some fine tobacco to take with them. To this the
Indians assented, and Boone then went into the loft and crushing up several handfuls of tobacco threw it down into the uplifted eyes of the savages and at the same time springing down himself made his escape before the savages could recover from the blinding effects of the tobacco.
SITE OP BOONE'S STATION.
It was also at this station that the churches endeavoring to organize Boone's Creek Association held their second conference or convention, on the 2nd and 3rd days of October, 1822, at which time a constitution and rules of decorum were drafted and sent to the several churches for adoption, amendment or rejection. At this meeting the convention called for another conference to be
held at Boggs' Fork Church, on April 25, 1823. The first draft of the constitution underwent considerable alteration in the various churches, and also in the meeting at Boggs' Fork.
Regarding the time of the erection of this Station by Boone, a kinsman of his, Mr. Asa C. Barrow, of Clark County, Kentucky, gives an account of this Station, which he has good reason for believing to be authentic, and is as follows:"William Scholl was a native of Virginia and removed with his wife and family of ten children to Kentucky in the fall of 1779, and arrived at Boonesborough on December 25, where they met Daniel Boone, their kinsman, who was there attending the court held for the purpose of adjusting titles to Kentucky lands. On the same day, the Scholls accompained by Daniel Boone crossed the river and camped about four miles west of Boonesborough and the following day reached what was afterwards Boone's Station, where they erected half faced camps and lived in them until the following March, when the snow melted and they erected a stockade and cabins. This was during the hard winter of 1779-80. The Scholls and Boone ate the last bread they had on Christmas day, 1779, and were without that article of food until the following summer, when their crop of corn matured."It is a historic fact that Boone and his co-pioneers on their long hunting trips away from civilization, where they could not obtain bread, used the meat of wild turkeys, which is a very dry meat, for bread, while they used the more juicy meat of the deer, bear and buffalo as meat.
Of the first inhabitants of Boone's Station, four were among the constituent members of Boone's Creek Church, namely, Samuel Boone, Sarah Boone, William Scholl and his wife Leah Scholl.
Although the Revolutionary war was at an end, there were still dangerous and exciting times ahead for the frontiersmen of Kentucky, and they were constantly alert for attacks by the savages, but even under these conditions many found time, as they went about with their trusty rifles, to worship their Creator. It was at this historic spot, in the midst of a wilderness where still lingered the unconquered savage, that "the wild woods were made temples for His worship," and on the second Sunday in November, 1785, a small band of His followers gathered and constituted Boone's Creek Church. It was unfortunate that conditions existed in this church from the very beginning which were certain to produce dissentions and divisions later on. It was a singular commentary, even in this early day, on the scheme of church union, so frequently advocated in certain quarters at the present time, and resulted in many divisions in this church, of which we shall speak further on.
There have been five record books of this church, the first book covering the period from the constitution in 1785 until 1811, and this book disappeared after the division in the latter year, having been either misplaced or lost. The second book begins with the date of January 9, 1811 and extends to July, 1835. This book is in the library of the Baptist Seminary at Louisville. The third book which is also in the library at Louisville, contains the record of Boggs' Fork
Church from February, 1829, to February, 1832, following which there is a period of eight years in which there is no record of Boggs' Fork Church, and a period of five years with no record of Boone's Creek Church. Then, beginning with the first Saturday in December, 1840, we find the covenant and rules of decorum entered into by the two churches, Boone's Creek and Boggs' Fork, when they united and became known as Boone's Creek Church, and following this union of the two churches, this book contains the records until July, 1886. The fourth book begins in July, 1886, and continues until January l900. The fifth book is a continuation of the fourth book and contains the records up to the present time.
Therefore, the available records of this church begin with book No. 2, on January 9, 1811, at which time there occurred another division, and two churches were constituted, each having equal rights as to the occupancy of the church building. This was certainly the third, and probably the fourth or fifth division, since her constitution, inasmuch as there were six Baptist churches in this immediate vicinity at that time. According to Dr. Spencer, William Hickman and others, three of these were born of contention, namely, Head of Boone's Creek, Marble Creek (East Hickman) and the Primitive Baptist (1811); besides, there were nearby Boffman's Fork, constituted about 1786, and Boggs' Fork, constituted in 1800.
In commenting on the difficulties experienced during the early period of this church, Ford's Repository (1856) has the following to say:"Here were the opposers of all creeds and confessions, the most rigid and uncompromising Calvinists, bitterly opposed to any basis of union but the New Testament; the Separates wiithheld Christian fellowship and confidence from those who would not avow their faith in the eternal decrees, including eternal justification, denouncing all formulas, rules or terms of agreement in church compact, they insisted on the use of oil when praying for the sick, the laying on of hands after baptism, and the ordinance of foot washing, * * * * * Many of its members were Separates of the Highest Calvinistic notions; others were earnest Separates as regarding laying on of hands after baptism. * * * * * The Regular Baptists were moderate, but were opposed to both classes of Separates."No doubt these conditions were largely brought about, or at least aggravated, by the influence and leadership of two ministers, who were not only widely separated upon many religious questions, but were men of a totally different type, each being more or less eccentric, especially Craigg. If Joseph Craigg was not a member of the first Boone's Creek Church, which we are inclined to doubt, he lived in that community."Elder Tanner was a very strong hyper-Calvinist, who entered deeply into the investigation of God's eternal decrees. He seemed to have arrived at the conclusion that none were 'sound on the decrees' from his standpoint, and when the revival which was sweeping over the country reached Boone's Creek in 1787 (Hickman says in 1786), Elder Tanner, their pastor, was opposed to the revival, claiming it was the 'work of the Devil,' and he refused to baptize, and Rev. William Hickman was sent for and carried on the meeting."
"Elder Craigg was a man of marked eccentricities, but a very zealous Separate. Sometimes his zeal seemed intemperate, as if the man had not common sense, yet there was something in him more original than was found in other men." (Dr. Spencer).When many of the Baptists were being persecuted in Virginia, Joseph Craig was arrested on numerous occasions, but generally was able to baffle the officers while on his way to prison and make his escape. On one occasion, while riding along in the custody of an officer, Mr. Craigg, thinking it no dishonor to "cheat the devil" (as he expressed it), slipped off his horse and took to the woods, and, though hunted with dogs, he was able to make good his escape. On another occasion, while he was preaching, he saw the officers coming into the house and he stepped out at a back door and ran to a swamp, thinking he was safe, but they took his trail with a pack of dogs, and to evade the dogs he betook himself to a tree from which his pursuers shook him down like a wild beast and forced him on a horse and perhaps tied his hands, thinking they would surely get him to court this time. On the way he reasoned thus: Good men ought not to go to prison and if you put so good a man as Jo Craigg in prison, I will have no hand in it, and thereupon threw himself off the horse and would neither ride nor walk, behaving perhaps as David did before Achish, King of Gath, and finally they released him. During his day pack-saddles were much in demand for conveying goods through the wilderness on pack-horses, and while Mr. Craigg was preaching one day to a congregation assembled in the woods, upon casting his eyes upward, he said, "Brethren, see, there is a fork that would make a good pack-saddle," and then continued his sermon without making a pause. (Dr. Spencer).
At the beginning of Book No. 2, we find that Boone's Creek Church was constituted on the second Lord's day (the 13th) of November, 1785, by the ministering help of John Tanner and John Taylor, fourteen members entering into the constitution of a regular Baptist church, to be known by the name of Boone's Creek Church. The names of these fourteen members are as follows: Robert Fryer, George Shortige, William Scholl, Leah Scholl, Turner Crump, John Morgan, Samuel Boone, James Hazelrigg, John Hazelrigg, Kizziah Shortige, Margaret Shortige, Grace Jones, Sarah Boone and Elizabeth Hazelrigg.
As to her first pastor, Dr. Spencer says it was probably Elder David Thompson, but we hardly agree with him, as this church was not constituted until November, 1785, and Elder William Hickman says he was called there in 1786 to hold a meeting and that John Tanner was then pastor. After this meeting the dissension seems to have continued, for with considerable difficulty nineteen members obtained letters of dismissal and constituted Marble Creek Church (now East Hickman), on June 15, 1787. In 1788, Elder Thompson was probably their pastor, as he was a messenger from this church to the Elkhorn Association in that year, the church reporting a membership of thirty-seven. Elder Tanner, like many other preachers at that period, suffered persecution in Old Virginia and North Carolina for preaching the Word of God and for baptizing a lady by the name of Dawson, in North Carolina, against the wishes of her husband. Mr. Dawson shot the preacher and for weeks his life was despaired of. He also suffered a term of imprisonment with six other preachers. (Dr. Spencer).
On January 9, 1811, the church met for business. A proposition was made this day to try Brother A. Bainbridge for speaking untruths, as we deemed them, but the minority proposed a separation rather than that he should come to trial, and this was agreed to by the majority. Therefore, a separation took place, the majonity, thirty-four in number, continuing to call themselves Boone's Creek Church and remaining in Elkhorn Association until 1823, when they went into the constitution of Boone's Creek Association. The minority took the name of Particular Baptists and united with Licking Association, which association was formed as a result of strife and contention that originated over a personal difficulty between Elder Jacob Creath and Thomas Lewis concerning the exchange of a couple of slaves, Lewis being a member of Town Fork Church (First Church of Lexington), and Creath was the pastor of that church. Other churches being called upon to give their add in adjusting the difficulty also became involved. (Dr. Spencer)
On the 19th day of January, 1811, the following written agreement was entered into by the dissenting parties."Whereas, this church has agreed to become two bodies, we agree that each member shall join which party they please, and each part shall have equal right to occupy the house one-half the time unmolested, and repairs done jointly, and the part continuing in Elkhorn Association shall have record book by providing the other part with another as good, etc. The majority furnished the minority with a book, but they refused to give up the record book agreeable to our written articles. The former clerk was with the minority and we could not obtain the book without recourse to law, so we chose rather to be defrauded and suffer loss than go contrary to the word of God. Therefore, having obtained from the old book the date of the constitution and some other matter, the records of Boone's Creek Church in future shall be recorded in this book and to be known by the former name, believing it to be our just right for the following reasons: First, as having fourteen members of a majority, and second, having stood to our former compact with Elkhorn Association. Therefore, we have caused our names to be hereunto set. Thirty-six names are recorded as members of this party, as follows: Samuel Boone, Mary Boone, Sarah Boone, William Barker, Ann Barker, William Christian, Marthew (Martha?) Christian, Thomas Christian, Mary Winn, Rebecka Jones, Letuce Winn, Hannah Hicbman, Thadeus Dulin, Elizabeth Dulin, Susannah Cockrell, T. Dulin, Sarah Gest, Cudjoe (servant) Ann Gest, Sidney McDonald, Polly Cotton, Ann Willson, John Hay, James Vallingdam and Elizabeth, his wife, and Rose (slave), S. Burbridge, (Bainbridge?) Polly Evans, Ruth Lucas, Philadelphia Simpson, James Gest, Martin Coons, Steven Lay, Billy (servant), and Nancy Lay."The Boone's Creek Church extended a call to Elder Jeremiah Vardeman to become their pastor, which he accepted and began his labors with them in February, 1811.
Of the minority or Particular Church we will say nothing, except that during the twenty-four years of their separation some of the ministers who preached for them were A. Bainbridge, Ambrose Dudley, T. P. Dudley and William Rash. They reunited with Boone's Creek Church in July, 1835. It may be said that after the separation in 1811, the two churches seemed to be very friendly toward each other.
From the records of Boone's Creek Church it is observed that they were very strict in matters of discipline. The minutes of many of their meetings are filled with charges and trials, appointment of committees to adjust difficulties and sometimes a member would bring before the church a charge against himself, make acknowledgement and ask for forgiveness.
In April, 1811, William Cleveland was elected church clerk. During this year there were received into the church thirty-six members by experience and baptism.
In May, 1812, a certain brother and his wife preferred charges against a sister Ward, stating that she had come to the brother's house and said she had come over to devil him; that he was so handsome she had fallen in love with him, and she proceeded to hug him. She was excluded.
In March, 1813, the records show that the church had received sixty-four additions since the division in 1811. In July, 1813, Thadeus Dulin was elected clerk, William Cleveland having resigned. In October, 1814, T. Dulin resigned and William Boone was elected clerk, he being the first clerk to affix his signature to the minutes. In November, 1814, a motion was made by Deacon Squire Boone (this is the first mention of a deacon) whether the deacons should present the elements of the Lord's Supper to persons not in union with us. The church unanimously answered in the negative. In March, 1815, Lindsfield Burbridge was ordained a deacon and at the same meeting George G. Boone was ordained to the ministry. In September, 1815, the church agreed to buy two pamphlets on missionary subjects. This is the first mention of any missionary activities.
In December, 1815, the church agreed to raise a sum of money for the pastor, this being the first mention of remunerating the pastor for his services. In February, 1816, Elder G. G. Boone was invited to preach for them whenever their pastor, Elder Vardeman, was away. In May, 1816, the church decided not to repair the meeting house until they had obtained a deed for the lot. It appears that they had had possession of the lot for thirty-one years without having a deed. In February, 1817, Elder G. G. Boone was extended a call as pastor, but declined to accept the call, stating that he would preach for them whenever possible. In April, 1817, letters of dismissal were granted to G. G. Boone and his wife. In July, 1817, the church reported a membership of eighty-six. At this meeting William Boone resigned as clerk and called for his letter. In October, 1817, Elder Richard Morton accepted the pastorate. In February, 1818, David Watts was chosen a deacon, having been previously ordained by another church. David Moore was elected clerk. In February, 1821, Thomas Faulconer was elected clerk.
In June, 1821, upon the request of Elkhorn Association for an answer to the question "whether it is right to correspond with the Missionary Board or not," on motion, the church decided to send an answer in the affirmative. In August, 1821, the church, in dealing with disorderly members, agreed to add the following article to the rules of decorum, viz., "All members guilty of public offenses shall come forward and make acknowledgement to the church without being sent for." Brother James Christian having been exercising a public gift without the authority of the church, a committee was appointed at the regular meeting in December, 1821, to see the brother, and after examination he was granted the liberty to exercise his gift, but in April following this action was rescinded. In
January, 1822, upon the request of Boggs' Fork Church, Boone's Creek Church agreed to co-operate in forming a new association, and Brothers Burbridge, Watts and Foster were appointed a committee to aid in the drafting of a constitution for the new association.
In September, 1822, at his own request, the pastor, Richard Morton, was relieved of the pastoral care of the church for one year, owing to ill health, with the hope that he would be able to return to them at the expiration of that time. The following month Elder Enoch Mason accepted the care of the church. In October, 1822, the church in session took up for consideration the constitution drafted for the new association. They voted to strike out the article referring to Missionary and Bible societies and also that relative to celebrating the Lord's Supper on the second day of the association. It can readily be seen from the latter article that the teaching of Alexander Campbell was being accepted by some of the members of the Baptist churches even as early as 1822, or this article would never have been inserted in the constitution of a Baptist association. At this same meeting, Isaac Foster was granted license to preach the gospel. In November, 1822, the church agreed to accept the constitution prepared by the committee for the new association, with the exception of the two articles voted to be striken out at the previous meeting.
A copy of the constitution for a new association, as adopted at the meeting at Boggs' Fork Church, was read and ratified by the church in May, 1823, and a committee of five brethren appointed to meet at Mt. Gilead Church on May 28 for the purpose of constituting the association, consisting of Thomas Faulconer, Linchfield Burbridge, David Watts, Thompson Duvall and Thomas Christian.
In October, 1823, the church being of the opinion that Brother James Duvall is possessed of profitable gifts, they agreed to encourage him to go forward in the manner of the Lord and occupy as he may think proper. In August, 1824, steps were taken to 'have the Boggs' Fork Church unite with this church, and together build a new meeting house. After four months, the minutes of December, 1824, stated that this effort was a failure, as Boggs' Fork Church declined to unite with them. (However, the two congregations did unite later, in the year 1840.) The two churches failing to unite, 1824 a committee was appointed to procure subscriptions with a view to building a new house at or near Cross Plains (now Athens), and to procure a lot on which to build. They purchased an acre of land adjoining the lot on which the old house now stands.
In November, 1826, William Grimes was ordained a deacon. In July, 1827, Elder G. G. Boone accepted the pastorate, remaining with them until March, 1830. In October, 1827, Samuel Boone was chosen a deacon. In February, 1828, James Barker was received by experience and baptism. In March, 1828, John Robinson was chosen a deacon. In April, 1829, the church in session, took up the resolution, proposed by the last Association, to abolish the constitution of Boone's Creek Association, and after considerable discussion the church, by a majority vote, agreed to quash the present motion before the church, and refuse to give an answer to the Association on the subjcet. But at the Association meeting, their messengers voted to retain the constitution.
In March, 1830, a motion was made for a friendly separation in the church, but the motion was quashed by a previous question, whether it is now expedient to decide on the question before the church, upon which a majority voted for quashing it. In April, 1830, a vote was taken for a pastor, Elder G. G. Boone receiving twenty-nine votes, eight voting against him. In May, 1830, on motion, it was agreed to ascertain how many members were in favor of the constitution and rules of decorum of this church, the vote being thirty-six in favor and twenty opposed. Then a motion was made to have a friendly separation of the church, and each party have equal rights in the house, twenty-five voting in favor of quashing the motion and twenty-three in opposition. The minority tried to form themselves into another congregation by going into the meeting house, and a committee was appointed by the majority to see the others, and this difficulty was disposed of as follows: "We the church at this place conceive that those members (forty in number) having excluded themselves and use of the church house at this place, by not being satisfied with the rules and regulations of this church." (Further on it will be seen that the Reformers still continued to worship in the same meeting house).
In July, 1830, Elder John M. Johnson accepted the call as pastor, but only remained a short time, when he was succeeded by Elder John Dean, in August, 1831, who served eighteen months. In October, 1831, William Gest was elected clerk. The church, in May, 1831, took steps toward the union of the two Baptist churches at this place, but this union was not accomplished until four years later. In January, 1833, the pastorate was accepted by Elder Elrod, which he held for one year. In July, 1835, a motion was made that this church would dissolve her constitution, provided the sister church (Particular Baptists) worshipping in this house would dissolve hers, and agree to unite on a new constitution, and agree that when the new constitution is framed, the majority shall rule in adopting it, and the churches agree to meet this day week for union. This is the last entry in Book No 2. There are no further records of this church until 1840, but we are certain that the two churches united and became one congregation on the day above mentioned, after a separation of twenty-four years.
In the beginning of Book No. 3, there are records of Boggs' Fork Church from February, 1829 to February, 1832. The next entry is on the first Saturday in December, 1840, which contains the covenant and rules of decorum entered into by the members of Boone's Creek Church and Boggs' Fork Church when they united and became one congregation, to be known as Boone's Creek Church, and continue to meet at Boone's Creek Church meeting house. The next meeting of the congregation was on the third Saturday in the same month, at which time B. E. Allen and William Gess were appointed a committee to transcribe the names of the two former churches which have united at this place.
In January, 1841, the committee appointed to transcribe the names of the members of the two churches made its report. At this meeting Elder Edward Darnaby was called as pastor. At the February meeting in the same year, the church requested Brother B. E. Allen to exercise his gift as a public speaker. In August, 1841, B. E. Allen resigned as clerk, and James C. Berry was elected. In January, 1842, Brother B. E. Allen was ordained to the ministry. The following
month, the church called B. E. Allen and Edward Darnaby to serve as her pastors. At the meeting in March following, the church rescinded its action taken at the last meeting in calling pastors, and proceeded by secret ballot to call a pastor, which resulted in Elder B. E. Allen being called. He was their faithful, watchful and loving shepherd for nineteen years, until his death, which occurred on December 9, 1861. At the church meeting in the same month, they passed resolutions relative to the death of their beloved pastor, in part as follows: "We feel we have lost a true and much loved friend, a zealous and faithful minister, and an affectionate, loving and tender beloved pastor, and that this church sincerely laments its great loss, &c." At the same meeting a committee was appointed to write an obituary of Elder Allen, which was done and recorded in the church minutes.
In May, 1842, the church agreed to lay over the subject of foot-washing until the next meeting. In July, 1842, the church in session, voted that the action taken at the last meeting in regard to foot-washing be erased from the records. In October, 1843, the church agreed to erect a new house of worship, the measurements to be 45 x 30, with a 15 foot ceiling, but a few months later they decided not to build.
In May, 1846, Thomas Barker was employed as house-keeper. This is the first mention of Thomas Barker, who later became a very prominent and leading member of this church. He was the father of the present moderator of Boone's Creek Association.
In July, 1846, the subject of building a new house was again discussed, and a committee was appointed to see the Reform brethren and ascertain what claim they would set up to the house (they had been using it for worship one Sunday in each month ever since the division in 1829). The committee reported that the Reformers expected to occupy the house for a reasonable time, or until they could build. The matter was evidently adjusted in a satisfactory manner, for the Baptists appointed a building committee and went right ahead with the erection of a new brick meeting house, which as the present house of worship. It was completed and dedicated sometime during the summer of 1847, for in June of that year the church selected Elder Walker to preach the dedication sermon, but the records fail to note the day of dedication.
In February, 1850, James C. Berry resigned as clerk, and was chosen as a deacon. At the next meeting, in March, R. L. Berry was elected church clerk. On August 29, 1852, there was added to the church membership thirteen by experience and baptism. In February, 1854, R. L,. Berry resigned as clerk, and James W. Berry was chosen to succeed him in the clerkship. In October, 1858, James W. Berry resigned as clerk, and he was ordained a deacon. Thomas F. Barker was elected clerk, in which position he served faithfully for thirty years, resigning in July, 1886. At the May meeting in 1860, Thomas F. Barker was ordained a deacon.
Dr. R. T. Dillard succeeded Elder Allen in the pastorate, beginning his labors in January, 1862, and served them for one year. Dr. Dillard was succeeded by Elder E. D. Isbell, who remained their pastor until January, 1867, and was immediately succeeded by Elder C. E. W. Dobbs, who was their leader until March,
1870. In a series of meetings held toy their pastor in September, 1867, twelve were added to the church membership by experience and baptism. In May, 1870, Elder D. B. Ray accepted the pastorate, remaining with them for exactly three years.
At the meeting in September, 1870, the church agreed to pay their part for the support of a missionary in Boone's Creek Association. This is the first mention of supporting a missionary in Boone's Creek Association. In December, 1870, Lewis Harris was ordained a deacon. In a series of meetings held in August, 1871, there were thirty additions to the church by experience and baptism and several by letter. In June, 1873, Elder J. L. Smith accepted the care of the church, laboring faithfully for three years. In November, 1874, the church in session, passed the following resolution: "We consider the making and selling of intoxicating liquors contrary to the spirit of Christianity and the teaching of the Scriptures, and we hereby express our disapproval of the practice, and request the brethren to abstain from it in the future." However, at the next meeting the resolution on intoxicating liquors was rescinded and postponed indefinitely.
In December, 1876, the church went into a call for a pastor, but the vote was not unanimous, and the minority refused to accept the choice of the majority, so that both names were withdrawn. In March, 1877, they agreed on Elder T. V. Riley as their pastor, but the records do not state how long he served them. In August, 1878, Elder J. L. Smith was preaching for them, but the records do not show when he accepted the pastorate; he offered his resignation in 1879. In Novemiber, 1879, R. F. Martin and R. Adams were ordained as deacons. In December, 1879, Elder J. C. Freeman became their pastor, but the records fail to state how long he served, but he was succeeded in February, 1882, by Dr. W. M. Pratt, who remained their under-shepherd until December, 1883. In December, 1882, we find for the first time mention of a Sunday School in this church, but we note from the Association minutes that they had a Sunday School as early as 1876.
There are no records of any meetings of the church for a period of two years, from December, 1883, to December, 1885, and on this latter date Dr. William Stuart accepted the pastorate, after which there are no further records until July, 1886, when Hugh F. Barker was elected clerk, upon the resignation of his father, Thomas F. Barker, who had served in that capacity for twenty-eight years. The last record in Book No. 3, is on the fourth Saturday in November, 1886, at which time a call was extended to their present pastor, Dr. Stuart for another year.
Book No. 4 also contains the records of the church meetings from July, 1886, to to November, 1886, after which date the next business meeting was in March, 1887, and at this meeting the pastor, Dr. Stuart, requested a leave of absence for three months, and this was granted. From the church records it appears that while Dr. Stuart was pastor he was absent much of the time from their church meetings. In May, 1888, Rev. J. Pike Powers accepted the call of the church and served them faithfully, as he did in all of his pastorates, until December, 1889, when with sorrowing hearts and much reluctance, they gave up their tender and loving under-shepherd, in order that he might take the advice of his physician and move his family to a more equitable climate.
During the pastorate of Brother Powers a series of meetings were held, which resulted in fifty-five additions by experience and baptism, and fifteen by letter, and after some had been dismissed by letter, it left them a membership of one hundred and sixty-four, in September, 1890.
Brother Powers was succeeded by Elder B. P. Johnson, who began his labors in January, 1890, serving them for one year, when he was succeeded by that indefatigable servent of the Lord, Rev. I. T. Creek, who served with fidelity and zeal until September, 1896. In the spring of 1892, J. W. Christian and A. N. Wornock were ordained as deacons. In February, 1892, the church, by motion, required every male member to attend busiiness meetings at least once in every quarter, and a failure to do so without a good excuse would be considered disorderly. In January, 1896, after ten years of faithful service H. F. Barker resigned the clerkship, and was succeeded by his brother, R. R. Barker. In February, 1897, the pastorate was accepted by Elder J. M. Shelburn, but he only served the church a few months.
By order of the church, at her meeting in February, no more graves are to be made within the boundary of the church lot or graveyard, except on the space already allotted to those who have such space enclosed with a fence. W. E. Christian, one of her most useful and prominent members was called to his reward in April, 1898, and the Ladies Aid Society of the church presented resolutions in regard to the high esteem in which he was held, and these resolutions were ordered to be recorded in the church record. About this time the church sustained the loss of two more of her members, namely, Benjamin Holliday and Nannie Martin, and the church appointed a committee to draft resolutions in regard to the death of these three members, which resolutions were duly recorded in the minutes. In January, 1899, Rev. J. S. Willson accepted the pastorate, and he was their loving and zealous leader until February, 1902. R. R. Barker and Frank Corum were ordained as deacons in February, 1899. The last entry in Book No, 4 is on the fourth Sunday in January, 1900.
After the last entry in Book No. 4, there is a period of two years for which there are no records, Book No. 5 beginning with January, 1902. Either at this meeting or the February meeting following, their pastor, Brother Willson, resigned, and after record of this meeting there is a period of more than five years, during which time there are only one or two entries in the record of church proceedings, one of which is the ordination of one of her members, Brother Charles E. Elsey, to the ministry on June 22, 1902. Dr. B. D. Gray was moderator and J. W. Christian secretary of the presbytery. Prof. E. E. Ayers delivered the ordination sermon. There is also a statement in the church book, not signed by anyone, which is as follows: "After the resignation of Brother J. S. Willson as pastor, Brother T. C. Stackhouse accepted the call of the church, and resigned after one year's service. Then Brother A. R. Willett accepted and served one year and resigned. Then the church called Brother C. L. Graham, he accepted and this is his third year with the church, 1908." The church book does not say anything about the records during this period of five and a half years, as to whether they were lost or not kept at all.
The records begin again with September, 1907, at which time we find Brother C. L. Graham was pastor and Ed B. Barker clerk, the latter being a brother of the preceding clerk, R. R. Barker, who had succeeded his brother, Hugh P. Barker, and he had succeeded his father, Thomas P. Barker, who was elected clerk in October, 1858, thus it will be seen that the clerkship of this old church has been filled for sixty-five consecutive years by father and three sons. There is no other clerkship record like this in any of the churches in Boone's Creek Association.
At the meeting in September, 1907, the church by resolutions records the death of a beloved deacon, Prank Corum. In July, 1909, Rev. C. L. Graham
WILLIAM T. BARKER.
resigned the pastorate, having served four years. He was succeeded immediately by Rev. J. W. Campbell, who served one year. Their next pastor, Brother Wellingham, entered the field in May, 1913 and remained about one year. He was succeeded by Don Q. Smith, in 1914, and he by Rev. E. S. Summers, in October, 1914. Rev. E. S. Summers remained until May, 1916, and he was succeeded by Brother Erbert Summers, in November, 1916, but the records fail to state how long he was pastor. In February, 1915, Joe Lawson and James Moore were elected deacons.
We fail to find any records from May, 1917 until September, 1918, at which meeting the church instructed her messengers to Boone's Creek Association to petition said body to return to her former custom of three days annual session
instead of only two days. In April, 1919, Brother Robert Griffin accepted the care of the church, but remained only about eight months. In August, 1919, William Deering was chosen a deacon, having been previously ordained by another church. On June 25, 1920, Brother John Stallings was ordained to the ministry, having been previously called as pastor. Two deacons were also ordained, namely, Ed. A. Barker and James Morton. Dr. C. E. Elsey was moderator and Rev. D. F. Sebastian clerk of the presbytery. Dr. William Stallings preached the ordination sermon. The church records fail to state how long Brother Stallings served them as pastor, but he was succeeded by their present pastor, Rev. Paul C. Luttrell in May, 1921. The pastor and people seem devoted to each other and all
REV. P. C. LUTTRELL.
working together in a splendid way for the advancement of the Lord's cause. Since Brother Luttrell has been pastor they have built a fine parsonage on the church lot, so that it can be said to her credit that she is the only country church in Boone's Creek Association that owns a parsonage.
This old church in the earlier part of her existence had many trials and tribulations, undergoing several divisions and reunions, sometimes almost losing her identity as a Baptist church, yet whenever put to the test she has always manifested sufficient strength to maintain her existence as a Baptist church and in 1822, it was through the influence of this church that a very objectionable clause, in reference to the Lord's Supper on the second day of the Association, was
stricken out of the constitution for the proposed new association (Boone's Creek Association). If there is any one family, more than an other, that during the history of the church has had a continuous connection and a deep and abiding faith in her future, from the very constitution of the church, but especially since 1811, it is the family of Barker. The acting clerk of the church, Ed. A. Barker, is at present the moderator of Boone's Creek Association, and his brother, R. R. Barker, is a member of the Executive Board of the Association. William T. Barker was moderator of all the church meetings for many years. The records of the church attest that they and their ancestors have all been loyal to the church and zealous for its welfare. For the, past seventy years, with perhaps one or two exceptions, one or two, and sometimes three, of the messengers to the annual session of the Association have been members of the Barker family.
This church united with South Elkhorn Association in 1786, and entertained one session of that body, in 1789, at which time the said association was composed of thirteen churches, reporting a membership of eleven hundred and forty-three. Boone's Creek Church remained a member of the South Elkhorn Association until 1823, when she was one of the constituent churches of Boone's Creek Association, and to which Association she has annually sent a letter and messengers. The church has entertained eleven annual sessions of the Boone's Creek Association, in the following years: 1824, 1833, 1840, 1851, 1860, 1869, 1878, 1887, 1896, 1906, 1918.
The quota for Boone's Creek Church in the 75 Million Campaign was $4,750.00, but when the pledge cards were turned in they showed an amount in excess of the quota of about $3,000.00.
Pastors. - During the one hundred and thirty-eight years existence as a church, Boone's Creek Church has been served by more than thirty-six pastors, but on account of the church records for the first twenty-six years having been lost, we are unable to name all of them during this period. However, from authentic records we learn that John Tanner and David Thompson were the first two pastors. Beginning with the year 1811, the other thirty-four pastors are as follows: (Year indicates beginning of pastorate) Jeremiah Vardeman, 1811; Richard Morton, 1817; Enoch Mason, 1822; George G. Boone, 1827; John M. Johnson, 1830; John Dean, 1831; Elder Elrod, 1833; Edward Darnaby, 1841; B. E. Allen, 1842; R. T. Dillard, 1862; E. D. Isbell, (resigned in) 1866; C. E. W. Dobbs, 1867; D. B. Ray, 1870; John L. Smith, (first) 1873, (second) 1878; T. V. Riley, 1879; J. C. Freeman, 1879; W. M. Pratt, 1882; William Stuart, 1885; J. Pike Powers, 1888; B. P. Johnson, 1890; I. T. Creek, 1891; J. M. Shelburn, 1897; J. S. Willson, 1899; T. C. Stackhouse (about) 1903; A. R. Willett, (about) 1904; C. L. Graham, 1906; J. W. Campbell, 1909; Brother Wellingham, 1912; Don Q. Smith, 1914; E. S. Summers, 1914; Erbert Summers, 1916, Robert Griffin, 1919; John Stallings, 1920; Paul C. Luttrell, (the present pastor) 1921.
Clerks. - There are no records from which to obtain the names of the clerks prior to 1811, but since that date this congregation has been served by fifteen clerks as follows: (Year indicates beginning of service.) William Cleveland, 1811; Thadeus Dulin, 1813; William Boone, 1814; David Moore, 1818; Thomas
Faulconer, 1821; Grant Watts, 1829; William Gest, 1831; B. E. Allen, (resigned in) 1841; James C. Berry, 1841; R. L. Berry, 1850; James W. Berry, 1854; Thomas P. Barker, 1858; Hugh F. Barker, 1886; R. R. Barker, 1896; Ed. A. Barker, 1907; the present clerk.
Deacons. - (Year indicates ordination) Squire Boone is mentioned as being a deacon in 1814; but he must have been a deacon prior to 1811, as no mention is made of his ordination after that date; Lansfield Burbridge, 1815; David Watts, chosen 1818, (previously ordained by another church); William Grimes, 1826; Samuel Boone, 1827; John Robinson, 1828; James C. Berry, 1850; James W. Berry, 1858; Thomas F. Barker, 1860; Lewis Harris, 1870; R. F. Martin, 1879; R. Adams, 1879; William T. Barker, 1880; J. W. .Christian, 1892; A. N. Wornock, 1892; R. R. Barker, 1899; Frank Corum, 1899; Joe Lawson, 1915; James Moore, 1915; William Deering, chosen 1919 (previously ordained by another church); Ed. A. Barker, 1920; James Morton, 1920; James Moore, 1921; J. N. Strader, 1921; J. B. Harp, 1922; John Stipp, 1922.
HEAD OF BOONE'S CREEK CHURCH-1785 .
While Head of Boone's Creek Church was never a member of Boone's Creek Association, inasmuch as it was on the waters of Boone's Creek, and has at times been confused with Boone's Creek Church of Regular Baptists, it may be advisable to mention briefly the history of this church. According to Dr. Spencer, this church was constituted as the result of a division in the Regular Church of Boone's Creek. Head of Boone's Creek Church was a Separate Baptist church, and is believed to have 'been one of the constituent members of South Kentucky Association in 1787. It is also believed to have been one of the four churches that withdrew from that Association in 1793 and organized Tate's Creek Association. Dr. Spencer, (History of Kentucky Baptists, Vol. I, page 81), says that in 1790 this church had a membership of seventy-four, and that this is the last account we have of it, except that it was soon after dissolved. But Dr. Spencer also says later (Vol. II, page 91) Head of Boone's Creek Church entertained Tate's Creek Association in the year 1795 and 1797. As to how long this church remained in existence, we do not know. The records of Tate's Creek Association prior to 1888 have been either misplaced or lost. If it is true, as claimed by Asplund, that the Head of Boone's Creek Church was constituted in 1785, then the statement by Dr. Spencer that the constitution of this church grew out of contention in the Boone's Creek Church of Regular Baptists, which was constituted on November 13, 1785, could hardly be correct.
BOFFMAN'S FORK BAPTIST CHURCH - 1787.
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