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History of Stanford [KY] Baptist Church
By Joe F. Waters
The Baptist Argus, 1898
      In view of the fact that the 104th annual session of Tales Creek Association convenes here on the 30th inst. for the fourth time, a brief review of the history of Stanford Baptist church, which is nearly half a century old, will be of interest to the denomination. From the minutes I discovered that a meeting, slimly attended was held in the old Christian church on Depot street (now used as a warehouse) on November 20, 1852, when Rev. J. C. Portman preached and Rev. John S. Higgins was then chosen as Moderator and M. C. Portman clerk. It was decided that day to organize a church, and the 4th day of December, 1852, named as the day for that purpose, the pastor and officers of the Crab Orchard Baptist church being invited to aid in the constitution of same. On that day at church above named Rev. Josiah Leak preached and was then made chairman and M. C. Portman clerk. The ministers present were Rev. Leak, Rev. Jesse C. Portman and Rev. Robert Buckner, who were assisted by Bros. John Newland, Thomas Burch, and William Dollins.

      The charter members, while lacking its quantity, made up in quality, and were Sisters Polly George, Eliza A. Broadhurst, Evaline Montgomery, Mary A. Garnet, Sarah Waters, Elizabeth Bryant, Catherine Robertson, Elizabeth Napier; Bros. James Austin, and M. C. Portman - twelve in all. Of these ten have crossed over the great river to the house not made with hands eternal in the heavens, and the two yet living are Mrs. Elizabeth Bryant and Mrs. Evan Waters.

      Next to the charter members those who have belonged to the church longest are Mrs. America Rout, Mrs. Betsy Nevins and Mrs. Elizabeth Caldwell. Mr. and Mrs. Caldwell have been the sextons for a quarter of a century.

      In 1858 a lot was purchased to build a Baptist church building where Mr. B. K. Wearen now lives, but that was afterwards sold and a frame church built in 1859 on the present site. The building committee that year consisted of Joe Roberson, Joe McAllister, Sr., and Joe Gentry. In 1883 the present brick church took the place of the old one.

      The pastors of Stanford Baptist Church since organization are: Rev. Jesse Portman, 1; Rev. Josiah Leak, 2; Rev. John James, Sr., 3; Rev. A. W. LaRue, 4; Rev. Thomas Coleman, 5; Rev. Thos. J. Stevenson,6; Rev. H. L. Burrows, 7; Rev. A. D. Rush, 8; Rev. V. E. Kirtley, 9; Rev. W. W. Harris, 10; John Morgan Bruce, 11; Rev. P. G. Elsom, 12; Rev. George Hunt, 13; Rev. John L. Smith, 14; Rev. A. V. Sizemore, 15; Rev. James B. Couch, 16.

      Of the above pastorate of Bro. Bruce was the longest, and Bro. Sizemore's next.

      Conspicious in the minutes as having been indefatigable workers for the good of the church are the names of Robert E. Barrow and wife, who joined in 1859; Malcolm G. Nevin, same year; A. R Penny, 1860; Evan Waters, 1860; Robert B. Woods and wife, 1869; Joseph McClary, Sr., and wife, 1869; John m. Hail, 1869.

      The clerks since organization are M. C. Portman, George R. Waters, j. M. Cooper, G. G. Wine and A. J. Earp.

      The first to join by experience and baptism was George R. Waters, on the 4th day of September, 1853.

      The first deacons elected were E. G. Lair and Joe Robinson.

      Among the rules adopteed is one which says:
"Every male member neglecting to attend more than two church meetings shall give a satisfactory reason." Were this rule enforced in these 1898 days the explanations would be as endless as eternity.

      In 1854 Tates Creek association met with Sugar Creek when this church applied for membershipp in it and was admitted. The association first met in Stanford in 1859; next in 1869 and last in 1890. Rev. J. G. Pond preached the introdcutory sermon when the association met here the first time (1859) and one of the charter members who heard him tell me it was a sound doctrinal sermon, full of truths and useful lessons. He wore no collar and as one of his new brogan shoes hurt his foot, he deliberately stopped in the middle of his sermon and removed it. The new Baptist church meetinghouse was not completed and this sermon of Bro. Pond was preached in the Presbyterian church building, which wa tendered for use by the association that year.

      The first treasurers of Stanford Baptist church were Drury Wearen, Evan Waters, M. G. Nevins, J. M. Cooper, E. B. Caldwell.

      For the first ten years especially this church did not move along on flowery beds of ease, but on the contrary was rocked by billows of adversity, which rolled exceedingly high. Shortly after its organization the civil war came up and the North and South were drawn up in battle array. Some of the members of Stanford Baptist church took sides with the blue and some with the gray and politics vied with religion for superemacy. Wrangling and strife predominated, each faction trying to get the other turned out of the church and the oldest members tell me those were indeed hot times. Finally the civil war and its attendant evils rolled away, olive branches were extended to each other by the members of this church and the dove of peace proclaimed that the high waters of strife had subsided.

      The membership of Stanford Baptist church is now 269. The pastor, Rev. James B. Crouch, is popular with saint and sinner. Mother says he is sound in Baptist doctrines and by that I know he is. Bro. Crouch was ordained at Hammondsville, in 1891, after graduating at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His pastorates have been at Buffalo, Barren Run, Munfordsville, Mt. Lookout, Walnut Hills, Ciincinnati, in rotation. He has had charge of the Stanford church since April 1, 1897. Besides the other inestimable good he has accomplished since he quit telegraphy and became a preacher about 200 have by him been converted in the old fashioned way.



[From The Baptist Argus, August 25, 1898, p. 12. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.

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