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Up In Harlan County, Kentucky
By Rev. Wm B. M'Garity, 1899
      The fifteen of this month [January], Pastor H. H. Hibbs, of Williamsburg, and myself packed our saddle-pockets and started to Harlan, county seat of Harlan county, to hold a Bible Institute. We stopped over one night at Middlesboro to see Pastor Perrryman. Deacon Sampson and Bosworth speak very highly of his work, and he already thinks no church in Kentucky compares with his. There is some talk of a larger building.

      The nearest rail-road to Harlan, is Hazons, Va., twenty-four miles beyond Middlesboro. The people say that it is only fifteen miles from Hazens to Harlan, but twenty would be near the truth. The road crosses two mountains: Stone and Black, local names for the Cumberland mountains. The scenery along this road is beyond compare.

      Brother J. W. Mahan and his noble people were waiting for us. Four days were spent in Studying Romans, Acts and Missions. The attendance was fairly good. There are only ten Baptist preachers in the county, and two of these have regular work. We have eight Baptist churches in the county; two of these have buildings. These churches are organized into the Upper Cumberland Association; six were represented last year.

      For ten years the Presbyterians have had a school at Harlan; preaching and other services are held in the school building. The Methodists have six organizations, and three buildings. So far as I could learn, these are the Christian forces of the county.

      The Baptists are peculiarly fortunate in having such a man as Pastor Mahan at Harlan. Since he settled there six months ago, the church has taken on new life. His church has 46 members. Sunday-school will average about 60, and his prayer-meeting is nearly as large. His church pays $125 of his salary and has subscribed $30 for missions. They have adopted the daily Bible readers course and devote one prayer meeting each month to the study of missions.

      Brethren Nathan Noe and R. Browning, two of the oldest and most influential Baptist preachers in the county were constant attendants at our Institute. Brethren J. S. Burgin, Mike Ellis, Pastor Mahan, his deacons and leading members were at every service.

      Our next Bible Institute will be held at London, in March.



[From The Baptist Argus, February 2, 1899, p. 3. Transcribed and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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