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Washington Baptist Church
Mason County, Kentucky
by Samuel H. Ford, 1856
      After the partial cessation of hostilities, Simon Kenton returned to the station where he had built a cabin and raised a crop of corn in 1775. It was on Limestone Creek, about one mile from where the town of Washington stands, and is owned and cultivated, at present, by Thomas Forman, a member of the Baptist Church.

      In 1786, Kenton sold to William Wood, a Baptist preacher, in company with Arthur Fox, one thousand acres of land. Wood at once laid off a town. His patriotism induced him to call it - and it was the first town in the world so named -- after the name of Washington. Two months after its incorporation, the Baptist Church at Washington was completed. It numbered fourteen, among whom were the pastor, Wm. Wood, Robert Taylor, and A. Houghton. It adopted the Philadelphia confession and the discipline annexed thereunto. It was, for some time, one of the most flourishing Churches, but it will be seen as we proceed, that throughout its whole history, sorrow and difficulty have been its lot.

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[From Samuel H. Ford, The Christian Repository, July, 1856.


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Mason County, KY

      The painful difficulties which affected the first Churches of Kentucky, sprung, principally, from the uncertainty of land titles, and consequently ruin of many who speculated largely in land. William Wood received, either for a present or small compensation, one thousand acres of land from his friend and associate, Simeon [Simon] Kenton. He immediately laid off the town of Washington, and organized a Church - a remnant of that constituted at Limestone, in 1785. Wood was an excellent scholar; an effective preacher, and a thorough and sound divine. But of sanguine temperament, he was inclined to build splendid castles in the air, and met with many a sad defeat. By his solicitations and glowing account of the county, he induced Garver to remove to Kentucky, when things were far from what he was led to anticipate. The temperament of Wood, plunged him into speculations in land titles; as was the case with Kenton, with Boone and afterwards with Lewis Craig. The shrewd calculations of northern speculators over-reached the honest-hearted pioneers, and the cold, selfish stranger possessed and drove from the soil the brave men who won it from the wilderness and the savage.

      Wood was ruined. The lands he purchases in good faith, and which he sold for what he gave for them, proved to have defective titles, and he had to give up all he possessed to satisfy men who afterwards obtained from the legislature of Virginia, decrees, making these same titles valid.

      The difficulties, however, bringing others in their train, were introduced into the Church, and Wood was excluded, though afterwards restored to confidence and usefulness. The Church, of course, felt the effects of his fall. A large party were attached to their pastor, and vindicated his innocence. The consequence was the division of the Church, and two parties, as usual, excluding each other. Yet principle triumphed; and the gospel plan of Church independency, pursued by the light of God's word, proved fully equal to the emergency, and re-union and harmony were again restored. This was now the oldest, though not the largest, of these Churches about to organize the new Association.

      In 1796, the Church built a large meeting house, and though few in numbers, they voted L80 a year for the "support of the pastor;" who was "to give his time to preaching, studying and visiting;" and the pastor "agreed that this was sufficient to support himself and family; and that he would devote his time wholly to the society." This liberality would do credit to any Church with the same number of members. It was fully equal to hundred dollars at the present day, and is another proof that the early Baptists did not refuse a competent support to their minister.

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[From Samuel H. Ford, The Christian Repository, September, 1856, pp. 146-147. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]



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