Union Baptist Church was constituted November 5, 1813, with eleven charter members. Leonard Page, a Revolutionary soldier, was first pastor and he served as such for eighteen years. On the day of organization two were received for baptism - Polly Page and Betsy Poor. The first building was a log meeting house on the Russellville-Clarksville road near Dry Fork Creek. In 1830 a new house was built on the same road near Whippoorwill Bridge. In August 1859 a new brick building was dedicated on the Russellville-Hopkinsville road at Whippoorwill Bridge. The congregation has since borne the name of New Union. Union was the mother of six churches. (History, Miss Mattie Lyne, 1944)
Leonard Page, a soldier of the Revolution and the first pastor of Union Church, was born in Goochland County, Virginia. He was a shoemaker by trade and his education was limited but he entered the Baptist ministry in Virginia. He came to Logan County in 1810 and when Union Church was organized he became the pastor, serving from 1813 to 1831. He was also the first pastor of the Russellville Baptist Church, from February 1819 to February 1821. During this period he served both churches at the same time, since they had only part time preaching services.
In Logan County he was a farmer as well as a minister and owned property in a good farming section near the Clarksville road a few miles southwest of Russellville. Finley describes him as a good plain preacher and says: "Mr. Page became an early convert to Mr. Campbell's church" and was by his "incorruptible integrity" able to carry others with him and many Baptist congregations lost heavily. The reference is to Alexander Campbell and the division between the Baptists and the Disciples, which came in 1830. (Finley, Bk. 3, pp.69 and 81)
In April 1818 ten members of Union Church were granted letters of dismissal for the purpose of constituting a church in the town of Russellville. The meeting of organization was held on November 24, 1818 and tradition says that it was in the home of Spencer Curd on what is now West Fourth Street. The ten charter members were Spencer Curd, Thomas Grubbs, William Kercheval, Drury W. Poor, John Poindexter, Elizabeth Rollins, Catherine Curd, Mary Kercheval, Catherine Owens and Betsey Poor. Also present were Elder Leonard Page, who became the first pastor and a number of brethren from sister churches.
The Russellville church shared a meeting house with the Cumberland Presbyterian church on what is now West Fifth Street and the present Blakey street. The Cumberland Presbyterian Church began about 1819 and the two congregations divided time in using the building for services. In 1844 the Baptists erected a new building on the corner of what became Main and Sixth Street and this building was torn down and a new one erected on the same site in 1898. (Russellville church records, History, 1933)
The Pleasant Run Methodist Church, between Corinth and Schochoh, was organized in 1810 and has a long, honorable history.
The Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, later becoming the Lewisburg church, was organized in 1822 with eighteen white and six colored members. The first building was erected in 1825 about four miles northwest of Lewisburg.
Excerpts from New Union Baptist Church 1963 Homecoming Booklet
HISTORY OF NEW UNION BAPTIST CHURCH
On November 5, 1813, Union Church was constituted with eleven members. On the day of the organization the first members who were received for baptism were Polly Page and Betsy Poor. Bro. Leonard Page, the first pastor, served for eighteen years, then Bro. William Warder, who was serving the church in Russellville, was called to Union for half-time and was said to be a wonderful help to the church. He left it standing like an everlasting rock.
The first building was a log meeting house on the Clarksville Road near Dry Fork Creek. The blessings of God were upon this church, and there was a marvelous growth during the first years of her history. In 1830 a new building was erected on the same road near Whippoorwill Bridge.
In July, 1814, the church joined the Red River Association and after a few years went into the Gasper River Association. Since August, 1830, Union has been a member of the Bethel Association. New Union cooperates with the Southern Baptist Convention and contributes fifteen per cent to the Cooperative Program.
Union was the Mother of six churches. On December 2, 1815, a colony of ten went out and formed Mt. Gilead Church at Allensville. In April, 1818, another colony of ten were dismissed to form the Baptist Church in Russellville. In 1820 several went out to form New Providence. In April, 1820, twelve were dismissed to form Pleasant Grove (now Spring Valley). In 1850 twelve of her members went out to constitute Dripping Springs, and later a colony went out to form Green Ridge Church.
The first Communion Service was in May, 1814. When the church met on Friday to transact all business, they voted that Saturday be spent as a day of fasting and prayer before taking the Lord's Supper on Sunday. The church was well filled on this occasion, and the spirit of God was truly manifested.
In those days the white and colored people worshipped in the same building. It was decided to leave the old church on the Clarksville Road to the colored people and build a new one on the Hopkinsville Road for the white people. So this present building was dedicated in August, 1869, and given the name, New Union. A nice parsonage was also built at the same time. The church had preaching three Sundays a month at one time, several times two Sundays, but most of the time once a month, until August, 1951, when the church, under the leadership of Bro. Reid V. Kidd, voted to go full-time.
Seven preachers have been ordained by this church, with only one of the number serving as pastor-Bro. C. P. Shields. He was also a member of the faculty of Bethel College for a number of years.
On the first Sunday in July, 1856, at the close of the service, one of the beautiful girls of this church, Mary Ellen Morehead, came forward and declared her intention to devote her future life as a missionary in Africa. She had been married that morning to Rev. Selden Y. Trimble, of the New Hope Church. After she had taken an affectionate farewell of each member through tears and rejoicing, an offering was taken and presented to her, not to be included on her salary as a missionary, but just as an expression of love. This missionary spirit extended to their grand-daughter, Mary Nelle Lyne, who spent her girlhood as a member of this church, but later in life she moved to Russellville and went from the church there as a missionary to China, where she spent ten years.
This church has had a number of wonderful men serving as pastor. Bro. Leonard Page was the first to serve. Bro. James Lamb held the longest pastorate, serving twenty-three years. Out of forty-six pastors only twelve are living.
This church has had fifteen clerks. Nelson Lyne, grandfather of Misses Mattie and Emma Lyne, served as clerk for thirty-eight years and preserved the minutes from the constitution, where much information can be found.
On November 5, 1913, with Bro. Joe Burnett as pastor, the Centennial of the church was celebrated with a beautiful service.
In 1944, under the leadership of Bro. Hankins Parker, the church dug a basement and installed a central heating system and completely renovated the auditorium.
In 1948, with Bro. J. B. Jackson, Jr., pastor, the church built five Sunday School rooms and the baptistry. These were dedicated on October 19, 1948. Bro. Hankins Parker delivered the dedication sermon. Deacons James Statton and Myrom Berry burned the note on May 21, 1950.
On November 3, 1954, New Union voted to build the beautiful parsonage, located across the road from the church. Bro. J. E. Moreland was pastor at the time. This building was
completely paid for in February, 1957, under the leadership of the pastor, Bro. Archie Redman. Deacons Paul Rager, Myrom Berry, Garner Hancock, and Bro. Redman burned the note on March 16, 1957. Bro. John R. Christian brought the dedication message.
In August, 1958, Bro. Hayward Casey, pastor, led the people to vote to start construction of six additional Sunday School rooms. These were completed in the early winter, and were paid for in October the following year.
In November, 1959, the lovely sign was erected in the front of the church.
Our present pastor, Bro. Albert P. Evans, Jr., came to New Union in July, 1960. Since then the church has added the garage and utility room to the parsonage. The auditorium has been redecorated and the aisles and front carpeted, this has been done in 1963.
These have been some of the material blessings from God, but most important has been the spiritual growth at New Union. Dedicated men, women, boys, and girls are a living testimony to our Saviour, Jesus Christ, and to the love He manifested to us.
We praise God today for this beautiful house of worship and pray that He shall lead us to greater and nobler things for His name's sake.
We invite you to join us this afternoon on a trip back into the past 150 years. In this modern day and age we are constantly made aware of man's progress in Science Agriculture, Medicine and all fields of endeavor - looking always into the future for new frontiers - and that's as it should be. However this afternoon we want you to pause with us as we go back and relive for a few minutes, in song, the history of New Union Church. Our theme for today is "Forward Thru The Ages"-if you will-let's all stand-and sing all three verses of No. 463.
Doesn't it thrill your heart to realize that not only for 150 years but yea--thousands of years that, "that unbroken line of faithful spirits has been moving forward." Praise God for it.
One hundred fifty years ago this November 5th a group of eleven "Faithful Spirits" gathered under God's leadership to constitute Union Church, and as we think of those few gathered we can imagine they might have sung. "Brethren We Have Met To Worship". As they prayed for sinners, God answered their prayers-and two little girls, Polly Page and Betsy Poor accepted Jesus as their Savior.
Betsy Poor's children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren have been members of New Union through the years, and one of her great, great grandchildren, Beth Celsor a present member of New Union, will sing "They Call Me Old Fashioned".
History records that God's Blessings were poured out on Union Church and "There was a marvelous growth during the first years." We can almost hear the congregation singing, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing".
Union was the mother of six churches: Mt. Gilead, Russellville First, New Providence, Spring Valley, Dripping Springs, and Green Ridge. We are happy to have representatives from all these churches, as well as all our visitors, with us today-Let's all stand and sing together No.188, "Amazing Grace".
After about twenty years of growth, we are told a difference of opinion arose and "the peace of the church was greatly affected." Close your eyes and listen to their plea. "Guide Me Oh Thou Great Jehovah." "The storm finally blew over and left the Church standing like an everlasting rock." (1908 directory New Union)
On the first Sunday in July 1856, Mary Ellen Morehead came forward surrendering her life to full time service as a foreign missionary. That morning she and S. Y. Trimble were married in Union Church. After her surrender that afternoon the church presented she and her husband with a love offering of $53. We are told that the congregation sang "Blest Be The Tie That Binds" and there was not a dry eye in the house as the couple left for Africa. If you will-let's all stand and sing all four verses of No.366.
We realize that all of the country was torn and troubled beginning with the unrest before and during the Civil War. Not only the social and political life but especially the Spiritual lives of the people were upset and the heavy burden of war was on the hearts of all people. We realize that in time of trouble all people turn to God for help and "Just a Little Talk with Jesus."
Countless numbers of people have contributed to the growth of New Union. Only in eternity will they be justly rewarded and crowned for their efforts.
The Herndon family has been most active and contributed many leaders to New Union. Myra Berry, a descendant of this family, will sing "Battle Hymn of the Republic."
After the war was over, the Members of Union Church gave their building to the colored people, up until this time they had worshipped together, and in 1869 this building was dedicated to God and used by the white people as their place of Worship. God has been so good to the people at New Union and our prayer today is that we will be challenged to do greater things in His Name as we think about the religion of our Forefathers "Old Time Religion".
The Lyne family has been most active in Union Church for decades. Nelson Lyne served as Church Clerk for thirty-eight years. Coleman Lyne taught the Men's Bible Class for years and was called to Heaven, Sunday Morning, April 21,1926, while teaching that
class. Miss's Mattie and Emma Lyne have been an inspiration in the immediate past to all of us.
Miss Mattie Lyne played the organ for twenty years and Miss Emma taught a Junior Sunday School class for fifty years. She began teaching at fifteen.
Time doesn't permit us to mention all of the people who have dedicated their lives in service to God through New Union Church. At this time Myra Berry and Elaine Price are going to sing a song entitled "My Master". This song was written by Erline Rager, a former member of New Union, a few months before her death. We want to dedicate this song to all the Saints from New Union who are already at home with God.
It has been inspiring to look into the past. We have a wonderful heritage. We know full well we cannot rest on the achievements of our forefathers, and if our great grandchildren are to celebrate the three hundredth anniversary, we must be about our Father's business daily. As we look to the future, our Sunbeams, future leaders of New Union, will sing.
In the words of Mr. Seldon Lyne at the one hundredth anniversary, this is not only a joyous occasion but a solemn one-solemn because in the cloud of witnesses that compass us about are the spirits of those who blaze the way for the progress of the Baptist Cause in this community: solemn because our example of Christian Character and Conduct brings to our minds our own responsibilities.
They have "allured us to brighter worlds and led the way", and we, their children in Faith, should rise up and call them blessed."
First Eleven Members of New Union
EARLY MINUTES FROM UNION BAPTIST CHURCH RECORDS
Title of manuscript:
"Record Book of New Union Church, Logan County, Kentucky, 1872" Vol. 3rd
Transcribed by Mark A. duBarry from bound copies of the original document from New Union Baptist Church Library
From Nov. 1st
The Baptist Church of Jesus Christ constituted at Union meeting house on Friday, November 5th 1813 by our Rev. & Brethren Lewis Faulkner, Daniel Basham, and Leonard Page together with a number of brethren from our sister churches being called upon by the Presbytery to assist in constitution of the same, and on particular examination into the abilities of the members requiring to become a constitution; the Presbytery deemed it to be their duty to constitute the following members into a church state (Viz) William Kerchival, Thomas Foster, George Herndon, Anthony Foster, Edmund Foster, Ananias Barker, Mary Kerchival, Susan Foster, Leethy Barker, Rosy Foster, Elizabeth Foster, constituting of eleven members on the following principles:
We believe in our only true and living God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost one in three and three in one.
We believe the scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be the word of God and the only rule of faith and practice.
We believe in election by grace given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, and that God calls, regenerates, and sanctifies all that is made meet for glory by his special grace.
We believe that sinners are justified in the sight of God only by the righteousness of Jesus Christ imputed to them.
We believe in the doctrine of original sin, and man's utter inability to recover himself from the state he is in nature by his own free will and ability.
We believe in the preservation of the saints in grace, and they shall never finally fall away; and that good works are the fruits of faith and follow after justification.
We believe that Baptism and the Lord's Supper are ordinances of Jesus Christ and that true believers are the only proper subjects, and that the only proper mode of baptism is immersion.
We believe in the resurrection of the dead and a general judgment, and that the joys of the righteous and the punishment of the wicked shall be eternal.
We believe that no ministers have a right to administer the ordinances only such as have been regularly baptized, called, and legally ordained by a presbytery.
Note: For a more extended and better explained view of our faith reference is made to the Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge page 191. Initials TNL (Assumed T. N. Lyne, Clerk)
From Volume 1, Page 3
Rules of Decorum and Church Covenant
The church shall assemble the Saturday before the first Sunday in each month, or at any other time she may appoint, to set in order things that are wanting, and when assembled the meeting shall be prayer or praise to God.
That order may be preserved, the minister, if present, shall act as moderator unless an shall be chosen in his place, and when the church is ready to enter on business, she shall first attend to the references if any, and secondly to any matter of grievance or complaint that is in a proper condition to come before the church, and then to what duty may call her.
A clerk shall be chosen by the church who shall make a true record of all our proceedings in book furnished him for that purpose. In case of absence, a clerk shall be appointed P.T. (transcriber's comment: assumed pro tem)
In time of doing business but one shall speak at a time who shall rise from his seat and address himself to the moderator, and no member shall speak more than twice upon the same subject without permission from the church; nor cast any reflections upon any member who has spoken before him; and no member shall be interrupted unless it should be decided that he is out of order. All due attention shall be given while the church is doing business, and no member shall take the liberty of whispering or absenting himself without liberty. When a question all shall give their votes or assign their reason for not voting, if required by the church.
All questions coming before the church in an orderly manner shall be decided by a majority, except in the reception of members; in which case the church must be unanimous.
All motions made and seconded shall be attended to and the vote taken on it, if made in an orderly manner, unless it be withdrawn by the person who made it.
In appointing committees the moderator shall appoint first and the first appointment the second and so on until the number shall be chosen, and the church shall be privileged to approve or disapprove the nominations.
All representations and offices to be filled in the church shall be by private poll, and any officer may be dismissed from office when three-fourths of the members present may think proper.
In all dealings with disorderly members, the 18th Chapter of Matthew and other corresponding scriptures shall be strictly attended to.
In all matters that would lead to lawsuits between brethren the 6th Chapter of I Corinthians and other corresponding scriptures shall be strictly obeyed and observed.
All visiting brethren shall be invited to seats with us and shall enjoy equal privileges except in voting.
No person shall be received into the church as a member by receiving the right hand of fellowship until baptized in an orderly manner (except on letters of dismission) but on experience may be received by the hand of fellowship, that when baptized to become members and entitled to all the privileges of the church.
[Related to the reception of slaves and is obsolete]
Our communion seasons shall be in the first Sundays in May, August, and November.
These rules may be read every monthly meeting if required, and revised whenever a majority of the members think necessary.
We agree to be particular to fill our seats on days of business in the house of God, and if any member shall be absent himself for more than two church meetings together he may be called on by the church to show the cause of his absence.
We the members of the church Christ at Union do oblige ourselves strictly to observe and abide by the foregoing articles and to endeavour to walk blameless before God and one another and try to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace and further agree that a breach of any of the foregoing articles is a breach of church order, and proceedings may be had thereon as the church may deem proper and duty.
In grating letters of dimission, the persons applying may be called upon by the moderator at the request of any member of the church to give his reasons to the church why he wishes to withdraw his membership, and if satisfactory reasons be given the letter shall be granted and not otherwise.
Any member or members receiving letters of dismission from this church shall be considered members to the same until united with some other Baptist Church.
In calling a pastor the call may be set indefinite as to the time, when such is the case, the relation of the pastor and the people may be dissolved at any time by one party giving the other three months notice of such intention.
The church shall not at any time nor on any occasion pledge any sum or sums of money to be paid by the church unless the full amount has been raised by subscription, and any sum pledged without using this precaution shall be null and void. Nor shall less than one-half the entire church or two-thirds of the members present voting for it, repeal or suspend this article or rule.
In case that one or both of the preceding volumes of our records shall be lost, it is professed in this to give a synopsis of their contents in this, in order that our history may not be lost.
It has been noticed in this volume that the church was constituted on the 5th of November 1813. Soon after its constitution many joined by letter and baptism; so that in a short time it was quite a large church and a prosperous one. While Baptists seem to have been in the country from its first settlement there seems to have been but few organized churches. Center Church situated in the north of the county is the only one, constituted before Union that remains to this day in our county (Logan). One constituted before Union was situated at the "Head of Muddy River" and went by that name, went off with the Anti-Nomian brethren, as they are sometimes called, lasted in a declining state until some 13 or 15 years ago when it ceased to be. Union and Center may be regarded as the mothers of Baptist Churches of the county. Union was so prosperous after its constitution as to send off a colony on the 2nd of December 1815 to form Mount Gilead Church now of Todd County at Allensville. In November 1818 another colony was dismissed to form the Baptist Church at Russellville. Not long after this several Brethren and Sisters were dismissed to form a church near the head of Whippoorwill called Ashbury. This church afterwards received the name of Providence and the split that took place which caused the formation of the Bethel Association it received many secessions from Union on account of Union's determination to go with Bethel Association. The Providence Church was then moved to the Bee (?) Lick
Springs - now Gordonsville - and afterwards removed to the Clarksville Road (Cave Spring) where it now stands; and perhaps has not more than three or four male members in it. Other churches that went out from Union are the following: Pleasant Grove, Dripping Spring, Green Ridge, and finally she went our herself, after the rebellion, and left the colored people in possession of the old House - a pretty good brick building - and built on the Russellville and Elkton road at the crossing of the Whippoorwill - a much better house and took the name New Union.
It may be well to name that the first house that Union worshipped in was a log house, which stood near the main source of the Dry Fork of Whippoorwill. About 1830 a new house was built on the creek (Whippoorwill) on the Clarksville Road, and about one mile from the old site. After the whites left this house it was burned, but the colored brethren speak of rebuilding.
The first pastor of the church was Leonard Page from Licking Hole church, Virginia. He did well until the Campbellite troubles broke up the peace of our churches. The trouble caused by the Antinomians had shaken the churches very much but were recuperating fast when the Campbellite troubles came. Elder Page went off with this heresy very early. An old Baptist brother who lived through all these troubles told me that his opinion was that the prime cause of Elder Page's defection was ambition. He had been one of the pioneers, and as such was a useful man, but other brethren came in who were about to overshadow him. He had charge of Union and Russellville and Elder William Warder visited Russellville and was very favorably received by the brethren, and they called him to preach once a month, but continuing Page as Pastor. This gave great offence to Page and he became very turbulent about it in the streets of Russellville. "He knew what was tried." From this time he preached Campbell every Lord's Day and would perhaps but for Warder and an old Brother by the name of Grief Perkins have taken off most of the church. Elder Page was, on the motion of Brother Perkins, excluded from the church on the 1st day of August 1830. But little is said in the minutes about it, but I have it from eye witnesses that Elder Page behaved badly on the occasion. He left the church and called upon all who wished to come out of Babylon to follow him. Elder William Warder succeeded him both at Union and Russellville. Elder Warder was called by the church at Union on Saturday before the first Lord's Day in September, 1831 and served as pastor a part of this time only as supply, until about April 1835 when Brother Milican (L. H.) was chosen. He resigned in February 1836. On the 3rd day of April 1836 Elder James Lamb was called and resigned for the Home Mission field in October 1842. H. B. Wiggin was called in November 1842 and resigned in
September 1845. In January 1846 Elder James Lamb was chosen and served until February 1855. Elder William D. Pannel was chosen in March 1855 and his health failing so that he could not attend regularly, Brother Larkin Crutcher (?) was chosen November 1858 and somehow went out as the rebellion came in. His name appears upon the books the last time in December 1861. From that date no minutes were made until May 1863. Elder John J. Felts was chosen pastor in April 1863 and resigned in February 1868 to go to the west. In April 1868 Brother E. N. Dicken was called provide the church in Russellville would ordain him, which, they were ready to do, and resigned in April 1870 to go to Bethel Church but offered to serve as supply for a time. In September 1870 Elder William M. Jordan was chosen and continues to this date October 1872. We number now about 100 members. We have a good Sunday School and we are perhaps doing more to sustain the gospel than ever before. Sister Mary E. Trimble Missionary to Africa was from Union. Perhaps no preachers except colored were ever ordained by the church. Rev. R. W. Morehead, brother to sister Trimble was a minister of Union until just before his ordination when he joined Green Ridge.
It was understood that the old book Vol. 2nd should be left with the colored people but was used for the want of another up to October 1872. The only thing that it is needful to record in this is our Sunday School Constitution and by-laws, and some of the quarterly reports of the Deacons.
SUNDAY SCHOOL CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS
CONSTITUTION: Section 1st
We consider the instituting of thorough Bible Schools to be the imperative duty of the Church of Christ, both general and particular. Deut. 3:1-12. Matt. 28:19-20.
The name of this our school shall be called: The New Union Sabbath Bible School.
Its motto shall be "The truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth in love."
The text book shall be the Holy Scriptures and such helps to its proper interpretation as are creditable and available.
Its creed shall be "One Lord, One Faith, and One Baptism" Ephesians 4:5
The officers of this school shall be two associate superintendents, two associate secretaries, two associate librarians, and one treasurer.
The pastor of New Union Church shall by virtue of his office be principal of the Bible School.
These officers shall be elected and appointed by the church meeting in August of each year, and in case any office should be vacated in interim, it shall be supplied by an immediate election at any time.
The Deacons of New Union Baptist Church by virtue of their offices shall be teachers within regular or supernumerary.
The teachers shall be appointed by the superintendents and pastor with the covenant of the class in each case and shall be Baptist of good standing and qualification.
All the literature of the entire school shall be such as is indorsed and regarded by the Baptist Church as sound and evangelical.