Providence Baptist Church
Organized in 1815
The Oldest Church in Laurel County and Laurel River Association
By M. M. McFarland, 1931
Providence Baptist Church was an arm of Concord Church of Knox County. They held monthly meetings as such from the fourth Saturday of November, 1815, until May 23, 1819, at the home of Daniel Cain. This was then a part of Knox County but since made Laurel County, as above stated, on May 23, 1819. Providence was fully constituted a church by Blackgrove Hopper and William Hopper as Presbytery with nineteen charter members as follows: David, Polly and Mary Weaver, Elizabeth Box, Sarah Kirk, Elizabeth and Dolly Walden, James and Susana Griffith, Helen Jenkins, William, Lucinda and Kitaria Allen, Rachel Ripley, Darling, Catherine and Oliph Jones, Hezekiah and Sarah Weaver. The church elected William Hopper Pastor and David Weaver Clerk. David Weaver was also first Deacon.
The following churches were armed off from Providence Church: Rockcastle, June 1820; London Court House, 1831 (now Slate Hill Baptist Church); Rough Creek, 1835; Little Goose Creek, Clay County, date not known; Richland, 1849; Walnut Grove, 1857.
The church granted David Weaver license to preach on the fourth Saturday in October, 1823, and the first Trustees appointed were Benjamin Catching, Luke Watkins and Elihu D. Weaver. These men held this trusteeship for some years. Received the title for the
land and superintended the building of the first house of worship in 1827. In 1838 the church elected William Helton and David Williams as Deacons. In 1855 Thos. P. Robinson and Larkin Jackson were elected Deacons. 1863 Elijah Williams and James I. Weaver were elected Deacons. 1865 Darius Weaver and 1869 William Bodkins were elected Deacons. Charles Robinson was chosen Clerk in 1854. In 1858 A. P. Smith was chosen Clerk, who held the office for ten years. Then Thomas Box, who was succeeded by John M. Brock in 1879 and held clerkship till 1893 when J. C. Brock was elected. S. W. Brock is the present Clerk.
We have no record from the first Pastor, William Hopper, until 1869, when Speed Taylor was elected. Elijah Williams elected in 1871. Speed Taylor was elected and served as Pastor 1879 and was succeeded in 1880 by Newton E. Hammock. F. R. Brock is the present Pastor.
The total members received would be something near 700, with a present membership of 175.
The Laurel River Association was organized and held its first session in 1831 with this church, and has held four annual sessions with it, with the Centenary session, 1931, to be held with her. Many are the trials that have come before this grand old church, also many are the warm seasons. Many are the souls that have been pointed to the Lamb of Life during this one hundred and sixteen years.
[From M. M. McFarmlamd, History of Laurel River Association of Missionary Baptist[s]: first century 1831 to 1931, pp. 10-11. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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