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Clark County, Kentucky
Kentucky Baptist Historical Society Journal

      The following article on one of the oldest churches in Kentucky was submitted by Mr. J. Haynes Miller of Columbus, Ohio.

      It was prepared for the church's anniversary celebration in 1924 by Miss Lucy E. Jones.

      "The Old Stone Meeting House, on Lower Howard's Creek in Clark County, Kentucky, is considered by many to be the oldest church in Kentucky. Her records go back to December, 1780. It was then a log Meeting House, and the Old Stone Meeting House was erected on the same site, about the close of the Revolutionary War, in 1782 or 1783, and this even antedated the creation of Clark County - which was June 1, 1792.

      "This church, when built, had port holes for use in defending the worshippers against Indian attacks, and it is related that while one portion of the congregation watched the port holes from the gallery, the other portion worshipped and prayed, and this was alternated between the male members for several years. This congregation built the Log Meeting House and afterwards the Old Stone Meeting House - which is now (1924) in a good state of preservation, and is owned, and used by the Colored Baptists.

      "Robert Elkin, the pioneer Baptist minister of all this section, who came from Virginia with the 'Travelling Church' was the first pastor of the Log Meeting House and the Old Stone Meeting House, and the grave of this noted pioneer preacher is practically unmarked. The 'Travelling Church,' as it was then called, is the oldest church organization in Kentucky, and met at the different homes for worship, until the Log Meeting House was built, and afterwards the Old Stone Meeting House, constructed of Kentucky marble.

      "Many noted divines of pioneer days preached in this old church, and numbers of its members are sleeping their last sleep in the old church yard. Nearby

the turbulent waters of Lower Howard's Creek are rushing on and will do so for all time to come.

      "In years gone by there were half a dozen large water mills, constructed of Kentucky marble, and several factories situated along the banks, aid run by the waters of this famous creek.

      "This picture cover was taken by the writer May 17, 1922, when the Department of History of the Woman's Club met at this historical church and spread their sumptuous 'basket dinner' under the spreading branches of the large old shade trees, where a century ago they had held their 'all-day basket meetings' surrounded by the same beautiful scenery, and listened to the roaring waters of the same old Lower Howard's Creek."

      ((Editor's note-- The Old Stone Meeting House described by Miss Jones was for many years the home of Providence Church. Spencer's History of Kentucky Baptists (I, 45) contains the following extracts from the church's record book:

"A company of Baptists came from the older parts of Virginia to Holston River, in December, 1780 ... Robert Elkin, minister, and John Vivian, elder, and in January, 1781, they, with other Baptists, formed themselves a body, in order to carry on church discipline, and, in September the 28th, 1781, became constituted by Lewis Cragg Craig and John Vivian, with the members to wit (here follows a list of 42 names)."
     They remained on the Holston "till the first day of September 1783. Then a principle [sic] part of the members, with their minister being about to move to Kentucky , it was agreed they should carry the constitution with them."

      "And now having arrived in Kentucky, and settling on the South side of the river, near Cragg's Station, but, through the badness of the weather and our scattered situation, nothing of importance was done till April 3rd, 1784."

      "Through a turn of God's providence, the church chiefly moved to the north side of Kentucky and for the health and prosperity of Zion, we have appointed a church meeting at Bro. William Bushe's Nov. 27th, (1784)." "The location of the church, Spencer relates, was on Howard's Creek, about three miles from Boonesboro."

[From Jack Birdwhistell, Editor, The Kentucky Baptist Heritage,Volume V, June, 1977, No. 1, pp. 2-3; via E-Text, Adam Winters. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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