The "History of the Maysville Baptist Church," as at present constituted, commences in 1838. But as a sketch of the progress of the Baptist interest in Maysville from its commencement is desirable, this article will not be confined to the present organization. The records concerning this subject are singularly incomplete. Previous to 1850 there remains only the record of two years. Most of this article, therefore, has been gathered from the memories of our oldest citizens, and such chance information as came to hand.
In consequence of the vexations and annoyances to which they were subjected in Virginia, we find among the earlier emigrants to Kentucky a very large proportion of Baptists. As soon as the unsettled state of the co[u]ntry would permit, they formed themselves into church[e]s. Indeed, they hardly awaited peace or safety before they began the preaching of the Gospel. It is very difficult to realize that, less than a hundred years ago, and not a mile from the Maysville Baptist Church, the story of the cross has been told to eager, interested audiences, while armed men kept guard to protect them from hostile Indians.
The first church organized in this part of Kentucky was the Limestone church. It was constituted by the Rev. William Wood in 1785. The following were the members: Rev. William Wood, Sarah Wood, James Turner, John Smith, Luther Calvin, Priscilla Calvin, Sarah Starks, Charles Tuel and Sarah Tuel. This church assisted in the formation of Elkhorn Association, September 30th, 1785, which held its first meeting with the Clear Creek church. At this meeting Rev. William Wood presided, who, together with Edward Dobyns was a messenger from Limestone church. Elkhorn was the first association organized in Kentucky. From the records of the church we are unable to name the place of its constitution, or where its first meetings were held. Few in numbers as the settlers were at that time, and exposed to the attacks of the Indians, they could only have held their meetin[g]s in places capable of being easily defended. As the Maysville - then Limestone - settlement was the largest, and offered the best security, it is probable that the church was constituted and held its meetings at that place. The ordinance of baptism was administered for the first time in Mason county in August, 1788. The ceremony took place in the Ohio river, in front of the present city of Maysville. There was present a very large assemblage of people for those days, nearly all the inhabitants of the town and surronding country turning out. The strangeness of the scene in a new country - an almost unbroken wilderness - and the soleminity of an ordinance so appropriate to those who renounce the world and put on Christ, carried the people back to the days of their youth and to another land, impressing them as never before with the importance of a personal interest in the Savior. This scene was undoubtely largely instrumental in the rapid spread of religious influence and the noted revivals which followed and continued for some years in Mason county. During the baptism a large number of Indians assembled on tha other side of the river and watched its progress with the greatest interest. It must have looked to them like a strange, weird scene, the significance of which they could not comprehend. The solemn music, sounding across the waters like a dirge, the burial and the resurrection, must have struck them with awe and wonder. The persons baptised upon this occasion were Elizabeth Wood, John Wilcox, Ann Turner, Mary Rose and Elizabeth Washburne.
When Washington became the county seat, this church was permanently located at that place, and in August, 1792, it assumed the name of Washington Church. The county was still but little settled; nevertheless, the church determined upon the
erection of a meeting-house upon the site still occupied for that purpose. This was an enterprise of no little difficulty, as the country was infested by strolling bands of Indians, who neglected no opportunity of annoying the whites. While one party of the men were engaged in hewing the logs and putting them in place, others acted as guards and scouts to protect them from the savages. In building this church, the rifle was as important an instrument as the broad-axe. During the entire progress of the work, the sisters accompanied their husbands and brothers, assisting them in the lighter work and preparing their food, which was cooked upon the ground.
From this church the Stone-Lick Church was organized, March 1st, 1796, by Rev. William Wood. Brother Wood continued pastor of the Washington Church until 1798, who, when, a difficulty having arisen between him and one of the brethren and the pastor refusing to make satisfactory concessions, he was declared "not one of us." The Bracken Association was formed May 26th, 1799, and held its first meeting with the Bracken Church, Minerva.
From the Washington and Stone-Lick Churches the Cedar Hill - afterward the Maysville Church was constituted, July 4th, 1801. Its first members were Abram Evans, Elizabeth Gutteridge, Mary Ann Ellis, Rebecca Hutchinson, Jane Rains, Eleanor West, and others mostly residing upon this side of the river. The church building was on a knoll nearly opposite the present residence of Dr. Moore, just west of Aberdeen, Ohio. In 1802 William Jacobs and Thomas Shelton were messengers, and the number of members was sixteen. In 1812 the Cedar Hill Church was removed to Maysville, and was known from that time as the Maysville Baptist Church. The Rev. William Grinstead was pastor, who, with Rhoden Hord and William Jacobs, was messenger to the Association that year; number of members reported twenty-two. Just previous to the removal, on the 24th of October, 1811, Brother Edmund Martin deeded to Brothers James Lawson, Rhoden Hord and Rev. William Grinstead, as trustees for the church, the lot upon which the present building stands. The following clause will show the conditions of the gift: It is donated "to the Baptists of Kentucky in general, and of Maysville in particular, so long as they shall stand by and maintain the following great and important doctrines as laid down in the Scriptures of truth, viz; The sovereignty of Almighty God, particular and personal election, perseverance of the saints and eternal judgment."
In about the year 1816 the project of building a house of worship was started, and in some four years it was so far completed as to be occupied, although it was not then plastered, and the seats were benches of the rudest make. Previous to this time, the meetings had been held in the old log school-house which occupied the site of the present City Hall, and at the houses of the members. The church continued to prosper, and increased somewhat in numbers. In doctrine it was Calvanistic in the extreme. To their minds God did not govern the universe by law, but was himself law.
Concerning the spiritual condition of the church in these early days, there was always a feeling of deep earnestness and solemnity pervading the church. Nothing of a frivolous nature was tolerated. The members considered themselves especially elected as the children of the Most High. In all their ceremonies, baptism and the Lord's Supper, they did not forget that they were transacting the
business Of God's kingdom, a part Of which they were. The meetings of the church for business were such as men hold when their belief amounts to a certainty that the subjects they act upon are of eternal interest. Their meetings for worship were characterized by extreme seriousness. There was no whispering, no careless inattention, but strict heed was given to every word, for the message was from heaven.
Not long after Brother Grinstead ceased to be the pastor, the Rev. Walter Warder was engaged to preach once a month. He was an extremely popular preacher, and whenever his appointments came around the house was crowded, and if the weather was pleasant the people gathered outside in large numbers, the windows being raised so that all could hear. Finally, the back part of the church was partly torn away, and a large shed erected to shelter the great crowds that came to hear him. During one year he baptised over one thousand persons outside of his own church. He was a man of medium height, portly and of dark complexion. He was kind of heart, a loving and affectionate friend, a Christian gentleman in the truest sense of the word. He is spoken of by all who knew him as "the best of men."
From 1814 to 1823 no letters or messengers were sent to the Association, the church having practically withdrawn from it on account of some doctrinal difference. In 1823 the church petitioned fos readmission, which was granted, and Brothers Plat Stout and Amos Corwine were sent as messengers. In 1824 the same messengers were sent, and the church reported thirty-nine members. During the time that Brother Warder preached there were several revivals, some of them of wonderful power. During the first revival thwenty-eight persons were baptised. After this there were other revivals, in the course of which fifteen or twenty persons united with the church. The meetings were very solemn, as if in very truth God was in the midst. As the candidates one after another presented themselves for membership, and related their experience, they were subjected to rigid examination. After they had been received a procession was formed at the meeting-house and all went singing down the street to the river, where as now the ordinance of baptism was administerd
In 1825 the church property was sold for debt to John Wood for $200 or rather leased to him for one hundred years. The year following John Wood leased it to Deacon William Tureman for ninety-nine years, and in 1839 Brother Tureman leased it to the trustees of the church, as at present organized, for the term of ninety years.
This church, which had been organized in 1801 and had passed through many vicissitudes, at length voted in 1826 to disband. From that time until 1838 - a period of twelve years - there were no Baptist church in Maysville. There was, however, occasional preaching. Rev. Walter Warder often officiated, and in 1828 he held a protracted meeting, which excited great interest in the community. One of the results of this meeting was the formation of the present church in Maysville holding to the doctrines taught by the "Current Reformation." This church rented the meeting-house from Brother Tureman, and continued to occupy it for several years. Soon after this Brother Warder made a visit to Missouri, where he died after a brief illness. His remains were removed to Mayslick, Ky., by the Baptist Church at that place, and a suitable monument was erected to his memory. During the interventing period, until the new organization, the Baptists of Maysville were often favored with visits and preaching from Brothers Abernathy, William Vaughan and his brother. Rev. Jeremiah Vardiman also came frequently, and was very acceptable to the people.
During the winter of 1838 the Rev. Thomas J. Fisher, - a young man never heard of before by the brethren here, - who had been holding a meeting at Mt. Sterling, with which the Methodist brethren of that place were greatly pleased, came to Maysville at their instance, bearing a letter of recommendation to their brethren. An arrangement was immediately made between Brother Fisher and Rev. Mr. Ralston, pastor of the Methodist Church, for a union meeting. Brother Fisher at once entered upon the work. He preached a series of sermons of remarkable eloquence and power. The whole town was interested and excited on the subject of religion. The result was a remakable revival and the professed conversion of some fifty or sixty persons. The fame of Brother Fisher as a revivalist spread to all the surrounding country. Finally, the Methodist brethren at Augusta, having heard of his success, and fearing injury was likely to come to their church here, a delegation was sent to Maysville and insisted that the meeting should stop at once. Accordingly, the meeting came to a close. Brother Fisher preached a fare-well sermon, the eloquence of which is not forgotten to this day by those who heard it. After the service, Rev. Gilbert Mason, of the Baptist Church, took one side of the house, and Rev. Mr. Ralston, of the Methodist Church, the other, and the young converts were invited to decide which church they would join. Those
who wished to join the Baptists took their places beside Brother Mason, and the Methodists beside Mr. Ralston, They were about equally divided in numbers.
This meeting resulted in the formation of the Maysville Baptist Church, as at present organized. It was constituted on the 29th of May, 1838, by the Rev. Thomas J. Fisher, Rev. Gilbert Mason and Rev. Mason Owens, Brother William W. C Carnahan was elected Deacon, and Brother Samuel S. Miner was chosen Clerk. The following are the names of the members, viz: William W. Carnahan, Samuel S. Miner, Mrs. Elizabeth Woodford, Mrs. Frances Terhune, Mrs. Leah Martin, Mrs, Nancy Gasto, Mrs. Jane Rains, Miss Isabella McGonigle, Mrs. Maria Moore, Mrs. Frances Hunt, all by examination and letter. Peyton Oliver, James Salyers, William Power, Miss Emily Deatly, Miss Mary J. W. Lane, Miss Maria Power, Miss Eliza Williams, Miss Martha A. Brawner, Miss Mary Robinson, Miss Ann Hunt, Miss Elizabeth Hensey, Miss Mary Shelton, Miss Sarah Wilson, Mrs. Artimesa Durst and Mrs, Mary Sulser, all by baptism. The following preamble and covenant were unaimously adopted, viz:
It is obviously the duty of the members of any community, whether civil or social, to acquaint themselves with its constitution and designs; without this they can neither adequately enjoy the privileges nor properly discharge the duties which their membership "brings with it. Such persons are held more by feeling tha: principle - a tenure quite insufficient as a bond of religious connection. Professing ourselves to be a church of Jesus Christ, and holding the sentiments of the regular or United Baptists, we deem it incumbent on us to give our views relative to our principles and government. As respects our views concerning the doctrines of the Gospel, we say:
First - The Old and New Testaments alone contain the revealed will of God.
Second - There are three who bear record in heaven: the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.
Third - God created man holy and happy.
Fourth - Man sinned and lost the principle of holiness with which he was created. "Whereas, by one man sin entered the world, and death by sin, so also death hath passed upon all men, for all have sinned."
Fifth - In this state man by his own efforts could not reinstate himself into the favor of God. "By the deeds of the law no flesh living shall be justified."
Sixth - In this state the Son of God, who is the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his person, according to the promise, the sacrifices, and predictions concerning him, did make his appearance into the world for the purpose of effecting man's redemption. "He was God manifest in the flesh."
Seventh - Christ, by the grace of God, "tasted death for every man."
Eighth - According to the promise of the blessed Redeemer, he has sent the Holy Spirit into the world to "reproved the world of sin, of righteousness, and of a judgment to come."
Ninth - We believe it is by the operation of the spirit of God upon the heart, applying the truth to the conscience, that man becomes a new creature.
Tenth - We believe that all men are under solemn obligation to obey God, and consequently bound to repent and believe.
Eleventh - We believe that repentance and faith, and consequently a change of heart, should precede baptism.
Twelfth - We believe that the ordinance of baptism is binding on all believers, and that immersion is essential to the ordinance.
Thirteenth - We believe that the church should frequently commemorate the sufferings and death of Christ by the mystic symbols of his broken body and shed blood.
Fourteenth - We believe the saints "are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation."
Fifteenth - We believe in the resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.
Sixteenth - We believe that all must stand before the judgment seat of Christ, and be judged according to the deeds done in the body, whether they be good or evil.
Seventeenth - We believe that the happiness of the righteous will be eternal.
Eighteenth - We believe that the punishment of the wicked will also be eternal.
As respects church government, we believe --
First - That each church is an independent body, having the right to adopt whatever rule or regulation, it tfdnks proper, provided it does not oppose the revealed will of God.
Second - There are but two officers in a church of Christ, viz: Pastor and Deacon.
Third - It is the duty of the Pastor to instruct the church in all their duties; those which they owe to God, to themselves and one another.
Fourth - It is the duty of the Deacons to attend to all the concerns of the church, such as attending to the poor, providing bread and wine for the Lord's supper, and the support of the Pastor.
Fifth - In all matters of difference of a private character, the rule laid down in the eighteenth chapter of Matthew shall be applied.
Sixth - We regard it incumbent on all the members of the church to attend all of its meetings, for business as well as for prayer and preaching.
Seventh - It is the duty of all the members of the church to contribute to defray the expenses of the church, so far as they are able.
The church, being thus constituted, began to consider the expediency of choosing a pastor, and in the September following unanimously elected the Rev. Gilbert Mason to the pastoral office. He at once accepted and entered upon the duties of the position. At a regular church meeting February 22d, 1839, it was resolved to make an effort to erect a new house of worship. Brothers Thomas Y. Payne, John L. Kirk and Samuel S. Miner were elected trustees, and with the addition of Brother William W. Carnahan, were appointed a building committee. The brethren pushed forward the work of raising subscriptions and money, so that in early summer it was deemed prudent to commence the erection of the building. The corner stone of the present building was laid July 22d, 1839, with appropriate ceremonies. Rev. Mr. Ralston, of the Methodist Church, read the hymn commencing --
"Behold the sure foundation stone
Which God in Zion lays."
The Rev. Mr. Grundy, of the Presbyterian Church, offered prayer, and an appropriate address was made by the pastor. The church met for the first time in their new house November 17th, 1839. The following resolution, passed at the next church meeting, December 26th, explains itself, viz:
Resolved, That the thanks of the Baptist Church of this city be presented to Brother Selden Miner, of Wethersfield, Connecticut, for his donation of the service of plate or communion set lately presented to this church.
The same service is now used by the church, and the brother who presented it was the father of our faithful Brother S. S. Miner. The church at this period partook communion only once in three months, but afterwards they communed every two months, and for many years past have done so monthly.
During the pastorate of Brother Mason there were several revivals, among which the most notable was in 1843. The Rev. J. M. Frost, sr., assisted the pastor on this occasion, and a large number were added to the church, in all some twenty-eight persons. Among those who united at that time, and have been called away by death, may be found the names of James Artus, Thomas Wise, F. M. Weedon, Abijah Casto, Thomas Y. Payne, sr., Henry C, Tureman and others. From the organization of the church to the end of this pastorate the whole number uniting with it was ninety-three - a period of a little over seven years. The church had thus far grown and prospered, and up to 1845 there was everything to portend strength, not only in numbers, but in moral power. But a most unfortunate complication now ensued, involving both the church and pastor. As far back as 1841 serious reports had been in circulation at Mayslick, affecting greatly the reputation of the pastor. Also, a difficulty had arisen between him and Brother William V. Morris, the clerk of that church, - Brother Mason being at that time pastor there also. In spite of all the efforts of the brethren, the troubles increased rather than diminished. In Maysvilie, also, a serious difference arose between Brother Mason and Brothers J. L. Kirk and Abijah Casto. There difficulties continued to increase until they resulted in a separation between the pastor and people; and not only that, but in a division of the church, one portion expelling the other. It was a most unhappy and unfortunate state of things. Both parties, as is wont in all family and church quarrels, did and said many bitter and unjust things. But since then nearly a third of a century has passed away, and time the great consoler, and death the insatiate leveler, have caused those bitter days to be almost forgotten. This difficulty did not, however, end with the churches mentioned above; for in 1845, at the request of the Washington Church, a council was held at Lewisburg, at which Maysville, Washington, Mayslick and Lewisburg Chcrches were represented. The Maysville and Mayslick Churches preferred charges against Brother Mason. And all the parties, including Washington Church, of which he was a member, agreed to abide by the decision of the council. The result of the examination was that the council found Brother Mason guilty of the charges preferred, and recommended Washington Church to exclude him "unless he frankly acknowledge his errors and ask the forgiveness of his brethren." The following is the acknowledgment made in accordance with the above decision:Not claiming to be infallible, I declare, in fulfillment of the requisitions of the council, as far as I can do without a violation of conscience, that I am sorry for any errors I may have committed, and for any injustice I may have done Brother William V. Morris, or Brother John L. Kirk, or any other members of the Mayslick or Maysville churches, and ask their forgiveness.
(Signed,) Gilbert Mason,
The above apology was accepted by the Washington Church, but the Maysville and Mayslick Churches rejected it as not being in accordance with the spirit of the decision of the council. The whole matter was brought before the Bracken Association in 1847, and after a tedious and heated contest Washington Church was excluded from the Association for not fulfilling the decision of the council. The result of this was the organization of another Association within the bounds of Bracken Association.
In the following chapter will be found a brief outline of the life and services of Brother Mason, a man who, if he made some enemies, nevertheless attached to himself many friends, whose esteem was Hearty and life-long.
The Rev. Gilbert Mason was descended from the numerous family of Masons who for many generations lived in the northern counties of Virginia. His grandfather, Gilbert Mason, while yet a young man, moved from the county of Fauquier and settled in the county of Bedford. In this county Lewis Mason was born, and he resided here at the birth of his son Gilbert Mason, the subject of the present sketch, which occurred in June, 1810. When Gilbert was about ten years old his father removed to Franklin county, and settled in the neighborhood of Old Bethel Church. A section meeting was held with this church 1821, which J. B. Jeter and Daniel Wills, then called "the boys," attended. Under their preaching one of the greatest revivals ever known in that part of the country was commenced, and lasted for nearly twelve months, spreading out into all the surround churches.
In this revival, at the age of eleven years, Brother Mason professed conversion, and was baptised by Moses Green, then pastor of the church. He was soon brought out by his brethren to pray in public and to engage in exhortation. Early in his thirteenth year he was fully licensed to preach the Gospel. In this work, from the first, his whole soul seemed to be engaged. To preach, and to study how to preach, appeared to be all he thought of or cared for. Although compelled to work hard and constantly upon his father's farm, he nevertheless preached of night during the week, and on Lord's day more frequently than many who are engaged in the ministry alone. After a year or two thus spent, he became acquainted with Rev. Abner Antony, who, being greatly struck with the promising boy, obtained the consent of his parents that he should leave the farm and live with him, and devote himself entirely to Christian work. He remained with Mr. Antony about a year, when he removed to Fincastle, residing in the family of Rev. Absalom Dempsey, and attending school in an academy in Albemarle county, near the University of Virginia. There he continued for some time, preaching at intervals. From this place he accepted an invitation to remove to Richmond, Va., and became a co-laborer with Rev. John Kerr, then pastor of the First Baptist Church. From this field he was called in a few months by the church in Petersburg, and was regularly installed as its pastor the day he was nineteen years of age.
His connection with this church continued about five years, during which he baptised a large number, among whom were Dr. J. S. Baker, now of Georgia, and Rev. Thomas Hume, sr. Upon the death of the great and lamented A. W. Clopton, the churches of Charlotte county, left destitute, invited Brother Mason to settle with them for nearly three years, when, receiving a call from Washington and Mayslick Churches of Mason county, Ky., he removed to Washington, and entered upon the pastorate of these churches. Here he remained eighteen years, preaching constantly and baptising large numbers. He continued all the time pastor at Washington, and at different times, and for longer or shorter periods, pastor of a number of churches around.
In 1853 or 1854 he was called to the pastorate of the church in Lexington, Va., the State Board of the General Association uniting in the call. Here he remained several years, baptising a large number, among whom was Rev. Mr. Hiden, now of Wilmington, N. C. From this position Brother Mason was called by the State Board to move to Manchester, Va., and take charge of the church there. He remained with that church and the churches in the neighboring country until after the war. He then returned to his old charge in Kentucky, where he remained until the fall of 1872, when, his health being impaired, he resigned and returned to Virginia. He resided in Lynchburg until January 1st, 1873. At that time, though far too feeble to travel with safety, he visited his brother, Rev. S. G. Mason, in Yanceyville, N. C., where he remained until his death, which occurred March 4th, 1873. Thus, after a life full of vicissitudes, he passed away from his labors and crushing sorrows, his heart-breaking afflictions and trials, to rest, we trust, in an eternal home.
While with his brother his friends had hopes of his final recovery, and he often said he desired very much to regain his health that he might preach more
and better than he had every done. Though only in his sixty-third year, he had spent nearly fifty years in the active duties of the ministry, and forty-four in the pastorate; never engaging a day in any secular scheme to make money. Few men have ever preached more sermons or preached them to larger congregations. He said some time before his death that he had baptised, in all, not less than four thousand persons. Still in the last two months of his life he often remarked to his brother that he "felt greatly humbled, and deplored his imperfections and unfaithfulness, but that God for Christ's sake would forgive and accept him and his imperfect services." At a time when he and his friends were entertaining considerable hope of his final recovery he was suddenly stricken down with apoplexy and spoke no more.
As Elder Mason entered the ministry so early in life, it may be interesting and instructive to know something of the history of his early mental habits. The extraordinary success of his ministry in his boyhood was the result of his extensive and thorough knowledge of the Bible - thorough for one of his age. Few men know more of the Scriptures than he did at the age of twelve. He could even then repeat from memory whole books and numerous chapters, and could turn most readily to any passage in the Bible that might be mentioned. He learned to read well when quite young. From the first he formed a great liking for the Scriptures, and read little else than the Bible until he entered the ministry. This extraordinary knowledge of the Word of God enable him to preach acceptably, though so young, and was of the greatest service to him in all his subsequent preaching.
Notwithstanding the difficulties which now beset the church, they determined to call a pastor and maintain the customary services. Upon request, Brother Thomas G. Keene, of Hopkinsville, visited them, and although pleasantly and profitably located there, yet as it seemed to be a crisis in the history of this church, by the advice of such brethren as Brothers J. L. Waller, Dr. Dillen, J. M. Frost, sr., and others, he accepted the call. He commenced his labors in March, 1846. The church proper consisted at this time ef about sixty-five members.
Soon after the settlement of Brother Keene, the church composed of the excluded members called the Rev. Mr. Wade, of Ohio, to be their pastor, who promised to settle with them after about three months. Meanwhile, one after another of them dropped in to hear Brother Keene preach. He, seeing that there was a softening of feeling among them, and as well a disposition among the members of his church to encourage any effort at reconciliation, drew up a paper containing a proposition for union, on which most of them were brought back into the church. So before the three months expired our Ohio brother had no church in Maysville to preach to.
At this time the congregations were very large, and fully as much interest was felt in the spiritual prosperity of the church as could be expected after so long and so serious a division. The church was now formally united, and there was promise that it would soon be so in heart as well. This promise has been redeemed, but for many years the effect of the estrangement was disheartening, and greatly impaired the usefulness of the church. The great object which Brother Keene had in coming to Maysville was now accomplished. Being invited to the Second Church in Louisville, after consultation he accepted the call, and left Maysville in March, 1847. He was the first pastor who was settled with the church and preached to them every Sabbath. He found the church divided and in an apparently hopeless quarrel. He was instrumental in uniting them, and at the end of the year left them with all the essential elements of strength and prosperity. Blessed work! Concerning his leaving the church, he says: "My feelings inclined me to stay in Maysville. I had been treated with great kindness and had formed a strong attachment to the church, and very strong personal friendship and love for many of the members. All in all, it was to me one of the pleasantest years of my pastoral life."
Rev. Thomas G, Keene, D.D., was born in Philadelphia, November 4th, 1815. He was educated at Madison University, and ordained to the Gospel ministry in Nashville Tennessee, in the fall of 1841. Soon after his ordination he took charge of the church at Hopkinsville, which he left to accept the call of the Maysville Church. After leaving Maysville he remained pastor of the Second Louisville Church until he accepted the position of pastor of the Baptist Church in Mobile, Alabama. From thence he went to Petersburg, Virginia, and from that place returned to his first charge at Hopkinsville, where he has successfully labored for many years.
The church was now without a pastor for nearly two years, and what, with a remembrance of the recent troubles, and a want of that brotherly love which ought ever to characterize the people of God, it is fair to say that its progress was
backward rather than forward. In November, 1848, a church was organized in East Maysville called the "Newtown Baptist Church," consisting of ten members. Rev. Charles B. Egan was called to the pastorate, which position he held some two years. The Church continued small, and it was always with difficulty that it was sustained. Rev. Joseph W. Warder afterward preached for them for some time, giving his services to them as a gratuity. The last recorded meeting of this church was in June, 1855. Not long after this they ceased to meet at all, and soon their meeting-house was sold for debt. Afterwards it was purchased by Brother S. S. Miner for the benefit of the Maysville Church.
In 1848 Rev. W. W. Gardner was elected pastor, and entered at once upon the discharge of the duties of that office. This pastorate, which lasted a little over two years, was remarkable for its healthy and lasting results. Very quietly the work moved on under the master guidance of this devoted Christian. And years afterward the results were seen, even more clearly than at that time. The poor, the sick and the neglected were visited by him in so unostentatious a manner that not until long afterwards, when one after another of those to whom he had administered consolation and aid in their hour of need, came to the church, and, in telling their experience, related how they had first been touched by the love of Christ through his efforts, did the church realize what a work this man of God had done for them. During his connection with the church nearly seventy persons united with it. In October, 1859, Brother Gardner tendered his resignation, to take effect on the fourth Sabbath in March 1851.
The third pastor of this church, the Rev. W. W. Gardner, D.D., commenced his pastorate, as mentioned above, in January 1848. He was born of pious parents in Barren county, Ky., October 1st, 1818. He remained upon the farm until 1835, when he commenced the study of medicine, which he practiced until 1838. In November of this year he professed faith in Christ, and was baptised. He was licensed to preach the Gospel by the Mt. Gilead Baptist Church, Allensville, Ky., in January, 1839, In the spring of the same year he entered Georgetown College, from which institution be graduated in 1843. Immediately after his graduation he entered upon the work of raising funds for the erection of a building at Georgetown for the use of young preachers. He continued at this work about twelve months, and as a result of his labors "Paulding Hall" was built. The following year he took charge of the Shelbyville Baptist Church, and was ordained in July, 1844. During his entire pastorate this church was blessed with peace and prosperity. In this period there were three gracious revivals of religion, and the church was largely built up and increased in numbers. When he resigned the care of the church it had some four hundred members. He was married in 1846. His resignation, took effect at the end of 1847, was accepted with great hesitancy and regret.
Without any solicitation on the part of himself or friends, he was unexpectedly called to the care of the Maysville Church in October, 1847, and commenced his labors as pastor in January, 1848. He served this church faithfully and earnestly until the spring of 1851, when he was induced to accept the General Agency of the General Association of Kentucky. When he began his labors with this church he found it very much divided, and what, with dissensions and schisms, religion was at low ebb. And here Brother Gardner displayed his remarkable gifts as a peacemaker. With much labor and patient "continuance in well-doing," he brought harmony out of discord. The whole time that he was with the church it enjoyed uninterrupted peace and prosperity. He was a very systematic pastor, and all his habits and duties were regulated with a view to do the most good. He regularly devoted his forenoons to pulpit preparation, his afternoons to pastoral visiting, and his evenings to reading and writing. While pastor of the church here he preached six hundred sermons in regular course and in protracted meetings. He made two thousand five hundred pastoral visits, besides laboring in several protracted meetings in neighboring churches. There were four revivals of religion in the church, and a steady growth in grace and numbers. Concerning his connection with the Maysville Church, he says: "My pastorate in Maysville was in every way pleasant to myself, both in the church and community, and will ever be a green spot in my memory. All things considered, I have never had a more pleasant charge, and shall ever love that church and people."
In the spring of 1850 he resigned his charge in Maysville and entered upon his work as General Agent of the State Association. He labored as State Evangelist and General Superintendent nine months, and witnessed two hundred and fifty-four conversions in successive meetings. In the fall of 1850 he was called to the pastoral care of the Mayslick Church, and located there in January, 1851. He served that venerable church until October, 1857, when he accepted the call of the Russellville Church. Here he labored in the double capacity of pastor and professor of theology in Bethel College for twelve years and six months. Since 1870 he has given his whole time to theological instruction, merely supplying neighboring churches with preaching on the Lord's day. He has, as we see, then acted as pastor since his ordination in 1844 - twenty-five years - serving four churches in succession. He has never had a jar with any of his people. In addition to his pastoral work and theological instruction, he has labored as voluntary evangelist in more than a hundred revivals, chiefly among the destitute. He has written much upon theological subjects, and as a writer he has few superiors.
Such is a very brief sketch of the life of one of our very best pastors; not only of the Maysville Church, but of the state. And while he has few superiors as a theological instructor, his great work is evidently among the people as pastor. May God bless our noble brother; and although the shadows are beginning to lengthen somewhat from the west, let us pray that in his last days he may be more than ever successful in winning souls to Christ.
Immediately after the resignation of Brother Gardner, the church set about securing a new pastor, which resulted in the choice of the Rev. Joseph W. Warder, then of Frankfort, Ky. He entered upon his duties April 1st, 1851. During the summer of that year he conceived the project of establishing a high school, and undertook the work of raising the necessary funds. A sufficient sum was soon secured to justify the undertaking. The "Maysville Literary Institute" was the result of this enterprise, which has continued its mission with little or no interruption to the present time. To begin the work, Brother Warder taught a select school of young ladies during the scholastic year 1851-52. In the fall of 1852 the new building was occupied. Brother Warder and Brother J. T. Williams were principals of the female department, and Rev. E. D. Isbell principal of the male. Brother Warder continued his connection with the Institute so long as he remained in Maysville, though in succeeding years he devoted less and less time to the work of instruction. Miss Jane R. Parke succeeded him in the female department in 1856, since which time she has been constantly engaged in teaching in Maysville. The Rev. Lyman Seeley, D. D., succeeded Elder Isbell in the male department, and continued some years as principal. A vacancy having occurred by his resignation, Professor M. H. Smith was elected to the position, and commenced his labors September 1st, 1859. He still continues principal of the institution.
Early in February, 1855, the pastor and church determined to do what they could to bring about a union of the Washington and Bracken Associations, which had been so unfortunately separated in 1847. Accordingly,letters were sent from Maysville to the various churches composing the two Associations, inviting them to meet by representatives at Mt. Pisgah Church to consider the matter. A meeting took place as requested on the 16th of May, and a basis of union was adopted.
Brother Warder's pastorate was one of those quiet, unostentatious yet successful pastorates which insensibly but firmly build up a church. During the time he was here about fifty-four persons united with the church. In the winter of 1856 he tendered his resignation, to the great regret of all, to take effect the 1st of March. The following are the principal events in his life:
The Rev. Joseph W, Warder, D. D., was born in Logan county, Ky., October 13th, 1825. His father, the Rev. William Warder, was an able and successful minister, and his mother, a woman of excellent mind and sincere piety, was a sister of Governor Charles S. Morehead. His father died just before he entered upon his eleventh year, and from that time his uncle mostly defrayed the expense of his education until his graduation from college, which occurred in 1845. Early in his college course he became deeply interested in the subject of religion. His convictions were poignant and long-continued. For six and eight weeks he could find no peace. But at length the light of redeeming love broke in upon his soul. He professed faith in Christ and was baptised in November, 1841. Having determined that it was his duty to preach the Gospel, he was licensed during his senior year. In graduating, he delivered the valedictory address. He remained in Georgetown the following year as principal of the preparatory department of the College. At the close of the year he was elected professor of mathematics in place of Professor Garth, who resigned. He, however, declined the position to enter upon a course of theological studies. For this purpose he went to Newton Theological Seminary, near Boston, where, with the exception of eight months spent at Princeton, N. J., he remained three years. He graduated from Newton in the fall of 1849.
At the request of the Frankfort Baptist Church, to the pastorate of which he had been called, he was ordained to the ministry in October, 1849. Dr. James M. Pendleton preached the ordination sermon, and Dr. D. R. Campbell the installation sermon. Revs. J. M. Frost, sr., and John L. Waller were present, and participated in the exercises. This, Brother Warder's first pastorate, lasted a little over a year, and was marked by no event of particular importance.
In the spring of 1851, he accepted a call from the Maysville Church, and at once entered upon its pastorate. In the fall of the same year he married Miss Elizabeth S. Tureman, eldest daughter of Henry C. and Amanda Tureman. He remained in Maysville nearly five years, laboring faithfully and successfull. A strong mutual attachment sprung up between pastor and people, and it was greatly to the regret of both that he deemed it his duty to accept a call from the Lexington Church, Missouri. He removed to the latter place and entered upon the pastorate there in April, 1856. He continued with this church nine years. His first year closed with a powerful revival, and almost every year, up to the breaking out of the war, saw a revival of more or less force. By the judicious management of the pastor and people, this church largely escaped the demoralization which paralyzed so many churches in Missouri during the war, and at its close was stronger than in the beginning. The church at Atchison, Kansas, having called him, Brother Warder
accepted the call, and removed to that place in April, 1865. During his stay ef about two years the church was doubled in numbers. The second year they raised the pastor's salary unassisted, and increased it one hundred dollars, although the first year they were able only to pay one-half and the State Board the other half of it.
He removed tp Kansas City, Mo., in March, 1867, and took charge of the church there. Previous to his acceptance, the church had divided on a political issue, growing out of the "test oath." Two General Associations had been formed in the State, and great bitterness was felt on both sides. Brother Warder addressed himself to the task of soothing and uniting these discordant elements. The two Associations were finally united, thanks to him and a few other noble spirits who believe that the Gospel of Christ is a "Gospel of peaee," In Kansas City his efforts were crowned with success, notwithstanding many and severe trials. During his pastorate of three years, the church increased from seventy to two hundred and thirty members. In the spring of 1869, he accepted the call of the Baptist Church at Clinton, Mo. This church had been organized but a few years, but had shown great vigor and enterprise. He remained with them something over two years, during which the church was greatly revived and increased in numbers, when at the earnest solicitation of its friends be became financial agent of William Jewell College. This position, however, he only hald some two months. He then resumed the pastorate at Clinton, where he continues to this time. The year following was marked by a very extensive revival, in which the pastor was assisted by the Rev. A. B. Earle. Since that time the church has continuously prospered, growing stronger and stronger under the lead of their beloved pastor.
Brother Wader is an able, earnest, faithful preacher. Every good caase finds in him a ready advocate. In the vary meridian of life, let us hope he has many years of successful labor before him, and that in the great harvest he may be found to have garnered abundant sheaves.
Shortly after the resignation of Brother Warder, Brother George Hunt, a recent graduate of Georgetown College, was chosen pastor of the church. He entered upon the discharge of his pastoral duties in June, 1856, and continued with the church nearly two years. The church, at the time Brother Hunt began his connection with it, was in a very low state spiritually, discipline being very lax, and as a consequence its moral influence was greatly paralyzed. A council was called to meet on Wednesday, July 23d, for the purpose of ordaining Brother Hunt. The council consisted of Dr. R. T. Dillard, Dr. W. M. Pratt, Rev. A. W. La Rue, Dr. W. W. Gardner and Rev. J. W. Bullock, together with representatives of sister churches. After a full and satisfactory examination, the council proceeded to ordain Brother Hunt to the Gospel ministry. The opening prayer was offered by Dr. Pratt, Dr. Dillard preached the sermon - Text, First Timothy, fourth chapter and twelfth verse. Ordaining prayer by Dr. Gardner, Charge to the church by Dr. Pratt. The hand of fellowship in behalf of the council was extended by Elder La Rue.
The pastorate of Brother Hunt was one of quiet and even progress, broken by no dissensions or difficulties. During his connection with the church, two protracted meetings were held, and Brother Hunt baptised some fifty persons. A meeting begun January, 1858, continued about five weeks. The exercises were well attended, and a spirit of revival was manifested in the church. Elders La Rue and Helm assisted the pastor in the meeting. Forty-one persons were added to the church - thirty-nine by baptism, one by letter and one reinstated. Under this pastorate, Brothers W. P. Harvey and H. W. Mitchel, afterwards both ministers, united with the church. In June of the same year, Brother Hunt presented his resignation, which was reluctantly accepted by the church. His quiet, unobtrusive Christian deportment, his earnest piety and excellent pastoral qualities, had greatly endeared him to the members.
Rev. George Hunt was born near Lexington, in this state, in 1832, and was educated at Georgetown College. His first pastorate was Maysville, the care of which church he resigned to accept a professorship in the theological department of Georgetown College. While at the latter place, he also preached to the church at Stamping Ground. From this place he removed to Bowlin Green, and became pastor of the Baptist Church there. Afterwards he removed to Lexington and took charge of the church at that place, and continued as pastor for some years. About a year ago he resigned the pastorate of the church, and since then has been engaged most of his time in teaching, occasionally preaching to neighboring churches. At present he is preaching to the Ephesus and Hillsboro Churches. Brother Hunt is yet a comparatively young man, and may he have many years of successful labor in the cause of his master.
At the regular church meeting, August 7th, 1858, Brother Henry Ray, of Georgetown College, was unanimously elected pastor, and at once entered upon the discharge of the duties of the office. A council of the churches of Bracken Association
was called in September, and Brother Ray was set apart for the Christian ministry by ordination. A series of meetings was commenced with the church the following January, which continued about six weeks. During the early part of the meetings, the pastor was assisted by the Rev. A. W. La Rue, and afterwards by Revs. S. L. Helm and Cleon Keyes. Very great interest was manifested, and the church enjoyed a precious revival. During the meetings there were added to the church by baptism, thirty-eight; by letter, two; reinstated, three; by church fellowship, one; making, in all, forty-four.
In May, 1859, the pastor, with Brothers S. S. Miner and John McDaniel, was sent as delegates to Brooksville,to assist in the organization of a church at that place. Near the close of this year the church unanimously voted to increase the pastor's salary by the addition of one hundred dollars. During the following year, 1860, tht church was repaired and a new carpet purchased through the efforts of the sisters. A difficulty having arisen between Mt. Pisgah Church and its pastor, Rev. John De Garmo, Elder Ray and Brothers Miner and Flinn were appointed to sit in council with that church in reference to the matter. This was in July, 1860. On the 29th of this month, Brother Ray tendered his resignation to the church. This step was altogether unexpected by the church, and they appointed a committee to confer with him and if possible to induce him to remain. But Brother Ray had decided that it was his duty to return to Mississippi, and he convinced the brethren that, although the step was a painful one, severing many and very pleasant associations, yet it was best, all things considered. In the loss of Brother Ray, the church were deprived of the services of one of the best of pastors, a good preacher, and a most exemplary and consistent Christian.
The Rev. Henry Ray was born in Georgia, April 21st, 1832. While an infant his parents moved to Carroll county, Mississippi, where he passed the early years of his life. Through childhood and youth he possessed a good moral character. While others were being dazed and led astray by the vanities and follies of the world, he remained firm, permitting nothing to lure him from the right. Endowed with a gentle, tender and loving disposition, he unconsciously drew all who came within the circle of his influence to him. When a boy at school, he was called "peace-maker," soothing the ruffled feelings and smoothing all the rough paths of boyish school-life. He was blessed with a Christian mother - truly a "mother in Israel" - who early trained her children in the way they should go. Through her pious example and Christian influence, he became convinced of his sins, came out from the world and united with the Baptist Church at Carrollton in August, 1849.
It is a fact worthy of remark that from a family of eleven children, all, with one exception, united with the same church, in which their mother was an honored number. It had been the earnest desire of his friends and relatives, and, indeed, his own wish, that the law should be his profession. But now so strong were his convictions that such was not his calling, but that Christ had a work for him to do, that after days and weeks of anxious throught, he abandoned the idea of the law and determined to proclaim "the unsearchable riches of the Gospel of Christ" to a dying world. He was licensed to preach at Carrollton in September, 1853.
Twelve months from that time he entered Georgetown College, where he remained four years, endeavoring to prepare himself for the great work to which he felt his Divine Master had called him. A noble young Christian, a faithful student, and possessing more than ordinary capacity, with a strong will which surmounted every difficulty, Brother Ray acquitted himself with great credit. In 1858, as before metioned, he received a call to the Maysville Church, which he accepted, and was there ordained. He remained at this place two years, earnestly striving to serve his God. Filled with the love of God, and an intense desire to do his duty, he threw every energy of which his soul was capable into his work. Here he was blessed with the love of the people over whom he was placed, and in winning many souls from darkness to light. In compliance with the solicitations of friends and relatives, he returned to Carrollton in 1860, taking charge of the church and the male academy. Here he served with great acceptance, beloved by all who know him. After laboring in this place six years, he became convinced that there was a larger field where he could be instrumental in doing more good. Consequently, in the latter part of 1865, he returned to Kentucky, and in December received a call to the Bowling Green Church, which he accepted, and at once entered upon the labors of the pastorate. He had been settled here scarcely six months ere he was called away from earth to rest in the bosom of his Savior.
As a man, possessing loveable and admirable traits of character; as a Christian, working faithfully in his Master's vineyard; he was loved and respected. In all circumstances of life, under the most severe trials and difficulties, his faith was unbounded. He lived the glorious, beautiful life of a Christian, as one who truly "walked with God," so that those who came in contact with him could but behold it, and were constrained to follow his example. "Death loves a shining mark," and often aims at those we feel can least be spared; but while we in our dim vision cannot see the wisdom of such dispensations of Providence, there is good in it all. During the meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention at Russellville, Ky., Brother Ray was attacked with the illness which snatched him away from the bosom of his family and church in one short week. He was not aware until a few hours before
his death that the closing scene of life was so near. But when asked If there was anything to be set right with this world, he remarked, "nothing was in the way - all was well!" He expressed but one regret in dying - in exchanging the cares of this world for the joys of the next - that of leaving his loved ones exposed to a pitiless world. But with that firm reliance upon God which never left him, he commended them to the care of the good Father who "doeth all things well." A short time before his death he unclosed his eyes, and looking upward with an expression of countenance which the redeemed must wear in heaven, he said to these around him: "I see the New Jerusalem - the glorious city!" and then passed away, to enter into his eternal rest, exchanging the sorrows and anxieties of this life for one of perfect bliss beyond the grave; for "that rest which remaineth for the people of God."
The resignation of Brother Ray having been accepted, the church at once set about filling the vacant pastorship. A committee was appointed to confer with the Washington Church as to their uniting with this church in the support of a pastor, who should preach to them one-fourth of the time. Brother Samuel Cahill, of that church, reported to the committee that they were very desirous of uniting, and that they could pay from $185 to $200, and perhaps more; that he would be person-ally responsible for the first-named sum. It was then agreed that the two churches should unite for the above purpose. In September the Rev. James S. Greene, of Missouri, was invited to the pastorate of the churches, but his engagements were such he could not accept it. In November Rev. Dr. Drane, of Memphis, Tenn., was invited to visit the churches with a view to becoming the pastor. He accepted the invitation, and the members were greatly pleased with him; but he deemed the salary promised - $900 from Maysvilie and $200 from Washington - insufficient, and declined the call. Upon invitation of the church, Rev. Thomas J. Fisher visited them as evangelist, and commenced preaching on the fourth Sunday of the month. He labored several days with the church with great earnestness, preaching in his usual eloquent and impressive manner. During the meeting fourteen members were admitted to the church by baptism and letter. In April, 1861, Rev. Cleon Keyes was requested to preach for the church every Sunday night until they could procure a pastor, for which service he was to receive five dollars a night. To this arrangement Brother Keyes consented, and commenced preaching for the church the following Sunday night. At the church meeting in May, it was reported to the church that the Rev. J. M. Bennett, of Louisville, was without a charge, and that possibly his services could be procured as pastor. The church directed that he be written to and invited to visit the churches with a view to a permanent settlement. He accordingly visited the churches, and was called to the pastorate of both Maysville and Washington Churches upon the conditions before mentioned. He accepted the call and entered upon the discharge of its duties about the first of August, 1861. On the 7th of December of the same year the church licensed Brothers Harry W. Mitchel, William P. Harvey and Richard Rush "to exercise the gift of preaching the Gospel."
During the latter part of the following February a protracted meeting was begun, which continued some weeks. The church seemed to be greatly revived and strengthened. During this meeting there were added to the church, by baptism, eighteen; by letter, three; twenty-one members in all. Immediately after the close of the meeting, the church requested the pastor to preach a series ef sermons upon church doctrines. This he consented to do, and he soon after preached a series of brilliant discourses upon the distinctive doctrine of Baptists. The house was crowded during the delivery of them all, and they provoked a considerable discussion among the members of the ether churches. In August, 1862, Brother W. B. Broadwell was licensed "to exercise the gift of preaching the Gospel." Late in the year 1863, there began to be circulate reports concerning the moral character of the pastor, which, while they were not credited by the church, began seriously to affect his influence; and in December of that year he offered his resignation, which was accepted by the church. The immediate cause of the resignation was the non-payment of the salary. Letters of dismission were granted himself and his wife, Rebecca Bennett. The officers of the church, assisted by Rev. Cleon Keyes, then as now "instant in season and out of season in every good work," succeeded in raising a new subscription, amounting to about $700, to a pastor's salary. Brother Bennett was recalled to the pastorate upon the new subscription, and accepted. He entered again upon its duties in March, 1864.
At the request of the Aberdeen (Ohio) Church, this church called a council for the purpose of ordaining Brother Harry W. Mitchel to the work of the Gospel ministry. This council met on the 23rd of February, 1865, and consisted ef Revs. Cleon Keyes, J. W. Bullock, J. M. Bent and J. M. Bennett, and Brothers George W. Wroten, George W. Sulser and M. H. Smith representing the Maysville Church.
The church then presented Brother Mitchel to the council, examined him as to his Christian experience, call to the ministry, views of doctrine, &c., all of which being satisfactory, they proceeded to ordain him. The sermon was preached by Rev. J. M. Bennett, Prayer by Rev. J. M. Bent. Hand of fellowship by Rev. J. W. Bullock, and charge by Rev. Cleon Keyes.
Brother Mitchel was born October 28th, 1842. He preached for some time with great acceptance to the church in Aberdeen, and was afterwards called to the pastorate of the Stone-Lick Church. Here he was very much beloved, and contributed all in his power to the building up of the church. His health, however, never robust, gave way, and after a lingering illess he died, July llth, 1866, of consumption. He was a noble young man, a pattern of piety and devotion to the great cause to which he had given himself.
During the fall of 1864 and winter of 1864-5, the reports concerning the immoral conduct of the pastor of the church became so definite that it nearly or quite destroyed his influence. And, although a majority of the church were inclined to disbelieve them, or at most hope they were untrue, yet it was found impossible to raise an adequate subscription for his salary the coming year. He being advised of this state of affairs, again resigned his office, which resignation was immediately accepted. Previous to this, on several occasions, Brother Bennett had been labored with by the members of the church for what they considered his imprudences; but they could get no satisfactory explanation from him. In May, several of the brethren attended the meeting of the General Association at Covington and were told by a number of ministerial brethren from the lower part of the State that the conduct of Brother Bennett in their section had been scandalous. They cited instances and insisted that it was the duty of the Maysville Church to try him on charges of "immoral conduct." Accordingly, when in July he asked for a letter, it was not granted him; but a committee was appointed to inquire into the "truth or falsity of said reports." This committee had a meeting with Brother Bennett, at which Brother Cleon Keyes was present as advisor of both parties. It was agreed that a council of brethren, members of sister churches, should be called, to whom all the evidence should be submitted. The following committee was mutually agreed upon, viz: Rev. Cleon Keyes and Brothers Harlow Yancey, S. W. Cahill, A. M. Peed, W. S. Calvert and H. P. McIlvain. Afterward, at the request of Brother Bennett, the Rev. W. Pope Yeaman, of Covington, was added to the committee, as chairman. The church proceeded to collect such testimony as was available, and, after giving Brother Bennett timely notice of the charges and time set for the trial, submited their evidence to the council. The council, after due deliberation, unanimously found him guilty of "immoral and unchristian conduct, adultery and falsehood." This decision being reported to the church, at a regular meeting of the church for business, held December 10th, 1865, J. M. Bennett was declared deposed from the Christian ministry and excluded from the fellowship of the church.
In response to an invitation from the church, Brother Francis W. Stone, a recent graduate of Bethel College, visited it in June, 1865, with a view to a call as pastor. Brother Stone preached several months as supply, refusing to accept the call which was tenered him "until the case of J. M. Bennett should be disposed of." On the 14th of December, the following communication from Brother Stone was read at the regular church meeting:Dear Brethren and Sisters: After a prayerful consideration of your last meeting for business, I have concluded to accept. Your hearty co-operation, free counsel and long-suffering are most earnestly solicited; but above all, your prayers, frequent and fervent, "that the Word of the Lord may have free course and be glorified."At the request of the church, a council, consisting of Revs. W. Pope Yeaman, Cleon Keyes, H. W. Mitchel, and brethren from Washington, Mayslick, Lewisburg and Stone-lick Churches, was called to examine Brother Stone as to his experience, doctrinal beliefs and call to the ministry; and if satisfied, to set him apart for the Christian ministry. The council, approving the examination, then proceeded to the ordination. Rev. W. Pope Yeaman gave the charge to the candidate. Rev. H. W. Mitchel presented the Holy Scriptures, and Rev. Cleon Keyes offered prayer and addressed the church. The council was then dismissed with the benediction by Rev. F. W. Stone.
Yours, in Christ, F. W. Stone Maysville, Ky., December 14th, 1865.
The church prospered under the lead of Brother Stone, and had several out-pourings of God's spirit. The protracted meeting held in February, 1867, was
especially noticeable. At that meeting ten united with the church, and among them Brother W. B. Parker and his wife, both having long passed the bounds ordinarily allotted to human life. The Rev. W. Pope Yeaman assisted the pastor in this meeting. His preaching was powerful, and characterized by its great solemnity and earnestness. The impression made was one of deep and lasting benefit to the church. On the 29th of December, 1867, Brother Stone tendered his resignation to the church, which was accepted with regret, and the church unanimously passed the following resolutions:WHEREAS, We have received and accepted the resignation of our beloved pastor, Rev. F. W. Stone, with emotions of profound sorrow and of regret that a relation which we fondly hoped might be enduring has been so soon terminated; therefore,The Rev. Francis Winter Stone, son of James E. and Catherine D. L. Stone, was born in Hawesville, Hancock county, on the 10th of July, 1842. He received the first rudiments of his education in the village school at Hawesville. In the fall of 1858, he entered the Greenville College, Muhlenburg county, of which the Hon. Edward Rumsey was then president. He continued at school in this place until 1860, when he entered Georgetown College, where he remained about three years. In the fall of 1864, he entered Bethel College, Russellville, Ky., where he remained until he graduated, two years later. During this time, when he was not at college, he pursued his studies at home, or assisted his father in the clerk's office of the circuit and county court, of which he was at that time clerk. At home, at school and everywhere the young man attained and retained the confidence, love and repect of all with whom he became acquainted. Dutiful and affectionate to his parents, having a tender regard for his brothers and sisters, he drew around him the strong influences of a lovely and pious family circle.
Resolved, That we as a church tender to Brother Stone our heartfelt thanks for his earnest zeal in the cause of Christ which he has ever manifested while among us.
Resolved, That we cordially recommend Brother Stone as a faithful Christian minister, and wish him an abundant success in winning souls to Christ; and that he and his have our earnest prayers for their success in life, and a triumphant entrance at last into these mansions of rest "prepared from the foundation of the world for all the faithful followers of the Lamb."
He became first concerned for his salvation at a meeting held with the Baptist Church at Hawesville. The result was his profession of faith in Christ, his baptism and membership of that church. Although only in the fourteenth year of his age, his experience was not only satisfactory, but was received with joy by the church. In following his Savior in the ordinance of baptism, he experienced an increase of happiness. Not long after, the church licensed him to preach. He remained a member in good standing until a short time before he went to Georgetown. A few months after he went to the latter place, a great revival commenced, which lasted many weeks. It was under the preaching of Dr. D. R. Campbell, president of the college, and the Rev. George Hunt. A deep impression was made upon his spiritual nature, and he became greatly interested for the enlargement of Zion. He determined anew that he ought to give himself to the work of the ministry, and from that time he did preach Christ and him crucified to the best of his ability until called from this world of trial to enter the reward of the faithful. He again connected himself with the Hawesville Church in May, 1863, but in December of the same year took a letter of dismission, which he held until he went to Bethel College.
A short time before he graduated, he became very doubtful as to the genuineness of his first profession of faith and consequent baptism. After a prayerful examination of his Christian experience from that time, he satisfied himself that he was mistaken in that profession, and that his baptism was a nullity, as he dated his change of heart at a subsequent period. He handed his letter to the Russellville Church, related his experience and a history of his doubts and conclusions concerning his baptism. At his own request, the church received him by baptism upon profession of his faith in Christ May 28th, 1865. His father, now a Baptist minister, who was undoubtedly better acquainted with the religious exercise of his son than any other person, has always doubted the propriety of this action of Brother Stone and the Russellville Church. From the general Christian and moral deportment of his son, he believes that his change was real, and that he was converted before he was baptized and became a member of the Hawesville Church. However that may be, it shows the determination of Brother Stone to be right and to have a clear conscience in his labors for Christ and his truth.
Immediately after his graduation in 1865, he came to Maysville upon invitation and after preaching several months he accepted the call of the church, was ordained and installed as its pastor. In that office he labored faithfully and earnestly for over two years. He greatly endeared himself to all, citizens as well as members of the church, by his genial, frank and courteious manners and his humble and unaffected piety. His mental abilities, with close application, would have made him one of the ablest pulpit orators in the State, and age and experience would have supplied
whatever he lacked in pastoral labor from youth and Inexperience. This was his first and only pastorate, and right nobly did he acquit himself as a soldier of the cross.
Early in 1868 he presented his resignation to the church, which was reluctantly accepted. He was invited to visit several churches with a view to the pastorate. Some of them he visited, and his whole mind seemed to be engrossed in deciding what field it was God's will he should take, in which he could be successful in his work. But suddenly, without a moment's warning, he was ushered into eternity. He was killed by the explosion of the steamer Magnolia, an event which saddened many a heart in this community. Thus, at the age of twenty-six, he died, in the full vigor of youth and health, leaving behind him to mourn his untimely death a young and beloved wife, a daughter upon whose face he had looked but two days, who was never to know a father's care, and a sorrowing people who felt his loss as a personal affliction.
The church was now without a pastor for something over a year. During this time they called Dr. S. L. Helm, of Louisville, but his church there was unwilling to part with him, so he did not respond to the call. Several ministers upon invitation, and some without, visited the church; but no selection was made until February, 1869. The church had determined to be very cautious in their new call, and, if possible, obtain a pastor who would remain permanently with them. At this time they were visited by Brother A. W. Chambliss, of Aberdeen, Mississippi, with whose preaching most of the church were so well pleased that they at once voted to call him as pastor, and promised him a salary of fourteen hundred dollars per annum. This call Brother Chambliss at once accepted, to take effect in March. At that time he removed his family from Aberdeen to Maysville, and entered upon his pastoral duties. His connection with the church was very brief, and what had been united church at the beginning of the year was left at the end divided, torn and prostrate.
So the church was again without a pastor, and worse than that, without harmony. At this juncture Brother Keyes, as usual a peacemaker, visited the church, going to the members personally, and talking over the difficulties kindly with them. He succeeded somewhat in his good mission. In the month of July, Dr. Helm made the church a visit and preached a series of good practical sermons, and by his exertions and influence greatly assisted in the work of harmony begun by Brother Keyes. In January, 1871, the church invited Rev. J. M. Frost, sr., of Harrodsburg, to visit them and hold a series of meetings. This invitation he accepted, and under God was made the instrument of reuniting the church. He said he had concluded to stay with them until they were willing to unite and call a pastor. Some of the church talked about calling him, but he refused to listen to it, saying they needed a young man. He suggested that a letter be written Rev. Henry McDonald, of Georgetown, and ask him to recommend some one of the students in the senior class of the college at that place. A letter was accordingly written and an answer received in due time. Perhaps no father was ever more astonished and agreeably surprised than Brother Frost when he dicovered that Brother McDonald had recommended his son, James M. Frost, jr., for the position in a very complimentary letter. On the 12th of February, 1871, Brother J. M. Frost, jr., was accordingly called to act as pastor until his graduation from college in June, at which time both parties should be at liberty to make such other arrangements as might be desirable. He accepted the call and came to the church the following month.
It was now determined by the church to thoroughly repair their house of worship. To raise money for this, they directed the church property in the fifth ward to be sold. This building was formerly the property of the East Maysville Church, but that church, never strong, having practically disbanded, their house was sold for debt. It was afterwards purchased by the Maysville Church and held by them for some years for occasional service and Sunday School. It had litterly fallen out of repair, and had been rented as a storeroom. It was sold for nearly nine hundred dollars, which with the amount on hand, was deemed sufficient for the projected repairs. The work was commenced about the 1st of March, and completed so as to be occupied for worship the first Sabbath in June. The total cost of the repairs was little over $2,100. Meanwhile, the church held its meetings in Neptune Hall.
Brother J. M. Frost, jr., was called to the permanent pastorate and entered upon the discharge of its duties the second Sabbath in June, 1871. On the llth of June, and after the usual examination, Brother Frost was set apart by ordination for the Gospel ministry by a council consisting of Revs. Henry McDonald, A. F. Baker, George W. Givens, J. M. Frost, sr., Gilbert Mason, Cleon Keyes, Mason Owens and a large number of brethren representing sister churches. The following order of exercises was observed:
Ordination Sermon...... Rev. Henry McDonald. Reading the Scriptures..........Rev. Gilbert Mason. Ordaining Prayer................Rev. George W. Givens. Presenting the Holy Scriptures..Rev. J. M. Frost, sr. Charge to Candidate.............Rev. Henry McDonald. Charge to Church................Rev. A. F. Baker. Hand of Ministerial Fellowship..Rev. Mason Owens. Hand of Fellowship for Church and Council.......... Rev. Cleon Keyes. Benediction by............ The Pastor.
The September following a protracted meeting was held by the pastor, assisted by Rev. A. F. Baker, during which six persons united with the church, four by letter and two by baptism. This meeting left a powerful impression upon the members of the church as well as upon the non-professing members of the congregation, which bore its fruit during the following winter and spring. In December of the same year a revival interest sprang up, which continued with great power for months. There was no noise, no excitement, no distinguished man from abroad; but God's spirit was moving upon the hearts of the church, and his work prospered. At nearly every prayer-meeting and Sabbath service for months, sometimes one and sometimes more united with the church. This year some thirty-three persons, in all, united with the church. The church list was also revised in the course of the year; and although there were reported to the last Association two hundred and twenty-four members, yet it was found that what, with deaths, removals and exclusions, the real numerical strength was one hundred and forty members. In the winter of 1873, the Rev. C. E. W. Dobbs assisted the pastor in a meeting which resulted in much good. The church was strengthened, and although few joined, yet the body itself was revived and built up under the powerful experimental and doctrinal sermons preached by our zealous brother. In February, 1874, a protracted meeting was also held, in the progress of which fifteen persons united with the church. Rev. Lewis Salin assisted the pastor, and preached a series of most brilliant and instructive sermons, which afforded food for serious and profitable meditation, not for the church only, but for every one who attended the meetings.
Perhaps never in its history was this church in so prosperous a condition as at present. Every cause of difficulty has been removed, so that the utmost harmony prevails. The pastor and people seem to be united by the strong bands of mutual respect and esteem, so that they are laboring together faithfully for the one object of extending the Redeemer's kingdom. The Sunday services are well attended, and the prayer-meetings are larger than for years. The Sunday School is prosperous, and every interest connected with the church seems to be infused with new life.
The present pastor, the Rev. J. M. Frost, jr., was born in Georgetown, Ky., February 10th, 1849. With a father who is one of the most zealous and successful Baptist ministers in the State,and a godly and loving mother to train him up in the paths of Christian virtue, he could hardly have been other than a good boy. He was always kind and affectionate, a devoted son and a loving brother. He was early subject to religious impressions, and in November, 1861, in his thirteenth year, professed conversion and joined the "Cane Run" Church, in Fayette county. In 1867, he was licensed to preach by the New Liberty Church, in Owen county. He was educated at Georgetown College, in this State, where he remained until March, 1871, when he came to Maysville and remained as acting pastor until June. He then returned to Georgetown to attend the commencement exercises. He graduated from college with great credit to himself, and at once proceeded to New Liberty, Ky., where the same week he was married to Miss Nannie Riley, accompanied by whom he came to Maysville, where he was at once set apart for the Christian ministry by ordination. Thus he crowded into a single week three grand experiences of life - graduation, which lifts young men from school days to actual life; marriage, the sublime mystery which ennobles man and elevates woman to the dignity of a helpmeet; and ordination, which sequesters a child of God from the service of earth and consecrates him the titled ambassador of Deity.
As a pastor, Brother Frost has been singularly successful. When he came to Maysville, it was a problem whether the church should overcome or be overcome by its difficulties. By his judicious labors and the blessing of God, the church passed through the crisis safely. Brother Frost, by his abiding faith in Providence, his unaffected piety and zealous pastoral labors, has done a great work for the cause of Christ in Maysville, and strongly attached to himself the people of his charge. During his ministry here, a period of a little over three years, some seventy-five perons have united with the church. It is the prayer of thia people that he may be long spared to break to them the bread of life.
Pastor, Rev. J. M. FROST, Jr.,
S. S. MINER, GEORGE W. SULSER, M. H. SMITH, ALEX POWER,
M. H. SMITH, elected August 13th, 1864.
E. F. METCALPE, Sr., elected August 10th, 1871.
JOHN T STRODE, elected April llth, 1872.
JAMBS H. PECOR, elected May 7th, 1874.
JAMES H. HAIL, Jr., elected May 7th, 1874.
GEORGE W. SULSER, elected February 9th, 1856.
Sunday School Superintendent,
JOHN T. STRODE, elected January 10th, 1872.
First Ward - Miss SARAH BALL.
Second Ward - Mrs. M. S. ALEXANDER.
Third Ward - Mrs. LIZZIE GLASCOCK.
Fourth Ward - Miss NANNIE W ATKINS.
Fifth Ward - Mrs. ELIZA McCLANAHAN.
Whole number of members reported..........576
Whole number of present members.........181
This church has counted among its members many who have been zealous and distinguished workers in their Master's kingdom. And without any disparagement of others, the universal sentiment would be that any history of the Maysville Baptists would be imcomplete which omitted to mention the names and services of Brothers Platt Stout, William Tureman and Samuel S. Miner.
Rev. Platt Stout was born in Mason county, September 25th, 1796. In his eighteenth year he professed religion and united with the church. He was a zealous Christian man always. In his business relations he was genial and kind, and although while he resided in Maysville he was occupied with an extensive business he found time to impress all by his conversation and bearing that he was a Christian worker. He was a leader of the music, an excellent singer, and by his singing, by his exhortation, and by every other means possible to him, he contributed to the welfare of the church. Uniting with the church shortly after it was removed from Cedar Hill, he continued a member until the disbandment in 1826. In about 1828 he moved to Alabama, where he was licensed to preach, and in October, 1830, was ordained. In the course of a few years he removed to Mobile, where his remarkable business capacity obtained for him a position in one of the banks, which he held several years. Afterwards he returned to the up-country, and was successively pastor of several churches. He was clerk of the State Baptist Convention. For several years he filled the position of agent of the Southern Baptist Publication
Society. He was one of the most efficient agents In all the south - succeeding, not by drawing out unwilling dollars, but by systematizing his own efforts and the benefactions of others. He died in October, 1867, at his residence in Wetunpka, Alabama, in the seventy-second year of his age.
Deacon Samuel S. Miner was born in Wethersfield, Connecticut, March 8th, 1808. His devoted and godly parents early instilled into his mind the necessity of a personal interest in the Savior, every setting before him an example of rigid and unaffected piety. The effect of these impressions were never lost to him, and resulted in his becoming converted, and a member of the church in early manhood. He settled in Maysvilie in 1832, at the age of twenty-four, and two years later, while on a visit to his parents, was baptised by Rev. Gustavus F. Davis, D. D., of Hartford. He united in the constitution of this church, and was appointed clerk at the first meeting after the organization. This position he held for some years, until he was elected deacon, when he resigned the clerkship. The office of deacon he filled with great acceptance until the close of him membership. For a great many years he was the senior deacon, and naturally became, on account of his experience, the most prominent adviser of the pastors and principal devisor of ways and means to carry on the affairs of the church. No pastor every had a better friend, nor had any church a more faithful servant than Brother Miner. The following extract shows in what estimation Brother M. was held by one of our most distinguished divines, a former pastor of this church. In writing of the church, he says: "Our mutual friend Samuel S. Miner was one of the pillars of the church, and was always ready for every good word and work." This is the concurrent testimony of all the faithful pastors the church has had. For a period of nearly thirty-two years, embracing his entire membership, he was treasurer of the church. His services were freely and constantly given to the church, and no effort did he ever spare that seemed to him likely to conduce to the benefit of his spiritual home. He was liberal in his contributions, constant in his attendance upon Sabbath service, as well as prayer and church meetings. That the church appreciated his services may be seen from the fact that after he had withdrawn from this and united with the Mayslick Church, they requested him at a regular business meeting, by a unanimous vote, to resume his membership with them; also, all the male members united in a fraternal letter to him requesting the same thing. Brother Miner still resides among us, surrounded by an affectionate family and enjoying the fruits of a long, upright and successful business career.
Although Deacon William Tureman was never formally connected with this church, yet as he resided in this community for over forty years, and was ever a zealous Baptist, and at times almost the only supporter of the interest, in Maysville, it is proper that a short sketch of his life be given as token of respect to his memory. He was born in Fauquier county, Virignia, in 1768. In his early youth his parents removed to Scott county, Ky. Here he was brought up and educated. Shortly after his marriage with Miss Hancock, a lady whose family was connected with John Hancock, of revolutionary fame, he came to Mason county and settled in Washington. Here he engaged in business, and by his industry and integrity amassed what was for those days a very large fortune. While here he united with the church and was baptised by the Rev. Walter Warder. Subsequently he became a deacon of the church, of which he continued a member to the close of his life.
He removed to Maysville about the year 1808, and engaged in the dry goods business. His business house was on the corner of Second and Market streets, and his dwelling was next door to it. When Brother Tureman built his store, it was the second brick building in town. He was always noted for his hospitality, and his house was the home of the clergymen of all denominations who came to Maysville. It was through his instrumentality that the church property here was retained for the church. And, although a member of another church, he was among the most liberal in support of this. He never failed to be present at church and Sabbath services at Washington so long as he was able to get there, and frequently went on foot when it was too cold for him to ride. He not only attended the meetings, but always, when proper, took part in them by prayer and exhortation.
He was a very plain-spoken man and of unmistakable integrity. He was very prompt and decided, and detested above all things anything of the nature of sham or intrigue. He retired from buisness a few years before his death, having passed through all the various fortunes and misfortunes which attend business men. He began life poor, amassed a large fortune, most of which he lost through the fault of another, and then set to work again with all the energy of his nature to retrieve his losses. He died April 9th, 1851, in his eighty-third year, full of good works, and entered into that reward which his faith had long led him to expect as his enternal heritage.
NOTE. - It is a source of regret that so little material could be obtained for the sketches of the lives of some of the pastors. This has arisen from the very meagre replies of some to the letters sent them, and the total failure of others to give the requested information in time. Acknowledgments are due Mr. W. D. Hlxson for valuable information concerning the early history of the church. - M.H.S.
[From Martin H. Smith, A. M., "History of the Maysville (KY) Baptist Church", 1875. Document provided by Donnie Burford, South Irvine, KY. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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