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Facts Of The Early History Of Providence Baptist Church
A Brief Look At William P. Hieatt Who Was The Clerk Of This Church
Located In Clark County, Kentucky

By E. Polk Johnson - 1912
From The Kentucky Explorer
      William Preston Hieatt is a successful farmer and merchant and takes an active and prominent part in church affairs, in which he has always had a great interest.

      He was born in Shelby County, Kentucky, November 24, 1858, the son of Jonathan and Emily Lewis Hieatt. Jonathan was born in Lawrenceburg, Anderson County, Kentucky, on May 23, 1816, and died March 25, 1887. Emily was born in Shelby County, September 26, 1818, and died June 4, 1895. The grandfather of William was Allen Hieatt, a native of Virginia, who removed to Ken-tucky among the early pioneers by means of packhorses and located near Lawrenceburg.

      William was reared on a farm in Shelby County and attended the graded schools. He remained at home and worked on the farm until his father's death in 1887. In 1888 William moved to Clark County and purchased 166 acres of land, a portion of his farm, which now (1912) comprises 220 acres. Since 1890 William has conducted a general merchandise store on his farm. He is a member of Providence Baptist Church, of which denomination all his people and his wife's people have been adherents for generations. He has been clerk of the Providence Church since 1895, and served 12 years as treasurer and 14 years on the executive board. He is a member of the Masonic order, having taken the Royal Arch and Knights Templar degrees.

      On May 25, 1881, William married Ella Strode of Clark County. Four children were born of this union.

      Williams' father-in-law, William Dillard Strode, served as clerk of the Boone Creek Baptist Association for 21 years, and has attended every session except one for 40 years.

      Following are some interesting facts regarding the Providence Baptist Church:

By William Preston Hieatt -1909
Clerk of Providence Church

      The early history of the church seems to have been hidden in the depths of antiquity. The first definite information we can gather from the records, now in our possession, goes back to December 1780. At this early date we find a church composed of 45 members, stopping for a while on the Holston River with Robert Elkin as pastor.

      Tradition tells us that Daniel Boone, on his second trip to Kentucky, was accompanied by Capt. William Bush of Orange County, Virginia. The said William Bush, when on his return, gave such glowing descriptions of the then wilds of Kentucky, that a colony, composed mainly of Baptists, were induced to start for Boonesboro near or or the Kentucky River. He went forward to locate lands while the colony was in preparation to start. The colony having made ready, and started, proceeded as far as the Holston which is near the line between Kentucky and Virginia arriving there December 1780. There they received intelligence from Capt. William Bush, who was then in the fort, not to proceed any farther.

      The troubles with the Indians at that time rendered it impolitic and unwise to proceed farther. This body arrived at the Holston in December 1780, and having learned that they could not go any farther, held a church meeting for purpose of exercising discipline the following January in 1781.

      They continued at the Holston until September 1783, with Robert Elkin as pastor, at which time they moved from the Holston to Gregg's Station, on the south side of the Kentucky River, and carried the constitution of the church with them. 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, nothing of importance was done until April 3, 1784.

      They remained at Cragg's Station until November 1, 1785, at which time they moved to the north side of the Kentucky River. They appointed a church meeting at Bro. William Bush's on November 27, 1785, at which time and place they elected a new clerk and transacted other business.

      The first house of worship built by the church was a log house erected in 1787 on the grounds now occupied by the old stone church, and in the year 1800 the stone church was built on its present site, on Howard's Lower Creek near this place. The old stone church is still in a fair state of preservation and is now occupied by the colored Baptists.

      Our present house of worship was built in the year 1873. Providence Church has had 32 pastors.

      The first, Robert Elkin, began in 1780 and closed his labors in 1822, serving the church 42 years.

      The next was Richard Morton. He was called in March 1822 and closed his pastoral work in 1828.

      George G. Boone was called March 1828 and served the church five years. Robert Elrod was called in 1833 and continued till 1834, at which time Abner D. Landrum was called and served the church four years; at the close of which time, February 17, 1838, Thomas German was called and served the church until 1842. B. E. Allen was next called and served as pastor until September 1847, then Edward Darnby was called and continued till October 4, 1848.

      At this point several ministers were called but declined to accept, and the church has no regular preaching until September 1849, when B. E. Allen was again called and accepted but resigned in October 1850, and the church was without a pastor for one year.

      B. E. Allen was again called in 1851, accepted, and preached one year.

      In January 1852, P. T. Gentry was called and served the church until September 1855. Then B. E Allen was again called and continued with the church until his death in 1861.

      The church next called R. T. Dillard, and he began his labors January 1862 and continued until February 1865.

      H. McDonald entered the pastorate in May 1865 and left the church the following November.

      R. T. Dillard was again called and preached for them one month but then declined the call.

      In June 1866, C. E. W. Dobbs entered the pastoral care and continued until October 1867.

      W. B. Arvin accepted a call in 1868 and labored until 1874.

      In April 1874, G. T. Stansbury accepted a call and preached six months.

      George Yeizer supplied the church until March 1875.

      In June 1875, A. F. Baker accepted a call to the pastorate and served the church until May 1880.

      In June 1880, J. Pike Powers accepted a call and preached for one year.

      In June 1881, J. Dallas Simmons entered the pastorate care and continued until December 1887.

      In January 1888, J. Pike Powers was again called and served as pastor of the church until December 1889.

      In April 1890, A. H. Anthony was called and continued until July 1891.

      In November 1891, H. A. Hunt was called and continued with the church until July 1894, when I. T. Creek was called and served as pastor two years.

      In January 1897, H. F. Searcy entered the pastorate and continued until May 1898.

      I. N. Yohannon suppled as pastor from June 1898 until the following October.

      In November 1898, J. S. Wilson accepted a call and labored with the church until January 1903. E. F. Music supplied for the church until December 1903.

      T. C. Ecton was called and entered the pastoral car January 1904 and continued with the church two years. In January 1906, A. R. Willett was called and served as pastor until December 1907.

      In January 1908, B. J. Davis accepted a call to the pastorate and is serving us at this time. We hope to kee] him with us for a long while to come.

      Up to this time 1,280 members have been received by experience and baptism and 307 by letter, making the total number received 1,587.

      Three churches have been constituted out of this church. On August 5, 1790, the church was the subject of a serious difficulty, growing out of a misunderstanding between Robert Elkin and Andrew Tribble. The membership being pretty nearly equally divided, the matter was finally settled by allowing Tribble and his brethren to take letters and constitute a new church, which was called Unity. This church was afterwards divided, and a part constituted Indian Creek Church, and in the course of time Unity and Indian Creek united and formed what is now called Mt. Olive Church.

      In April 1812, the church called Bogg's Fork, was constituted out of this church. This church (Bogg's Fork) was located near Athens, in Fayette County, and afterwards was merged in Boone's Creek Church at Athens.

      In 1859 the church at Winchester was constituted mainly out of members of this church.

      By August 11, 1830, many members having become displeased with the rules and regulations of this church, withdrew themselves and are no more of this body. Fifty-four was the number that withdrew. They built them a house of worship now known as Forest Grove.

      In reading over the old records, I find many interesting instances. The church had its seasons of refreshing and its troubles then as we do now.

      On March 12, 1796, John Lile was excluded for "singing vain and worldly songs."

      On August 13, 1796, John Lile was excluded for "unhappily drinking to much liquor."

      On June 9, 1803, Mrs. Mary George was excluded for "scolding her husband."

      On August 12, 1809, Robert Elkin, Thomas Berry, and Robert Didlake were appointed messengers to the association and authorized to draw from the church fund six shillings to assist defraying the expenses of the association.

      On July 31, 1842, a protected [protracted] meeting was begun and lasted until September 3rd. They had 78 conversions. Brother E. J. M. Elkin was one of them and is the only one that is now living.

      The above is a synopsis of the history of Providence Baptist Church taken from the records.


[From The Kentucky Explorer, April, 2013, pp. 14-15. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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