A Brief History of The Little River Baptist Association
by E. R. Noel, Princeton, Ky. - 1933
With slight revision, this is the publication of a paper which was read by the author before the Association in its annual meeting of 1933, which was held with the Liberty Point Baptist Church, in Trigg County, on August 9th. and l0th. of the year.
We wish to state, in the beginning, that in preparation of this brief history, we have, with the exception of five copies, all the minutes of said Association from 1818 to date. I also, wish to. acknowledge help derived from 'A Brief History of the Little River Baptist Association.' By R. W. Morehead, and From Spencer's History of Kentucky Baptists.
EARLY HISTORY OF KENTUCKY BAPTISTS:
Among the emigrants coming from Virginia and the Carolinas to the "Dark and Bloody Ground", under the leadership of the Boones (Daniel and Esquire), Capt. Wm. Ellis, John Grant, and others, there were many Baptists; who in their persistent struggle for religious liberty, suffering also from oppressive laws, fines and imprisonment, sought early the freedom of the Western clime.
The Baptists were the earliest friends of freedom in Virginia and their brave struggle for liberty of conscience had much to do with the birth and growth of the revolutionary sentiment.
Washington spoke of them as 'Firm friends of civil liberty and preserving promoters of our glorious revolution.' Spark's Washington, Pge. 155, Vol. 12.
In the fall of the year 1781, a church of about 200 members with their pastor, Eld. Lewis Craig, leaving their old homes in Spottsylvania county, Virginia, sought new homes in Kentucky. Reaching their destination and having settled on Gilbert's creek, near where the town of Landcaster [Lancaster] now stands, they gave to the organization the name of Gilbert's Creek Baptist Church.
This was the third Baptist Church west of the Alleghanies; Severn's Valley having been organized June the 18th. 1781, and Cedar Creek, July 4th. 1781. The former, now Elizabethtown; Ky., retains the old name - Severn's Valley.
The following graphic description of the scene presented at the constitution of this church is from the pen of Samuel Haycraft: 'When this widespread and now favored country was but a wilderness; when not a human habitation was to be found !between Louisville (then called the Falls of the Ohio.) and Green River, save a few families, who had ventured to Severn's Valley - a dense forest and unexplored - and commenced a settlement. There the lamented John Gerald, a minister of God, came like John the Baptist, 'The voice of one crying in the wilderness', and finding a few disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, like sheep without a shepherd, gathered them together under a green sugar tree, where in the fear of God they gave themselves to the Lord and to one another in church government and were constituted a Baptist church, named after Severn's Valley and the creek that flows through it.'
Other churches, in a few years, following this, were organized and several associations were formed during the latter part of the 18th. century, Viz. Elkhorn Association Oct. 29, 1785; South Kentucky, May, 1788; Tate's Creek, Nov. 26, 1793; Bracken, May 28th. 1799; Green River, June 1800.
At the close of the year 1800 there were in Kentucky these six Associations of Baptists with about 106 churches, having about 5,120 members, being one to every forty of the population (this being 221,000). In the year 1810 there were in the state 280 Baptist churches with 16,650
members; one to every twenty-four of the population.' In the report of the General Association of Kentucky Baptists, 1933, we have 1,963 churches, with 327,746 members, or approximately one to every eight of the population based on the 1930 census, which was 2,614,589.
The Red River Association was organized in the year 1807, with twelve churches, embracing a considerable territory in the Western part of this state and a few churches in Tennessee.
LITTLE RIVER ASSOCIATION.
The Red River Association at its annual meeting in 1813 with Muddy Fork Church, at Cerulean Springs, Ky., having 40 churches, 1,791 members, steps were taken to form a new association, to be called the Little River Baptist Association, occupying the territory west of a line beginning at a point about six miles west of Clarksville, Tenn., and running west of Hopkinsville, Ky., on to the Ohio River near Henderson.
A meeting for this purpose was appointed to be held the same year at Eddy Grove church near Princeton, Caldwell County, Ky. As far as we have been able to determine, the new organization was effected in November, 1813, composed of the following churches (Having about 1,000 members):
Blooming Grove, Tenn.; Big Creek, Ky.; Cub Creek, Tenn.; Cypress, Dry Creek, Dry Fork, Eddy Grove, Flat Creek, Muddy Fork, New Hope·, New Bethel, Providence, Salem, Sinking Fork, Salene Creek, Tizrah, Unity, Little River, and Mt. Pleasant.
Eddy Grove church, likely the oldest of these, was organized in the year 1799. As far as we have been able to determine, this church was located on U.S. Highway 62, about three miles south of Princeton, Ky., near the Hollingsworth school house.
Among the early settlers of this locality, many of them coming from South Carolina, were three preachers, Viz: Daniel Brown, Edmund Bearden, Reuben Roland, who preached in the cabins of the early settlers and succeeded in gathering a sufficient number of Baptists to form a small church. Daniel Brown, it is said, was the first pastor; and he was succeeded by the venerable James Rucker, who was a co-laborer of the Craigs, Taylor, Hickman and others in Woodford and adjoining counties, and moved to Caldwell about 1800. He was succeeded by Mr. Tanner, and he by Wm. Buckley, who was during his pastorate, silenced from preaching for intemperate drinking. In 1833, the church divided, and the majority united with what is now known as the Original Little River Baptist Association; in 1837 it changed its name to Equality, in 1841 it divided again, and the minority was reorganized by the association. it finally dissolved in 1850.
Salem, in Livingston County, was organized with 17 members by Daniel Brown, Edmund Bearden and Robert Smith, June 22nd., 1805. It joined the Old Red River Association in 1808, and in 1813 went into the organization of the Little River Association. The said body convening with this church in 1814. The early pastors were Daniel Brown, Wm. Buckley, J. W. Mansfield, and Willis Champion, who was a member of this church; being called to preach, he was selected as pastor in 1834 and continued to serve the church up, to the year 1875, i. e., for 41 years. This church now belongs to the Ohio River Association.
Mt. Pleasant church, in Trigg county, is the only constituent church of the Little River Association, which is now a member of it. It was organized in 1810, and was then located where Liberty Point church now stands, (on Little River about 4 miles West of Cadiz). Little River church, of Christian County Association, and New Bethel, of Caldwell
County Association were constituent churches. Little River was organized in 1811, and New Bethel Arr. 4th. 1812.
The second oldest church, which is now a member of the Little River Association, is Donaldson Creek, in Trigg County. It was organized as a branch of Dry Creek church in the year 1814, and became an independent organization in 1818, that year it had 68 members, and Dry Creek, the mother church, had 43.
Fourteen associations have, directly or indirectly, gone out of The Little River Association as follows: in 1820, Highland with 15 churches; from Highland. 1836, Little Bethel with 4 churches, from Little Bethel. 1888, Ohio Valley, we do not know the number of churches.
In 1823, several churches withdrew to form Western District Association; from Western District; Obion was formed in 1828, with 14 churches; from Western District, Clark's River Association was formed in 1831 with 7 churches., and in the year 1834 ten churches went out of Obion and Clark's River Associations and formed West Union Association. From West Union, the following associations have been formed: In 1848 Mt. Olivet with 4 churches, in 1870, Blood River with 11 churches, (several churches have gone directly from us to Blood River Association), in 1892 West Kentucky, in 1893, Graves County.
In the year 1883 fifteen churches withdrew to form Ohio River Association, and in 1924, eighteen churches withdrew from us to form Caldwell County Association, and the same year three churches went from us to the Christian County Organization.
THE MISSIONARY AND ANTIMISSIONARY SPLIT.
In its early history, the Little River Association was evangelistic in its endeavor, and decidedly missionary in spirit, therefore, grew by leaps and bounds, reporting from 14 to 197 baptisms annually. It maintained yearly correspondence with the Board of Missions. In 1818 the corresponding Secretary of the Mission Board, reported that he had received pleasing information concerning the advancement of the Redeemer's Kingdom, which encourages us to hope that the time is not far distant when the aborigines of America shall sit at the feet of Jesus. From the 1818 Minute, we also learn that the Association had an employed Missionary and paid him for his services; see the following extract: 'Paid Bro. Ross for his services in the Missionary Business, $5.00, Clerk for his services, $8.00. Printing of Minutes, $10.00. Resolved that this association request the friends of Aboriginal reform to meet at Eddy Grove church, Caldwell County, on Friday before the Second Lord's Day in October next, for the purpose of forming a Missionary Society.'
In 1820 it was reported that 'the Redeemer's Kingdom is still progressing, and we trust that the Lord will carry on His work until a knowledge of Himself shall cover the earth as the waters cover the great deep.'
The Association up to 1821 continued to warmly favor Missionary operations; it is probable that the majority of the association was still in favor of missions and theological education; but the Anti-missionary element had become so determined in their opposition, that the body was threatened with scism [sic]. To avoid this, it was deemed prudent to yield to their demand, accordingly the association dropped correspondence with the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions and two neighboring associations.
From this period till 1829, the transactions of the body were unimportant.
As early as 1827, the tenets of Alexander Campbell began to agitate some of the churches of the Body, and that year, a circular letter, strongly commending the propriety of having a confession of faith; or a
declaration, in current language, of what we understand the scriptures to teach, appended to the minutes of the association.
In 1829 several churches remonstrated against having an abstract of principles printed in the minutes. This brought the subject before the association, after some discussion, it was ordered that our constitution, abstract of principles and rules of decorum be annexed to the minutes.
The following Abstract Of Principles as adopted by the association, and accepted by most of the churches, formed prior to 1900, as their Articles of Faith, was printed in the Association Minutes of 1829, 1849, 1866, 1878, 1892:
1. We believe in one only true and living God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
2. We believe that the scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the word of God, and the only rule of faith and practice.
3. We believe in the doctrine of original sin.
4. We believe in the doctrine of election, and that God chose His people in Christ before the foundation of the world.
5. We believe in man's impotency to recover himself from the fallen state he is in by nature, by his own free will or ability.
6. We believe that sinners are justified in the sight of God only by the imputed righteousness of Christ.
7. We believe that God's elect shall be called, converted, regenerated and sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
8. We believe the saints shall persevere in grace and never fall finally away.
9. We believe that baptism and the Lord's supper are ordinances of Jesus Christ, and that true believers are subjects, and that the true mode of baptism is by immersion.
10. We believe in the resurrection of the dead, and a general judgment.
11. We believe the punishment of the wicked, and the joys of the righteous, will be eternal.
12. We believe that no ministers have a right to the administration of the ordinances, only such as are regularly baptized, called, and come under the imposition of the hands by the Presbytery.
In 1832, a motion was made to drop correspondence with Red River Association, which was at this time an anti-missionary body. A lengthy discussion ensued, and the motion finally prevailed. No further progress toward a division of the Association was manifested at this session; but the matter was discussed among the churches, during the ensuing year.
The memorable session of 1833, convened at Mt. Pleasant church, in Trigg County, on the 16th., and two succeeding days in August.
William Buckley, an anti-missionary, was elected Moderator, Jno. Draper, a Missionary, was elected Clerk. Letters from several of the churches remonstrated against the doctrine of the general atonement, and declared they were unwilling to hold in fellowship any who held that doctrine; but this Association knowing that toleration is given in the terms of union amongst us, and that one or more of our Churches were constituted on those principles; and that in all the Churches in this Association, there is more or less difference of opinion on that subject; we having lived together in peace and prosperity, would not consent to violate that sacred covenant.
To violate our covenant would be the more unjust, in as much as we have been, for years past, in the practice of receiving members coming to us from the United Baptists - and we have always considered ourselves of that order, and we are called by that name.
After various efforts, by the dissatisfied party, to extort propositions on which the Association could divide in a friendly manner, we constantly affirmed that we had no such propositions to other; but closely adhere to the principles of the General Union. And after various propositions and motions, the following motion was offered by E. Mansfield; to wit: "I move that the question be taken (Whether the Association will support the principles of the United Baptists; or will they usurp dominion over the consciences of men)". The question being taken, the result was twenty-six in favor of the general Union - it being a majority of the Association.
We then proposed that we should live together in peace and brotherly love, upon the principles of the general Union; allowing the brethren, on either side, to entertain their own views relative to our own confession of faith; which they refused, by rending themselves from us; and the Moderator resigned his office by saying, "Brethren, I resign my office as Moderator of the Little River Association." The messengers from the following churches withdrew from the Union; Viz: Cubb Creek, Dry Creek, Dry Fork of Eddy, Eddy Grove, Muddy Fork of Little River, Crockett's Creek, Sinking Fork of Little River, Saline Creek, and Tennessee; but one of the messengers from Sinking Fork, i.e. Charles Pope, immediately returned, and was recognized as the delegate from Sinking Fork Church. Eld Dudley Williams:, was then called to the chair, and the Association proceeded as follows: Etc.
(The above was copied by me, from the original minutes of 1833).
Spencer says that the seceding party withdrew to the grove, the following day, leaving the missionary party in possession of the records and the house. Both parties claimed the name and prerogative of Little River Baptist Association; but subsequently the miner organization prefixed the word "Original" to its title. The churches represented by the messengers withdrawing from the convention, had 409 members, however, one of these, to wit: Crockett's Creek, refused to stand by the action of its messengers, and remained Missionary and continued to make annual reports to the Association, and is today a Missionary Baptist Church. The churches remaining with the Union had 791 members.
According to Spencer, in 1834 one more (Cases' Creek) church, had united with the party which split off, and yet that year they reported only 385 members; in 1932, this same organization reported five churches with a total membership of 49, (two churches not reporting their present membership.)
The Little River Missionary Baptist Association in 1834, numbered 14 churches with 860 members, and in 1932, we reported 3,629 members.
Below we give the names of the churches remaining in the Union: Blooming Grove, Little River, Mt. Pleasant, New Bethel, Salem, Donaldson Creek, Union, Deer Creek, West Union, Donaldson, Harmony.
The following copy, from records of the Dry Creek Anti-missionary Baptist church, show that the Missionaries were in the majority when the division took place in the Association: "On Saturday before the 2nd. Lord's Day in September, 1833, the church sat in order. Bro. Nance Moderator. Fellowship enquired for.
Motion and agreed to open the door for the reception of members. Called on delegates to the Association. Bro. John Carr reported to the church. Motion and second to take the dividing vote.
Motion and second, deciding that all who want letters of dismission to be granted.
'Motion and second, that all who approve the cause of the nine
churches; make it known by rising to their feet; then arose Wm. Scott, John Carr, Wyley Wolland, John Tinsley, Maget Scott, Elizabeth Tinsley, Jane Tinsley, N. Carr.
'Those who favor the 'Ten Churches' (really eleven). to wit: Jesse Cox, A. Brunson, Amy Skinner, Elizabeth Rodgers, Rachel Hargraves, Martha Boren, Jane Sumner.'
There were eight favoring the cause of the "nine churches" and seven favoring the cause of the "Ten Churches" deciding the church Anti-missionary by one vote majority.
Motion and second that we receive letters, and grant their request.
Motion and second that we buy and give to the members favoring the Ten Churches, either the new or the old books.
Agreed that each party shall occupy the house one half of the time; it is understood that those who are in favor of the 'Nine churches' continue their meetings on the same day as heretofore.'
The reader will notice that the factions had not yet assumed or acquired any names by which they should be designated, therefore, this local church, in taking the dividing vote simply designated the Hardshell faction as the nine churches, and the Missionary, as the Ten. So we can easily see that 'their rock is not as our rock, they themselves being the judqes.'
Although the Association has actually divided herself five times and scores of churches have gone out from us into other Associations, the 'Split of 1833' is the only one that has taken place as a result of internal strife or doctrinal differences. And so far as I have been able to learn, except the divisions that occurred in the churches immediately following the split in the Association, we have never had a church to divide and become two seperate [sic] organizations from the above named causes.
In spite of the fact that so many churches and Associations have gone out from us, 'The oil has not failed in the Cruse, nor the meal in the barrel.' Today we have a third more churches than we had at the beginning, and three and one half times as many members.
After the division of 1833, a discordant element which could not be conciliated or longer tolerated, being now eliminated, and having dropped correspondence with Old Red River Association in 1832 and Highland and Muddy River (ILL) Anti-missionary bodies, a few years later, this Association Resolved to encourage itinerant preaching, recommending to the churches that they make contributions for this purpose.
Following this, there was a commendable zeal manifested in Mission work at home and abroad, and the Association increased in numbers very rapidly. From 1838, until the Civil war, extensive revivals prevailed. In 1860 there were 34 churches belonging to the Association, with 3,998 members, comparing favorably, in zeal for the Master's cause and maintenance of benevolent enterprises, with the leading associations of the State.
In 1870 there were 51 churches with 4,198 members. In 1882, there were 58 churches and 5,339 members. From 1813 to 1833, there were reported 1,406 baptisms, (and the figures are not available for 6 years during this time). For the past hundred years, we have reported 23,744 baptisms, (and the number of baptisms were not reported in the minutes of 1900 and 1915).
In 1843, It was resolved that this Association contemplate with deep interest the Indian Mission Association, organized at Cincinnati, in October of the previous year, and regard the work of sending the Gospel
to the Indians, as especially appropriated to the churches of the West; that this Association recommend to the churches comprising her body, to adopt some plan by which more money may be secured and sent during the present Associational year, to the treasurer of Indian Missions at Louisville, and report the same to the next Association.
Similar resolutions and recommendations have been passed at different times, favoring Missionary work at home and in Foreign lands. In order to supply the destitution in the bounds of the Association, it was resolved in 1845, that this Association recommend to the churches the propriety and importance of taking up immediate collections for the purpose of enabling their pastors, and other ministers, to supply the destitution.
The question of Ministerial support came up in 1839, and it was resolved, because of the great inattention to, ministerial support, and consequently, the great inefficiency of our ministers, that we recommend to our churches composing the Association, to raise funds to be placed in the hands of a treasurer, for the purpose of employing an agent, whose business it shall be to visit the churches belonging to the Association and urge them to adopt some plan by which their pastors or preachers may be enabled to go forth unfettered and preach the unsearchable riches of Christ.
At the annual meeting in 1854, a committee on resolutions was appointed, and reported favorably on the following subjects, to-wit: Home, Indian and Foreign missions, Temperance, Sunday-schools and revision of the Scriptures. Upon the question of Temperance, it was resolved, 'That inasmuch as the use of intoxicating drinks has been the fruitful source of crimes, pauperism and death, every Christian ought to discountenance its use as a beverage altogether. It was Resolved, "In view of the innumerable advantages resulting from Sabbath school instruction, every church ought to organize and sustain a Sabbath-school.
In 1861, the following resolution was offered by J. F. White, of Cadiz, Ky., which was adopted:
Whereas, Time in its diversified changes, is placing many important incidents connected with the history of this Association, very remote from the memory of many of those now living; and whereas, even some of the ministers who in gone by days, labored most successfully in building up the cause of Christ in this Association; and whereas, many important facts connected with their labors and their history will soon be forgotten, therefore, resolved that this Association appoint a Committee of brethren of extensive experience and knowledge of the history of this Association, to prepare a sketch of the most important incidents and facts connected with this Association, and report the same to the next meeting of the Association, the same to be appended to the minutes of the Association.' A Committee was appointed to effect the provisions of the Resolution: this committee was continued for two years, and finally discharged without performing the task assigned. In 1876, a brief history of the Association, (presumably by R. W. Morehead) was appended to the minutes of the Association for that year.
The Little River Missionary Baptist Association in 1834, numbered 14 churches with 860 members, and in 1932, we reported 3,629 members. < P> In 1886, the following Resolution was passed with reference to intemperance: "It is the opinion of the Association that intemperance is one of the greatest evils of the age, that for a church member to engage
8 in the sale of intoxicating drinks is injurious to good morals, destructive to the happiness and good order of society, and fraught with evil and only evil. Resolved, therefore, that in the future this Association will not hold in fellowship any church that will continue to permit her members to sell intoxicating drinks." The subject of temperance was given a prominent place in all the meetings of the Association from 1854, on until the adoption of the 18th. Amendment.
In 1846, a resolution was passed authorizing the word "United," to be inserted between the words "River" and "Baptist", in the caption of our minutes; from this time to 1901, the name "Little River Association of United Baptists," appears on our Minutes, since 1901 the word "United" has not been used in our name.
The first Executive Beard was appointed in 1846, as follows: C. W. Roach, John W. Jackson, W. A. Easley, John Baker, and Peter Baker; since that time, the association has paid to missions and benevolence, $180,434.28. Up to and including the year 1919, the year of the launching of the Seventy-five Million Campaign, we had paid $73,552.43, to Missions and Benevolence; during the five years of the Campaign, we paid $77,423.05, or $3,870.62, more than we had paid in 74 years prior to the Campaign. In the leanest year of the Campaign, we paid three and one half times as much as our best year since the Campaign. And in the two leanest years of the Campaign, we lacked only $604.09, paying as much as we have in the past eight years.
Last year (1932) Caldwell County Association and Little River Association, which were one and the same, before and during the Campaign, only lacked $759.90, paying as much as we did the banner year before the Campaign, which was in 1918, when we were experiencing a period of such financial prosperity as this country had never before known, nor have we seen such prosperity since that year and the two or three years immediately following. 1920 was our Banner year in contributions to missions; we paid that year, $21,573.55.
1880 was our banner year for baptisms, that year baptizing 524 converts. The Little River Association today, through the Co-operative Program, is not only doling extensive mission work at home, but, is helping to support nearly 400 Missionaries, in 14 Foreign countries.
Below we give only too brief a sketch, of some who have lived and wrought in the Association, but time and space will not permit a more complete biographical sketch.
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
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
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.,
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
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 the· 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
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.
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
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.
A fine fellowship prevails among our churches and pastors and we feel that the Association bids fair to go on in the work of the Lord in a way which has characterized her efforts in Kingdom work for the past hundred years.
E. R. NOEL, Princeton, Ky.
[From SBTS E-Texts, Adam Winters, Archivist. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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