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Early Black Baptists in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky

     Many pre-Civil War church members in Muhlenberg County owned Negro slaves. These Negroes, when converted, joined the same church that their masters belonged to. Unity in 1815 listed seven Negro members by first name only: Ben, Charity, Ester, Plato, Pompey, etc. In 1840, there were eleven listed by full name: Fillis Eades, Caroline Moore, Henry Oates, Rebecca Oates, etc. Johnson in his history of Hazel Creek lists 39 colored people who had been on that church roll. Other early churches also mention them - some of them in the list of charter members.
     The Negroes were given all the privileges of church membership but that of voting in the business meetings. That was to prevent masters from voting their slaves. They usually had a special section of the church reserved for them.
     After the Civil War freed the slaves, the white brethren assisted colored members to organize churches of their own. p. 27.

Hazel Creek Baptist Church
     Johnson in "Part Second" of the Hazel Creek History has a list of the members who belonged to the church during the first hundred years (1797-1897). 1265 names are listed; 39 were colored. - p. 152.

Macedonia Baptist Church
     During the time of 1862 and 1864 the members of this church proved to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. At a time when our nation was divided by war these God loving people found that God's love has no barriers. There were two colored sisters received by experience and letter. They also received three colored brothers, John and Wesley Tetterton and Benjamin Craig. - p. 154.

Oak Grove Baptist Church was constituted on September 19, 1846.
     Chapter members were Barnet Eades, Thomas Terry, William P. Hancock, Fielding Foster, Thomas C. Eades, Green B. Eades, Wyatt Gates, George W. Terry, Elizabeth Dillingham, Elizabeth Eades, Delilah Foster, Nancy Hancock, Mary Gates, Elizabeth Terry, Huldah Sims, and Fillas (a woman of color). - p. 177.

South Carrollton Baptist Church
     For a number of years before and after the Civil War the church had many colored people in her membership. Brother Wendell Rone says, "In February, 1869, twenty-four members of this race were added to the membership of the church by baptism. After the Civil War the colored members were organized into a church of their own with the assistance of the white brethren." - p. 185-186.

Unity Baptist Church, established in 1813.
     This church like many of the early ones, had a number of negro members. It seems that they were involved in a large proportion of the charges.

This is an example:
     "Brother ______ exhibited charges against Brother _____ , first for drinking three glasses of whiskey three parts full, and second for giving the lie several times. The church appointed a committee to try to settle the matter between the two black brethren, and the committee reported to the church a reconciliation between the two black brethren." - p. 190.
     No reference is made in the church minutes to the Mexican War, the Civil War, the question of slavery (many of the Unity members were slave holders), or to any of the allied topics of the time. - p. 191.
     A new church house was built in 1875. The old house was then turned over to the negroes who had been separated from the congregation in 1867. The negroes continued to use the old house until it was too dilapidated for repairs. Unity then helped their colored brethren to erect a new building. p. 191.
     A list dated 1815 which appears in the first minute book contains the names of 62 white persons and (one name only) 7 negroes. A list headed "1840" contains 121 names of white persons and 11 negroes. - p. 191.

[From William L. Winebarger, A History Of The Muhlenberg County Baptist Association, 1966.

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