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History of Tates Creek Baptist Church
By Edith Ratliff
      It was not long after the establishment of Boonesborough and its outlying stations, and before Kentucky was even made a state, that the First Madison County church, Tates Creek Baptist, was established by hardy pioneers who had fought their way into the region that is now Kentucky, and Baptist doctrine definitely took its place in the community.

      The church which was organized sometime between 1783 and 1786, first met in a stone building located somewhere in the vicinity of Shallow Ford.

      Today, the settlement at Shallow Ford is gone. Only piles of rocks remain where houses once stood. But the church established there, still lives and grows.

      The second building, constructed in 1851, is this present building which we now occupy.

      The minutes of the church date from the year 1798. The oldest record book was lost when loaned to an evangelist, who reported back to the church that the book had disappeared from his buggy. The dates of 1783, 1785 and 1786 have all been passed down by word of mouth as being the organizing date.

      We do not have any written proof of the exact date. However, outside sources indicate that it was at least no later than 1786. Each of our record books are approximately the same size, and cover approximately the same number of years. Therefore, since our second book begins with the year 1798, the first book would have covered anywhere from 15 to 20 years previously.

      The first page of our present records reads as follows:

“June the first Saturday, 1798. The church met and after divine service, proceeded as follows: the committee appointed to examine the records, came forward and reported that our constitution and some other material points be entered in the new book and the former book be kept for inspection when called for.” James Berry, clerk.”
      The membership records contain such historical names as Andrew Tribble, Colonel Estill, William Irvine, George Boone, Nancy Boone, William Chenault, Anderson Chenault, & green Clay, along with many other pioneer family names who played an important role in the history
of Madison County and Kentucky.

      Squire Boone is also mentioned as a representative of the Boone’s Creek Church and served as clerk at a joint meeting of several churches in the community who were ‘inquiring into a matter of concern’ between some members of the church. However, there is no record of his ever being a member of this church. Christopher Harris served as moderator at this meeting.

      In January, 1786, Virginia passed the first act favoring the proposed separation of Kentucky from Virginia.

      In September, 1786, a convention was held in Danville to determine if it was expedient to constitute Kentucky as a state. Lewis Collin’s “History of Madison County” lists the five delegates from Madison County as:

1. William Irvine 2. David Crews (Both of these were members here.) 3. Robert Rhodes (We have a Capt. Rhodes, possibly the same man.) 4. Higgerson Grubbs (A Susannah Grubbs was a member; possibly a member of H. Grubbs’ family.) 5. John Miller (Although Mr. Miller’s name is not mentioned on our records, he had slaves who belonged here, and they usually joined the same church as their masters.)

      Our first records do not have a member list as such. Names were obtained by listing them from the minutes of the business meeting. Therefore, there are quite a few more people who were members, whose names are not actually mentioned in the recording of the business meetings.

      All through the records are instances where the church was called upon to settle disputes between members such as establishing boundary lines and laying corner stones.

      Committees were sent to inquire why members were not attending church. Moral issues such as profane language, unmarried couples living together, dancing, denying the inspiration of the word of God. etc.

      All of these issues were settled by the church. If satisfactory explanations or evidence of repentance were not shown by the erring member the hand of fellowship was withdrawn from them until such time as they were willing to correct their conduct.

This brings to mind the scripture in I Corinthians 6:1-4 where the people were admonished for going before unbelievers to settle their problems rather than bring them to the church.

      A school house was located on the grounds of the church. This was a very common practice in pioneer days.

      In reading through the minutes, we find more than 22 churches which called upon Tates Creek to help constitute them into local churches. Several of these churches are, I am sorry to say, no longer in existence. Several of these changed over to follow the teachings of Alexander Campbell.

      However, there are still several who are thriving churches today. Ones where members of this church left to form a church in their local community, such as First Baptist in Richmond, Waco Baptist, Red House Baptist and Union City.

      In October, 1801, twenty-one members were given up to constitute the White Oak Pond Church. This church later switched to the teachings of Alexander Campbell.

      In November, 1801. Seventeen members constituted the Galloway’s Creek Church.

      In April, 1812, a request was received from Union City to “attend them and look into their standing and constitute them if they think necessary.”

      In 1816, we agreed to correspond with the Foreign Board of Missions.

      July, third Sat., 1828, “A petition from brethren and sisters in Richmond who have enrolled their names for constitution, and send 7 brethren to aid in constituting them if thought necessary.”

      1847 – Written proposition from several colored members of this church was presented, asking to be dismissed to be constituted a church in Richmond.

      The church granted the request, and in April of that year, sent help to see into their fitness in becoming a constituted church. Permission was granted from the trustees of Richmond for the congregation

and members to establish the African church.

      Oct. 1858 – Committee sent to Waco to organize a church.

      1860 – Cost to paint the building $30 house-keeping per year $10

      1861 – June treasurer’s report

      Received - $15.40
     Paid out - 12.75
     Balance – 2.65

      Although several members of this church were prominent in civil war history according to outside sources, no mention is made of the war on our books.

      In the 1820s, a split occurred in the church when several members responded to the beliefs of Alexander Campbell, contrary to Baptist doctrine, and formed a separate group.

      These two groups continued to meet in the same building and also recorded their business meetings in the same book from 1826 until 1830. These minutes were intermingled and a bit confusing, to say the least.

      From 1830 to 1850, a double set of minutes were kept. These, too, are hard to distinguish which group is which.

      The “fourth Sunday in April, 1850” the building burned. The reformers wanted to rebuild together, but the Baptist[s] considered this inadvisable. The land was sold to Col. David Irvine for $300 and the money was divided equally between the two groups.

      The reformers decided it was not practicable to rebuild by themselves “as they did not have money enough subscribed. It was also agreed at the next meeting that all members desiring letters can at that time, obtain them.”

      At the next meeting, which was held at Mt. Olivet, on November, first Saturday, 1850, several members were granted letters of dismissal. Many of these later came back, asking to be reunited into the fellowship of the Baptist[s].

      The reformers later established the Antioch Christian Church.

      Having sold their interest in the land where the church stood, the Baptist[s] rebuilt on the Boonesborough Road “on a hill

above old Factory Spring, near Parrish’s Shop” on land given by Nancy Chenault, Walter Chenault, Solom Harris, C.C. Harris and M.S. Stone and wife.

      During the interim of rebuilding, the church met for worship at Pleasant Hill church.

      The present building was built in 1851. The first services were held in the new building on March 2, 1852 with the dedication services later that year.

      In the meeting just prior to moving into the new building, they decided to name the building. Several names were submitted with the name Republican chosen.

      “The church made choice of the name republican which is therefore the name given by the Tates Creek Church of United Baptist[s] to her new building at Old Factory Spring near Thos. Parrish’s shop at the crossing of Boonesborough and Clay’s Ferry Dirt Road.”

      Thereafter in the minutes, the full and complete name is listed as “The Tates Creek Church of United Baptist, meeting at Republican.”

      In Oct. of 1852, an 18-day revival was held with the addition of 75 new members. Several of these were members of the reformers who returned to Baptist beliefs.

      1878 – The church agreed to donate the 6 benches in the gallery to the colored brethren at Otter Creek.

      1879 – Pastor’s salary - $600 per year
Housekeeper – 15 per year

      1880 – Purchased chandeliers and sidelights & 2 stoves

      Jan. 1886 – “Church failed to meet owing to the intense cold. The snow in many places being from 6 to 8 feet deep, being drifted. . . . The thermometer standing from 14 to 16 degrees below zero.”

      May, 1887, The communion set was purchased. This set was in continuous use until January, 1951, when the individual cups were purchased.

      June, 1887 – Revival was held at Forest Hill School with the addition of 36 members.

      At this time, we only had preaching services twice a month. This was

changed several times from “the first and third Sundays, to the second and fourth Sundays to accommodate the current pastor. Most pastors at that time, would be pastors of two churches at the same time.

      On the Sundays that we did not have preaching services, we still had Sunday School, thus we had continuous worship every Sunday.

      This continued (most of the time on the first and third Sundays) until July of 1950, when we began full time preaching services.

      In Feb., 1893, a building committee for the Red House Chapel reported “They had purchased from Alexander Black, one acre of ground for $120. The building was 26 ft wide, 44 ft long, and 16 ft high and was nearly finished and free of debt. The cost was $708.04 which is all paid for and free of debt.”

      In Oct., 1907, 58 members asked the right to withdraw and organize a church at Red House Mission “because they were so far from church and many of them had no means of transportation.” Petition granted and letters issued.

      1907 – Pastor’s salary - $325 per year

      1914 – Jan. and Feb. no meetings held due to small pox

      1915 - New organ, new sidelights – collection plates were purchased. Also, the stone wall in front of the church was torn down and a plank fence erected.

      1915 - B.Y.P.U. (Baptist Young People’s Union) organized (now called Baptist Training Union.)

      1916 – One acre of ground was purchased for $100 at Lynnland, Hardin County for a Children’s Home.

      W.M.S. was organized. Brotherhood not organized until 1958 )the men were definitely lagging behind the ladies)

      1917 – Carbine plant and lights were installed for the sum of $213

      1921 – The ladies of the W.M.U. erected the brick gateposts.

      In 1924, The balcony, which had once seated slaves such as Chenault[‘]s

"Matilda” and Clay’s “Joe”, was converted into Sunday School rooms and the building replastered at a cost of $1195. The rooms were dedicated in Sept., 1924 with an all-day service and Homecoming.

      During this time of remodeling from April to Aug. the church met at White Hall School for services.

      1932 – Revival was held with 2-5 additions.

      1936 – The Housekeeper was paid $1 per Sunday

      1945 – Purchased our own bus (previously used county school bus for several years)

      On March 21, 1954, the Stoney Run Mission asked that we serve as Mother Church for her

      On Nov. 7, 1954. A special meeting was held to organize the Stoney run Mission into a constituted church.

      In 1958-59. The church built a basement containing 7 Sunday School rooms. These were dedicated on May 24, 1959 with an all day service and Homecoming.

      1982 – Auditorium remodeled, paneling installed, replacing wainscoting. At one time, in the 1800s it was papered.

      1983 – July, New pews and carpet purchased. Oct. New front door installed.

      1986 - Commendation award from Madison Co. Bicentennial 1989 – Feb. 8, listed on National Register of Historical Places.

      1989 – Oct 1 Groundbreaking for baptistry addition

      1990 – March 25, Baptistry addition completed and used for first time by the senior adult class

      1990 – April 8, First baptism in new baptistry

      1990 - May 6, Dedication of baptistry

1994 - One acre of adjacent land purchased.

      2000 – July 9, Groundbreaking for new educational building – 3.03 acres of land donated by jo Day and Shelby Jo Burgin

      2000 - Aug. – Construction of new addition began

      2001 - May 20 Dedication of new educational building

      We have had an illustrious and eventful past. One of which we can be justly proud. And truly, we give thanks to God that our forefathers were true to the gospel which had been given them. That they, in turn, “Trained up their children in the ways they should go.” But it is not enough to just receive the faith. It must be protected vigilantly, nourished lovingly, maintained unblemished and without compromise, if it is to be kept alive for posterity.

      The inescapable truth is, that more than 2000 years later, faith still demands a willingness of individuals to make sacrifices for it. Men and women who value their faith, must be prepared to resist any threat to it, wherever and whenever it occurs.

      And now, as we face the future, may it be our prayer that we, too, will be true to the “Faith of our Fathers” and that we will continue this wonderful ministry that God has given us in this community to “preach the gospel to every creature.”


[From The Spencer Journal, 2009, pp. 38-45. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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