According to the request of the Association I have endeavored to obtain the history of the Big Spring Church, once a member of this body, but long since extinct. I succeeded in getting the use of the original church book, the record in which extends from their organization. October 17th, 1812, to April, 1846. Beyond that no documents throwing any light on their history could be found. It is a matter of my own personal recollection that not many years after that (the exact year I cannot give) the church becoming very weak and unable to obtain ministerial labor, dissolved by mutual consent, letters being issued to all the members who would apply for them, and thus they were received into other churches when they asked for reception. The church becoming extinct, the house and lot passed into the hands of Mr. B. A. Alexander, who owned the land adjacent. By what process of law, or by what authority it was transferred, your committee are not informed. It was afterward sold by Mr. Alexander to J. C. S. Blackburn, who in turn sold it with his adjacent farm, and it is now converted to the uses of a stable for training racehorses. Such are the strange mutations which time makes in the condition of many places once consecrated to the worship of God, and like as with the sacred vessels of the temple in the hands of a sacriligeous Belshazzer, the judgments of insulted heaven may some day find out the offender, and restore to its place the candlestick now removed.
The record does not state how many persons went into the organization, nor give their names. The list of members up to tht number of fifty-nine is given, and as the record shows that Ruthanna Thompson was the first person received into the church after its organization, and her name standing No. 17 on the list, I take it for granted that the previous sixteen were the original constituents of the church.
The record of the constitution is as follows:
On Saturday the 17th of October, 1812, the following members in the Baptist Society, having obtained letters of dismission from their respective churches, were constituted as a church at Big Spring, by Elders William Hickman, Isaac Crutcher and Jacob Creath, viz: Abram Gregory, Jesse Cole, Nancy Cole, Prudence Blackburn, Catharine Smith, Walter Ayres, Agnes Ayres, Bazil McDevit, Betsy McDevit, George Blackburn, Prudence Blackburn, George Holloway, Mary M. Holloway, Robert Taylor, Frances Taylor.
The ministers aforesaid having convened with the members aforesaid, proceeded, as usual, to propose a constitution which was unanimously adopted, and the members aforesaid were pronounced a church.
CONSTITUTION OP THE BAPTIST CHURCH OF CHRIST AT BIG SPRING.
We, the members of the church aforesaid, having just given ourselves to the Lord, and to each other do agree to constitute upon the following principles, viz:
1. We believe the Holy Scriptures to be the word of God and the only infallible rule of faith and practice.
2. We believe that there are three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and that these three are one.
3. We believe in the fall and apostacy of man, as expressed in the Scriptures, and that man, hy reason of sin, is wholly incapable of restoring himself to the Divine favor.
4. We believe in ths doctrine of atonement by the death and sufferings of Jesus Christ alone.
5. We believe in the doctrine of electing grace in Christ Jesus, and in the effectual agency of the Holy Spirit in the work of regeneration.
6. Wo believe in the doctrine of justification by the imputed righteousness of Christ as received and applied by faith.
7. We believe in the final perseverance of the saints, through grace, to glory, in the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment, and that the punishment of the wicked and the reward of the righteous are eternal.
8. We believe Baptism and the Lord's Supper are ordinances of Jesus Christ, and that believers are the subjects of these ordinances, and that the true mode of baptism is by immersion.
The church then organized by appointing Jacob Creath, Moderator, and Silas M. Noel, Clerk pro tem.
George Holloway was unanimously elected clerk to the church.
The third Saturday in each month was selected and agreed on as a proper day for church meeting.
Adjourned until meeting in course.
JACOB CREATH, Moderator. SILAS M. NOEL, Clerk pro tem.
Big Spring, the third Saturday in Novembdr, 1812.
After singing and praying went to church business.
Brother Wm. Hickman was chosen Moderator pro tem.
The following church rules were agreed to:
1. Church meeting to open and close by divine worship.
2. That the Moderator is to invite members of sister churches to seats with us, and they may give their advice in any matter that comes before the church, but not to vote on the decision of the question.
3. The first business to come in order is, the Moderator to inquire if there be any matter of complaint that has been treated according to the gospel.
4. The admission, of members into the church and members into office shall be by unanimity and the exclusion of members and all other questions shall be determined by a majority.
5. But one person to speak at the same time, and they must address him or herself to the Moderator, standing.
6. All motions made and seconded shall be attended to by the church.
7. No person to be interrupted while speaking to the point.
8. No person is allowed to speak to the subject in hand more than twice without leave of the church.
9. The Moderator to have the same privilege of speaking as any other member, provided he calls on some other member to fill his seat.
10. At the close of the meeting the Clerk to be directed to read the business of the day.
A motion was then made to elect a Deacon, but postponed until next meeting in course.
Sister Ruthanna Thompson received by letter from the church at Forks of Elkhorn.
The church then adjourned until meeting in course.
WM. HICKMAN, Moderator. GEO. HOLLOWAY, Clerk.
In the subsequent records of this church up to March, 1846, there was but little to vary the usual monotonous announcement that the church met, and after the usual religious services they proceeded to attend to the business, if any, and in very many cases that no business appearing, they adjourned to meeting in course. There were frequent receptions of members of whom, perhaps, the larger portion were colored, the slaves of the surrounding farmers, with the usual announcement that they had the approbation of their masters. But I have endeavored to make a brief minute in regular succession of such things as seemed to be of any special interest to the church giving the year and month in each case as they occur.
DECEMBER, 1812 - Jacob Creath, Moderator pro tem. Walter Ayres chosen as a deacon, and Silas M. Noel as pastor when "legally" ordained. George Holloway chosen clerk.
JANUARY, 1813 - Brethren Noel as pastor and Ayres as deacon, ordained by Wm. Hickman, Jeremiah Vardeman and Jacob Creath.
FEBRUARY, 1813 - A church lot ordered to be laid off. Abram Gregory received as deacon upon his ordination at Forks of Elkhorn Church.
JULY, 1813 - Sent a letter to Elkhorn Association, and Silas M. Noel, George Blackburn, Walter Ayres and Geo. Holloway chosen as messengers to bear it.
AUGUST, 1813 - The first case of discipline exclusion of Jesse Cole.
FEBRUARY 1814 - Received by experience Thomas Suter who afterwards became a preacher.
DECEMBER 1814 - Henry Davidge, Baptized and licensed to preach.
MAY 1815 - Alexander Macey an excluded member of Mt Pleasant Church was received after correspondence with Mt. Pleasant, it being judged he was wrongfully excluded. Jesse Cole restored to fellowship, John Taylor, Robert Taylor und Silas M. Noel were the committee to see Mt. Pleasant and report on Macey's case.
JANUARY 1816 - Silas M. Noel resigned the office of pastor.
JUNE 1816 - A council called in relation to a pamphlet, published by H. Davidge and said to be haterodox [not orthodox]. The charge was brought by John Taylor. The committee advised that the action, already taken be no farther prosecuted.
JANUARY 1817. - Silas M. Noel recalled to pastorship and again in January 1818.
JANUARY 1818. - S. M. Noel and wile dismissed by letter.
MAY 1819. - Anne Williams excluded for joining the Methodist Society.
OCTOBER 1819. - Jacob Creath accepted the call to the pastorship.
APRIL 1820. - John Edwards called as pastor at a salary of $45.
JUNE 1821. - Voted that it is the unanimous voice of this Church that the correspondence with the Foreign Mission Board be discontinued.
JULY, 1822. - Resolved to join the Franklin Association - reconsidered
and in May 1823 determined to remain in the Elkhorn Association.
AUGUST 1823. - Geo. Blackburn and Thomas Suter "have the approbation of this church to exhort, sing and pray where and when they may think proper, within the bounds of this church, and if called on, at any other place."
DECEMBER, 1824. - George Blackburn and Thomas Suter licensed to preach when and where they may think proper.
JANUARY, 1820. - A letter from Glen's Greek Church asking the Big Spring Church to join them in a new Association, was answered in the negative, as being inexpedient.
OCTOBER. 1826. - Theoderick Boulware called as pastor, Jan. 1827 agreed to change the church meeting day from the 3d Saturday to the 2nd to suit Bro. Boulware, who agreed to preach on that day in each month as long as convenient with him.
AUGUST 1827. - Agreed to repair the church house and bound themselves to pay the bill - let to R. Shipp for $400. September 1827 (second Saturday), voted to ordain George Blackburn. Bretheren John Taylor, Wm. Hickman and Theoderick Boulware were requested to attend and ordain him at the house of Walter Ayres on the next Thursday.
NOVEMBER 1827. - George Blackburn called to preach to the church and the day for business changed to the 1st Saturday in each month.
APRIL 182S. - Agreed to appoint another deacon and the 1st Saturday in May, R. Johnston was elected and his ordination appointed to take place at the next meeting.
JUNE 1828. - Resolved, That every Sunday be a day of prayer with this church and the reception of members invited - Several received for baptism in December, January and February of this year.
NOVEMBER 1829. - Nathan Ayres chosen Clerk in the place of Geo. Holloway who had been acting since the organization of the church.
FEBRUARY 1830. - A Temperance Society and Debating Society permitted to organize in the house.
JUNE 1830. - George Blackburn and Morton Green appointed a committee to inform Jacob Creath Sr., and Jacob Creath Jr., and Josephus Hewitt that their preaching is not acceptable with this church and therefore if they regard the peace of Zion, they will not intrude their services unsolicited by the church.
JULY 1834. - Thomas Suter ordained - John Taylor, Joseph Taylor assisting George Blackburn in the ordination.
AUGUST 1834. - F. P. Holloway chosen Clerk hut does not seem to have acted as the minutes were signed by Walter Ayres.
DECEMBER 1834. - W. Ayres appointed Clerk.
OCTOBER 1837. - Resolutions of love and respect adopted in regard to the death of their pastor Elder George Blackburn.
MARCH 1838. - Thomas Suter and Walter Ayres sent as "helps" to the Church at Fork's of Elkhorn to assist in ordaining Noah Flood.
JUNE 1838. - Thomas Suter called to be pastor. July 1838, Noah Flood called as assistant pastor.
AUGUST 1838. - Moved and seconded that every member of this church be permitted to invite any one, they may choose, to preach in this house, if not interfering with the regular meetings; voted not to do so, as being impolitic and likely to lead to confusion.
JULY 1839. - Wm. Hurley called as pastor answer postponed. August 1839, Bro. Hurly declined the call.
SEPTEMBER 1839. - Bro. J. M. Frost called as pastor for one year. In
October, Bro. Frost accepted the call as long as seems profitable. During a protracted meeting held by Bro. Frost 29 persons were added to the church.
NOVEMBER 1839. - Burkett G. Yancy, one of the new converts, was appointed Clerk.
DECEMBER 1839. - Bro. Frost resigned as pastor and Bro. Leake was called and in January 1840; he accepted and the church agreed to pay him $150. A protracted meeting held by Bro. Leake resulted in 8 additions to the church, and the meeting days were changed to 3d Saturday and Sunday.
OCTOBER 1840. - A committee of four colored members appointed to have the oversight of the conduct of the colored members and report to the church any disorderly conduct, and soon quite a number were excluded.
NOVEMBER 1840. - Bro. Leake again called and accepted commencing January 1841, $150 to be the salary payable quarterly.
NOVEMBER 1841. - Bro. Josiah Leake, whose pastorate had been [?] successful in bringing members into the Church, declined [_______?] longer and Bro. V. E. Kirtley was called and accepted and his ordination by the Frankfort Church requested.
JULY 1842. - Bro. Kirtley held a protracted meeting and had 7 additions to the church.
DECEMBER 1842. - Bro. Kirtley recalled at a salary of $100, to be paid semi-annually.
OCTOBER 1843. - Bro Kirtley resigned and removed from the neighborhood.
DECEMBER 1843. - Bro. Y. R. Pitts called as pastor - No record as to the result.
NOVEMBER 1844. - Bro. B. T. Quinn called to preach to the church and accepted.
MAY 1845. - Resolved, That any free member failing to attend church meeting three months in succession unless providentially hindered be excluded from this Church.
OCTOBER 1845. - The above resolution was modified to read after the words 'providentially hindered'. Shall be cited to appear before the church and give an account for such neglect.
JANUARY 1846. - Bro. Pitts called and declined and in March Bro. Quinn called and accepted.
Here the Record ceases and I could learn no farther particulars.
C. LEWIS. ============[From Elkhorn (KY) Baptist Association Minutes, 1877, pp. 37-41. Document from the Association office, Lexington, KY. - Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
John Taylor's account of Big Spring Baptist Church.
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