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Bios from the Little River Baptist Association
By R. Noel, Princeton, Ky, 1933

      ELD. EDMUND BEARDE, Supposed to have been the first Baptist preacher in the original territory of the Little River Association, was ordained to preach by a church on Reedy River, in Greenville District, S.C., as early as the year 1790. Soon after this date he moved to what is now Caldwell County, Ky., and settled near what is now the present site of Princeton. It is said that he was active in preaching among the settlers in a large area of country. He aided in the constitution of several of the first churches organized in this section of the State. It is not known that he was pastor of any of these.

      DANIEL BROWN, was one among the first preachers to settle in this portion of the State and aided in gathering the scattered Baptists into these early churches. Was pastor of Eddy Grove, Salem, and New Bethel churches. He was in the organization of Red River Association in 1807, and the Little River Association in 1813, and moved to Alabama in 1816.

      ELD. JOSIAH HORN, was an early settler in what is now Montgomery County, Tenn. He was a member, and perhaps, pastor of

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Blooming Grove church, in that county. He was in the organization of the Little River Association. In this body he held a respectable position until 1830, when his name disappears from the records.

      ELDER DUDLEY WILLIAMS was among the younger ministers who entered the organization of Old Red River Association in 1807, he was at that time a member, and most likely the pastor of Dry Creek Church, in Trigg county. He had probably gathered the church, which was constituted: in 1805, and of which he continued as a member until 1831, when he moved his membership to Harmony in Caldwell county. He was Moderator of the Association at least 6 times, and on two occasions preached the Introductory Sermon. In the split of 1833, after the Moderator, Wm. Buckley, left the chair, saying 'I resign my office as Moderator of Little River Association,' Eld. Williams was called to the chair and served as Moderator until the close of that session. He was also Moderator the following year (1834). Brother Williams warmly advocated the causes of Temperance, Missions and Christian benevolence. His name disappears from the Minutes about 1839.

      ELDER FIELDING WOLF was a native of South Carolina, and an early settler in what is now Trigg county, Ky. He was an ordained preacher when he entered into the organization of Red River Association, in 1807. Both his natural gifts and acquirements were meager; but he possessed a degree of self-confidence and persistence which gave him no inconsiderable influence over that class of people, who value a man according to his estimate of himself, and the persistence with which he asserts it. Mr. Wolf became a member of Muddy Fork church, perhaps at its constitution, and served it as pastor about 25 years. With his church he entered the constitution of Little River Association in 1813; on at least two occasions preached the Introductory Sermon. About 1829, he was accused, by one of his members, of preaching Daniel Parker's "Two Seeds" doctrine; following which, great difficulty arose in his church, several prominent members withdrew themselves from the church. In 1831, he moved to Pettus county, Mo., where he died about 1845. Although he was morally upright, it is feared that the speculative nature of his preaching in Kentucky, did more harm than good.

      ELDER JOHN MALORY A member of Little River church, departed this life the 16th. day of June, 1824, aged 71 years. For 37 years he was a member of some Baptist church, and for 25 years was engaged in the work of the ministry.

      ELDER JAMES PAYSON. Died August 20, 1823, aged 47 years. He became a member of a Baptist church when 24 years of age, and shortly after, a preacher of the gopel. He spent the remainder of his days in faithful discharge of his duty to his divine Master.

      ELDER W. E. CLOPTON. Died in the year 1848. He was a member of the New Harmony (now Big Rock) church, Stewart county, Tenn.

      ELDER JESSE COX. Born in South Carolina about 1774, of poor parents. He moved to Trigg county in 1808. Here he united with the Dry Creek Baptist church. He preached as a licentiate from 1827 to 1835, when he was ordained. Under his preaching there were many conversions and he baptized a considerable number. Of those were A. P. Hodges and Wm. Skinner, of Calloway county, who became useful ministers. His gift was principally in exhortation and he used it diligently. He died July 12th. 1849.

      ELDER CLAYBORN WILSON. Died in 1849, was 40 years of age. He was a member of Crooked Creek church, and for six years served his church and two others as pastor. He labored also among the destitute

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around him. His last sermon was preached at Piney Creek church.

      WILLIAM BIGHAM was a pious, zealous and useful minister of the gospel. He first united with the Cumberland Presbyterians in Caldwell county and was set apart, by them, to the ministry in the year 1822. After preaching among them for several years, he joined the Baptists and was called to the care of Dyer's Hill Baptist church. In 1852 he was employed to do mission work in the Western part of the association. He [had] great success during his thirty years' work in the ministry; and died Sept. 23, 1852, aged 56.

      JOHN W. KELLEY was a son of James Kelley and a nephew of Elder Benjamin Kelley, who labored and died in Ohio county, Ky. He was a native of Halifax county, Va.; and emigrated to Kentucky in 1833. He settled first in Christian county and afterwards moved to Trigg. He served as pastor of Little River, West Union and Harmony churches. He was regarded as an able minister of the New Testament. He was a warm friend of ministerial education and contributed liberally of his means for this purpose. He died August 17, 1840.

      ELDER JAMES W. MANSFIELD, was one of the most laborious, useful and highly esteemed ministers that ever lived in Western Kentucky. He was born in Albermarle county, Va., March 18th., 1794. He moved to Kentucky in the year 1815 and settled near Danville, where he was baptized in October of the following year. The same fall he moved to Christian county and united with Salubria Springs (now Bethel) church. In 1819 he moved to Caldwell county, where he united with New Bethel church, in what is now Lyon county. In the following year on the 26th, day of May, he was licensed to preach. He was pastor of Donalson and New Bethel churches for 25 years. and in 1851 organized the Princeton Baptist church. He also preached to Harmony church from 1840 till his death, which occurred at his home in Caldwell county, Sunday, Oct. 15, 1853. He was Moderator of the Little River Association 14 years, and preached the introductory sermon before that body on six occasions.

      ELDER JOEL E. GRACE. Departed this life in Crittenden county. Ky. Jan. 27, 1864. The most of Bro. Grace's labors were performed in the bounds of Little River Association, in which he served as Missionary, Clerk and Moderator at different times; he was also pastor of several churches, some of which were greatly built up through his instrumentality. There were but few men in the Association, if any, who had more correct views of the doctrines of the Bible, who were more useful in the churches, and more beloved by all who knew him, than J. E. Grace.

      ELDER THOMAS W. MATLOCK, was born in 1807. He united with Harmony church in Caldwell county in Jan. 1840, and was baptized by Jno. W. Kelly. He was the principal instrument in gathering Blue Spring church, in Caldwell county, he was ordained to its pastorial [sic] care in Dec. 1852. To. this church he ministered successfully several years. Subsequently he was called to the care of Princeton, Harmony, and Liberty churches. But in the midst of his useful and highly appreciated labor, his brief ministry was suddenly terminated. He died from a strike on his forehead, by which his skull was fractured, Feb. 16, 1866. As the mortal wound was inflicted while he was alone in his horse lot after dark, it could not be ascertained whether it was done by the hands of an enemy or the kick of a mule.

      ELDER SELDON Y. TRIMBLE, was born in Logan county, Ky.,

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Sept. 17, 1827. At the age of about 21 years he obtained hope in Christ, and was baptized by Thomas Felts, into the fellowship of New Hope church in his native county. In 1850 he was licensed to preach, and immediately afterwards entered Union University, where he graduated in 1854. In 1855 he was sent by Hopkinsville church, as a missionary within the bounds of Little River Association. In 1856 he was sent as a Missionary to Africa, by the Foreign Missionary Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, where after about one year's labor, he was forced to return home on account of failing health of his wife. In 1859 he took charge of Canton and Donaldson Creek churches, in Trigg county. He was afterwards pastor of Donaldson, New Bethel, Eddyville, Eddy Creek, Bethany, and Parkersville churches. He also labored as Missionary of the Association for about two years. Brother Trimble was a man of earnest piety and unswerving devotion to the truth he so ably proclaimed. He died of pneumonia at his residence, in Parkersville (now Lamasco) Lyon county. Ky., Oct. 4, 1873.

      ELDER WILLIS CHAMPION. Died at the residence of his brother, J. B. Champion, in Livingston county, Ky., August 9, 1876. He was born in Edgecomb county, N. C., February 4, 1801, became a member of Salem church, in Livingston county, in 1819, was called and ordained by said church in 1834, where he continued as pastor for 41 years. The great theme of his life was Christ, and Him cruci1fied, which seemed fresh in his mind until the last. He constituted, in 1840, Friendship church, in Livingston county, in 1877 numerically the strongest church in the Association, and was its pastor 20 years. He had baptized 870 persons and married 440 couples.

      WILLIAM A. McCHESNEY, was born 1812. United with Donaldson Church in 1841, ordained to the ministry in 1852. He was pastor of several churches in this and Little Bethel Associations. He was a good man and concentrated his gifts to the work of the Master. He died April 30, 1879.

      ELDER L. H. AVERITT, of Trigg county, died February 27, 1881. He was for many years an active and efficient minister of the gospel. Three years before his death he was afflicted with a stroke of paralysis, which affected his organs of speech and kept him from his labors.

      ELDER B. W. BARNES, of Salem, Crittenden county, one of the eldest ministers in the Association, died in 1881. He was a good: man, full of faith and served his generation according to his ability in preaching the gospel of Christ.

      ELDER Z. WORLEY, was born in Bedford county, Va., August 1, 1800. Professed faith in Christ and united with a Baptist church in Franklin county, Va., when he was about 25 years of age. He was ordained to the full work of the ministry at 28, most of his work was that of an evangelist. He was in the organization of the General Association of Kentucky Baptists. He was one of the first of our Baptist ministers who arose in earnest opposition against making and selling intoxicating drinks, and succeeded in removing several distilleries, some of which were owned and controlled by Baptist ministers. During his ministry he wrote a book entitled "Lights and Shades of the Gospel." He spent the latter part of his life in this Association. He died in Crittenden county, December 31, 1881.

      ELDER GEORGE PATTERSON, Died at the residence of his son, J. J. Patterson, near Cadiz, Ky., in the 68th. year of his age. He was born Jan. 11, 1814; professed faith in Christ in 1840, was ordained in

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the work of the ministry in 1843. During his ministry he was pastor of the following churches: Antioch, Cadiz, Shady Grove, Mt. Pleasant, Blue Springs, Hurricane, Canton, Donaldson Creek, Cumberland River and Pleasant Valley, all of which he served with that fidelity which was ever characteristic of the man. He died Oct. 18&1, at his post.

      ELDER D. S. HANBERRY, was born May 4, 1823, in Trigg county, Ky. He made a profession of faith and united with the Methodists in 1843, began preaching for them in 1847. Soon after this Bro. Hanberry became dissatisfied with the church government and doctrines and united with Hurricane Baptist church, and was baptized by Elder J. F. White. He entered the pastorate among the Baptists and served churches in Trigg, Lyon and Caldwell counties, with earnestness and real until a few years before his death, when because of failing health he gave up the pastorate and quietly waited the summons home, which came April 22., 1889.

      ELDER SIDNEY A. CHILDRESS. Died in the prime of life, Mar. 12, 1891, in Livingston county, of pneumonia fever. He became a member of Union church in 1878. Being at the same time impressed to preach the gospel, he took special pains to prepare himself for the work, and soon became an earnest and successful minister, doing much to promote the cause of Christ. He was a member of the Ohio River Association at the time of his death.

      ELDER COLLIN HODGE, Among the most prominent ministers of Little River Association, was born in Crittenden county, Ky., Feb. 22, 1816. He was reared on a farm and received a fair common school education. When he was about 25years of age he joined the Methodist church as a seeker. About two months later he obtained hope in Christ. He now gave himself to a diligent study of the Bible. Finally, against his former convictions and prejudices, he became convinced of the scripturalness of Baptist doctrines, and united with Union church in Crittenden county. He was licensed to preach in May, 1841; and ordained in July , 1842. In 1844 he gathered Caldwell Spring church, and became its pastor. He afterwards gathered Dyer's Hill, Good Hope, Smithland, and Golconda (Ill.) churches. He has served New Bethel, Crooked Creek, Princeton. Friendship and Paducah churches as pastor. He went with his church in 1882 to form the Ohio River Association. He was Moderator of this Association three years, preached the introductory sermon on six occasions. He was pastor of Caldwell Spring Church more than 30 years; he lived to be 74 years of age.

      ELDER J. W. CREWDSON, of Livingston county, Ky., was born in Logan county, Ky., July 23, 1828. Professed faith in Christ June 3, 1844, in Henry county, Tenn., and was baptized July 23, same year; was ordained to. the work of theĀ· ministry March 1, 1856, he preached from this time in the State of Illinois, as pastor and missionary until 1870, when he removed to Livingston county, Ky., where he lived and labored until called to his rest and reward. During his 12 years' connection with this Association he took a prominent stand in all our denominational enterprises.

      ELDER JOHN F. WHITE, was connected with this Association for more than 53 years. He commenced his ministry among the Methodists. Soon after uniting with the Baptists, he was ordained and called to the care of Rocky Ridge church. of which he was a member. He served this church as pastor, for 25 years or more, and other churches for shorter periods of time. During his early ministry he was very active

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and efficient in his sacred calling, and many were added to the churches under his labors. He was an earnest advocate of Missions and gave liberally to this and other benevolent objects.

      ELDER WILLIAM GREGSTON. Died Sept. 2, 1898, at his home in Farmersville, Caldwell County, Ky., in the 71st. year of his age. Professed faith in Christ when he was about 20 years of age. Was called to the care of Camp Creek church, and ordained by them in 1852, from which time until 1895, he had preached to about 15 churches in Caldwell and adjoining counties; he was at Pleasant Grove church almost 30 years, and at some others about twenty years. He was a good man, possessing many noble traits of character and being highly esteemed by those who knew him best.

      ELDER A. W. MEACHAM, was born in Christian county, Ky., Feb. 13, 1818. He was raised on a farm and acquired a good English education. On the 10th. of December, 1818, he was baptized into the fellowship of Pleasant Hill church, in his native county, and ordained to the ministry nee. 10, 1839. He served as pastor of the following churches: West Union, Blue Springs, Cerulean Springs, Cadiz, Canton and Locust Grove in this Association. He also held pastorates in Paducah, and other counties in this State, and in Middle Tenn., and north Alabama. He baptized more than 4,000 converts; united in marriage more than 700 couples and officiated at more than 1,000 funerals. He served as Moderator of this Association 26 times and preached the introductory sermon 9 times. He died Dec. 11, 1902.

      ELDER J. U. SPURLIN, was born in Christian county in the year 1824, he was actively engaged in the ministry for more than 50 years. Though not a member of this Association, yet is [it] is impossible to write a history of this body without some notice of his work among us. During his more than 45 years work in this Association, he served as pastor of the following churches: Pleasant Grove, Harmony, Little River, Canton, Hurricane, Lebanon, Cerulean Springs, and Buffalo Lick. He also did a considerable amount of mission Work for the Association. In these meetings he witnessed about 2,000 conversions and Baptized from 1,500 to 2,000 persons.

      ELDER R. W. MOREHEAD, was born in Logan county, Ky., Apr. 13th., 1834, and died in Princeton, Ky., Nov. 14th., 1910. He professed faith in Christ early in life and was from that time a consistent Christian worker. Early in life he surrendered to a call to the ministry; his work was chiefly that of a pastor, though not without considerable evangelistic experience. He served as pastor of the following churches in this Association: Cadiz, Canton, Rocky Ridge, West Union, Hurricane, Locust Grove, Cerulean Springs, Harmony, Donaldson, Princeton, Kuttawa, Eddyville; and was for 25 years pastor of New Bethel church in Lyon county. He was Moderator of the Association 3 years, Clerk 13 years, preached the introductory sermon 6 times., and was a member of the Executive Board most of the period of 45 years that he was in our midst.

      ELDER R. C. RAMEY, was a minister and pastor of churches in this Association for 38 years; during his ministry he baptized 3,767 persons. He delighted in school-house and brush arbor meetings and in fellowship, carrying the gospel into destitute places; although he was not an educated man, he had considerable gifts as an evangelist. Long will his memory linger in the minds of those who knew his labors. He departed this life in 1929.

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      ELDER SAMUEL SUMNER, was born in Trigg county, Ky., on the 27th. day of May 1845; born again in 1860, or about that time, and baptized into the fellowship of Donaldson Creek church. Early in life he entered the ministry and for 20 years he was one of the leading pastors in the Association. He was the chief instrument in the founding of Delmont church, was a charter member and gave more toward the erection of a house of worship for this church than any other member. He died at his home, near Roaring Springs, Ky., on June 7th., 1820.

      ELDER ADAM KNOTH, was born June 17, 1847 in Lyon county, Kentucky. Coming to young manhood and facing the question of religion he decided to adopt infidelity as his belief. He found it hard to be an infidel, and under the earnest preaching of a Methodist minister, he was convicted of sin and converted. He joined the Methodist church. As soon as he began to read the Bible he was convinced of the scripturalness of the Baptist position and united with the Baptist Church at Macedonia. In 1874 he helped to, organize Bethlehem Church in Lyon county and became one of its charter members. Soon afterward he was licensed and ordained to the work of the ministry by this church and remained a member of the same church until his death. He never gave his entire time to the ministry, but made his living on the farm and preached as opportunity offered. He served as pastor of a number of churches at different times in his life. He was in the ministry about forty years. He died Dec. 17, 1920. He was the father of three sons and two daughters, all active members of Baptist churches. One son, L. J. Knoth has for a number of years been an active pastor in Little River and Caldwell Baptist Associations.

      ELDER JOHN T. CUNNINGHAM, was born in Trigg county, Ky., October 26, 1859. His parents moved to Graves county when he was twelve years of age, and at the age of 15 he was saved, joining the Mt. Olivet Baptist church. He was licensed to preach at 22. After completing the common school, he attended Clinton College, and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, at Louisville, Ky. In 1890 he was called as pastor of the Oak Grove Baptist church and except for a few years that he was away, attending the Seminary, has been pastor ever since. He is also pastor of Blue Spring church where he was called about 35 years ago. As a young man, he also taught school in Trigg county for about 15 years, during a great part of this time he served on the county board of examiners and was recognized as one of the most efficient teachers in the county. Back in the days of open saloons, he was one of the champions in the cause of prohibition. was an able temperance .lecturer, and as such, was in great demand in campaigns in many counties in West Kentucky. He has ever been very persistent in evangelistic work, holding from six to twelve meetings per year. He is today going strong, and is pastor of five churches, three in this Association and two in the Ohio River Association. He was for five years Moderator of the Little River Association, member of the Executive Board 27 years. preached the introductory sermon 5 times.

      JOHN DRAPER, was Clerk of the Association for 16 years.

      C. W. ROACH, Clerk 11 years.

      H. B. WAYLAND, Clerk, 18 years.

      L. J. WALLACE, Clerk 7 years and member of Executive Board 25 years.

      W. H. WHITE was a member of the executive Board 28 years.

      DR. W. E. MITCHELL, pastor of the Cadiz Baptist church, was

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Moderator of the Association for eight years and during this period was also Chairman of the Executive Board, at this time is Moderator of the General Association of Kentucky Baptists, had rendered invaluable service to the churches in this body.

      HONORABLE A. L. HALL, was Clerk of the Association for eight years, and Chairman of the Sunday School Convention of the Association for eight years, is an untiring Sunday school worker and largely due to his efforts there is now a Sunday school in every church in the Association. The present pastors in the Association are as follows: W. E. Mitchell, Cadiz, Ky., T. E. Taylor, (Present Moderator) Wallonia, Ky., J. T. Cunningham, Princeton, Ky., W. G. Blakeley, Golden Pond, Ky., L. L. Spurlin, Hopkinsville, Ky., L. B. Hooks, Lamasco, Ky., C. A. Ladd, Pembroke, Ky. Also, the following ministers holding membership, but not pastors in the Association: W. J. Stewart, Luther Saunders, F. M. McCawley, Marvin Ramey, W. B. Ladd.


[From R. Noel, Princeton, Ky., "A Brief History of The Little River Baptist Association" - 1933. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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