We have selected this subject for our Circular Letter, believing it will be of interest to all baptists as well as many others within the bounds of the association. We are indebted to Rev. J. H. Spencer's History of Kentucky Baptists for much of the following.
This association was constituted at Brush Creek (now Persimmon Grove) Church on September 21st, 1827, of eight churches which had been dismissed from North Bend Association. It was first called Campbell association, but in 1831 it assumed its present title. The names of the churches that entered in the constitution were Licking, Four Mile, Bank Lick, Wilmington, Brush Creek, Twelve Mile, Alexandria, and Flower Creek.
The ordained ministers were Robert Ware, Elam Grizzle, George Vice, William Gosney, John Stephens, George Graden, and John Taylor.
After its organization the association adopted an abstract of principals consisting of six articles, and agreed to correspond with Bracken, North Bend, Union, and Eagle Creek (Ohio) associations. The eight churches of which it was constituted, aggregated only 374 members, and it was so unhappy, in consequence of a continuous spirit of discord, that it increased very little during the first twelve years of its existence. It was first annoyed by the Camp-bellite Schism, by which it lost, between 1829 and 1833, nearly all it had gained from its constitution to the latter date.
After that it was paralyzed by determined opposition to missions, on the part of a large minority of its members.
In 1829 it recommended the organization of Bible Societies; but this appears to have been a mere compliment to an agent of the American Bible Society, who happened to be present.
In 1830 it appointed four "yearly meetings" to be held within its bounds during the succeeding year.
In 1835 the subject of employing one or more preachers to labor among the destitute within the bounds of the association, was discussed in the body, and it was agreed to appoint a meeting to be held at Brush Creek the following October "to consider the propriety or impropriety of setting at liberty one or two ministering brethren, to devote their time to preaching" within the bounds of the association, "for which they shall be paid " This meeting was held and "it was agreed to let the matter rest."
Nothing more appears to have been said on the subject until 1839, when Bank Lick Church fearing that some remains of the missionary leaven were still fermenting in the body, sent up a query as to whether or not the association were, "missionary in spirit" and would "support the board?" The association conscious of the existence of an excitable anti-missionary element in the churches and desiring to maintain peace among them answered: "We have had nothing to do with the missionary question whether home or foreign since the meeting at Brush Creek (in 1835) where it was agreed to let the matter rest. We are not connected with or known as auxiliary to the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions. As to what we are in spirit is known between us and our Master."
In 1839 a revival pervaded the churches, and continued to prevail more than a year. The association increased from 8 churches with 370 members in 1838 to 10 churches with 757 members in 1840. The revival spirit pervaded the meetings of the association in 1839 with such power that a number in attendance professed conversion; and after the close of business the members of the body indulged in a season of fervent worship and joyous devotion. A number of persons who had been converted were baptized. For these "disorders" North Bend association dropped correspondence with Campbell County. This act however was reconsidered the next year and the correspondence was restored.
The policy pursued towards the anti-mission element for the sake of peace did not avail. Shortly after the meeting of the association in 1840, the more violent of the anti-missionaries split off from the churches, and, united with larger numbers that had severed themselves from the churches of North Bend, embodied the
several factions under the style of "Salem Association of Predestinarian Baptists."
This schism did not entirely relieve the association of the anti-missionary spirit. In 1840 the body ventured very closely to recommend the churches to acquaint themselves with the object of Indian Mission Association, and act as Christian duty and prudence might dictate. The same year some "lay brethren" having written a letter to the association, suggesting the propriety of employing one or more minister to labor within the bounds of the association, the churches were requested to send one member each to meet at Alexandria on a given day in the succeeding October, to consult and act as the church might direct. This meeting appears to have resulted like that held at Brush Creek in 1835 in agreeing "to let the matter rest." However the spirit of the body began manifestly to improve. In 1848 Georgetown College and the Southwestern Baptist Theological Institute were recommended; in 1849 a collection of $12.40 was taken up for the benefit of two aged and indigent preachers, and in 1851 the sum of $23.50 was contributed to the General Association. This is the first notice of a contribution to any missionary enterprise on the records of this fraternity. Since this period the association has occupied the grounds of a Missionary body and has enjoyed a good degree of prosperity. In 1850 it numbered 14 churches with 1,047 members; in 1860, 15 churches with 1,823 members; in 1870, 15 churches with 1,847 members; in 1880, 17 churches with 1,780 members; in 1890, 14 churches with 1,996 members; in 1895, 14 churches with 2,127 members.
From its constitution in 1827 to its meeting in 1895 there were baptized for the fellowship of its churches 6,434 converts.
The first Introductory Sermon was preached by Rev Wm. Montague. Text, 1st Peter, 2nd ch., 5 v. The first Moderator was Rev. John Stevens, who served from its constitution till 1840. Rev. James Vickers was then chosen and served till 1850. Rev. James Spilman was elected and served two or three years, when Rev. Vickers was again chosen and served until 1859, then Rev. A. W. Mullins was elected and served until 1864, when Rev. Spilman was again chosen and served two years.
In 1867 Rev. James Jolly was elected and served until the
present time, a period of 30 years, except the year 1873, when not being named as a delegate from his church, he could not hold office, and Rev. Jesse Beagle was chosen and served that year.
Lewis Klette was elected Clerk at its constitution and served until 1836, except two years that Wm. DeCoursty served. In 1836 Wm. J. Morin was elected and served until 1855, when N. C. Pettit was elected and served twenty years In 1875 Wm. A. Morin was elected and served two years after which Wm. Barnard served one year. In 1878 J. J. Wright was elected and served three years. In 1881 John B. Otten was elected and served three years, then J. G. Ellis served one year, when S. G. Mullins was elected and served seven years. In 1895 James I. Ware was then elected and served until the present time. There have been 25 different churches in this association, the oldest of which is Licking, having been constituted in 1794.
LEO GOSNEY, Committee.
[Campbell County Baptist Association Minutes, 1896, pp. 3-6. This document is from the Northern Kentucky Baptist Association office, Erlanger, KY. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall]
Campbell County Baptist History
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