Baptist History Homepage

History of the Churches of Boone's Creek
Baptist Association of Kentucky
By S. J. Conkwright, 1923


     This church is located at Newman's Stand, Estill County, Kentucky, and was known by the name of Newman's Church for about twenty years, when the name was changed to Providence Church. The only records of this congregation that we have been able to find, date from May 4, 1865 to August, 1893. It is understood, however, that Elders J. J. Edwards and John Ward were instrumental in gathering this church, about the year 1857, and that most of the members who went into the constitution of this church came from Clear Creek Church, in Estill County.

     From Irvine Association records we find that Newman's Church was one of the seven churches that went into the organization of Irvine Association in 1859. The Association held three of her annual sessions with Newman's Church, in the years 1864, 1875, and 1886.

     The records of Providence Church show that on May 4, 1865, Elder J. J. Edwards was their pastor, and Elisha Kerby clerk. In June, 1865, the church purchased a new book for recording the minutes or proceedings of the church,

[p. 124]
and the clerk, Elisha Kerby, and Sidney Dozier were appointed a committee to transcribe the records from the old book into the new one. In August, 1865, Jefferson Martin was chosen clerk, but he only served one year, when Elisha Kerby again accepted the clerkship. In May, 1866, James Stacey was ordained as deacon. Elder J. J. Edwards resigned the pastoral care of the church and was succeeded by Elder W. B. Arvin, who, on account of ill health served only a few months, when he was succeeded, in July, 1867, by Elder John Newton, who remained pastor until April, 1869. On the latter date, that good old man, Elder J. J. Edwards again became their under-shepherd. He was a man consecrated to his calling and he served his people during this second pastorate for eleven years, with zeal and fidelity, resigning in December, 1880. At this time his memoranda showed that he had baptized 5,673 persons and gathered about thirty-five churches.

     In August, 1877, the church voted to build a new house of worship. There are no church proceedings recorded from December, 1877 to April, 1879, when we find that sometime between these dates the name of the church has been changed from Newman's to Providence Church. Elder N. B. Johnson served the church as pastor during a part of the years 1881-2. In January, 1882, resolutions of respect were ordered placed in their records, with regard to the high esteem in which the church held Brother Elisha Kerky, who died December 5, 1881. He was for many years deacon and a faithful clerk of this congregation. In May, 1882, James M. Glowers was elected clerk.

     Elder J. J. Edwards again accepted the pastorate in May, 1882, serving this time for two years. In April, 1883, I. 0. Dozier was chosen clerk, and some time later J. S. Fy was elected clerk. In November, 1884, Elder T. L. Lawson became their pastor, and remained in the pastorate for two years. In July, 1885, Pastor Lawson, assisted by Elder Shelby Todd, held a series of meetings, during which twelve were added to the church. In August, 1885, Thomas W. Turpin was chosen clerk.

     Elder J. I. Wills accepted the call as pastor in November, 1886, remaining with them fcr two years. During Brother Wills pastorate, he was assisted in a series of meetings by Elder R. R. Noel, which resulted in a revival of the members and twenty additions to the church. In June, 1884, the church granted license to one of her members, Brother J. T. Turpin, to preach the Gospel. I. O. Dozier was again chosen clerk of the church in March, 1887.

     In March, 1889, the church appointed a committee to go to South Fork Church and request the ordination of Brother James W. Parsons to preach the Gospel, Providence Church having extended him a call as pastor. Brother Parsons remained with them until December, 1889, when Elder A. B. Anderson accepted the care of the church for one year. The church records do not state whether they had a regular pastor after Brother Anderson resigned up until August, 1893, which is the date of the last church record of this congregation.

     From the records of Boone's Creek Association we ftnd that Providence Church, Estill County, was admitted into that body in 1910, reporting in her letter a membership of fourteen, and Elder J. T. Turpin pastor. The pastors since Brother Turpin resigned have been as follows: Rev. P. N. Taylor, 1912, Rev. W.

[p. 125]
A. M. Woods, 1913, when their membership increased to fifty, but they have never reported as large a membership since; Rev. T. P. Edwards, 1914 and 1919; Rev. P. N. Taylor, 1917; Rev. H. D. Wise, 1918; Rev. W. B. Kemper, 1920 and 1921. In 1922, the church reported to the Association a membership of eighteen, and no pastor. They have not had a Sunday School since 1921.

     The quota for the Seventy-five Million Campaign was $150.00.

     We regret very much to see this old church waning, when she was once such a power for good in the community, and in former years such a strong church in Irvine Association.



     While the city of Winchester is one of the oldest towns in the State of Kentucky, having been established in 1793, as the county seat of Clark County, this being the year after the formation of the county, it was sixty-six years before a Baptist church was organized in the city. It may be interesting to know why the First Baptist Church was net constituted until 1859. In those early days the town was close to the Bush Settlement, (near Boonesborough) and Strode's Station, both of which were largely settled by Baptists, and while the town was very small at that time, it must not be imagined that the Baptists were inactive during these first sixty-six years after the establishment of Winchester, for they had a strong and influential congregation, called first Strode's Station Church and later Friendship Church, which was organized in 1791, and owned a good brick meeting house, for those days. (See sketch of Friendship Church). This meeting house was located just outside of the city limits at the northwest corner of the present Winchestsr Cemetery, and fronted on the main, or Strode's, read from Lexington to Winchester, which came into town east of this church into what was then called Main Cross Street, now West Broadway, and was considered equally convenient to both the residents of Strode's Station and vicinity and those of Winchester, or John Baker's Station. Here the Baptists of Winchester and the immediate vicinity worshipped until the division between the Baptists and Reformers (so-called) occurred in 1829, alter which time the house was occupied by a small congregation of Particular Baptists for several years. Following the division referred to above, the remaining United Baptists, who had not joined the Reformers, united with the several Baptist churches in the county. (See Friendship Church.) Nothing was done toward the organization of a Baptist church in Winchester, as far as we have any record, until 1859, when the First Baptist Church was constituted. This being the period just previous to the Civil War, her growth, in so far as numbers was concerned, was very slow until several years after the war, but the character of the men and women who entered into the organization of the church was of the highest type and they were true Baptists. Among these might be mentioned the names of French, Bush, Quisenberry, Haggard, Ecton, Ogden, and others. Mrs. Mary Ogden Rash is the sole surviver of the twenty-nine constituent members, she having been a faithful member of this congregation for sixty-four years.
[p. 126]
     While it is true that the numerical growth of this church was exceedingly slow for many years, her membership never haying reached one hundred until 1881, yet they never lost faith and the good seed and sound doctrine sown by those eminent men of God, Drs. Ryland T. Dillard and William M. Pratt, who were instrumental in gathering this church, have brought forth abundant fruit and from the very beginning of its history this church has always been noted for having followed the scriptural exhortation to "earnestly contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints."


     Seldom, if ever, has it been the good fortune of a church, covering a period of nearly seventy years, to have had such a goodly number of the prominent ministers in the denomination to serve her as pastor, and among these may be mentioned Drs. Ambrose D. Rash, William M. Pratt, L. B. Woolfolk, Green Clay Smith, Thomas J. Stevenson, John L. Smith, T. C. Stackhouse, B. B. Bailey, J. J. Porter, C. C. Carroll, C. M. Thompson, and her present and much beloved pastor, Dr. J. W. Gillon. Grounded in the faith of our fathers, as she is, it is probable that should any under-shepherd prove disloyal to the faith, his pastorate would be of short duration.
[p. 127]
"Faith of our fathers! living still
In spite of dungeon, fire and sword;
O, how our hearts beat high with joy
When'er we hear that glorious word!
Faith of our fathers! holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death!"

     The records of this church show that she has always had the faith and courage to approve or disapprove all questions and policies that affect the Interest of the denomination or the cause of Christ, and fortunate has she been, ever since her organization as a church, in having pastors and laymen who were able and willing to contend for the position taken in such matters.

     In October, 1910, one hundred and twenty members requested letters of dismissal, which were granted. We presume they were among the number who entered into a new organization on October 27th, 1910, under the name of the Central Baptist Church of Winchester, Kentucky.

     The present membership of the First Baptist Church is six hundred and ten, the largest in her history, and she is the seventh church in the support of missions and benevolences in the State of Kentucky. Her future for usefulness was never brighter than it is at the present time.

     The following history has been compiled from the church records: In November, 1858, at the request of some of the brethren of the United Baptist persuasion, Drs. Ryland T. Dillard and William M. Pratt held a series of meetings in the new Presbyterian Church of Winchester, Kentucky, the meetings continuing for several days. From this time until the 16th of April, 1859, regular monthly meetings were held, at which there was generally preaching. The records state that the object of this organization, though not yet constituted as a church, was the worship of God and the promotion of His cause in our midst, and ultimately, at such time as they found themselves in a position to do so, to build a house of worship and constitute a United Baptist church. In pursuance to appointment, some of the brethren met at the court house on April 16, 1859, and after preaching a sermon, Dr. William M. Pratt was requested to preside at the meeting. After consultation and the interchange of views among the brethren and sisters present, they determined to build a house of worship, and on motion of Colby B. Quisenberry, Charles S. French was appointed secretary of the meeting. It was agreed to Build a house to cost from $3,500 to $5,000, and those present pledged $1,500. Committees were appointed to solicit funds, composed of James H. French and Samuel Chorn, for Montgomery County; Colby B. Quisenberry"and James H. G. Bush, for Clark County, and W. D. Sutherland, E. T. Woodward and C. S. French, for Winchester. The conference then adjourned to meet on the 28th day of May, 1859. They met pursuant to adjournment, and after singing and prayer by Brother Nathan Edmonson, Elder James Edmonson was chosen to preside. The committee appointed to solicit funds reported that they had obtained subscriptions amounting to $4,000. On motion it was ordered that this sum together with any subscriptions thereafter obtained should be used for the erection of a house of worship. A building committee was appointed, composed of Colby B.

[p. 128]
Quisenberry, as chairman (he being the largest contributor), James H. G. Bush and C. S. French. This committee was given full power to act in purchasing a suitable lot in the town of Winchester and making contracts tor the erection of the meeting house. The meeting then adjourned.

      On June 8, 1859, pursuant to an appointment and call, the brethren and sisters of surrounding Baptist churches assembled in the Presbyterian Church at eleven a. m. The following ministers were present, to lend their aid and counsel: Rev. Ryland T. Dillard, Rev. William M. Pratt, Rev. Buford E. Allen, and Rev. George Varden. After a sermon by Dr. Pratt, Dr. R. T. Dillard was chosen to preside over the meeting and Dr. W. M. Pratt was appointed clerk. Thirteen brethren and sixteen sisters came forward and signified their desire to be recognized as a Baptist church. The names of these twenty-nine constituent members are as follows: James H. G. Bush, Julia A. Bush, Colby B. Quisenberry, Emma Quisenberry, Charles S. French, Mary F. French, Anna C. Bright, Eliza S. Shipp, A. L. Haggard, Nannie J. Shannon, Louanna Haggard, James M. Bush, Mary Duncan, Mary Ogden, James Oliver, James Aldridge, Burgess Acton, (Ecton) Martha Acton, L. Acton, E. T. Woodward, Mary Woodward, Zach. E. Bush, William D. Sutherland, Mary F. Bush, Henry Croxton, Marthy Bruce, Polly Strode, Mrs. John Martin, and Francis Gentry. The articles of faith and covenant of the New Hampshire Baptists having been read, the brethren and sisters signified that they embodied in general their belief. Wherefore, it was resolved by the council to recognize the brethren and sisters as a Baptist church, and, after prayer by Rev. G. W. Varden, the right hand of fellowship was extended to them. It is said, that soon after the Civil War the church was in debt $3,000.00, and that Brother Burgess Ecton with two other members paid the indebtedness.

      On June 14, 1859, the church voted to purchase the lot where the present church now stands for $700. In July, 1859, the first deacons were elected, namely, Burgess Ecton and E. T. Woodward. C. S. French was elected church clerk. At this same meeting, the church voted to request membership in Boone's Creek Association. In November, 1859, the church called Rev. Ambrose D. Rash as pastor, who served them faithfully for eight years, during which time he endeared himself to the congregation, as shown by the resolutions adopted by the church in April, 1867, part of which follows: "Resolved, That during his pastoral relations with this church since its constitution, we certify with pleasure that Brother Rash has evinced no ordinary anxiety, solicitude and zeal for the welfare and prosperity of this church and that we commend him to the Christian regard and fellowship of all with whom his lot may be cast, as a sound exponent of the doctrines of the Baptist church, worthy to take charge of any church that may see proper to call him &c."

      In February, 1861, the church voted to dedicate their new house of worship on the third Sunday in May, and directed that Elders Dillard, Pratt, Stevenson, Campbell and Helm be requested to be present. The dedicatory sermon was preached by Dr. Dillard to a large audience. This service was the beginning of a series of meetings which resulted in much good. Owing to the condition of the times, brought on by the Civil War, the church, at her meeting in September,

[p. 129]
1861, voted to request of the Elkhorn Association the sum of $150.00 to assist in paying her pastor. In 1863, two members were dismissed for improper use of ardent spirits.

      At the meeting in January, 1867, the church, by a majority vote, extended a call to Rev. William M. Pratt as pastor, but at a later meeting of the same month a committee was appointed to confer with the minority and ascertain more fully the sense of the church, and report at the next meeting. The minutes show that this committee made its report and was discharged, but the nature of the report is not mentioned in the records. However, Brother Pratt preached for them for several


Born September 12th, 1806; Died October 20th, 1889.
One of the first deacons.

months, when Rev. R. T. Dillard was extended a call by a majority of the church, and he expressed a desire to serve the congregation if they would change the day for holding their meetings. When this question was put to a vote of the church in November, they declined to change their meeting day. The following month a call was extended to their first pastor, Rev. A. D. Rash, but he declined the call. The church was without a regular pastor until July, 1868, when Rev. J. K. Murphy became their under-shepherd and remained for one year, at the end of which time the church ordered that Brother Murphy be recommended to the secretary of the Board of Domestic Missions as a suitable brother for that cause.
[p. 130]
      Rev. L. B. Woolfolk having received a unanimous call, entered upon his labors January, 1870, and served one year, at the end of which time he was again called, but declined to accept. He was held in very high esteem by the congregation, as is shown by the resolutions adopted at a called meeting in March, 1871, which are in part ag follows: "That in Dr. Woolfolk we have ever found a genial friend and companion, a kind and devoted pastor, a fearless and able expounder of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."

      The flrst entry in the records in regard to a Sunday School was in April, 1870, although the Sunday School must have been organized prior to this date, for a motion was made and carried that in order the better to cherish and sustain the Sabbath School it should be placed under the care and direction of the church. In May, 1870, a committee was appointed to organize a "Try Society." A "Try Society" was a society organized by one Rev. William S. Sedwick, a great Sunday School worker in Kentucky, who was at one time employed by the Baptist Sunday School Board as a Sunday School agent. As a preacher he succeeded only with children, but the amount of work performed by him was wonderful. He established a small periodical called the Try Paper and formed a Try Society, composed of young children, who each promised to try and read daily one chapter in the New Testament, and that chapter indicated by the Try Almanac.

      In March, 1871, Rev. Green Clay Smith entered upon his work as pastor of the church and served until September, 1872, when a unanimous call was extended to Rev. T. J. Stevenson, who accepted and began his labors at once. Being in poor health he only served one year. He was dearly loved by the congregation and after his resignation as pastor, he and his good wife did not call for their letters until March, 1876. The church passed resolutions on January 16, 1916, upon the death of "our beloved brother and former pastor, Thomas J. Stevenson," which were in part as follows: "That it is with profound gratitude to the Father of Lights and the giver of every good and perfect gift that in His wisdom He saw fit in the early days of our church to bless the church with the wisdom and shimering of this faithful messenger of God."

      Rev. John L. Smith became the under-shepherd in February, 1874, and gave five years of faithful service as pastor, In February, 1879, the church again gave him a unanimous call, but he declined to accept. In November, 1875, the church appointed a committee to co-operate with the Executive Centennial Committee of Louisville. In December, 1878, the church voted that whatever money should be given for state missions should be used within the bounds of our Association.

      Rev. T. C. Stackhouse began his long, efficient and faithful pastorate at this church in May, 1879, which continued until August 1888, which was the longest period of service by any pastor up until that time. Dr. Stackhouse is still living and occasionally fills the pulpit of this church during the absence of the pastor, and the congregation is always glad to see and hear him. In 1879, the church entertained the General Association of Kentucky Baptists. In October, 1880, Charles S. French presented his resignation as church clerk, which was accepted with reluctance, as shown by resolutions of appreciation of his long period of faithful

[p. 131]
and efficient service in this capacity, extending from the organization of the church until this time, which were in part as follows: "Resolved, That we accept with reluctance his resignation now tendered, simply because of the incompatibility of the duties of his position with other important obligations laid upon him." His brother, Richard French, was chosen clerk to succeed him.

      In November, 1884, a committee was appointed to solicit funds for foreign missions, and they raised $17.00. This is the first record of any attempt to raise funds for foreign missions. In May, 1885, appears the first record of a collection being taken for State Sunday School work; this amounted to $86.25. In April, 1886 the church voted to repair the church building at a cost of $10,000. At the same meeting a revision of the church roll was ordered. At the meeting in January, 1887, it was voted to tear down the old building and erect a new house. In February, 1887, the church voted to have preaching every Sunday, and as their pastor, T. C. Stackhouse could only preach for them two Sundays each month, a committee was appointed to have the pulpit supplied the other two. The second Sunday in November, 1S87, was the last service held in the old building.

      Rev. William Stewart accepted the care of the church in September, 1888 and served until June, 1890. At a meeting on the second Saturday in August, 1888, the building committee was urged to exert every effort to have the new house ready for dedication on the fourth Sunday in August. It is to be presumed that the dedication took place at that time, although there are no further entries regarding the dedication with the exception of the appointment, at a called meeting, of a committee to look after the visitors on the day of dedication.

      In March, 1890, Brother Richard French was licensed by the church to preach the gospel, and at the August meeting in the same year the church received a request from Ephesus Church for the ordination of Brother Richard French as a minister of the gospel, and that Brother French select the time and place and those who shall assist in the ordination. The request was granted. Brother French resigned as church clerk and in accepting his resignation the following resolution was entered upon the records: "Resolved, That in accepting the resignation of Brother French as clerk we place en record our high appreciation of the faithful and efficient services he has rendered the church in this capacity for ten years and our earnest prayers that the Divine blessing may rest upon his labors in the Gospel ministry." J. K. Allen was elected clerk in July, 1890.

      Rev. J. N. Prestridge accepted the pastorate of the church in October, 1890, and served until April, 1893. During his pastorate two series of meetings were held, one in December, 1891, during which the pastor was assisted by Rev. W. H. Felix and which resulted in thirty-eight additions to the church; the other in April, 1892, when he was assisted by Rev. George H. Simmons and there were fifty-three additions. In July, 1892, the church voted to observe the Lord's Supper once a month. Previous to this, it had been the custom to observe this ordinance once every three months. In October, 1892, it was voted to elect three additional deacons. At this time there were three hundred and ten members of the church

[p. 132]
and one hundred and eighty-three in the Sunday School. In January, 1894, the church extended a unanimous call to Dr. J. S. Felix, but on account of ill health he was compelled to decline.

      Dr. B. B. Bailey accepted the pastorate in June, 1894, and served with zeal, courage and faithfulness for ten years, resigning in August, 1904. Under Brother Bailey's leadership the church not only increased in membership, but grew in brotherly love and devotion to our Lord and Master, which was the result of both pastor and people loving each other and working together. As an evidence of their love and esteem for Dr. Bailey, at a called meeting in September, 1904, they adopted resolutions, but these are so lengthy that we can do no more than quote the last clause, which reads as follows: "And as a last farewell we would say in addition, go where you may in God's keeping, our prayers and sympathy will follow, and though you may find elsewhere fairer skies and friends more faithful, though you may achieve many and greater triumphs to the honor and glory of God, nowhere will you find hearts more loving and devoted than those you leave behind in the church at Winchester."

      It is not known how it came about, but in May, 1894, a member was received into the church by what is commonly known as alien immersion, and this action so aroused the congregation that in September following a strong and lengthy resolution condemning alien baptism was offered bv Brother James H. French and unanimously adopted. The last clause of this resolution reads as follows: "We can not approve of the doctrine of baptismal regeneration, nor what is commonly known as alien immersion, but will hereafter endeavor to enforce the faithful observance of the ordinances as delivered unto us."

      In May, 1900, Brother J. K. Allen tendered his resignation as church clerk. He had always been polite, obliging, and efficient during his ten years in this office and his resignation was accepted with reluctance. In September, 1900, Judge John N. Conkwright was elected clerk. In December 1900, the church voted not to grant a letter of dismissal to any member until all subscriptions for church expenses had been paid, unless the applicant was unable to do so. In March, 1902, the church roll contained three hundred and twenty-seven members, after having been revised. After Dr. Bailey resigned, the church was without a pastor for one year, but had preaching nearly every Sunday. Rev. W. E. Thayer accepted the care of the church in September, 1905, and resigned in July, 1907. On July 7, 1907, the church went on record by passing resolutions in regard to the high esteem in which this church held the late Dr. T. T. Eaton, editor of the Western Recorder and leader of the Baptist host of our Southland.

      At this period there seems to have been some friction in the church, which we infer from the records was caused by their inability to agree on a pastor. In August, 1907, J. W. Chambers made a motion, which was carried, as follows: "That the church did not need any preaching, and declined to appoint a committee to have the pulpit supplied." On September 4, 1907, on motion of Judge John M. Stevenson, the church voted to have preaching every Sunday, and a committee was appointed to supply the pulpit each Sunday and recommend a pastor for the church. On January 12, 1808, the church voted that the deacons be substituted for the pulpit committee to supply the pulpit and recommend a pastor. After

[p. 133]
Elder Thayer resigned the church was without a pastor until June 8, 1908, when Rev. J. J. Porter became the under-shepherd of the congregation, but he only served one year when he was called up higher by the Great Head of the Church to receive the reward awaiting him for his faithful services. The congregation had become greatly attached to him during his short term of service, and he was succeeded in the pastorate by his brother. Rev. Thomas J. Porter, in September, 1909, who served the congregation faithfully until March, 1912.

      At a called meeting on October 23, 1910, the moderator, Rev. Thomas J. Porter, announced to the church the names of one hundred and twenty brethren and sisters who, through him, requested letters of dismissal from this church, and on motion these letters were granted. Presumably those dismissed, together with others, went into the organization of the Central Baptist Church on October 27, 1910.

      "Dr. C. C. Carroll having received a unanimous call from the church became her pastor in June, 1912, and served faithfully, with love and the fear of God in his heart, until April 1, 1917, when he read to the congregation a tender and loving communication in which he offered his resignation to take effect September 1, 1917. Dr. Carroll was a scholar, theologian and a forceful exponent of the Scriptures. During his pastorate he had the hearty and generous co-operation of the congregation, and they erected a commodious parsonage at a cost of $12,000 and remodeled the church building at a cost of $16,000.

      At the March, 1913, meeting a revision of the church roll was ordered. In September of the same year, the church memoralized the Association to take greater interest in district missions than it had theretofore. On January 11, 1914, the church passed a resolution commending the action of the Baptists of the State of Texas taken at their annual session in November, 1913, in regard to Christian Union, and on motion the church adopted them as an appropriate expression of their own views long held on this subject, and further invited the 300,000 Baptists of Kentucky to join them in all fraternal fellowship in such endorsement, and this action was ordered to be entered upon the church records.

      On December 9, 1914, the following resolution was adopted: "Deeming it wise and proper that the church should put herself on record as to her position on the sermon preached by her pastor, Dr. Carroll, on December 6, 1914, on Official Church Union, therefore, be it resolved, that the church fully endorses said sermon and hereby declares it to be the position long held by this church in regard to our affiliation in union meetings with other religious bodies differing from us in doctrine and church order."

      In April, 1915, a committee was appointed to take immediate steps toward the remodeling of the church building, and Clayton Strode was made chairman of this committee. On May 6, 1915, the committee reported and exhibited plans which they thought were the best that could be obtained without tearing down the entire building. These plans were accepted and in a few minutes time voluntary subscriptions were made amounting to $7,000, after which a finance committee was appointed. At a called meeting on July 11, 1915, the committee reported that they had received two bids, and recommended to the church that neither of these be accepted, but that the church, through a building committee, remodel

[p. 134]
the building. This recommendation was accepted and a building committee appointed consisting of Clay Haggard, G. Lee Wainscott, Sam P. Hodgkin, Dr. C. C. Carroll, J. Harvey Hunt, J. K. Allen and William R. Sphar. November 10, was the date of the last meeting held in the old church building. On May 16, the church voted to use individual communion cups.

      The new church building was dedicated on December 17, 1916. Dr. M. B. Adams preached the dedicatory sermon. On January 21, 1917, it was voted to adopt the duplex envelope system for raising all money for church and benevolent purposes.


      Dr. Doyle has been a faithful member and officer of the First Baptist Church, of Winchester for about ten years, and is always to be found at his post of duty. He generously helped the author in preparing the manuscript for this book.

      Dr. Carroll preached his last sermon on the last Sunday in August, 1917, and Rev. C. B. Waller, having been called as pastor, began his labors the first Sunday in September. 1917. Brother Waller was the first minister ever called as pastor without first having appeared before the congregation and preached at least once for them. He only remained with the church five months.

      November 11, 1917, was the last meeting at which John N. Conkwright acted as church clerk, but was never able to attend services after this meeting. He had served as clerk since September, 1900. On February 10, 1918, W. V. Bennett was elected church clerk. At this meeting resolutions upon the death of Brother J. N. Conkwright were presented by Judge J. M. Stevenson, adopted and ordered

[p. 135]
to be entered upon the church records. These resolutions are in part as follows: "In the all-wise providence of Almighty God, our friend and brother, Judge John N. Conkwright, has been called from the vicissitudes and cares of this world to the peace and security of the heavenly kingdom. He was for seventeen years clerk of this church, for many years he was superintendent and Bible teacher of the Sunday school, and in recent years was ordained and served as deacon. No member of this church has been more punctual or more faithful in attendance upon the services than Judge Conkwright. Of him it is preeminently true, that he was glad when they said, "Let us go unto the house of the Lord". * * * * * In the soul of this brother of ours, there was no wavering, no doubting; his faith was fixed and in all matters pertaining thereto he was uncompromising. * * * * * a strong man in Israel has fallen. * * * * * He was clerk for fourteen years and moderator for thirty-two years of Boone's Creek Association. In each and every office to which he was called he was prompt, conscientious and faithful, &c."

      On September 22, 1918, the church extended a unanimous call to Dr. Calvin M. Thompson to become her pastor, which he accepted and he began his labors on November 1, and for three years he served with fervor and zeal, when he was called by the Baptist State Board of Missions to the secretaryship of that Board. While the church was in session on July 24, 1921, the congregation as a unit adopted resolutions in which they respectfully, but earnestly, protested against any further insistance upon the part of the State Board of Missions to secure the acceptance of Dr. Thompson of the secretaryship. However, after due consideration he thought it his duty to accept. On September 25, 1921, Judge J. M. Stevenson presented resolutions, which were adopted, expressing the high esteem in which Dr. Thompson was held by the church and the deep gratitude felt toward him for his faithful, efficient and God-fearing leadership, &c.

      Dr. Thompson was indefatigable in his labors as pastor; a successful persona] soul winner. He evidently believed Jesus when He said, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." It was the earnest desire of Dr. Thompson that each member should be busy in the Master's vineyard, and the hearty co-operation that was given him by the congregation was bearing fruit in a large way, and under his leadership the church was exerting a profound influence in this section of the State. During his pastorate the membership of the church was increased by one hundred and fifteen, and it was with the greatest reluctance that his resignation was accepted.

      On December 15, 1918, the deacons recommended that the budget for current expenses for the year 1919 be $5,000 and for missions and benevolences $5,000. The mission treasurer's report at the end of the year 1918 showed that $2,635.06 bad been contributed for missions. In April, 1919, S. J. Conkwright was elected church clerk. In September, 1919, the Association letter showed a membership of four hundred and forty-seven, and the total contributions for all objects for the association year was $12,764.82. In October, 1919, the church accepted the quota allotted her of $80,800 on the Seventy-five Million Campaign, and when the subscriptions were turned in they were several thousand dollars in excess of the amount allotted. The church treasurer's report at the end of the year 1920 showed that the church had contributed for current expenses $7,651.45, and the

[p. 136]
mission treasurer's report showed that $24,034.58 had been received and paid out for missions during the year 1920; these amounts do not include the Sunday School collections, which were $538.53. The Association letter in September, 1921, showed a membership of five hundred and thirty-one and an average attendance at Sunday School of three hundred and seventy-one.

      After the resignation of Dr. Thompson, the church was without a pastor for several months, until that eminent man of God, Dr. J. W. Gillon, accepted the unanimous call extended to him by the church and took up his labors on July 2, 1922. From the very beginning he and his lovable family endeared themselves to the congregation and he immediately received the hearty co-operation of every member and the church began forging ahead again In the work of the Master.


Soon after Dr. Gillon entered the field he arranged far a series of meetings, which continued for four weeks in October, 1922, the pastor doing all the preaching to large and appreciative audiences. As a result of this series of meetings there were sixty-one additions to the church, and, since Dr. Gillon's pastorate of less than a year there have been eigthy-three additions. Dr. Gillon is a scholarly and God-fearing man, a preacher of righteousness, a sound teacher and a fearless leader, and he has shown great solicitude and zeal for the welfare of this church from the beginning of his pastorate and much success has already been attained under his leadership.

      The minutes of the Association for last year (1922) show a church membership of five hundred and forty, since which time her membership has been increased to

[p. 137]
six hundred and ten (to June 1, 1923). The Sunday School enrollment was foui hundred and fifty-one. Contributions by the church for the Association year for home expenses were $9,209.19; for missions and benevolences $13,804.51; Sundaj School collections $515.00.

     The future outlook for usefulness in the Master's cause Is brighter at ths present time than it has ever been in the history of this church.

      Since the year of her constitution in 1859, the First Baptist Church has been a member in good standing and fellowship of the Boone's Creek Association, and has entertained seven annual sessions of that body in the following years: 1861 1870, 1883, 1888, 1898, 1909, 1921.

Pastors. - During her sixty-four years of existence as a church, she has been served by seventeen pastors, as follows: (Years indicate beginning of pastorate). Ambrose D. Rash, 1859; J. K. Murphy, 1869; L. B. Woolfolk, 1870; Green Clay Smith, 1871; Thomas J. Stevenson, 1S72; John L. Smith, 1874; Thomas C. Stackhouse, 1879; William Stewart, 1888; J. N. Prestridge, 1890; B. B. Bailey, 1894; W. E. Thayer, 1905; J. J. Porter, 1908; T. J. Porter, 1909; C. C. Carroll, 1912; C. B. Waller, 1917; C. M. Thompson, 1918; J. W. Gillon, 1922.

Clerks. - The church has been served by six clerks as follows: (Years indicate beginning of service). C. S. French, 1859; Richard French, 1880; J. K. Allen, 1890; J. N. Conkwright, 1900; W. V. Bennett, 1918; S. J. Conkwright, the present clerk, elected 1919.

Deacons. - (Years indicate ordination). Burgess Acton (Ecton), 1859; E. T. Woodward, 1859; T. J. Bush, 1866; James H. French, 1866; Jesse Gordon, 1870; Thomas Scott, 1873; W. H. Tucker, 1885; Nelson T. Bush, 1888; N. Holly Witherspoon, 1888; Sam P. Hodgkin, 1900; J. K. Allen, 1900; Clay F. Haggard, 1900; Charles S. French, 1900; John M. Stevenson, 1908; Joe S. Lindsey, 1908; P. Y Drake, 1908; S. Clay Boone, 1908; A. R. Martin, 1908; John N. Conkwright, 1913; J. Harvey Hunt, 1913; James Scott, 1915; Clayton Strode, chosen 1913 (previously ordained by another church); A. B. Mahan, 1917 (previously ordained by another church).

The French Family.

      James French, Sr., was one of the frontiersmen of Kentucky and was in the fort at Boonesborough when the town was laid off in lots, and one of the streets was named in his honor. While in this fort he married Miss Keziah Callaway, a daughter of Colonel Richard and Elizabeth Callaway, who was born in Virginia in 1769. After leaving the fort, James French settled first in Madison County but in a short time moved to Clark County, on what was known as the Simon Kenton tract, which he acquired at a Federal Tax sale, and on the creation of Montgomery County the line ran through the farm, leaving a part in each county. James French was considered one of the largest land owners in Kentucky in his day, owning at one time 225,000 acres, known as the upper and lower Franklin patents and covering a large portion of Estill, Lee and Breathitt counties and comprising much of the richest mineral and oil lands in the state. He and his family were among the leading members of Lulbegrud Church for years, and his wife, whose picture appears in the history of that church, drew the plans for the
[p. 138]
church building, known as the church of twelve corners, which represented the twelve apostles. (For further notes on James French, see sketch of Lulbegrud Church).

The French Family.

     One of the sons of James French, Sr., was Judge Richard French, born June 23, 1792, who chose law for his profession and in the practice of which he entered in partnership with Mr. Dillard, at Winchester, Kentucky, who was afterwards the

Born June 8th, 1828; died June 26th, 1905.
distinguished Ryland T. Dillard, D. D. Judge Richard French was a man of distinction and was appointed and served many years as Circuit Judge and also served in Congress until defeated by the brilliant Richard Menefee. In 1840, Judge French was the Democratic nominee for governor against Governor Letcher and ran many thousand votes ahead of his ticket, but lost by only a small majority. Frenchburg, the county seat of Menefee County, is named for him and his portrait adorns the walls of the Clark County Court House.
[p. 139]
      Though wedded to his professional career, no doubt that the early teachings of his pious parents caused him to pause in the midst of his political honors to seek the salvation of his soul and he was baptized by his former law partner, Dr. Ryland T. Dillard. He was a consistent member of the church and died in the full triumph of his faith on May 1, 1854. His widow, Mary Taliaferro French, was one of the constituent members of the First Baptist Church of Winchester, and their three sons, Judge James H. French, Judge Charles S. French, and Rev. Richard French, became prominent in both the civil and religious affairs of the community and state. All three of the sons were influential members of the First Baptist Church and zealous for her welfare. A fourth son, William, died in early manhood. Judge James H. French was a deacon of the church, clerk of th Boone's Creek Association for two years and moderator from 1872 to 1881, with the exception of two years, and in all matters pertaining to the church, especially those of doctrinal and denominational importance his counsel was always sought. Judge Charles S. French was a constituent member of the First Baptist Church and her first clerk, serving for twenty-one years, and was a deacon during the latter part of his life. Rev. Richard French was clerk of the church for several year and was then ordained to the ministry. (For further notice of Rev. Richard French, see history of Ephesus Church).


     Beattyville Church, located at Beattyville, Kentucky, was constituted on July 15, 1861, twelve members entering into tne organization. The church covenant in part, is as follows: "Having been, we trust, brought by Divine Grace to embrace the Lord Jesus Christ, and to give ourselves wholly to Him, we do solemnly and joyfully covenant with each other to walk together in Him with brotherly love, &c." * * * There are twenty-two articles in the rules of decorum, the nineteenth of which reads as follows: "That the names Regular and Separate be buried in oblivion and henceforth we be known as the United Baptist Church of Beattyville, Kentucky." The following twelve names were signed to the church covenant: Decatur Beatty, Patience Beatty, Ann F. Beatty, Rhoda Beatty, T. P. Gray, Samuel Houndshell, Elizabeth Houndshell, Sarah A. Hall, Martisia Cole, Hiram Mahatha, Malinda Thompson and America C. Hunter. In August, 1861, James Jesse was chosen deacon and Decatur Beatty clerk.

      It appears from the records that Elder S. V. Potts was their first pastor, an was followed by Elder John Ward, who served them from August, 1862 until October, 1863, when Elder S. V. Potts again became their pastor. After serving them one year Elder Potts was excused from the pastoral care of the church "owing to the condition of affairs" (presumably the Civil War). In November 1864, Elder J. J. Edwards accepted the care of the chruch, remaining with them until October, 1866. In May, 1866, B. W. Cole was ordained as deacon.

Elder Harvey Hall accepted the pastorate in April, 1867. In March, 1870, the church requested the General Board of the Association of Baptists, at Louisville to furnish a horse for Brother I. C. Williams, so that he might continue his

[p. 140]


missionary work in the mountains, he having lost his two horses. It appears from the records that Elder E. H. Brookshire served them as pastor for a few months in 1870. There are no recorded proceedings of the church from October, 1S70 until August, 1872, when a motion was made and seconded that letters be granted to all members who may desire to go to Rock Spring Church. This is the last
[p. 141]
entry in the records of Beattyville Church until its reorganization on June 30, 1888, with the following eight members: John H. Beatty, Patience Beatty, W. B. Cole, R. H. Davis, Alfred York, Samuel Lutes, Charles A. Quillen and Rhoda E. Davis. At this meeting E. H. Davis was elected clerk. The congregation also appointed a committee to raise funds for the erection of a house of worship. In August, 1888, messengers were appointed to the Boonevllle Association. For some reason a house of worship was not erected at this time. After August, 1888, there are no further records of this congregation until June 19, 1893, when the church was again reorganized by the election of deacons and a clerk. On November 2, 1893, the congregation arranged to hold church services in the store house of H. A. Beatty, and on that date Elder G. B. Thacker became their pastor. On November 26, 1893, deacons and trustees were elected.

      A series of meetings were held in 1894, which resulted in forty-six additions by experience and baptism, fourteen by letter, and thirty by restoration. The same year they revised their church roll by excluding five and erasing fifty-three, leaving a membership of ninety. The Church was received into Boone's Creek Association this same year, having previously been a member of Booneville Association. After having been received into Boone's Creek Association, they requested that the said Association co-operate with the Baptist State Board in assisting them to build a house of worship at Beattyville, to cost about $1,500. From this date there is but one more record of the proceedings of the church until April 4, 1896, when they met for the first time in their new church building, at which meeting Elder George Kincaid was called as supply pastor for awhile. Later in the year Elder T. T. Martin was sent out as a State Missionary In that section of the state by the Baptist State Board of Kentucky, with the understanding that he was to give part of his time to the Beattyville Church, the church to supplement his salary to the extent of $150.00 per year.

      On April 15, 1897, the church appointed a committee to take up the matter of having a Baptist school located at Beattyville, but the idea was finally abandoned, since they were unable to obtain the necessary financial aid. However, at the last session of Boone's Creek Association, in September, 1922, Rev. J. W. Mahan, pastor of Beattyville Church, stated that he had good reasons for believing that certain men of means were considering contributing largely towards securing a Baptist School at Beattyville and he suggested that the Association appoint a committee to look into the matter. Upon a motion to that effect, the moderator appointed Rev. J. W. Mahan, Rev. J. T. Turpln and J. B. Conkwright. Brother Conkwright declined to accept the appointment, and Judge J. M. Stevenson was appointed in his place. We understand that the prospects for this long wished for Baptist School at Beattyville are very encouraging.

      The last entry in the church record book is for the year 1897, the subsequent records having been misplaced, so that the remainder of this sketch is compiled trom personal knowledge and the Association records. Beattyville is still a missionary point, being assisted by the State Board and Boone's Creek Association. For years this church only had preaching once or twice a month, but they now have preaching three Sundays in each month. Since 1894, they have reported to Boone's Creek Association and sent messengers every year, with the exception of

[p. 142]
the years 1898, 1900, 1901, 1903. After Elder T. T. Martin resigned as pastor, Elder J. S. Cheavens became tbeir pastor. In 1899, we find that Elder S. E. Whipley was pastor and George Kincaid clerk. In 1902, Brother J. N. Conkwright, moderator of Boone's Creek Association, was supply pastor and F. A. Lyons was again chosen clerk, he having been clerk several years previously.

      In 1904, Elder R. L. Baker was pastor and Hargis Jones clerk. This is the first year the church reported having a Sunday School. Elder C. T. Brookshire was pastor in 1905, and they reported to the Boone's Creek Association a membership of ninety-two. They have never reported as large a membership since that time, and at the present time they have a membership of only fifty-eight. In 1907,


Elder J. G. Parson became pastor, and R. B. Jones was elected clerk, serving the church until 191S. In 1910, Elder Malcolm Taylor was pastor. In the year 1911, Brother J. I. Wills entered the field as their under-shepherd, preaching only once a month at Beattyville, but also serving as pastor at two or three county churches. This was the last pastorate of Brother Wills, as he was compelled to resign on account of his advanced age and ill health. He was too feeble to attend the Association in 1920. He died on September 13, 1920, while the Association was in session at Corinth Church. Word having been received that our friend and brother had passed to his reward, the business of the Association was suspended for fifteen minutes, while several of the brethren paid loving tribute to the life

[p. 143]
and memory of Brother Wills. For resolutions by the Association to the memory of Brother Wills see history of Allansville Church and Association minutes for 1920.

     In 1918, T. H. Jones was chosen clerk. In the year 1920, Rev. J. W. Mahan became their undershepherd. Brother Mahan is an excellent preacher and splendid pastor, and for the past three years he has served them with zeal and fidelity, and is making a wonderful effort to place the church on a self-supporting basis. They have preaching three Sundays in each month and have a fine Sunday School, with an enrollment of one hundred and sixteen. The quota for the Beattyville Church was $500.00 for the Seventy-five Million Campaign.



      Bethel Church, of Estill County, Kentucky, was located about six miles north of Irvine, and was constituted in 1868. It was received into Boone's Creek Association the same year, at which time she reported a membership of twenty, and her messengers were George Gravitt, W. Tyre, W. Jones and H. Ware. Elder Ellas Brookshire was her first pastor. In 1870, Elder W. T. Tyre was a messenger to the Association, and we presume that he was their pastor at that time. The last year that this church reported to the Association was in 1881, when she had a membership of fifty-four and Elder Shelby Todd was their pastor. The minutes of Boone's Creek Association for 1882 state that Bethel Church having disbanded, on motion, she was dropped from the list of churches of this Association.


      It may be interesting to know that before the present Baptist church at Mt. Sterling was organized, there was constituted, in the year 1798, a church which united with South Elkhorn Association in the same year, and reported a membership of thirty-nine. Elder David Barrow, who had just arrived in Kentucky from Virginia, became pastor of this church in the same year that it was constituted. (See Lulbegrud Church). It remained in the South Elkhorn Association until 1804, when it united with North District Association, reporting a membership of sixty-one, the messengers being Elder David Barrow, Jacob Coons and William Smith. Owing to his views on the slavery question Elder David Barrow was expelled from North District Association in 1806, and at the same time the Association appointed a committee to deal with Brother Barrow in the church at Mt. Sterling, of which he was a member. But at the next annual session of the Association in 1807, that body reversed its action against Brother Barrow, no doubt regretting that she had acted so rashly the previous year.

      Though Mt. Sterling Church had not reported to the North District Association, either by letter or messengers, since 1806, yet we find in the records of that Association for the year 1808 the following entry: "The Association withdraws from the church at Mt. Sterling for denying to the members of the churches which compose the Association the privilege to commemorate with said church the

[p. 144]
death of our Lord." After the unwise expulsion of Brother Barrow from North District Association, Mt. Sterling Church followed Brother Barrow into a fraternity of emancipationists, remaining with that body until the death of Elder Barrow in 1819, when the emancipation society ceased to exist.

      In 1823, Mt. Sterling Church was again received into North District Association, at which time she reported a membership of twenty-three, her messengers being Benjamin Davis and Enoch Smith. About this time Elder "Raccoon" John Smith became her pastor. The church reported every year to the Association until the year 1829, at which time she had a membership of one hundred and fifty-five. In that year, when the separation occurred between the Baptists and Reformers, Mt. Sterling Church lost her identity as a Baptist church, as a result of having taken her stand with the followers of Alexander Campbell.

     As far as we know, there were no further efforts to constitute a Baptist church at Mt. Sterling until 1870, when the present church was constituted. Inasmuch as this church only affiliated with Boone's Creek Association for two years, in 1918 and 1919, the writer has not attempted to give a full history of this church, but merely covers the first two years of her existence and the two years during which she was a member of Boone's Creek Association.

      The church records state that "pursuant to an invitation from the brethren at Mt. Sterling, Montgomery County, Kentucky, a council, composed of Revs. I. W. Boone, G. T. Bagby, C. Keys, W. B. Arvin, T. I. Wills and J. Pike Powers, and Brethren Sanford Allen, H. I. Baird, P. L. Bosworth, Doc Richart, N. B. Tipton, R. Garnett and Nimrod Wilkerson, met this day, February 9th, 1870, to take into consideration the propriety of constituting a Baptist church in the aforesaid place. The council was organized by electing Rev. George T. Bagby moderator and J. Pike Powers secretary. After devotional exercises, the letters of those proposing to enter into the organization were called for and the following eight persons presented letters, viz: L. B. Lancaster, Mrs. S. E. Lancaster, Benjamin P. Drake, Mrs. Virginia Chenault, Mrs. F. Powers, Mrs. C. C. Thornsby, Mrs. N. Bridgeforth and William D. Lancaster. The Articles of Faith and Church Covenant were then read, and the above named brethren and sisters were recognized as a church."

      Elder J. Pike Powers was chosen as their first pastor, in March, 1870, and B. P. Drake church clerk. A committee was appointed in the following May to solicit subscriptions for building a house of worship. In June, 1871, a contract was let for the erection of a brick building for a house of worship. This house was completed and dedicated to the worship of God In the following December, the dedicatory sermon being delivered by Rev. Henry McDonald, in February, 1872. B. P. Drake resigned the clerkship and was succeeded by Felix L. Bosworth. On July 28, 1918, the church by a vote of sixteen to three, decided to request of Bracken Association a letter of dismissal to unite with Boone's Creek Association, and according to the records of Boone's Creek Association, Mt. Sterling Church was received into that Association at the annual session of 1918, at which time the church reported that Rev. J. S. Wilson was pastor, and W. R. Thompson church clerk.

[p. 145]
      The deacons were J. W. Hedden, Sr., W, T. Tyler, John H. Blunt, W. R. Thompson, Tandy Chenault, Grover Anderson, Jack Graves, Cecil Green and J. W. Hedden, Jr.

      Rev. R. C. Goldsmith accepted the pastorate in September, 1919, and he was succeeded by Rev. OIus Hamilton, who is their present pastor. W, R. Thompson resigned the clerkship in June 1919, and was succeeded by W. R. Thompson, Jr., as clerk, and Miss Anise Hunt, assistant clerk. W. R. Thompson, Jr., was succeeded in the clerkship by H. A. Babb, who is the present clerk. At the annual session of Boone's Creek Association in 1920, Mt. Sterling Church requested a letter of dismissal, to return to Bracken Association, which was granted. At this session of the Bracken Association she reported a membership of one hundred and ninety-two, and a Sunday-school enrollment of two hundred, with, church property valued at $60,000. Her quota of the $75,000.000 Campaign was 320,000.

      J. W. Hedden, Sr., is the present moderator of the church. Mrs. Nannie Bridgeforth, is the only constituent member of the congregation of 1870, now living; she is eighty-four years old, and while she loves her church, is too feeble to attend worship. During her existence as a church, the First Baptist Church of Mt. Sterling has been served by thirteen pastors, as follows:

      J. Pike Powers, Green Clay Smith, J. Morgan Wells, D. W. Gwin, E. M. Bomar, Everett Gill, W. J. Bolln, T. Benton Hill, G. Kinnard, James R. Hobbs, J. S. Wilson, R. C. Goldsmith, and Olus Hamilton, the present pastor.

[From History of the Churches of Boone's Creek Baptist Association of Kentucky, By S. J. Conkwright, 1923, pp. 123-145.

Kentucky Baptist Church Histories
Baptist History Homepage